Beachy Review of 2011 and a brief look ahead

With Christmas leftovers still in the fridge and my tuxedo hanging ready to dress me for a night of debauchery this New Year’s Eve 2011, I thought it time to write a quick post summing up the year for Beachy Books.

I have little recollection of what happened earlier in the year, and I’m assuming not much significant as the only blog posts this year start in May 2011. However behind the scenes much work was happening on figuring out what our next move would be: Is Beachy Books a one book wonder? What book should we publish next? How could we sell more of our first book?

Before we had time to think, our first children’s book, Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures, won the Children’s category of the DSJT Writing Magazine Publishing Award. This really gave us a boost and we had some very supportive feedback and praise from our wonderful social network Twitter crowd, who have continued to grow and be brilliant throughout the year.

To celebrate the award, we republished a new cover (unfortunately it was too late to put “Award Winning” on the cover as we’d started the process before knowing we’d won). We received helpful feedback on our first book’s cover and also on the price from various people including book sellers and industry people. The feedback was noted and we created a fresh new look that would unify the design and work across future planned Jack and Boo sequels. Crucially, we dropped the cover price from £7.99 to a winning £5.99, which we felt was a better RRP to the end consumer, but allowed less room for trade discounts.

We published Jack and Boo’s Wild Wood (the difficult second book, as we made changes after getting constructive criticism from a professional – changes we think improved the book however!), an adventure inspired by our family love of wild woodland and celebrated with a fantastic foraging walk in the local woodland where some of the photos in the book were taken. I was invited into a local school to read the book, where I did a story and book making workshop with the kids and displayed their wonderful story books at the Quay Arts Book Fair. Oh and we met our wildlife hero, Chris Packham, who kindly wrote some inspiring words about the book, which we used on the back cover. We also got some great promo for the book in a competition in the Wildlife Trusts’ Wildlife Watch magazine.

2011 saw the first time I’d been kindly asked to write guest blog posts. Some of the highlights covered my most cherished childhood picture books, how I introduced my son to the joys of Fighting Fantasy books and a ramble on book categories. Thanks to all who asked and I look forward to future offers!

We didn’t want to wait long to get on with the next book, and besides I needed something to distract me from the slog of trying to get our books into bookshops and other retail outlets – no easy task! So, In October Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day was published, just in time to go on sale for Christmas. One of the highlights was getting a call from the manager of our local Waterstone’s telling us we’d sold them all on Christmas Eve and did we have any more? Unfortunately, we didn’t have any stock in at Beachy HQ due to all our other books getting sold at various events and to other shops – doh! Must order more stock next Christmas!

To finish the year I did a reading of Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day and some activities at a local school, which was scary but an incredible experience – one I’ll be hopefully repeating in the new year.

I wonder what 2012 will bring? In spite of the world being on the “brink” of financial ruin, the planet continuing to heat up and the prospect of wall-to-wall Olympic coverage in the media, Beachy Books is going to push things further and really make our mark. To whet your appetite we have the following new year resolutions:

  1. Publish a new Jack and Boo book.
  2. Publish a new fiction book for children that’s nothing to do with Jack and Boo (shock!).
  3. Commence an exciting publishing project with a local primary school.
  4. Jack and Boo wild walks for the 2012 Isle of Wight Walking Festival.
  5. Start Project X (not even I know the exact details of this).
  6. Save the planet.
  7. Tweet!

Happy New Year to all our friends, family, Tweeps, supporters and fans! We love you!