about US

The Publishing Services Team

Publishing Services was set up in spring 2002, and has developed since its inception as the provider of editorial and marketing services into a complete publishing ‘umbrella’ for smaller publishers, authors and organisations.

We operate as a virtual company, working with freelance associates, most of whom have mainstream publishing backgrounds and have chosen to be self-employed.

Our key associates are Phil Richards and Henry Thompson (for key accounts and London respectively), together with Central Books, for clients who do not have current distribution.

We are passionate believers in the importance of rigorous editorial standards – the smaller the set-up the higher the standards – and work closely with a number of experienced editors as well as with trade associations such as the Society of Freelance Editors and Proofreaders.

Other third-party suppliers cover areas such as export, database set-up, print, typesetting and design. All such suppliers are charged to clients at cost.

About Susanne McDadd

Founder Susanne McDadd is a former non-fiction Director of Faber and Faber, and Managing Director of Metro Publishing (now owned by John Blake). Susanne specialises in non-fiction (although the only fiction book she published sold over 20,000 copies) and in grassroots marketing.

Publishing background

‘My background is in trade publishing – Michael Joesph, Harrap (bought by WH Allen, part of Virgin), Faber and Faber, and Metro.

I started as Editorial Assistant in Michael Joseph’s school of 1985. This involved the usual stint with the slush pile, then proofreading, copyediting and writing blurbs. Later, at Harrap, I found my niche in commissioning and editing. Eric Dobby was the then MD, whose independent approach to publishing was an important influence.

After Harrap was acquired by W.H. Allen we had a brief honeymoon period with MD Tim Hailstone, until corporate policies resulted in imprints being cut or merged and over half of us made redundant. Robert McCrum then offered me a commissioning lifeline at Faber. This was an exciting period, although – in the gladiatorial atmosphere of the Matthew Evans, Robert McCrum/Joanna Mackle days – frustration and stimulation were sometimes present in equal measure.

A Board position at Faber led to an interest in publishing as a business. I undertook a part-time MBA at London Business School (where by careful selection of marketing options I scraped a distinction), then became a founder/minority shareholder of the start-up publisher Metro.

Metro established a reputation for innovative marketing and built turnover to £1 million within a few years. After its distributor Biblios went into receivership, Metro undertook a CVA and was sold as a going concern to John Blake. The underlying strength of the business is reflected by the fact that it is now a profitable company.

Although interesting in the Chinese sense, the Metro experience was useful in reinforcing the importance of culture, financial structure and of getting the various publishing strands to mesh together. These have informed the way I operate Publishing Services.

After the sale of Metro in 2001, I set up Publishing Services in 2002, initially as the provider of add-on publicity and marketing services, and then, in summer 2004, as the provider of a publishing ‘umbrella’.

Chronological CV

2002 – presentFounder, Publishing Services.
1995 – 2001Founder, Publishing Services.
1990 – 1994Head of Non-fiction, promoted to Board Director, Faber and Faber.
1985 – 1990Various editorial positions: Editorial Assistant at Michael Joseph, Commissioning Editor at Harrap, promoted to Editorial Director at WH Allen.

About Phil Richards

Phil Richards started his career as a bookseller, gaining experience with WH Smith, Hudsons Bookshops and as manager of an independent bookshop.

He then switched to publishing as a sales representative for Granada Publishing, Pan Books and Random House, where he forged relationships with bookshop and wholesale buyers for their massmarket and literary lists.

As Key Account Manager at wholesaler THE, he developed a working relationship and understanding of chain and independent bookshop business.

From 1993 to 1998 Phil was Sales Director at the sales and marketing agency World Leisure Marketing. His responsibilities included liaison with publishers such as travel publisher Lonely Planet, managing a sales team and key account management. Turnover was built to around £6 million.

Phil then moved to become Sales Manager of the start-up company Konemann UK, building an innovative non-fiction list to prominence and a turnover of £3 million, from a beginning in the UK when he was the sole employee.

