In the latest issue of Cha, the excellent Hong Kong-based online literary journal which publishes fiction, creative non-fiction, reviews and photography, I’ve shared some insights from what I’ve learned about publishing over the past seven years in business.
People often express amazement that English-language publishers can survive in Hong Kong. I share their surprise. Hong Kong is a small place, and the mother tongue of 98% of its population is Chinese. Nevertheless, Hong Kong can be a reliable market for English books if you publish what people want.
Read the full piece, and similar items from other regional publishers, at Cha.
Just read the piece, very nice. Promotion is of course important but the bottom line is that you need to be promoting quality works and you have a history of publishing a wide spectrum of books that are worth the money and the time!
Thanks Spike! And yes, it takes time to build up a body of work that attracts attention.
what is more important than promoting good works is to sustain the rest of the world’s attention on H K. The English-reading public in H k are not sufficient to sustain a profitable publisher. A publisher needs to enlist support overseas. I have been trying to make people in North America to maintain a keen interest in H K after the euphoria of 1997. What easy at all.
If I were a business-oriented publisher in H K I would publish half of the titles in pragmatic subjects such as finance and business and the other half on literary and hobby subjects. That’s the only way to survive. Use Chairman Mao’s guerrilla tactics; how to feed yourselves while fighting a desperate war.
One great advantage of being a H K publisher is to have the books produced (or printed) in China for lower costs. However, without a sizable market in H K, the freight costs for delivery are still high. The only feasible alternative is to produce internet books.