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Our Publishing Adventure Turns a Corner

August 11, 2022

11 August 2022

Today, I found out that I really need to wear another hat, not real one, I have no money to buy another hat anyway, but a virtual one. To save a bit more money, I’ve purchase a copy of InDesign, luckily you can pay for it monthly, so that I can do the layout of our books myself.

Wish me luck, I’ve never done this before but I least I know how I want the books to look. It will cost more time, but it also means I can get the new books out before the end of the year.

It may well stress me out a bit, but at least there is the lovely countryside to soothe me, for example, this view of cows I spotted when walking on one of the footpaths to the Aldi supermarket.

10 August 2022

At 8.28am today, just when I wanted to open my inbox, our internet was dead. The router didn’t show any signs of life either. No wonder, because he had no electicity.

Our local WhatsApp group was buzzing with activity and we soon heard that we would be without this vital ingredient until at least 11.30.

How dependennt we have become on our networks and hence electricity. I decided to make a virtue of the circumstances and do some essential things that did’t require the internet: the post office run and getting some food. It was a wise decision because it got rather hot to do these things later in the day.

At 11.45, we were back in business and I got a lot of work done by working from the laptop in the garden.

Our fragility in terms of connectivity was brought home during my evening stroll by spotting the overhead power lines. Note also the lovely old fashioned street light.

9 August 2022

Another hot day so that I could work in the garden and I do get a lot done when working outside. My ancestors must have come from a hot country.

A Diamond in the Dust, a new novel which casts Charles I in a new light, and the first book in the trilogy The Stuarts: Love, Art, War, is now ready for editing and I’ll keep you informed in progress.

My brother Arnold and I continue to work closely togeher and are having at least one if not more work discussion via the WathsApp phone. In order to keep the press going, our top priority, Arnold had to move, temporarily, back to the Netherlands, but I miss him and dog Harry very much.

8 August 2022

I love working on getting manuscripts ready for publication. Today my brother Arnold and I had a good meeting by telephone on WhatsApp about the final checks for The Past is a Dangerous Driver, a remarkable poetry collection by Neal Mason.

It looks very good and has gone off to layout today. I can’t wait to show the print-ready result to Neal.

I made the most of the current spell of delightful weather, long may it last, by moving the office into the garden. It has a large table nicely positioned in the shade, so there are no problems reading from the screen and keeping track of the cursor.

I’m always amazed by how little use the English make use of their gardens. Yes, they can often be found doing a spot of gardening but just relaxing, reading a book, or like me working, that seems a rare occurrence. A market colleague even told me that he and his wife never sit in their garden, they don’t like getting too hot.

So, I was glad to hear that at least a few children were having a ball in their paddling pool in a nearby garden while I was working away.

7 August 2022

I decided to wear one of my grandmother’s hats, inherited from my mother, to mass today. I unexpectedly found it in one of the hat boxes retrieved from storage. I’ve never worn it before, even though it was on my hat shelf in Baskerville for five years.

My brother took dog Harry along to his best friend and they visited his horse at its stable. Harry seems to be enjoying himself. He’s now being taken out for lots of walks which he really loves. Therefore, I continue to be amazed how happy he was when he had to stay with me, who can’t hold him on the lead, for seven weeks and still be content. He’s a most remarkable dog.

I checked out more manuscript today. Please keep them coming, I like to hear from new authors, and I’m ready to be surprised. Having to look at manuscripts is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a publisher.

6 August 2022

Not a good day at all. After getting up at 6am to catch the early bus to Swindon, I arrived in time for the 8.28 train from Swindon to Stroud. Only to be informed, shortly after my arrival, that this train was cancelled. Acceping the inevetible, I opened my laptop and plugged into the station’s wifi system.

However, when the message flashed up on the departures monitor announcing the unspecified delay of the 9.28 train, I decided to check with the GWR information point. They hadn’t a clue what was happening. ‘That’s a bit unfortunate’, I said, ‘losing a train just like that’, so they promised to phone.

Some problems with train doors and a replacement train had to be driven in from the depot in Reading. It would take another half hour. This turned out be correct and at 10.02am, just over one and a half hours late, I finally left the station.

If only it had been followed by a good day at my lovely stall on the excentric but delightful Shambles Market. It turned out to be a dismal day. I had lots of attention but heard the full gamut of excuses: I love to buy a book but: ‘I’m about to go on holiday, ‘I have a large to be read pile’, ‘I’m travelling and my bags are full’, ‘I will come back, are you here next week?’ (answer: ‘Yes’), ‘I need more time’, ‘I can’t make up my mind’, ‘I’ just browsing’, ‘I’m not buying today’, ‘I’ve promised my wife not to buy any more books’, etc.

I personally blame the Festival of British Eventing, however jolly, which was on at Gatcombe Park (Princess Anne’s residence) this weekend. I’s not the first time that this type of event seems to keep book lovers away from our stall.

