18 Nov 2021
We’ve settled into our new space but are still recovering from the actual move. I don’t recommend doing a large four way move: books stored in an office in Stroud, bookcases on a farm, most furniture in a sea container in Minety and basic personal stuff at our new Malmesbury address. All this with very little money.
So, a very big thank you to the friends who made it possible for us to move and find a roof over our heads, without their help we would have been homeless!
But, in our new temporary home, we can continue with promoting and publishing wonderful authors. We have great plans but need your help to sell our books. You’re essential to create the word-of-mouth buzz: support us all over the social media and encourage all your friends to buy one of our books.
I’ve just given up my lovely home but will not give up promoting literature and rely on you to be #SavedByOneBook
New bed study
19 Nov 2021
Today I was back at the Shambles market in Stroud. It was quite an eerie experience because, however much my personal circumstances have changed, the market with it’s zen vibe (it must be Ron’s playlist) hasn’t changed at all. If you are in Stroud do come and see us, Shambles is packed with characters, and lovely things. As always it’s rewarding to speak to readers and to promote our books and authors in person.
Being away of the office also gives me space of thinking about new ways to promote our books. Follow the diary for more details of our future activities. In the meantime, it would be great to ask all of your friends to buy just one of our books. This will make our day, but also our future. #SavedByOneBook
20 Nov 2021
I had another good day at the Shambles market and lovely chats with book lovers. I’m quite exhausted, but lots of ideas are bubbling up, and I will keep you posted.
21 Nov 2021
Today, we had a lovely surprise. One of the leading book sites in the Netherlands, Bazarow, took up our plight and featured it on their website. Very much appreciated!
If you buy one of our books, you not only help to buy a future for an independent publisher but you also contribute to providing income for some excellent well-deserving authors.
I adore books but to keep our company going most of my books had to go into storage and these are the few copies that I could take with me into our new temporary home.
With your help we can all be surrounded by plenty of wonderful books: support #SavedByOneBook.
22 Nov 2021
For the first time in my life I’m getting paid for something I’ve written! Usually it is me who is paying authors. Not that I consider myself to be a writer, being a publisher is quite enough, but today I was actually asked to send an invoice for a piece I’ve written about our struggle to survive.
I always enjoy wearing hats but this is a temporary new one. I couldn’t take many books but my winter hats have moved with me and managed to take over an empty bookcase. I think this is quite appropriate.
23 Nov 2021
We received a present from a very good friend. He’s been following our journey and has supported us all along but we were still surprised to receive his latest donation which makes all the difference and rescued us from the abyss. Thank you very much dear friend! With your help of all of you, keep buying books, we can survive. We’re putting in all the hours and you and our dog Harry keep us going.
24 Nov 2021
Today, I realized that our new South African distributor has sold quite a lot of books by Karen Jennings. Well, that’s nice and very well deserved for this wonderful 2021 Booker Prize longlisted author. This means I have to print more books in South Africa, anything else is not possible, the shipping costs are prohibitive. But I have to pay my South African printer upfront. So now I have this unusual problem, because of success I have to spend money month before we receive the proceeds of sales. Maybe there is a lovely South African philanthropist out there who can lend me the money for a couple of months. I live in hope.
25 Nov 2021
Today was an extra special day. Not only for the day to day business, but also two special things happened. Throughout our current troubles I and my brother have found great comfort and help by calling upon Titus Brandsma, a friend of my grandfather, who has been beatified. Today it was announced that the pope has acknowledged his miracle which sets him unto the road to sainthood. He actually performed quite a few miracles for us. I also was able to put in a good word for one of our benefactors.
We had some good news about friends ordering and recommending our books, thank you very much to all who keep our #SavedByOneBook campaign going. But today we especially salute our Titus.
26 Nov 2021
Today was another market day. I love running our bookstall and I wish I could clone myself because on market days I can sell any of our books and if there were many of me we would be saved. But you do help by promoting our books: tell all of your friends to buy just one book and be part of #SavedByOneBook.
I want to share with you my trusted blue market bag. It contains all the essentials, my SumUp card reader, my notebook (yes this is and remains a trusted companion), my mug, teabags and cup a soup sachets (even at an indoor markets the doors are open so it can get chilly) and other useful items.
