Author Archives: Tom Chalmers

Tom Chalmers

About Tom Chalmers

Tom Chalmers is the Managing Director of Legend Times, a group of five publishing companies he has founded. He started his first company in 2005 when aged 25, Legend Press, a book publisher focused predominantly on mainstream literary and commercial fiction. Chalmers subsequently acquired Paperbooks Publishing, and later launched Legend Business, a business book publisher, followed by successful self-publishing and writer workshops companies, New Generation Publishing and Write-Connections, respectively. He also founded IPR License in 2012, a global rights licensing platform, which he sold in 2016. He has been shortlisted for UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year, UK Young Publisher of the Year, UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur of the Year, and longlisted for the Enterprising Young Brit Awards. He also speaks regularly on publishing and business and is an Enterprise Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.

book publishing, publishers, books, sales

My 2016 Predictions: The Verdict

Last December I wrote a blog post setting out my predictions for the publishing industry in 2016, and I promised to revisit them after 12 months. I always stress the importance of accepting accountability in business, and therefore I must also live—or fall—by the same rules. I have placed a score by each prediction....

publishers, authors, dbw, keywords, sales, books

How Publishers Can Build on Self-Publishing’s Victories

In recent articles, I have pointed with optimism to the green-shoots of recovery for the book industry after a bruising and challenging seven years. Print sales are on the way up, or at least finally not falling, depending on whom you speak to. Consumer ebook sales are dropping, but likely to be stabilizing against...

publisher, micro-publisher, business, books, sales

It’s Time for Publishers to Think Outside the Market

Over the last 12-18 months, after a challenging, industry-evolving 5-7 years, there is a growing sense of cautious positivity in many parts of the book world. Print book sales are rebounding (or at least not still sliding, depending on whom you listen to), and ebook sales are now on a more predictable, if slower,...

indie publishers

The Global Golden Age for Independent Publishers Has Begun

A number of years ago, I predicted the publishing and bookselling industries would follow a boutique model, with the large and small and little in between. Note: this also applies to other industries, in most part due to the digital age and today’s customer. Book sales would be split between higher priced print books,...

marketing, books, book marketing, publicity, authors

What Is Book Marketing Anyway?

Having run publishing businesses for 11 years, you would assume that I would know the answer to that seemingly basic question. But, speaking honestly, I’m not sure that I do. And I’m not sure that many other publishers do, either. This isn’t a criticism of publishers’ marketing campaigns—there are clearly some very successful ones—but...

Publishers Need to Question Everything

My Advice to Publishers: Question Everything

I’ve given myself a few moments over the last month to look at some of the ventures I’ve been fortunate to be involved in, as well as the business plans that arrive in my email. In each case, I have instinctively tested them against basic business principles. I’ve also been reviewing my publishing businesses...

Publishing Needs to Learn from Newer Industries

Publishing Needs to Learn from Newer Industries

The publishing industry is more than 400 years old. To put that timeframe into context, in the UK, when the first printing press was developed, in 1634, Charles I was king shortly before being overthrown. Much has happened since then, and there is much to be proud of in what this key industry has...

Why It’s Time to Focus on IP Rights

Why All Publisher Assets Begin with Intellectual Property

Copyright, intellectual property (IP) and licensing might not sound like the most colorful of subject matters, but that should certainly not deter from their importance, especially within the publishing industry. Some may consider these areas of the market as being less flexible or less prone to change than others, but in light of recent...

book publishing, publishers, books, ebooks, subscription services

10 Industry Predictions for 2016

When trends become clear—from self-publishing to writer events to the boutique model of the industry to the re-growth of print sales and large publisher consolidation—I regularly point out in the office that I predicted them two or three years ago. Given that I’m generally met with bemused looks, I thought I would make an...

Book Fairs Becoming a Key Meeting Place for Technology

Book Fairs Becoming a Key Meeting Place for Technology

In a month in which a number of rights and licensing deals will be cemented, announced and lauded, it seems to me very appropriate that Digital Book World is focusing on the importance of rights solutions. October has long been synonymous with the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF), and this continues to be the largest...