So, I rely even more than usual on readers of this diary to order from our website or make a donation.

5 August 2022

My brother Arnold went to see his new home and it happens to be right in the city centre and that’s very convenient for him.

I had another day full of travelling back and forth to the bookstall at Shambles Market in Stroud. Luckily, I travel with my laptop so I can continue to work.

The bus journey from Cirencester to Stroud is quite spectacular especially when the bus turns into a road with the warning ‘not suitable for long vehicles’, and trees hit the bus on both sides, but the views are magnificent.

Otherwise, I made some progress with the US publicist, got in touch with more people who want to review our new titles, all when promoting and selling our books on the market.

4 August 2022

Another busy day emailing lots of people to generate more pre-orders and to help the crowdfunding along.

I’m also waiting to hear from our designer to see if he can do me a special deal so that in addition to The Past Is a Dangerous Driver, I can also proceed with commissioning the covers for A Diamond on the Dust and The Way to Hornsey Rise. I’m very keen to do this because once  have the covers I can give the go ahead for more promotional activities.

Besides, the authors, Michael Dean and Jeremy Worman, have selected excellent pictures to turn into stylised covers.

© London Metropolitan Archives ; English, out of copyright.

Of course, a few more pre-orders or donations would also speed up the process of producing the new books.

3 August 2022

My brother Arnold will be able to move from temporary accommodation to a small alms house in the Netherlands.

Great news because it means he will be reunited with our dog Harry, just in time, beause the friends Harry is staying with are going on holiday on 11 August, so Harry has to leave.

I had to do some work on our new accountancy system, not my favourite task but it has to be done, and I hope to finish it all tomorrow.

I also managed to send of information of a few of our books to a publicist in the USA who has offered to take us on free of charge for a year. Let’s see how it goes but it will be excellent to give out books a boost in the UK.

In the meantime, wherevever you live, you can always buy a print or ebook from our website.

2 August 2022

An outstanding invoice was paid which meant that I could finally start commissioning the first of the covers for the new books.

After checking with Neal Mason the following brief was giving to Andrew Cox from Reactive Graphics, in charge of designing our covers: the cover for The Past Is a Dangerous Driver should contain elements of time, movement and Einstein. I’m looking forward to seeing the first drafts.

Three more covers and four more layouts to go so I have to keep the pre-orders coming in. That’s why another substantial set of emails has gone out today.

Norbert Hirschhorn, one of our authors now based in the USA, will be in the UK during September. I’m planning a get together of our authors with some reading during Norbert’s stay. I will keep you informed about progress.

To Sing Away the Darkest Days

1 August 2022

Today my father would have turned 96. He died in 1998 and I miss him still. This is how my brother painted his portrait in his novel King of Tuzla.

His eyes grew moist. He didn’t even notice the fact that Tijmen’s mother kept butting in. Hard of hearing on one side. Handsome face, with artistic, white hair. Bald on top of course just like Tijmen. On holidays in guesthouses this sometimes created quite a commotion: he was mistaken for the CEO of a large company.

‘At the beginning you didn’t notice much about the war. My friend Thomas, though, hung the garden gates of all the Dutch Nazis from the lampposts. To be on the safe side, he hung up our gate as well. Gijs was furious.’

He laughed and his belly shook.

31 June 2022

Crowdfunding for new books is not going quite well enough, and I’m a bit worried about getting all new books out in time.

So, I went for another walk to do some serious thinking. I have some promising ideas and will be hard at work to put them in place this week.

I was really cheered by coming across a life size Mrs Tiggy-Winkle in one of the gardens. Splendid!

But not so happy by seeing a red coloured leaf which looks if it should have been still green. The first sign of autumn? I hope not!

30 June 2022

After an enjoyable car journey and chat with Debbie, I arrived at Shambles Market in Stroud in good time. She also bought one of our books from the stall, so I owe Debbie a double thank you, and she already made my day and a quarter past ten!

The rest of the day also turned out well with quite a few sales and a number of good conversations with people who couldn’t buy but took note of our website and will explore out titles that way.

Anna, a newcomer to the market, it was only her second appearance today, came to me with an interesting proposal. She is a portrait photographer and wanted to photograph me for an upcoming exhibition in her native Hungary.

I was happy to take part, by now I’m used to have my picture taken. So, I ended the market day by being a fleeting artist’s model in the park and in front of St Laurence Church just outside the Shambles Market.

On my way home by bus, I managed to take some pictures of the tents, caravans and even the tipis in the distance at WOMAD festival.

An eventful and also successful day for promoting our books. Even if you were nowhere near our bookstall you, too, can support #SavedByOneBook & #MakeTheseBooksHappen.

29 June 2022

I had a better than average day at Shambles Market. Fridays tend to be a bit quiet but this one went by in a flash.

Maybe this was also caused by my frantic search for an alternative way of travelling to the market tomorrow. Malmesbury – Cirencester – Stroud bus connections don’t work on Saturday mornings, so I normally go Malmesbury – Swindon by bus & Swindon – Stroud by train.