I inherited this bag from my mum who died in 2013. She bought it to accompany her grandchildren to the beach. It’s been great to give it a new life but it is on its last legs now.
27 Nov 2021
Another market day in Stroud. It’s such a joy to meet readers and writers and get feedback on our books. But after all our other trials and tribulations, I’m quite exhausted and leave you with a picture of our stall this weekend.
28 Nov 2021
A very busy Sunday. I had lots of outstanding admin work and used the relatively quietness of a Sunday to think about a few important emails I have to sent out this coming week.
But amidst all this I received notice of a substantial donation by former colleague I really enjoyed working with. We haven’t been in touch much since we both started our own companies but he found out about our perils and came to the rescue. It couldn’t have been better timing but, then, he was always very good at this. Thank you very much.
Now it’s up to me to fill our order books. I’ll put in the hours even on a Sunday evening but that’s also because I love making a albeit small but lasting contribution to literature. Because that’s what will long outlive us.
29 Nov 2021
No major new developments today but I had a productive day. As always I work from my notebook. When, after twelve years in academia, I started in my first commercial job, my then boss said: this is the essential thing you need and handed me a notebook made from paper, well it was 1990 after all. I’ve never been without one. It might sound old fashioned, and I do make use of all the advantages technologies provides us, but as a backup the notebook is essential. Actually it gives me an opportunity to practise writing with a pen. It’s a bit frightening to think that today’s children might be in danger of losing the skill of handling pen and paper. On the bright side, I met a lovely young young woman today who is aspiring to become a poet. There’s always hope.
30 Nov 2021
Quite a few things to report today. Our very accommodating (now former) landlord today gave permission to released the full deposit back to us. After a two weeks’ delay we were worried that there was a problem but it’s all sorted now. We also got some wonderful support, initiated by one of our authors, with how to obtain a grant to continue our work and I will keep reporting about its progress.
I and my brother are getting used to being in a shared house and are very grateful to the lady of the house who is very considerate and introducing us to her lovely family members.
Harry, our black lab, is absolutely loving all the attention. I’m just grateful that I can continue promoting our wonderful authors and their books. Because that’s what it is all about to sell our books and you can be a great help by telling all your friends to buy a book: support #SavedByOneBook.
1 Dec 2021
Today I had a good chat with the lady who is going to help me with getting a grant. I’ve not done this before but we need all the help we can get. I’ve also been busy doing more promotion for our press, authors and books.
The more I think about it, the more I’m impressed with all the help we have received her from the wonderful people in Malmesbury. A very big thank you to you all and I leave you with this lovely view of the lovely Wiltshire countryside with Malmesbury as a backdrop. I’m very glad that, for now, we have manage to continue living in this lovely town.
2 Dec 2021
Oh, dear, I’ve committed myself to work with professionals to put in a bid to the Arts Council England. Supported by a quite remarkable writing group. Thanks very much TSFG! I’m quite excited, even if we don’t get the grant, I expect to pick up a fair bit of useful knowledge. Of course, will keep you updated.
In the mean time, a bumper market weekend looms ahead.
Fri 3 Dec 9am – 3pm & 5pm – 9pm #Stroud Goodwill Evening
and Sat 4 Dec 9am – 3pm both @ShamblesMarket
Sun 5 Dec 10.30 – 17.30 Craft Fair @tetburygsp #Tetbury
I leave you with the view of my desk through my dormer window. I do miss the view of my old study across the fields.
3 & 4 Dec 2021
Absolutely exhausted after what are actually three markets in two days: Friday 9 am to 3 pm & 5 pm to 9 pm to 9, Saturday 9 am to 3 pm at the Shambles Market Stroud. It was successful but I’m very disappointed for having to wear a face mask again. I understand why it was made compulsory again but I still think it is discriminating for those of us who are hard of hearing, quite a lot of them seem to be keen readers and hence potential customers, but more importantly for all of us, I’m quite concerned about the health hazards of breathing through a increasingly grubby face mask pulled yet again out of a pocket or bag.
It’s another market in Tetbury tomorrow and I leave you with a rather hazy picture of my face mask, my ‘pirate mask’ because even during a pandemic I’m trying to stay fashionable. It’s hazy because of all the markets my phone battery is nearly depleted and the camera can’t flash. But that’s life, I will be back tomorrow.
