Tag Archive | publishing

A little bit sad…

It is absolutely wonderful that we have the opportunity to educate our kids independently. I thrilled at the chance to do so, to home educate, to de-systemise the educational experience of my children. And go on to support others who are doing the same through my writings.

I think of home education as I think of independent shops in comparison to supermarkets. Supermarkets and chain shops feel all the same whichever one you go into. They don’t cater for differing needs! Indie shops and home education can, and cater for a minority in doing so!

I also think of bookshops and publishing similarly.

You go into any Waterstones, whichever town they’re in, and you can expect all the same books, pretty much displayed in all the same way – as they’re paid to be. Most people don’t realise that in this way these book ‘supermarkets’ even control what you read by ignoring the more minority titles and staying with the big commercial ones. But go into the independent bookshops, like Heffers in Cambridge for example, or Foyles in London, plus all the smaller less well known ones, and you’ll see what I mean as you come across all kinds of books you never knew existed.

I understand that many smaller towns wouldn’t even have bookshops if it wasn’t for chains like Waterstones. And that businesses have to make money, so the bookshop chains have to stock what sells the most. But the downside is that we don’t get to see minority books, like home education books, on shelves very often.

And it’s also the reason why so many smaller independent publishers and bookshops eventually close down. They cannot compete with the mass market through the niche books they may want to publish.

Books about home schooling are niche. And I have been totally lucky to have had an Indie publisher to publish three of my books, in fact, I was there at its conception with ‘Who’s Not In School?’ I will be eternally grateful to the team at Eyrie Press who enabled me to get my books out to the people who needed them. Because of them, there’s been access to the support readers have told me they find so valuable during their home educating journey.

But sadly, as with so many other Indie businesses like them, they can no longer keep going and are having to close. This may mean that ‘A Home Education Notebook’ and the ‘Harry’ Stories for children which feature a home schooled child may no longer be available.

Through your messages I know that many home educating families have found these books a comfort, support and entertaining too. And it seems such a shame that the world of business and living is set up to always put the squeeze on the little people and it’s often the minority communities, like home schoolers, which suffer.

As a new edition of ‘A Home Education Notebook’ has just been published I’m looking at alternative ways of keeping it available for those who need it.

But just for now, this is an opportunity to say a great big THANK YOU to the team at Eyrie Press, and CONGRATULATIONS on all they have achieved. There are probably many more people than they’ll ever know who have found support because of them. And a great big THANK YOU to you too for the support you have shown in buying the books, which has kept us both going in different ways.

If you still want any of their books – and they have a much wider catalogue than just mine which is really worth an in depth look – then some are still available. Or you might even like to message them personally if you’ve found the books a help – I’m sure it’d bring cheer at such a difficult time for them. So if you have a moment in your hectic home educating days get onto their website or social media and tell them.

Meanwhile, I’ll let you know what’s happening next with my books when I can.

Your support is immensely valued…

It’s a tough business selling books. Since it’s only those who reach the dizzy heights of hundreds of thousands of sales who hit the press many people don’t know this and think it’s a lucrative doddle. Ask any of the less famous writers just jotting away and they’ll agree; it isn’t!

I also know it’s tough financially for many home educating families who make that choice at the sacrifice of an income and consequently have a more frugal existence. We do of course reap other rewards by doing so, but I know buying books is a luxury.

So the publisher of my latest two is doing her best to keep the prices as low as she can and offer discount, despite the financial challenges a small Indie publisher faces.

Jane, at Bird’s nest Books, a home educator herself so she knows what it’s like, is also a champion of less well known minority groups trying to do things differently. Despite it being unlikely that these books will reach the numbers of the more mainstream earners mentioned above Jane still hopes to “publish fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children, particularly (but not exclusively) books which are aimed at or feature traditionally underrepresented groups and communities”, as it says on their site. I’m honoured to be part of that. We do need to put bread on the table but money isn’t the only consideration.

So, however you give it, your support is always immensely valued.

If you belong to a home educating or parent group you can club together and get a £2 discount on five copies of the ‘Home Education Notebook’ and share it among you. And if you pre-order the new children’s book ‘The Wrong Adventure’ you can also get a discount at the checkout using this code RMTWA. So head over to their shop.