But there is a rail strike on tomorrow, and all taxies (not that I can afford one) are booked because of WOMAD. Yes, you read that correctly, Malmesbury is the home of a major, family friendly, world music festival. I had a nice view of the tents, tipis and caravans from the bus. I wish I had the money to join them.,

I’ve lived in Malmesbury since November 2016, but I have never been able to visit WOMAD but I once nearly has a spoken word event there but that’s another story.

Anyway, the outlook for attending the stall tomorrow looked bleak until I posted it in our local street WhatsApp group. Debbie has come to the rescue, and will give me a lift tomorrow. Thanks very much Debbie!

The market is so important for us because it often provides crucial cash for the week, it means I can buy food, pay cash for the busses (our county bus services only take cash) or pay for other essential items.

28 June 2022

Because I’m on a tight budget and without my brother, dog and car, there is not much scope for going somewhere except for running the bookstall in Stroud. So, I do a bit of walking in and around Malmesbury especially when I need to think about things or struggling with putting the correct words together for an email.

I’m always take a lot of care when putting together an email because they can very easily come out to harsh or insensitive. I think people sometimes forget this because it’s so easy to type in a quick reply.

Back to walking, because apart from my thoughts, I’m on my own, I tend to spot more unusual things such a back leaning house, which, to make it worse is on the top of a slope.

The other day I spotted an abandoned cemetery just around the corner from where I live. I tried if I could open the gate but it was sealed shut.

Tomorrow there is no time for walking instead I have a very heavy bag to take to Stroud, because I sold many books last week and now I have to replenish them.

27 June 2022

On the matter of promoting our books, I’m like a dog with a bone, I won’t let go until it’s gone, and keep working on it until I have achieved my goal: selling enough books.

Bringing our books to the attention of potential readers is the most difficult part of my job. So many books are published of such a varying quality that makes it very hard to stand out.

All our books are unique and excellent reads that can find their readers. I’ve proven this time and again on the market. But how to scale this up? I wish I could clone myself.

Another option you might well say is to get some funding. Well, I tried applying to the Arts Council England with professional help. It didn’t work, they ‘didn’t like the outcomes.’. What? They don’t think maximise sales is a genuine objective for a limited company? There is obviously far too much woke going around.

But I’m persevering but I need your help. When you buy one of our books, please read it, tell all you friends and spread the word on social media. Word of Mouth is our strongest weapon and you can utilise it. Thank you for supporting #SavedByOneBook!

26 June 2022

Today, I’ve been busy drumming up support for the production of our four new titles: a historical novel, a memoir, a new poetry collection and poetry in translation.

Contacting people by email generates several types of responses.

Quite a lot of people just ignore, fair enough we’re all busy. Others use one of the standards replies, thumbs up icon, thanks, etc.

There are also a few that take office: ‘I don’t have money either’, ‘My book needs support too’, or something similar. I do emphatise with them but if you do not ask, you do not get, and I’m only making a polite request.

Quite a few people wish you luck, which is lovely. A few take action by distributing our message on their network, pre-ordering a book or making a donation. Very much appreciated!

We’re making progress but are not there yet, so I will be contacting more people tomorrow about #MakeTheseBooksHappen.

25 June 2022

So, at the age of 64, I find myself a lodger albeit with a very good and lovely friend. But the press is still going.

Yes, all my books, furniture, personal belongings are in storage. But the press is still going.

Arnold managed to retrieve much of my summer clothes from storage when he came to collect dog Harry in June, though odd items are missing. Same situation applies to the summer hats. But thanks to Arnold, I do have summer clothes and he press is still going strong.

The shoe situation is somewhat more precarious. I’ve only got three pairs: my walking shoes, I very old and decrepit pair that used to be my mothers, but I can walk on them, and a very nice pair, also my mother’s, which I can tolerate on my feet for about five minutes. The rest, the good ones, are somewhere in storage, we looked but couldn’t locate them.

But the press is still going not in the least due to the orders, help in kind and donations of the people who understand and support what we are doing: giving deserving authors a chance to be published and make great literature available to the public.

Yet, I would easily sell everything that is in storage to keep the press going but that wouldn’t generate enough money. Sentimental value cannot be cashed in, and that’s probably a good thing too.

Now, I just need to get our four new & exciting books published without much money so: #MakeTheseBooksHappen.

23 & 24 July 2022

It was an excllent Saturday at the Shambles Market in Stroud and I sold widely across our entire list. On the market is doen’t matter at all when a book was published.

I also had a good chat with someone from the publishing world and he promised he would have a word with the owner of one of the local bookshops. Come on local bookshops, do get on with stocking our books. If I can sell them on a general market surely you can do better in your bookshop.

Sunday is a day for catching up with outstanding reading and manuscripts and it’s a good feeling to be completely up to date again.

