An interview with Darren Humby

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Today I’m talking to Darren Humby, writer and publisher. Darren runs both Ecanus Publishing and Ecanus Imprint. As regular readers will know, I often interview authors, both new and established, but I’m veering off the beaten track a little, by talking to Darren about the publishing/self publishing side of writing.
Hello and welcome, Darren, thanks for coming to talk to us today, and offering an insight into the world of the publisher.

Q. I’d like to start by asking how you became involved in publishing. For instance, did you work for another publishing house, before you formed your own?

A. I have been involved in writing and been involved with publishing companies and agents for many years but I have never personally worked for a publishing company myself. Ecanus was borne out of an idea I had on a golf course, I had been very frustrated by the way in which my writing career and experience had gone. My early books were treated very badly by a few publishing companies and I remember saying to my best friend in 2010, on the golf course, that I could do better. He said ‘Go on then!’ so I did. A year later in 2011 Ecanus Publishing started business. Our first signed author was David Graham, and we now have a wonderful group of authors signed to us.

Q. Ecanus is the muse of writers; what gave you the idea of using her as the name and face of your company?

A. Angels are important to me, and I wanted to name the company with something that I could build a brand around. Ecanus was the first thing that came to mind.

Q. Ecanus is a fairly new company; in what direction do you hope to take it? For instance, you’re already selling some of your books abroad; do you plan to widen your scope?

A. In terms of new businesses Ecanus is very new and as I stated earlier was just a concept that came to mind on a golf course. It has taken a great deal of time, energy, sweat and sometimes tears to get it where it is now. We have a very long way to go. But we have now built up a small but great portfolio of writers and books. We do sell around the world, to countries such as the US, all over Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. Breaking into these markets is very difficult but we are working hard on it. As for the future direction, my personal goal by the end of the year is to have increased the marketing presence in the company and the reach this will give us in terms of expertise and expanding our portfolio presence. My goal was and is to be the largest independent publishing company in the UK, it’s a big aspiration but one I am fully committed to. We will also be putting on regular writers’ workshops to begin with in Kent but we are planning to roll these out around the country as well.

Q. Where do you see both the publishing side and self publishing side of Ecanus in say, ten years time?

A. In ten years time I see both companies well established as leaders in the independent publishing market. We are looking at various initiatives to do that; ebooks, print, audiobook and also utilising app technology. It is surprising how quick time goes by and since 2011 when Ecanus Publishing started it has grown, has it as much as I would have liked? No, but it has strong foundations and that is important. There are a great many publishing houses folding and going out of business, that will not happen with Ecanus.

Q. Tell us a little about your work routine. You and your team must work long hours. Do you enjoy it, or does the stress sometimes drive you and your colleagues crazy?

A. The hours are long and sometimes we find that we are working at crazy hours in the day and evening but we try to balance it out with finding time to relax as well. Running two companies is bound to take up a great deal of my time personally but I am sure it will be worth it, and being my own boss is great so I will not complain about it at all. I work seven days a week although not all day long I might add.

Q. What type of books do you publish, and do you have any favourite genres?
A. Ecanus Publishing publishes fiction and will consider any genre. My personal favourite genre is historical; anything with a Roman theme or Naval (particularly Napoleonic era) and I am all over it. I have a large personal collection of signed first editions, and my favourite book is Watership Down, for many reasons but none more important than that it is a wonderful story, wonderfully written.

Q. In the present economic climate, you took a chance starting up a new enterprise, what made you decide to do so?

A. It was a huge risk and to be honest still is; the economic climate has been tough. I think book sales though have been largely protected albeit that print book sales have suffered hugely. That is probably a combination of the austere times but also the rapid growth of ebooks. Ebooks have revolutionised the publishing industry and I still don’t think anyone has got a clue on what that will mean in the years to come. For me though it is just very exciting and our mission is to keep an eye on what is coming at us and be prepared to meet it head on.

Q. Ecanus is rapidly becoming known for its wonderful book covers. How do you decide which covers to use, with which books?

A. We take a view on the story within the book and then make a decision on a theme that would represent it as best as possible. We believe the cover of a book is critical. The interesting part to this as I have stated before is that this can sometimes not sit well with the author, because they have a particular opinion about what the cover should look like. One, this may not be actually in the best interest of the book’s marketability but also we have to ensure that the cover design represents the quality that Ecanus is becoming known for. This is important.

Q. You’re also a writer yourself; tell us a bit about your own work, and what inspires you?

A. I haven’t been able to write as much recently but I write angelic fiction. My book Bring Me Genesis is actually a trilogy rolled into one book. I have also written an historical fiction book about the First World War which is a real passion of mine. I intend to begin writing again, and may well revisit Cameron and the characters in Bring Me Genesis.


Q. Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to go down the publishing route, be it traditional, or self-publishing?

A. Decide what it is you want from your publishing experience because they are both very different. They come with very different issues both positive and negative. When an author is choosing going down the traditional publishing route they have to be very sure about what they are agreeing to when they sign the contract. For those going down the self publishing route is it so important that this is approached in the same manner that a traditional publishing house would. I would also advise seeking a self publisher such as Ecanus Imprint Limited because they can support the whole process and also reach markets which many authors would struggle to do on their own.
But whatever route you choose, ensure that you are ready for what it will take to have any chance of becoming a successful author. Writing the book is the easy part, the hard work starts once the book is published.

Well that concludes my interview with Darren, and it only remains for me to thank him for his time, and his guidance through the mysterious world of publishing.

You can also learn more from the man himself, on Ecanus Video Blog:

ecanus (Ecanus publishing online shop)




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