5 Dec 2021
The market in Tedbury was hard-working but paid off in the end. Markets are such a roller-coaster experience, if we could predict what was going to happen, we would all be very rich. Yet, I enjoyed being there and made some useful contacts.
This on St Nicholas Eve, the day that in honour of this saint people in the Netherlands give each other presents and families come together. At least I hope his is still the case as lockdown restrictions there have recently tightened.
My mum used to send me a box full of St Nicholas sweets each year, which went down an absolute treat with my colleagues. Today, I miss the treats, the fun and presents but her and my dad most of all.
I leave you with a picture of St Nicholas riding his horse. Happy St Nicholas Day!
6 Dec 2021
After the bumper market weekend, I was ready for some time off, but instead I had to catch up with a lot of admin. I wear many hats but I must admit the admin one is not one my favourites. Today I made some progress with clearing he backlog, but I’m looking forward to a better day of being busy with having to dispatched more orders. Don’t forget you can help us enormously to tell all you friends to buy one of our books and support #SavedByOneBook. I leave you with a picture of me wearing one of my grand hats, this one went to the funerals of both my parents.
7 Dec 2021
Another busy day but I managed to get my hair cut, it hadn’t been cut since this summer and it cheered me up no end. The lovely hairdresser in Malmesbury is not only very good at cutting my dead straight hair into a great bob, she’s also very good value for money.
Talking about Malmesbury, another wonderful thing happened this morning when we were walking our dog Harry and went past the state agents who managed our former home. Suddenly a man ran out of the door holding some envelopes. ‘Good, I saw you guys’, he said and handed us the mail he had retrieved from the property. That’s what can happen when you live in a small market town, and it’s great when it does.
It added to the pile of post I had to deal with today, but it’s all in day’s work, and I’m looking forward to new developments tomorrow.
8 Dec 2021
My brother had to get his COVID booster jab at Bath race course and as we were both in need of a mini break (yes, anything counts towards a get away) I accompanied him because we had also some other errands to run. In Bath itself we expected to find a bustling Christmas market but it was so sad to see that only about thirty odd stalls were up and running. How do cities like Bath cope with a severely reduced number of overseas visitors?
Still, my brother managed to secure a German bratwurst and I a lovely cup of mulled wine. I must admit I’m very partial to mulled wine at this time of the year. For the record, there is a video about this doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook.
Back to serious business, I’m glad to report a substantial order that came through this morning through out Dutch distributors for Het instituut, a wonderful novel by Vincent Bijlo. It’s also available in English and you should check out The Institute, a remarkable account of growing up being blind by a person who was born blind. It’s written for adults and is quite special or as one reviewer put it:
‘The reader is never made to feel sorry for the blind. Instead, the problems that blind children have in learning to interact with the world around them are revealed with great warmth and humour. The author’s observations are often wickedly funny.’
9 Dec 2021
Another unexpected delight today. Not at first, because our aging, well that’s not said too much about a 18-years-old Ford Fiesta, had been showing a warning light since Sunday. So we had to take it to our local Malmesbury garage where we bought it nearly five years ago. Quite a worry because what if it was an indication of a serious malfunction?
Luckily, it turned out be something minor (don’t ask me exactly what, something to do with an exhaust pipe getting overheated, I think) that will need to be fixed for the MOT due in April but with which we can live in the meantime. Such a relieve because without this dapper car we can’t take our books to the market. We also asked the wonder mechanic to check fluids and so he did.
When we came to collect the car, he told us he had also checked the tire pressure, so how much do we owe you we asked? There was no charge was his reply and we were yet again astounded by the generosity of the Malmesbury community.
So, it’s another early six o’clock start tomorrow, but we can drive to the Shambles market in Stroud to hopefully sell quite a few more books. You, in the meantime, can always buy one of our books from this page and support our #SavedByOneBook campaign.
I leave you with a picture of our car in the dark.
10 Dec 2021
Today, I spent another good day at the Shambles market in Stroud. It’s so rewarding to meet discerning readers and sell more books to boost our income. We take cards thanks to my trusted Sumup machine, but we also accept cash (some people still use this, which is fine) which goes into my handbag, also the company’s bag, before being paid into the company bank account.
