Where I work
Handheld Press operates from a small and not particularly interesting living-room/office in Reading, with a kitchen and two bedrooms attached. The spare room is currently full — this is such a cliché but I like it — of Handheld’s books, and the Mac on which the Handheld ebooks are created. So I live a hermit’s life, leaving the flat to go to the post office and buy food, and that’s pretty much it, because the rest of my waking hours in the week are spent working.
Still in the process of moving
Thankfully, because I can’t carry on much longer like this, the Handheld house-move is getting closer. We’re now down to renting two flats and owning a house near Bath, which is an improvement on owning two houses. Today was a bit frenzied with the transferral of vast sums of money from one solicitor’s account to another, but we are assured that all is well and we can get the keys next week. I’ve begun ordering new address labels, business cards and compliment slips with the new Handheld address on. It almost feels real.
Three books this month!
February was the publication month for Desire and Vocations, the two latest lovely and enthralling novels in the Handheld Classics list. And the advance copies of The Akeing Heart arrived. It’s not published until 26 March, but the orders from booksellers are piling in. When my distributor received its copies they sent me a plaintive email asking if they could send on the pre-ordered books now? I said no, sternly: a deadline is a deadline. And the reviewers need some time to get their reviews written.
Working with lovely people
This month I’ve been reflecting on the joys of working remotely with other people. From the relative isolation of my office-with-bedroom-attached, this is a genuine pleasure. Sometimes I don’t say anything aloud to anyone else all day, even though I’m constantly emailing and tweeting. Working with my new ebook conversion designer is an interesting venture, because we’re married to each other and are learning how to cooperate from two entirely different professional backgrounds. Working with Nadja, the Handheld book designer, is an absolute joy because we barely need to explain anything to each other now, and we both work around the clock when life permits and we have the energy. I’ve begun a new partnership with a publicity and marketing colleague, which bodes rather well (*waves to Judith*). When I talk to my website people it’s like resting on a cushion of calm reassurance. I’m lucky to have all these good people in my network.
The new frock
Their support, and reliability, gives me the mental fizz I need to talk to the authors that I’m nurturing, the other publishers with whom I am doing deals, and to tackle some networking events that are rather preying on my mind. I’m fine talking to people; it’s just the talking to people that unnerves me. Two events coming up in the next month require me to wear something more take-me-seriously than my usual comfy sweater dress or jeans and T-shirt. A swingy flowery blue jersey frock with cunningly hidden pockets has been bought. I really must remember to wear it around the office so it feels right when I’m actually at these events. Then I won’t have to think about it, and can focus on the people instead.
Can we send you leaflets?
You can email me at email@example.com, about your ideas for a book, or your desire to buy a book. We’ve appeared at one conference so far with a box of books to sell, and I’ve discovered that I am dreadful, and bashful, at selling my books face to face. We can also send you leaflets advertising some discounted prices that your conference or festival attendees can take away and consider at leisure. The Bristol Women’s Literature Festival in March, the Women’s History Network Midlands’ spring conference in April, and the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society conference in April are all on my list. If any of this appeals to you, send me an email.
We have a Newsletter too
And have you considered looking at our Newsletter? This Dear Diary blog is just me wittering at the end of the month, whereas the newsletter is more about the front end of the business, and is sent mid-month to those who want it. Have a look at some past issues, and sign up!
Director and energy source