5 British Independent Publishers Publishing Exciting Books Right Now – Guest Post by Rose Atkinson-Carter…

Independent publishers are always producing new titles that subvert mainstream tropes and topics, which sometimes make it hard to narrow down what’s worth looking out for. I’ve gathered up five publishers in the UK that have some really great works coming out now or later in 2022. From legendary rock-and-roll tell-alls to horror verse novels, there’s certainly a lot to look forward to this year.

Headpress

Headpress was originally formed in 1991 for German writer and director Jörg Buttgereit to release his film Der Todesking (The Death King) on VHS. The sales of this German horror movie funded the first edition of Headpress Journal, a magazine dedicated to 90s counterculture in England. By 1992, Headpress started publishing books focused on arts and culture in England, and hasn’t looked back since.

This year, they’ve got quite the docket. They recently published Grebo! The Loud and Lousy Story of Gaye Bykers on Acid and Crazyhead, a book detailing the fanatic stories of the late-80s British indie music scene from the adventures of two wildly popular bands. Any rock-and-roller whose disdain for the 90s and early 2000s is rooted in the techno takeover will love this trip down memory lane.

Another sure-to-be favorite from Headpress this year is Leatherface vs. Tricky Dick: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre As Political Satire. Claiming the Watergate scandal to be a horror show, author Martin Haris compares this political scandal with a classic slasher film created around the same time. Through a minute-by-minute analysis of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Haris is able to connect it with the Watergate scandal in a way that nobody else has done before. Such a fascinating link between two influential events in recent American history makes for a stellar pitch to literary agents, and a riveting read for any reader!

404 Ink

For their work in serving underrepresented voices in the publishing industry, Margaret Atwood applauded 404 Ink founders Heather McDaid and Laura Jones as women shaping the future. 404 Ink believes in publishing not to fit a schedule, but because the books they print need to be read. They work with freelance editors and proofreaders, but read submissions in-house as they pick what they’ll publish each year.

So far in 2022, the one book they’ve published is a poetry collection by Andrés N. Ordorica. At Least This I Know takes you across international highways, telling stories of ancestry and nationhood, activism and queerness, all alongside childhood photos. Ordorica’s poetry leaves you in a wanderlust trance while also creating space for you to reflect on your own identity.

Coming up later this year includes Carrie Kills a Man by writer, broadcaster, and musician Carrie Marshall. In this memoir, Marshall talks candidly about coming out as a trans woman, and what that looks like in parenthood. Also in this year’s publishing class is Elle Nash’s Nudes, a short story collection that opens with a former sex worker roaming a rural town and closes with a young woman’s wedding night, where she learns from her new husband what it takes to kill a man.

Bad Betty

Bad Betty was born from 90s slang — bad meaning good, and Betty being a beautiful woman — and continues to celebrate creative use of words to this day. This independent poetry publisher only prints works that defy the definition or common uses of poetry. Take for example Camp Fear by Tom Bland. This new release is a satirical verse novel exploring occult rituasl and the cult of celebrity, littered with surrealism and psychoanalysis of the darkest reaches of the human mind. Bad Betty claims, “If the id, ego and superego met at a fetish club, it would look something like this.”

More poetry collections that surely show you how to write poetry like nothing you’ve ever seen before are sure to be published by Bad Betty this year, but in the meantime, you’ll find plenty to pore over in their anthologies featuring their favorite artists.

And Other Stories

While founded in London, And Other Stories realized too many British publishers resided in the city, so they packed up shop to move to Northern England. Here, they’ve discovered some really amazing talent —  not just in terms of writers but also book cover designers, because all their book covers are absolutely gorgeous.

This year, they’re publishing works from diverse authors, including Aftermath by Preti Taneja, a former teacher of fiction writing for prisoners. During her teaching days, a student of hers, Usman Khan, was temporarily released eight years into his terror-related sentence to attend a ceremony for an in-prison writing program with which he was involved. While there, he killed two people, Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt. Aftermath is the true story of what happened next, and the trauma that author Taneja and her peers carry from that fateful day.

Another upcoming title that will intrigue aspiring authors is, rather ironically, Last Letter to Reader. As And Other Stories sees it, this book’s author, Gerard Murnane, is one of the greatest living English novel writers. Now, toward the end of his career, he’s revisited all of his works and written reports on them detailing not only the creative writing techniques he’s employed, but also his inspiration and personal anecdotes as they relate to his works. All of this has been put into a book — perhaps  his last, a long letter that his devoted readers will love and writers will appreciate.

Strange Attractor

This London-based publisher prides itself on publishing writing about neglected and esoteric cultural themes — they tend to publish stories of the occult, the supernatural, or psychedelic experiences.

Recently, Strange Attractor released Neighbor George by Victoria Nelson, which can hardly be better described than with the words of fellow author Mary Mackey: “If Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock had collaborated to write a novel that would scare you senseless, they might have come up with Victoria Nelson’s Neighbor George.” In this book, romance novel enthusiast Dovey gets a new neighbor, who she hopes can be her knight in shining armor. But when family history starts rearing its head in unexpected ways, Dovey finds herself fighting not only for life, but the small shred of sanity she has left. For better or for worse, this coming-of-age psychological thriller will have you wondering what secrets your own family harbors that are just waiting to be dug up.

Other recent published works include never-before-translated works by French author Victor Segalen, and a screenplay studios deemed “too weird” to ever be made by Mark E. Smith and Graham Duff. Stranger Attractor really lives up to its name as a publisher of the bizarre, and while it may not be altogether comforting to read their books, it certainly is thought-provoking.

On that note, I hope you’ve enjoyed this intriguing list of publishers and their upcoming titles. Whether you’re looking for a publisher to submit to or simply wanting to explore the indie publishing landscape, there’s something to add nuance to the way you see the world here.

Rose Atkinson-Carter is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best self-publishingresources and professionals like editors, designers, and ghostwriters. She lives in London

4 thoughts on “5 British Independent Publishers Publishing Exciting Books Right Now – Guest Post by Rose Atkinson-Carter…

DON'T BE SHY - LEAVE A REPLY

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.