When the company was sold he set up his own sales agency, Phil Richards Sales, which now handles all UK key account sales for Publishing Services.

About Henry Thompson

Henry Thompson represents Publishing Services and their client publishers in Greater London.

With over 25 years experience of the industry, both in bookselling and publishing, he has a large and varied network of contacts in the business.

Early bookselling experience was gained with John Menzies in the City, followed later by six years running the mail-order services for RIBA Publications and two years as Sales Promotions Manager with the Architectural Press.

He started as a Sales Representative unusually late in life, covering Southern England (including London) for Rizzoli for five years. September 1994 proved to be a turning point in his life: he married Harriet, and Rizzoli changed their whole European sales force.

With the invaluable support of Windsor Books (distributors) a freelance rep was born and, very quickly, a strong portfolio of publishers acquired.

In 2,000, he formed Henry Thompson Books in partnership with Harriet as the administrative and IT director. Henry is now a familiar figure on the London bookshop scene and despite the chains’ cutbacks on reps, he still has over 100 of active accounts that he regularly visits, paying particular attention to the specialist outlets that are to be found all over London.

Email and telephone marketing are a growing area of the business but there is still no substitute for the personal visit.

In whatever spare time he has he enjoys playing real tennis.

About Central Books

Central Books was set up in 1939 and currently works with around 200 publishers worldwide. The core service offered is full distribution, which includes warehousing, invoicing, delivery, returns processing and credit control.

Comments Bill Norris, Managing Director of Central: ‘Our publishing clients include general trade publishers, the not-for-profit sector and independent publishing houses dealing with specialist areas (eg film, drama, food and chess).

The threshold for taking new clients on is £100,000 (with the exception of the Publishing Services ‘umbrella’, where turnover of individual clients is aggregated) although this will vary according to factors such as the number of titles involved and the average selling price.

We try to balance the requirements of today’s increasingly technological bookselling environment with nurturing and helping to build new imprints. Publishers who have established themselves and grown with us include Windgather Press (landscape history), Wallflower Press (film) and Maia Press (new fiction).

We are small but growing, we have a good reputation with all the major retailers and wholesalers but try to set terms and conditions of supply that independent publishers can live and prosper with. Above all, we believe in the importance of building relationships across the board.’

About Charles Lumsden

Charles Lumsden trained as an accountant with Peat Marwick, gaining his ACA in 1982.

He went on to work as a banker with Hambros, specialising in dealing with smaller companies. This led to increased involvement with the companies concerned, and the setback, in 1990, of having been the single largest private shareholder of Roger Levitt, whose firm collapsed.

Charles then set up Charles Lumsden & Associates as the provider of specialist advice to growing companies, usually in the form of a non-executive directorship and small shareholding in the company concerned. The typical turnovers of the companies involved are between £750,000 and £10 million.

Areas of expertise include family businesses, fundraising, turnarounds and acquisitions, forensic accounting and strategic direction.

He was a director of Metro Publishing, where he handled fundraising, the acquisition of copyrights from Richard Cohen Books and the subsequent sale to John Blake.

His involvement in Publishing Services is as strategic advisor, advising on new contracts, strategic links and overall business development. Comments Charles:

‘My advice, although rooted in finance, covers wider areas, After all, finance is more often a measure of outputs than inputs.

If the culture of the business can be got right, other problems are normally surmountable, as, once the financial structure and culture are aligned in the company’s interests, success will follow.’

Third-party Suppliers

Because of Publishing Services’ mixed client base (ie publishers, authors and organisations), each with different requirements, we have access to a wide range of external services. These are provided by small companies and freelancers. Our policy is to recharge clients for such services at cost. We do not gain commercial benefit from our recommendations as a) this preserves our impartiality and b) we consider this to be part of our retainer service.

Our policy is to test external suppliers on smaller jobs before moving on to larger ones, so as to minimise risk for clients. The areas covered include: editorial, design, cartography, photography, illustration, typesetting, print and print brokerage, export consultancy, local publicity, national publicity and database/web support.