One of the Dutch publishers is interested in my brother’s new book and I spend a very enjoyable time reading the sample Arnold has prepared for them. It looks very good, it will be sent off this week and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

A successful day on the market means checking stock and ordering more books. Also Central Books, our UK distributor, has run out of 100 Dutch-Language Poems, so they had to be reordered as well. Lots of admin but all done and dusted.

A big thank you to everyone who bought a book over the weekend and I’m looking forward to a busy week promoting and selling more book. Thank you for supporting #SavedByOneBook!

22 July 2022

Arnold has a good day yesterday and sold more books for more money than expected, thanks to his friends.

We also received an unexpected small donation, much appreciated, because every bit helps.

I was busy running the stall at the Shambles in Stroud. It was quite busy for Friday, and I made a few sales, but I expect and hope to sell more tomorrow.

The school holidays have started and when catching the bus in Cross Hayes I spotted two new picnic tables outside the museum. Now, books go very well with picnics, so get a few for your holidays, even better we have a get five pay for four offer on at the moment. If you can’t make to Stroud you can always buy a book from our website and support us that way. #SavedByOneBook

21 July 2022

Sales, we need more sales. So, Arnold and I have been very busy.

Arnold, now temporarily based in the Netherlands, travelled to Amsterdam today to meet a friend and his friends who are interested in Arnold’sbooks. I hope he has a nice time catching up but even more so that he will sell some books.

My day was made when one of our authors placed a substantial pre-order for his new book. It meant I could pay the overdue invoice from the printers. Such a relief and so much appreciated!

Everything my brother and I are doing is geared towards keeping the company going, publishing more wonderful books, and bringing us together again and this includes dog Harry. This is him today, taking a rest at this at his caretakers.

20 July 2022

First of all. a big thank you to the people who have supported us over the past two years by buying books, making donations and helping in kind. Without your support I wouldn’t still be running Holland Park Press.

I owe it to my authors and all who are supporting us to keep going. I’m doing my best, but I do need money to eat and pay company bills. Currently the trusted handbag (it used to be my mother’s) contains only negative money.

I’m doing all I can to move things forward and any help or suggestions are very welcome. I will keep you informed!

19 July 2022

I can manage to live with all my beloved possessions, including my books, being in storage, having no place of my own but lodging with a lovely friend, but I do mind not being able to commission lovely covers for our four new books.

They deserve it, but I do not have the upfront money at the moment. Things are in the pipeline but that can’t be used to pay current bills.

I’m in an enormous pickle but I put my trust in lovers of good literature around the world. I hope you won’t let me down. Let’s make these new covers happen, we can’t continue with the holding covers.

#MakeTheseBooksHappen has all the details.

Thanks very much, and contact me directly if want to discuss: bernadette@hollandparkpress.co.uk or +44 (0) 7792611929.

We’ve survided the #heatwave, help me conquer a financial calamity.

18 july 2022

Today was the hottest day so far this year, so I moved my laptop outside first thing to take advantage the still somewhat fresh morning air.

It reminds of the prolonged hot spell in 1976. The year I got my secondary school diploma, the equivalent of A levels here, I graduated successfully in eight subjects, the weather was lovely, but I have never been so uphappy ever since.

I still own the very seventies skirt and blouse I wore to the graduation ceremony. Sadly, like a lot of my things they are in storage.

Back in 1976, I had severe hayfever and hated hot weather, I’ve grown out of hayfever and come to adore the hot weather.

That’s good because I had a busy day promoting the very entertaining podcast of Jeremy Worman speaking to David Freeman about his memoir The Way to Hornsey Rise, or how a public schoolboy ended up in one of Europe’s largest squats.

You can listen to it here.

Meanwhile I have to make this book and three others a reality. I very much rely on your help to do this: buy or pre-order a book or make a donation.

I’m determined to make these books happen, even in extreme weather, having to wear reading glasses and with my skin falling apart. #MakeTheseBooksHappen

17 July 2022

A Sunday and the first of the really hot days. I absolutely love this type of weather: it can be too cold but never too hot. Famous last words!

I just dragged my laptop outside in the shade and because there was a breeze it was comfortable and I had quite a productive day.

This was certainly helped by another pre-order coming in for one of the new books and also by a lovely new quote from Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson for The Way to Hornsey Rise a memoir by Jeremy Worman.

‘Surprising, even shocking, above all beautifully written.  Do read it.  You won’t be disappointed.’

Getting proper covers done for the new books is now becoming very urgent and you can really help us by pre-ordering one or more books or making a donation. Thank you very much!

16 July 2022

Today, I was working hard to sell as many books as possible to generate enough income to publish more books. We had competition from a country and an air show, but we keep going to bring wonderful books to the market.

The books by these authors ae remarkable and deserve to be published. Yes, they just happen to be all male, white and mature, but they were the best manuscripts that came along. I’m completely open to what the next set of authors may be or look like at least as long as their manuscripts are top-notch.

