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Getting creative as economy restarts: Sandstone Press

By Barbara Henderson

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Halfway through July! It’s been a year like no other, right?

We are all breathing a cautious sigh of relief through our cotton face coverings, aren’t we? How I will appreciate the freedom to walk into a bookshop, or to stay overnight in a place that is not my house!

Being forced to remain at my desk has probably been good for me – with a new book out in August, I need to be working hard right now, drafting blog posts and teaching materials and finalising the book trailer.

Nevertheless, there are huge questions about how the future will look for the whole creative sector, so I have put some feelers out across the length and breadth of the north of Scotland. What has it been like for our friends and colleagues across the industry? What would help them stay alive, and thrive?

If we want bookshops, arts centres, festivals and publishers to emerge out of this crisis, we need to play our part. So, here, for our first insight, is what Sandstone Publishing said in response to my questions:

What do you or your organisation do?

We are an independent publisher with an international outlook, producing inspiring fiction and non-fiction books by innovative authors.

The core team at Highland publisher Sandstone Press.
The core team at Highland publisher Sandstone Press.

What has been the biggest challenge of the lockdown for you?

Bookshops are our biggest champions, and the books themselves are our strongest marketing materials – with bookshops operating online, or closed completely during lockdown, booksellers have struggled to make recommendations, and readers have been unable to see our books out on bookshop tables and shelves.

What are your next steps for emerging from the crisis?

We’re taking more of what we do online every day as we aim to keep getting our authors’ books into as many hands as possible. We’ve missed working closely with booksellers during lockdown, and look forward to supporting and collaborating with bookshops as they reopen their doors, and have new, different needs.

What can we, the public, do to support you and your work?

Buy our books, borrow them from libraries, place pre-orders for books that aren’t out yet, and support your local bookshops! If you’ve read and loved a Sandstone book, telling friends or family, or posting about it on social media makes a huge difference to us.

Single out one thing we can get behind at this time.

We’re very proud to be publishing Stolen Lives by Louise Hulland this September – it’s a powerful yet sensitive investigation into human trafficking and slavery in Britain today, including what we can do to make a difference. Please do pre-order it online or from your local bookshop. We truly believe that if we can get enough people reading and discussing Louise’s work, this book could change lives.

Stolen Lives.
Stolen Lives.

I certainly feel motivated by the inspiring can-do culture that is so prevalent across the north of Scotland. We have resilience in spades, so let’s use it to help each other. A thriving cultural sector is good for all of us!

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