And both the publisher and I would be eternally grateful if you’d share this around your groups and Facebook as much as you can and help us spread the word.

Let’s get the minority voices heard.

A peep inside the new children's book out on Aug 8th. Pre-order with the code for a discount

A peep inside the new children’s book out on Aug 8th. Pre-order with the code above for a discount. Illustrations by James Robinson

 

It wasn’t to be…

I’m afraid we didn’t get it finished before Christmas.

I’m talking about the book of stories I mentioned in my post earlier in the year; a book of my home education writings from the time the kids were little, which you can read

One from the archives

One from the archives

without having to trawl through my other ramblings, both literary and physical, on the blog!

It takes so long for the editing and publishing process we were unable to get it complete in time for Christmas, so I’m sorry if anyone is disappointed. I can’t believe it was back in September when I first mentioned it – it seems like yesterday – I thought it would be ready by now!

But it will be there to look forward to next year.

Meanwhile if you pop over to my page: ‘Stories of a Homeschool Life’ you’ll be able to read a taster of what’s to come for the time being. And to get the first word about it either sign up to my blogs on the right, or to the publisher’s newsletter over here.

And just before you go; I want you all to know how much your support has meant to me throughout this last year. THANK YOU – I’m thoroughly delighted that you’ve bought the books and touched by your messages, Likes and comments. They are always heartening to read and I always love to have them. Do keep them coming.

Thanks again. x

Help get books to those who need them

It’s only now, writing and publishing, that I’ve twigged how the powers of commercialism control what we read.

I should have guessed really; commercialism controls most of what we do. But it always comes as a surprise to know to what degree.

Big publishers only publish what will earn them big money. And mainstream bookshops usually only stock books that do the same. They are businesses after all.

And you probably think that writers earn thousands as it’s usually only the writers that do, like Dan Brown or J K Rowling, who get the coverage.

The truth is that most writers will be earning less than the minimum wage. And many will be covering subjects dealing with issues that are not mainstream and therefore not going to earn big money, so will not have big marketing machines behind them. Which means that it is harder to get titles out to the minorities who need it.

So you can see how those minorities often don’t get the books they need to support them.

With the chance to publish independently now, and the whole publishing process made more accessible, micro publishers like Bird’s Nest Books have a better chance of surviving and supporting writers like me who write about marginalised subjects.

But we still rely on your invaluable help.

Mainstream book companies are the ones that get all the attention – they can afford to pay for it. Publishers pay huge sums for shelf space and for stocking their books in the first place. This involves fees that small publishers cannot afford. So this boils down to the fact that what you get to see on shelves in bookshops, and consequently what you get to read, is controlled by them – if the book’s not got the potential for big bucks, it won’t even get published in the first place! That’s a fact.

For example, celebrities can write absolute crap yet it will appear in your face because big money got it there. If you’ve got a burning issue to write about but there’s no big money to be made – you won’t get it published and people won’t get to read it.

Many writers like me have a message or support they want to share that has nothing to do with big money. Consequently it is hard to get it out there.

This is where your help means so much.

Come and meet me, the illustrator and publisher of 'Who's Not in School' at the Wisbeck LitFest on Saturday

Come and meet me, the illustrator, and publisher of ‘Who’s Not in School’ at the Wisbech LitFest on Saturday

I am indebted to all the people who have bought my books, shared them around, mentioned them online and networked them about, passed on my messages, promoted my work, donated to libraries, written reviews, and mentioned them on forums, blogs and Facebook. Your work doing that has meant that many who wouldn’t know this work’s there to help them get to hear about it. Thank you.

Both the publisher and I depend on the word of mouth and networking power of you our wonderful supportive readers.

And your support might one day sow a seed of hope in the hearts of a family whose children’s are suffering in school, yet who didn’t know alternatives existed.

It also shows that minority communities can survive and thrive even without a big commercial machine, on the kindness of strangers.

More than just helping me, your support goes so much further. And I am humbly indebted to you for it.