Week One


So how and why did Backlash Press begin?

In short, it began with the clarity that arrives after extreme disappointment.

Three times my novel, The Book of Dirt, had made it past the gatekeepers and into the hands of an actual editor. And three times I was praised and told that while my work was highly original, it just wasn’t marketable enough to publish.

The Book of Dirt had successfully gone through the Faber Academy in London and had been proofread by the Professional Writers Association. I had completely scrapped and rewritten it twice, alongside countless poems and another fiction manuscript, The Carving Circle. I felt as though I was standing at the precipice of marketability and staring at a void. Something had to change, namely, I realized, my view of publishing success.

I’m not suggesting that I just graciously accepted my ‘big publishing house’ failures. On the contrary, I was full of moody wretchedness, drop of the hat weeping and a despondency that practically ruined Christmas. But once the drama had subsided, I sucked up my pride and resolved, once and for all, to stop letting the whims of a mass populace decide my fate.

I turned towards the independent publishing sector and found an entire social movement was underway. Creative people are hardwired to establish movements from suppressed environs and the big publishing industry had certainly become oppressive, so no surprise there, but the support I received was shocking. When Scrutineer Press opted to publish The Book of Dirt I knew I’d entered a creative alliance that would encourage me to develop the full breadth of my skills. I knew I’d entered a relationship, not a mere agreement, and it was liberating.

I began to discover other writers who had slipped through the cracks of branded voice, and wanted to create a collaborative of individual expression that represented work that refused to fall under established banners.

The idea for Backlash Press was born.

I contacted my friend, Joe Milford, because I thought he would make a brilliant poetry editor and we set the world to right, then I got busy, really busy.

Backlash Press is an independent publishing house that is artist and writer focused. It celebrates unconventionality, bucks trends and values a written message far beyond it mass marketing ability. I am so proud of what we have managed to achieve. Our first Backlash Journal is nothing short of spectacular and we anticipate great things to come.

Throughout this blog I am going to document the emotional and industry lead process of establishing a small press and redefining myself as an indie author and poet.

Good luck with your endeavours,


Week Three


Okay. Somebody pinch me.

The last two weeks have been nothing short of staggering, and the support for Backlash has proved incredible. My loose plan was that it would take a month or more to trial the functionality of the site, as well as get my head around the extra workload. I thought it would take anywhere between three to six months to secure an annual subscription or even sell a journal.   Hell, scrap that!

I’m delighted to say that we already have two annual subscriptions and have sold a trickle of journals. I can’t tell you the pleasure it gives me knowing that Backlash is the vehicle behind some truly fantastic poets being read, valued and discussed. It has me turning on the glitter ball (a permanent feature on our ceiling) and dancing around the living room happy. That is the whole reason behind starting Backlash, and if we can continue to fulfil this one ambition, I will carry on as a Disco Diva – flares and all – to the joy of my seven year old and the eye rolls of my ten year old.

Now, regarding workload, I’m not going to lie and say I’ve managed it seamlessly. Nope, I haven’t, but most of the glitches have been malfunctions of personal wiring, and I’ve managed to iron them out with care, which means I’ve coped just fine. It’s been a big learning curve, but the more equipped my tool belt becomes, the easier it gets to maintain momentum, plus I’m really enjoying myself, which is the main thing.

However, hands down, the best thing about the last two weeks has been the submissions. Every single day, there are a few more submissions. The work we are getting is truly exciting, and there are poems that we’ve received that I simply can’t wait to feature. Reading your work reaffirms my belief in the need for a press like Backlash. Keep submitting, join our free mailing list, and please introduce us to your friends! Let’s make the Backlash voice truly varied and global.   Thank you, lovely people.


  • Jake Smith
    July 16, 2015, 12:50 pm  Reply

    Great to see the site off the ground – looks beautiful and look forward to keeping up with all the updates! Good luck Gretchen.

    • gretchen
      July 16, 2015, 8:28 pm

      Thank you! I am very happy with what we have received so far.

Leave a Comment