When I founded Holland Park Press, my mother immediately understood the importance of the handbag and to celebrate my new venture she gave me this silver pendant in the shape of a bag (I love silver, hate gold, Olympic champions take heat), as a symbol. ‘I hope you fill it up quickly’, she said.
I suppose I’m a bit old fashioned that I still carry a hand bag with me at all times and, even more so, that this is one that was my mother’s who died in 2013.
I leave you with a picture of the handbag and the pendant and look forward to taking both to the Shambles market tomorrow to delight more people with a copy of one of our books.
11 Dec 2021
I’m quite baffled by how this December is evolving sales wise. December last year we were in between lockdowns and December itself was not at all fully back to normal. Even so we had a bumper month on the markets. It’s quite different this year. People don’t seem to be so keen on buying things. Why not? Books are extremely good value, ours even more than most because they are exquisite reads and keenly priced. Come on, tell all your friends to buy one of our books to support #SavedByOneBook, give us a lifeline and champion our authors. I leave you with a picture of our bookstall today.
12 Dec 2021
Sunday, and unlike last week, at least I could go to mass. I know it’s maybe not fashionable but I think it’s excellent for putting things perspective and prepare you for another busy week ahead.
Keep sending in the manuscripts, we read them all year round and you don’t need an agent to submit a manuscript. More details can be found on this page.
Books make excellent Christmas presents and are very good value for money. Do you know you really help us and our authors if you buy them from our website? They are available in print or ebook. When you buy an ebook you can download it in mobi (Kindle) as well as epub (other devices) formats.
Thanks for supporting #SavedByOneBook!
13 Dec 2021
Another couple of good developments happened today. An lovely and enticing interview with my brother Arnold about his new novel Schurft appeared in the Dutch Militaire Courant today. Arnold has also written an article about our recent tribulations and several Dutch national newspapers are interested. I’m currently translating into English and I will keep you posted.
Payments from distributors can take time to come in, but today I received some encouraging news of a payment from a former distributor long overdue.
When shopping for Christmas presents, do consider books, they are such good value and allow you to travel the world without any need of expensive tests, quarantine, passports of any sort and delays. Three cheers for novels, short stories & poetry! (and dogs especially black labs)
14 Dec 2021
An encouraging development about Schurft. Next week Arnold will meet the London correspondent of the Volkskrant, the Dutch equivalent of the Guardian, for an interview about his latest novel Schurft.
I’ve been having a ball translating Arnold’s article about our plight into English. I’ve really missed doing translations. I used to do it quite a lot but sadly I no longer have the time but it’s such a rewarding activity. And quite difficult too. I’m proud to have given a few translators their first break. With your help we can help more to start their career.
We even published a book putting a translator centre stage and you should really check it out.
15 Dec 2021
I’ve been busy promoting our books today but do you know we also publish books in Dutch? That’s to acknowledge our Dutch roots and give Dutch authors a chance to be published in Dutch and English at the same time.
It’s also why we have a Dutch distributor, and print in the the Netherlands, all wonderfully managed by CB.
Actually there are two books that also sell well in the Netherlands but have a certain English flavour but that’s for another diary entry. Check out our Dutch list and find some gems.
16 Dec 2021
Today was another very memorable day.
We have known for some time that a good friend of my brother, the director of a major books distributor in the Netherlands, was going to move on. He has helped us a lot and we were very sorry to see him go. Today it emerged that he is going to be the chairman of one the the main publishing promoting organisations in the Netherlands. It’s wonderful to see such a talented man getting even more involved in the world of books. We wish him good luck and look forward to continue working with him.
My brother Arnold has written a lovely story about our trials and tribulations and the utterly amazing help with received from friends and also totally strangers. It’s been an amazing and very rewarding journey. This was picked up by a journalist working for one of the national newspapers. We had a good chat with him today, it may come to nothing, but it was a lovely surprise at the end of another long day.
Tomorrow there is another market in Stroud. I hope there are people about. Books are safe, the place though indoors is thoroughly ventilated, and I will be wearing my pirate’s mask. See you tomorrow.
17 Dec 2021
It was better than I expected today in Stroud. People were around looking for Christmas presents. Thanks very much to all the people who ventured out, much appreciated.