Tomorrow, I will be out there again, this time figuratively, to drum up support to be able to publish our books, be able to eat and pay our authors. I rely on your help by buying or books or making a dontation.

I’m not easily thwarted, not even by oncoming and barely able to pass agricultural vehicles.

Up to new adventures tomorrow.

15 July 2022

Today is was aday full of bus adventures. To start with I was the only passenger on the 7.35am bus from Malmesbury to Cirencester.

On my second leg, from Cirencester to Stroud the route is very scenic, and I tried to take a picture of the lovely fields full of poppies but my photographic skills are no match for those of the bus driver.

On our way back, the Friday rush hour between Stroud and Cirencester was heavier than usual and that, on the narrow Cotsworld lanes, means the bus got nearly stuck severeal times until we really were stuck and had to take an unexpected turn to the left.

The bus driver freely admitted he didn’t quite know where we were going, started la-la-ing a songfestival song before engaging the bus, full of school kids and me, in a session of oggy oggy oi! Luckely a passing schoolbus was able to give direction and we ended up in Cirencester in time but not after one teenage boy tipped the driver a £20 note.

In between all this I did manage to sell books and hand out cards. Don’t forget you can support #SavedByOneBook by buying directly from our website.

Meanwhile back in the Netherlands, beloved dog Harry was spotted lookig out of the window (there are ducks in the garden).

14 July 2022

Hard at work promoting our titles, so was Jeremy Worman because two more pre-orders for The Way to Hornsey Rise came in today.

I also spoke to a US publicist today, who is interested in putting our titles better on the map in the US. Promising and I will keep you informed.

Nature is close at hand everywhere you go in Malmesbury. On my way to the suppermarket I spotted a few cows in a nearby field.

My mother’s birthday was the 14th of July and today she would have turned 98, to clebrate her life I leave you with this poem which was read at her funeral and printed on her in memorial card. It’s from my brother Arnold’s novel Angel.


eternal unkilling
of dying fathers

babbling aunties
wasting precious time

who now snaps his laces
their hibernation dissolving

sunday is out
she happily puts on her lipstick

thinking back when she was but young
being young   when all still belonged

standing there forever frozen
phoning her child

13 July 2022

Congratulations to Cherry Smyth, author of Hold Still, who has been made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Well deserved and she is part of a most illustrious company of other new fellows.

A lovely start of the day but we need more orders and responses to our fundraising.

Our South African distributor has run out of copies of books Karen Jennings. I need to print more copies and pay upfront for: Finding Soutbek, Away from the Dead, Travels with My Father, Space Inhabited by Echoes & Upturned Earth. Support a great author, longlisted for the Boooker Prize in 2021, by making a donation. Thank you very much!

12 July 2022

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is getting manuscript from all over the world and reading them. You never know what you come across and I have found so many remarkable authors that deserved to be published.

But I need your support to make this happen. I would be very grateful if you could throw me a lifeline by making a donation: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=VSSVV8D8MQ22N, every penny counts. Thank you very much.

We only accept submissions by email, but I still keep track of submissions in my tried and tested notebook. When I started my first commercial job in 1988 (after a career in academics, at that time I thought I had to change careers before getting too old, but actually I made a couple of successful career changes later) my manager remarked, where’s your notebook? Having noticed I hadn’t got one, he gave me one. This tried and trusted luddite item has been my trusted companion ever since.

My first introduction to computers was in the autumn of 1976, well personal computors didn’t really exist then, it was mainframes and punch cards, and I’ve been involved with computers ever since. Yet, the hard copy notebook recommended by David in 1988 has also been my companion until this day.

This is a page from it keeping track of manuscripts received and considered. The only problem is that my handwriting has deteriorated so much over the years that I have problems reading it back. I blame computers, even though I celebrate them in many other ways. Just, for example, I couldn’t have done my PhD (1986 Bristol University) without them.

11 July 2022

From preparing a title for submission to the TS Eliot Prize to lending a hand with organising a local garden party to say goodbye to a young family going back to the Philippines, it was quite a day today.

Even better it was boiling hot, and I and my skin loves hot weather with plenty of glorious sunshine.

The first thing people were asked at Catherine’s garden party was if they would like a Pimms. It put everyone at ease at once. Catherine is an expert at this.

On this unsual very hot day, I’ve been offered an icecream twice. First by an elderly gent (think 75+) I passed on my way to the post office, they can always be counted to be one of my admirers, ‘do you want a lollipop, it’s freee of charge, and I have several in the freezer.’ Secondly by a lovely young lady who came with her mum to the garden party because we had totally forgotten about icecreams in the freezer.

All of them not aware that I’m trying to survive and desperate to drum up support so that I can order more of books by Karen Jennings  to be published. Our South African distributor has run out and the printer has to be paid upfront. Contact me if you can help.

Freely offered icereams are lovely but also do not help towards generating enough funds to publish these four lovely new books I’ve signed up. With just a small sum you have the opportunity to change the lives of a publisher and her deserving authors by contributing to #MakeTheseBooksHappen. That will make my day!