Chinese Market Holds a Key to Publishing Growth

As I flew out this week for the Beijing International Book Fair, China was dominating the international news—first, by showcasing its growing global sporting profile through the World Athletic Championships, and second, by illustrating its importance to the global economy with a stock market fall that sent shockwaves through international markets. For businesses, China...

Customer as King: How to Get an Audience

I often stress in my posts here that the consumer runs the publishing business. It’s always sad when you hear those in the industry patronizing or criticizing the customer, even if it’s just a defensive response to readers failing to show enough interest in publishers’ own output. That the customer holds all of the power is clearer...

LBF15 LBF London Book Fair

London Shines a Light on the Role of Book Fairs

With the new venue of Olympia, this year’s London Book Fair was of particular interest. I had a word with myself an hour in, acknowledging that publishers hate change, so stop moaning that things weren’t where you expected them to be. Thereafter (and a slightly confusing numbering system aside), it was a great event....

A Vantage Point on a Decade of Change

As of April 20th it will have been ten years since, aged 25, I set up Legend Press from an Internet shop under my shared flat in Stoke Newington. The last decade has been a challenging but unforgettable personal journey, but it has also inadvertently coincided with an industry that has irreversibly changed. When...

Why Publishers Are Obligated to Make Content Available Globally

In the publishing industry, making content available across the globe is usually on the calling cards of the major digital distributors; many can put ebooks up for sale in countries from Algeria to Azerbaijan. And while worldwide distribution is an often misunderstood yet market-changing feature of today’s bookselling world, doing it well is actually far more important than it sometimes...

Why Publishers Must Invest in Rights Departments

Even the most optimistic in the industry would admit that publishing has been through a tough time during its necessary awakening to a new world order. Global recession, falling margins, supermarkets, Luxembourg’s death grip, disappearing bookshops and libraries, wider competition against entertainment products–take your pick. There is a growing awareness of the need to invest...

Self-Publishing Reaches the Summit

I recently took part in New Generation Publishing’s annual Self-Publishing Summit in London, now in its third year. It is always a good opportunity to stop and consider how the self-publishing sector has evolved. The is no doubt that self-publishing, often derided in its former forms, has made a huge mark in the last three...

Quality Not Quantity for Self-Published Writers

One of the complaints the self-publishing community often hit traditional publishers with is that they license authors’ work and then hold onto it for 1-2 years before publishing it. I would agree the time taken to get books into the market is too long and traditional publishers can often be out of touch when...

Licensing in China: A Two-Way Street

As I come to the end of a very busy and productive Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF), there have been many lessons to reflect on in what has been a fascinating week. As part of IPR License’s full launch in China, through our partnership with the Charlesworth Group, I had expected a challenge of...

Man Booker Prize: Disappointing and Disappearing

Book prizes have become an increasingly key route through which to discover and champion the best writers, to elevate and highlight the brilliant above the masses of books now being published every year. That’s why over the last few years they have become increasingly frustrating, happy to stick with what and who they know;...

China In Your Hand

I’ll start with statements of Fact. UK boybands want to break the US. Publishers, outside of China, want to break China. What was a murmur while running my publishing businesses has become a near scream since launching our global rights licensing platform. It is perceived that the pot of gold is not at the...

Publishing Rule Number One: Customer is Key

We all know publishing is a club that has somehow lasted several centuries and often defied the odds to produce works that have changed history. We also know that as an industry we don’t like outsiders, preferring to speak with and complement each other. And, as with many industries, it starts to appear increasingly...

Rich Pickings for the Small and Beautiful

It may by my father’s Communist-leaning sympathies – power to the people and all that – but I hate to see job losses and immediately imagine the stress it may cause to individuals’ families. Job losses are inevitable as companies will fail, and where they are dealt with openly it creates great disappointment. What...

Book Industry Too Busy Playing with the Wrapping Paper

Not many working days go by without seeing another article regurgitating another survey offering another statistic saying that people don’t read anymore. Adults don’t read, children don’t read, teenagers don’t read, even their pets will bury books rather than bother to flick a paw at a cover. The only comfort to these usually poorly...

Need to stop fixating on the book

This blog is not to say that I have gone off the idea of books, the very object that pushed, or pulled, me into publishing in the first place. In fact, with the market segmenting into mass and boutique with little in between, there will be an increased demand for beautiful books and publishers...