Now We Are Four

By   John Bond 2 min read

This month, whitefox celebrates our fourth birthday. And even though the business has developed and grown and found many hundreds of bespoke publishing solutions over that period, we thought it might be interesting to look at some of the big questions that just won’t go away for writers, publishers and content owning brands within our ever evolving, fascinating world.

If it’s all about scale, how can you guarantee quality?

Everyone wants to grow and show investors that hockey-stick curve in the company accounts. But what matters most to writers and the best creators of content is pinpoint accuracy, hitting tight deadlines, and the highest level of trust, experience and quality assurance. Can one side ever win that tug of war?

Where is a sustainable rights model for indie writers?

Entrepreneurial writers have lots of options and models now if they want to drive their own creative publishing output. But who is going to work out how to provide access to the global network of publishing and translation connections which traditional publishers take for granted, honed over years and years of meetings at Bologna, Frankfurt, London, Beijing…

How do you skill up the next generation of publishing specialists?

As mainstream publishing consolidates and, yes, shrinks, with it will go the traditional way that the next generation of copy editors, proofreaders, designers, indexers, or any still relevant publishing specialism and skill, learn their trade. Where are the apprentice roles for the invaluable supporting cast for the writers of tomorrow?

Quantifying Time

Time. Arguably the most under-valued commodity within the publishing toolbox. Often taken for granted, rarely if ever quantified and measured, but the one thing writers can, should they choose to, dedicate in spades to their individual projects. But once you have it, how do you best use it?

Really valuing freelancers

When we started whitefox, we set out with many objectives. One remains as relevant now as it did back in 2012.  No, you don’t need to have your novel copy-edited and proofread before it is uploaded and made available to the reading public. Yes, you can go onto Fiverr and get a cover designed. But if you want to engage with genuinely talented, experienced, freelancers who will help make your book be as good as it can possibly be in every respect, then you might need to acknowledge that, usually, as in the rest of life, you get what you pay for. One person’s exorbitant cost is always going to be someone else’s invaluable investment.

John Bond
John Bond
John has been involved in publishing for more than thirty years. He held senior positions at Penguin and at HarperCollins, where he was on the main board for nine years, running sales, marketing and publishing divisions including the 4th Estate imprint and their stable of award-winning authors such as Hilary Mantel, Jonathan Franzen and Nigel Slater. He co-founded Whitefox in 2012 on the principle that the future of successful publishing would be based upon external managed services and agile, creative collaboration with the highest quality specialists. Nothing that has happened since has dissuaded him of this view.