10 July 2022

After a busy week, I enjoyed sitting in the sunshine and used it to catch up with some reading.

Since I moved to England in January 1983, I’ve come to understand many of the unique features of the UK. I used to be a big fan of proportional representation but I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of being represented by your local constituency MP.

As a Dutch citizen, I could even understand why people voted to leave the EU. Yet some things never become clear, cricket is one of them. After my brother moved to the UK and explained the rugby rules to me, I really took to it, but cricket is still clear as mud. This sprung to mind when I came across a school event at the local cricket grounds when tracing one of our walks with dog Harry.

Actually, cricket might well match Amazon in murkiness of rules. It’s all about statistics apparently.

Well, you can brighten our future by buying one of the books from our website and support #SavedByOneBook.

At least the skies are doing their bit: Malmesbury this evening.

9 July 2022

A much better day on the Shambles Market in Stroud. Plenty of books sold, a decent profit and lots of lovely chats with readers and writers. It makes the day go very quickly.

I made a special display for Hold Still by Cherry Smyth, celebrating that we’ve sold the option for the Film and TV rights.

It worked and I sold extra copies. Somehow the magic of Pembrokeshire often casts its spell, it did again today, and we sold a couple of copies of The Houses Along the Wall by Karen Hayes celebrating the magic of the Parrog in Newport.

Now I need to build more mometum so that I can publish our four new books and bring Arnold and Harry home. You can help us by ordering or pre-ordering books from our website: #SavedByOneBook  or by making a donation: #MakeTheseBooksHappen and use these hash tags in the social media.

8 July 2022

Another day at the Shambles Market in Stroud. Alas, not enough readers around, but I had inquiries, so I have a much better feeling about tomorrow.

I got things sorted for submitting another of our boooks to a major prize, in this case The Past is a Dangerous Driver by Neal Mason to the TS Eliot Prize. I found a lovely stationers with print room attached in Stroud, so copies of the manuscript have been printed and I will send them off on Monday.

Some niche publishers don’t bother with submitting books to major prizes because it is expensive when you get shortlisted but I always think that is a nice problem to have to face.

I’m for ever busy thinking up new ways to promote our books, but you, the readers of this diary, are essential, just by telling all your friends to buy books from our website, you can really make the difference. Very much appreciated!

Arnold won the prize today, because he could give our beloved Harry a cuddle. I miss them both so much. Dog Harry used to sleep on my bed each night and now he is in a different country. But if we sell enough books he and Arnold can come back. That can’t be soon enough!

7 July 2022

The sunshine finally came out this afternoon and it turned into a genuine summery afternoon, the first time in quite a long series of gloomy overcast days.

I rejoyced because the sunshine heals my skin and takes away the scaling and itching. So I took my laptop outside and worked in the garden for a couple of hours. I worked on quite a few promotional activities but a new challenge presented itself today.

Our South African distributor has run out of books, that’s good news, but now I have to print some more. However, I need to pay upfront, and without any spare cash, I need a benifactor to support this. If you can help, let me know. Thanks very much!

We’ve published five books by Booker longlisted Karen Jennings, and they are all very special.

On my wanderings today, following in the footsteps of our walks with dog Harry, I came across one of our favourite benches, brother Arnold loved to smoke there one of his cigars. Now it is sadly empty, though it still has a lovely view of the abbey.

6 July 2022

Dear deserving book lovers and readers out there, we desperately need you to buy more of our wonderful books. Check out the list, buy some for your friends, and tell me what else we should publish.

I’m very busy working on new ways to promote our books and walking helps to clear and focus the mind. So I’ve started to trace the walks when Arnold and I could still take out our beloved labrador Harry together.

This is one of the lovely views of Malmesbury I found on my way today. A similar picture was also used in an article about us in the the national newspapers.

But this picture of Harry in his new temporary home clearly asking a question breaks my heart. Yes is my answer, I would very much like you to sleep on my bed again. So, I have just to work even harder to make this possible. You can help by #MakeTheseBooksHappen.

5 July 2022

Today I got feedback from Letterenfonds (Dutch Foundation for Literature), they needed some additional information about our application for a grant to translate Schurft in English, so we’re still hanging in there, and to gather this information will be my first task tomorrow.

My brother Arnold did some very successful fundraiding today which means I can pay my outstanding bills. Such a relief and three cheers and more for Arnold! You can help too #MakeTheseBooksHappen!

To get some relief from all the stress, my skin is extremely itchy, I went to trace one of our walks with Harry, and found something unexepcted, a mock train engine on the disused Malmesbury train track. Another gimmick of the new American owners of the Bell Hotel (claims to be the oldest hotel in England, not the only one) and Abbey Gardens.

The mock train can be found in the Abbey Gardens but I spotted it from the common land which runs along the gardens and was once part of the Abbey gardens tended by the monks looking after their fish ponds among other things.