Why I love being on market was illustrated quite aptly today: a lady came along telling me she had so much loved reading Life in Translation. I had recommended it to her last week because she told me she is a translator. Today she came back looking for another good book to read. All our books are gems and she went away with a copy of Hold Still. She told me she will give me feedback next week.
The journalist of one of the national newspapers has been in contact again, and it looks now as if they may run a short piece about us on Monday. It can all still change but I will keep you posted.
18 Dec 2021
It was a good day on Shambles market. As usual we sold widely across our list. On the market, it doesn’t matter if a book has just been published or ten years ago. Also, poetry, novels and short stories sell all equally well because they are displayed on an equal playing field. We could sell so much more if we could ramp up our market presence and that is something I will be working on over the next couple of weeks.
We’re going to put in a bid for a Arts Council England grant. A first for us and made possible by a donation from the Tindal Street Fiction Group. We’re very grateful, and looking forward to working on the bid with expert professional help.
It also shows the vitality of the relationship between writers, writers’ groups, readers, and small independent publishers which makes it possible to continue to publish and promote excellent literary fiction and poetry.
A big thank you to all our supporters, you keep us going and we are working very hard to convert your support into a great success for our books and our authors.
19 Dec 2021
Today was a Sunday and the fourth Advent Sunday. Therefore I should have been either busy with Christmas preparations or taken a day off, but instead I and my brother were busy on a photo shoot of all things.
The national newspaper I told you about before, did sent us a short piece to approve, and we did so, but they haven’t yet given us a publication date. However, today there was a new development and a photographer arrived to take our picture.
After today’s experience, I don’t think I’m cut out for being a photo model, apart from being far too old. The lady photographer was very experienced and professional but I got quickly bored of being told to strike another pose and keep smiling. You want to keep looking naturally but’s that very hard. I now do feel for fashion models and celebrities who have to deal with this all the time.
We did manage to take the photographer to two very scenic spots in Malmesbury. If we do pull off this article in a major newspaper we want to give a good plug to the lovely market town which came to our rescue in our hour of need.
Our black lab Harry was featured in all the pictures and he behaved impeccably. So I leave you with a picture of the black prince resting on my bed.
20 Dec 2021
I’m absolutely delighted that, today, the Daily Telegraph picked up our story about what we had to do to rescue the press and how we were helped by the local community in Malmesbury.
They published it with the title: ‘Dutch war hero rescued by ‘remarkable’ Wiltshire locals’ and a lovely photo of my brother Arnold, our dog Harry and I.
Thank you Will Bolton for the lovely article and Fiona Hanson for a great picture.
Interestingly, it has already triggered some more interest from the media. This is promising because we need to find a more long-term solution for our housing problem plus we need to substantially increase our book sales.
I will keep you posted.
21 Dec 2021
Today is the shortest day of the year but it was not short on emotions. We had another photo shoot arranged by one of the national newspapers. Murray, the photographer was great and we had a lovely zoom meeting with Jane.
I’m hoping to get a lovely article out of it because we’ve been working so hard to save the press and support our authors.
We’ve have been helped by so many people and I look forward to the day we can throw a party to thank them all.
Through all our trials and tribulations, I’ve felt great support from our parents, both not with us any longer, but who always encouraged us and said: finish what you have started. Well, we are determined to follow their advice.
22 Dec 2021
Today was a quiet day, everybody is quite deservedly winding down to Christmas. I have to champion our books and authors, that’s why I’m running the bookstall tomorrow and on Christmas Eve on the Shambles Market in Stroud. I’ve never done this so close to Christmas, but at these crucial times I have to try.
I was almost out of stock of a few of our books but luckily we received a delivery of our trusted printers today and the full supply of books will be ready for customers.
This is the box with new supplies that I’ll take with me tomorrow. If you are near Stroud, send your friends, otherwise order from our website to ensure that we’re saved. Yes, that’s right, because if all of you buy just one book it makes all the difference, and we’re #SavedByOneBook
23 Dec 2021
It was a quiet day on the Shambles Market today. I did sell some books, but I had hoped for a last minute buying spree. I live in hope for tomorrow though this is the first time I’ve traded on Christmas Evy. Wish me luck and if you do have a friends living near Stroud, do point out our stall full of lovely Christmas presents. It would be great if you could support us, our author deserved it. #SavedByOneBook
24 Dec 2021
Today, for the first time ever, I ran a bookstall and went to midnight mass on the same day. Somehow, this seems to be a very fitting end to a most unusual and challenging year. Our big Christmas crib is in storage but I did manage to take along our small one and it is now on display in my room in our new temporary home. A very Merry Christmas to you all!
