Handheld is moving to Bath
This month’s backroom activity has been dominated by running the business while arranging the sale and purchase of two houses: possible, but not recommended. We are now, until next week, in the unnerving position of being responsible for four addresses, not counting those inhabited by the Daughters of Handheld. Things will calm down soon, and, after Easter, Handheld Press will move to new, permanent premises near Bath, in south-west England. This is an area of England long inhabited by my forebears on my mother’s side – many of them owners of small businesses – including the Victorian milliner Catherine Wale, one of my great-great-grandmothers. Her name is still in mosaic on the doorstep of her old shop on George Street. I’m thinking of ordering a small plaque to go on the front door of our new house, to let the postman know that Handheld lives there too.
I’ve been dipping a cautious toe into the world of professional networking. I loathe networking in the formal sense. I’m really good at it, in that my personal network spans the globe and I can find you a cat-sitter in Melbourne and a doula in New York, should one be needed. But being expected to attend an event, by myself, and walk about a room of strangers saying ‘Hi, my name’s Kate and I run Handheld Press’ … no. I’d rather do the washing-up by hand for a week. So I’m managing this carefully. I went to the Inpress Festival of Publishing in London because it was affordable, I knew the venue, the talks and panels looked useful, and I knew some people already going. And I didn’t do so badly: I spoke to a publisher I really admire (Valerie Brandes of Jacaranda Books), I left Handheld bookmarks on the table for people to collect, and I swopped business cards with a translator. The next networking challenge will be the London Book Fair, in April, which is colossal, and intimidating. But their exhibitor’s website is effective: I’ve already had some enquiries, and have appointments to meet a Spanish publisher and a Portuguese literary agency. I think I’m getting the hang of this now.
Mansplaining my print jobs
I’ve been using the Handheld bookmarks (free with every book ordered from the website!) as publicity materials, because I have many more of them than planned, or paid for. The online printer who took my order ignored my approved artwork and changed it to what he (it was most probably a he) decided I really wanted, which was to have the book covers on both sides of the bookmark at the same end. NOT SO. They’ve made this mistake three times now, and to their credit have rapidly reprinted the bookmarks correctly each time, and so I have a great many bookmarks on my hands. Would you like some?
New Handheld ebook
The other half of Handheld, David-who-does-the-numbers, has learned how to make ebooks. The first fruits of his new skills are now uploaded to all your favourite ePub purveyors (Kobo, Google Books, iBooks, Nook, etc), and to the Kindle store. The Kindle edition of Una L Silberrad’s novel Desire (Edwardian feminist potteries romance drama!) is now available for pre-order, at a very reasonable price. Desire is published on Monday 5 February, and Gerald O’Donovan’s novel Vocations (searing attack on selling girls into convents in Victorian Ireland) will be out on 12 February. They’re fabulous. Really they are. That’s why I’m publishing them!
Talk to us!
You can send us emails at firstname.lastname@example.org, about your ideas for a book, or your desire to buy a book. We’re developing plans to appear at conferences and literary festivals, either in person with a box of books, or in the form of leaflets advertising what we sell. If any of this appeals to you, talk to us.
Kate, Director and energy source