4 July 2022

Happy Independence Day to our American readers and customers!

No holiday for me, I’ve been very busy promoting our books through the social media. Some pre-orders came in, but we need more, and also orders for our published books.

Did you know we discovered Karen Jennings in 2012, and published her five first books, before she was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021? Check out her books and buy them for you and your friends.

My brother Arnold, author, poet, and essential for the running of Holland Park Press, found another temporary place to live. I think it looks fine, and thank you to the people who provided this new residence.

As a city girl, I continue to be surprised that I feel so at home in the pretty rural market town of Malmesbury. It’s a very good and supportive place to run our press. I leave you with two pictures which show that the countryside is all around us.

3 July 2022

A quiet Sunday, to recove from a hectic week. We had a lovely Parish picnic after mass and the sun came out as well.

Not good news about my brother, he has found a new place to live but cannot take Harry. I wish Harry was still here with me, but at least I’m still in lovely Malmesbury near Tomas Hobbes cottage and the Abbey.

You can help us amd our authors by buying books from our website or support #MakeTheseBooksHappen.

2 July 2022

A slow day on the market but it’s impossible to predict. If we market stallholders could, we would only come out on good days and become rich. In real life we take the good with the bad and just make a living.

As always, see my theory of a couple of days ago, poetry came to te rescue and I sold nothing but poetry books today. It reinforces my impression that poetry lovers are the more adventurous readers and hence better buyers.

However, an important domestic issue is dominating everything at the moment. Brother Arnold and dog Harry are staying with my brother’s ex girlfriend and her dog Nelson. None are getting on well, the dogs are fighting, well Harry is being challenged by Nelson, and don’t even mention the human angle.

The upshot is that Harry is temporarily staying with delightful friends, he is happy enough, but we are not. Arnold is having to look for a new home asap. The answer is that we need more sales: order from our website or support #MakeTheseBooksHappen. Very much appreciated!

1 July 2022

I was out again today to work towards #MakeTheseBooksHappen. After another long but scenic bus ride from Malmesury (Wiltshire) to Cirencester (Gloucestershire) followed by a second even more scenic bus from Cirencester to Stroud, I did more or less open the bookstall on time.

It’s always good to see the lovely entrance to the Shambles Market.

I put up an extra display to celebrate the fact that an option has been taken out for the Film and TV of Hold Still, a novel about the muse and mistress of James Whistler and Gustave Courbet, by Cherry Smyth.

I also received a lovely blog post from Michael Dean about his forthcoming novel A Diamond in the Dust about Charles I, putting this king in quite a different light.

In addition, I think I have arranged for Jeremy Worman to be interviewed for an important series of author inteviews podcasts about his forthcoming memoir The Way to Hornsey Rise.

All in all a productive day, but marred by the fact that brother Arnold and dog Harry are still in a spot of trouble in the Netherlands. I very much hope things will be sorted out soon. To be continued on, hopefully, a more cheerful note.

30 June 2022

Last day of June. I can’t quite believe it, half of 2022 has gone already, and I have still so much to do this year.

A few more preorders came in for our new books, but we need more orders for all our books through our website. I’ve been busy drunning up support by emailing people.

Tomorrow I will be selling in person again on Shambles Market, something I very much enjoy, especially as my pop-up office is also up and running, so I can tackle people by email and social media at the same time. Be prepared, but it will be lovely to be in touch.

If you want to make a difference support #MakeTheseBooksHappen and enable more deserving authors to get their books published.

I leave you with some tricks of the trade.

29 June 2022

I sent out a lot of emails to generate support for getting our four new books published. We need to add to our beautiful collection of covers and they need editing and their layout sorted. It’s not that much money, but I don’t have the ready cash at the moment, so any contribution is very much appreciated.

I miss my dog Harry, it’s my first dog, and he understands me, look at his face, don’t you agree?

I also miss my brother Arnold, he is in a bit of a pickle at the moment, so I think about him and phone him a lot. Here they are they both on an early morning walk because it’s hot in the Netherlands, I wish we could say the same.


I can’t really publish books with these holding covers. Just a few pennies will enable me to commission four new lovely covers from our wonderful designer Andrew Cox of Reactive Graphics. With your support for #MakeTheseBooksHappen I can do this. Thank you very much!

28 June 2022

A couple of days ago, the lady on whose farm we store our books told me they had to be moved and it would be useful to know for how much longer they needed to be stored. I wish I knew the answer. I told her I needed storage until at least the end of the year, but in truth I don’t know. They can only come back if I have a place of my own again with enough room. Will this ever happen?

This picture shows only two out of six bookcases in my old study. I very much miss my books, yet I’m in the business of publishing books. Isn’t life full of surprises? But at least I provide lots of people with new books, and that’s very important, because books record the history of humanity, and it’s one of the things that we leave behind when we are gone.