25 Dec 2021
A very big thank you to everyone who has supported us. Today we were invited for a delicious Christmas lunch by the parents of the lovely lady who offered us two rooms in her house. We continue to be amazed by the generosity of people, and this has made it a very special Christmas. Merry Christmas and here are two more pictures of me, my brother and our Christmas crib.
26 Dec 2021
Today it was Boxing Day and the feast of the Holy Family. I didn’t go to the sales, but I did go to mass. Sorry if this doesn’t quite is your cup of tea but it matters to me. However, my brother did cook a wonderful Indonesian meal for the lovely Lisa, we share two rooms in her house, and her delightful children. We all enjoyed it and, to round it off, were treated t0 excellent singing and guitar playing by one of her sons.
Then, we received some excellent news, our story is going to be featured in another national newspaper. More details tomorrow. In the mean time enjoy our Christmas lights.
Today, our story of what we are prepared to do to continue publishing great literature by wonderful authors was featured in the Daily Mail. My brother and I were impressed by Jane Fryer who wrote the finely judged lovely article and by Murray Sanders who took excellent pictures. We had a great zoom meeting with Jane and a very productive photo shoot with Murray in Malmesbury.
The moment the article went live, orders came in, and that’s what’s it all about, selling more books by authors who deserve to be read very widely.
It’s great to see that this Daily Mail article was also picked up by the Telegraaf, one of the Dutch national newspapers.
Tomorrow, I will be very busy processing all the orders, and on the 29th I will keep the excellent ladies who run our Malmesbury post office very busy with a lot of parcels.
I will keep you posted of further development, but if you haven’t already done so, read the Daily Mail article and support #SavedByOneBook.
28 Dec 2021
Today, I processed all the orders that came in on the back of our Daily Mail Article. Tomorrow, the first working day after the Christmas break will therefore be a very busy one. We have to stuff all the envelopes and take them to the post office. The boxes and extra emergency jiffy bags (there is another full box nearby) are standing to attention.
But, there is also somethings else, and around midday tomorrow, we have a meeting with the London correspondent on one of the major Dutch national newspapers to discuss out plight. This should be interesting and I’m looking forward to it.
In he mean time, share our articles, posts, and please tell all your friends to buy our books #SavedByOneBook. You not only receive a great read but you also support wonderful authors.
29 Dec 2021
Our daily mail article has also inspired two more papers to put our trials and tribulations into the spotlight: our Wiltshire local newspaper the Gazette & Herald and one of the Dutch national newspapers the Telegraaf.
We had a lovely discussion with Patrick, the London correspondent for another of the Dutch national newspapers. I and my brother thoroughly enjoyed talking about a wide range of issues and look forward to reading his account of our encounter.
Today I posted three big bags with our books to fulfil the orders generated by the Daily Mail article. Tomorrow I need to post the few last ones, parcelled up see picture, place an emergency print order to replenish our depleted stocks, and deal with other urgent outstanding issues. It’s lovely to be so busy in what’s normally such a quiet time between Christmas and New Year.
30 Dec 2021
We did manage to fulfil all the outstanding orders today, except for the few that need a reprint. That’s a great position to be in, so I’m not complaining.
There will be another article in a major Dutch newspaper, I will give you a link and more details tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I also hope to have time to read manuscripts. One of our authors has send in one that I’ve been dying to read but media opportunities have kept me very busy but they have certainly paid off.
It’s interesting that I, who went on her first computer course in 1976, still very much relies on a paper calendar. It goes to show that old and modern technology can work hand in hand.
31 Dec 2021
There was a new article in a Dutch national newspaper today. It was published in De Volkskrant in a prominent place.
A few orders also came in today and that’s what really keeps us going. On Tuesday, we’re going to have chat with the presenter of the BBC radio Wiltshire breakfast show. So things are looking up for the new year.
The very best wishes for 2022!