An interview with Richard Nash
Entrepreneur and consultant Richard Nash takes time out from his hectic schedule to talk to Simon Groth about the publishing industry and how books are opening up diverse and ever-expanding writing communities, both online and off. Nash began his publishing career in 2001, when he ran Soft Skull Press. He founded Cursor and is publisher of Red Lemonade. He now runs content and community for the new cultural discoverer Small Demons, and is currently promoting this enterprise all across the USA.
How did you get into publishing industry and what have been the most valuable experiences?
My leap into the ice bath of independent publishing was instructive in itself. I came into publishing without knowing anything about it. I was a theatre director. I was directing a play, and this playwright happened to run this tiny publishing company on the side called Soft Skull Press. The place was bankrupt many times over, so he did a runner. I’d become friendly with these two guys at the company. Even though I knew nothing about publishing, I offered to help out with Soft Skull Press—dealing with the printers and figuring out invoices. Out of that muck, I fell in love with publishing. But I had a super practical approach, so everything I was doing was figuring out ‘how do I sell books to readers?’ rather than worrying about how the editor deals with the marketing department or whatever. It was always: ‘how do I sell a book?’ In a totally perfect, serendipitous way, what I was learning was consumer-faced publishing, at a time when it didn’t occur to anyone that that was what publishing was about to become. They were about supplying books to bookstores. Our company was more direct.