So, in a way, I was cheered up, by pre-selling four more copies of The Way to Hornsey Rise by Jeremy Worman today. At least I’m earmarking books for other people even if I’m bereft of my own copies. Moreover, you can pre-order all of our forthcoming books and thereby contribute towards the costs of publishing these wonderful novels, memoirs and poetry collections. This is absolutely essential to #MakeTheseBooksHappen.

27 June 2022

Today brought two unexpected preorders for The Way to Hornsey Rise by Jeremy Worman. That’s what we like to see. You can preorder all our new books from this page.

There was also a donation via our PayPal donations page. Very much appreciated and if you like to see more derving exiting reads published you can do so too.

My brother Arnold is bravely soldiering on in the Netherlands. He’s likely to have to move soon again because Harry, our lovely dog, and Nelson, the dog of the lady he is staying with, don’t get on at all. Readers in the Netherlands, you can support Arnold by buying a signed copy of Schurft.

Thanks to support of the Malmesbury community and friends we’re still in business, so it’s only fitting to leave you with a picture of the iconic Abbey Church in Malmesbury on a midsummer’s night.

26 June 2022

Sunday is the day to catch up with manuscripts. I receive several each day and we promise to come back to authors 4 to 6 weeks after we have received their manuscript and I’m fully up to date with responses.

Did you know that you can send us manuscrips all year round and that we accept manuscripts directly from authors? Check out our guidelines for submission.

I’ve also been working on new plans to promote our books. We do need more sales and it really helps us enormously if you buy directly from our website.

I’m very much missing my first longed for dog Harry. This remarkable bilingual black labrador always made me feel better but he is now back in the Netherlands. That’s why the colour has gone out of one of the last pictures of the two of us together.

25 June 2022

Thanks to good friend Debbie who gave me a lift to Stroud, I made it to the Shambles Market. Thank you Debbie!

I actually had a good day, so a big thank you to all the lovely people who bought one of our books.

My brother Arnold, too, had a good day at Veterans Day where he sold and signed his books published by Holland Park Press.

He met and had good chats with fellow veterans he hadn’t seen for quite some time.

And, of course, sold and signed quite a few books.

If you couldn’t come in person to Stroud or The Hague, you can always buy books directly from our website. Thanks for supporting #SavedByOneBook.

24 June 2022

It was too quiet a day until late in the day when I suddenly realised why I always take the train for part of the journey to the market on Saturdays. Bus time are completely out of sync on Saturday mornings.

I put out a call for help on the social media and good friend Debbie came to the rescue, so I will be going to the Shambles market tomorrow.

Even better, my brother Arnold will be signing and selling his books at Veterans Day, @NLVeteranendag, tomorrrow in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Hopefully we will both have good days because we need it in order to carry on with our exciting publishing plans.

If you can’t come in person to Stroud or The Hague, you can always buy books directly from our website. Thanks for supporting #SavedByOneBook.

23 June 2022

Another day with lots of developments.

Promising feedback from yet another attempt at securing a grant. We’ve not been succesful until now, but I will keep trying.

Orders came in, but we need more. It’s so easy to order one of the lovely books from our website, surprise yourself and just give it a try. Thank you!

Readers based in the Netherlands: you can still order a signed copy of Schurft, a Dutch novel that caused quite some controversy and can be described as Knausgård meets Reve.

Tomorrow I will be multitasking: running the bookstall at  Shambles Market and raising more support towards our fundraising campaing to be able to publish four exciting new books: #MakeTheseBooksHappen.

A good friend recently made this picture, I wasn’t aware, but I must admit I think you can be alone, now my brother and dog are gone to the Netherlands but, for me, it’s impossible to be or even feel lonely, life is too precious, and there are too many books that need my attention.

Signs of ‘older age’: needing reading glasses & comfy shoes but who cares when you’re allowed to be an  eccentric.

22 June 2022

My boloved dog Harry, a adorable black Labrador who woke me up with kisses each morning, has gone to live with my brother in the Netherlands. So, from now on, I’m truly on my very own.

Maybe so, but I’m going to be vey busy. Today I signed the contract with Playground Television for an option to the Film/TV rights for Hold Still by Cherry Smyth. Colin Callender was very keen to obtain an option on the rights after having read the book. He called me from his office in New York to tell me.

I’m also very excited about the four new books we have signed up. Yes, there are four now, since Jeremy Worman told me he sigend the contract and it’s in the post. The Way to Hornsey Rise is a moving memoir about how the dawn of a new society in the late 1960s turned sour in the 1970s.

There is a lot to look forward to but we need your support to get there. I would be very grateful if you can check out and support #MakeTheseBooksHappen.

To give me strenght I draw on past experiences, hence this is me pictured in the dress I wore when I graduated cum laude in Chemistry at Leiden University in 1982. The hat belonged to my mother, it was a gift from my brother Arnold during a holiday in Brittany. The backgroud is Cross Hayes in Malmesbury on a beautiful summer’s day.