Independent book publisher Beachy Books has partnered with book-to-screen adaptation specialist Pendragon Works, which represents the independent publishing sector, and prominent production companies such as Free@Last TV, best known for Sky’s Agatha Raisin based on the successful M.C Beaton novels.
Philip Bell, publisher at Beachy Books, said, “To have the experts at Pendragon Works consider our titles to be ideal for adaptation potential is a real boost for us and the authors we represent. It’s already been an exciting challenge being involved in creating a pitch for our novel Ted’s Cafe by our debut author Roger Sanders, which has been a real creative collaboration that I hope will entice a production company and lead to success.’
Ted’s Cafe, published in 2021, is a contemporary novel about former journalist David Tanner and his three baby-boomer friends who all grew up in the same town and who regularly meet in the eponymous ‘Ted’s Cafe’ to discuss their life, loves and politics. It’s full of humour, pathos and real-life events that affect us all, reflections on society, local issues and surviving the retirement years.
Troy Hewitt, Co-Founder and Development Producer at Pendragon Works said, “Our mission is to bridge the gap between publishing and media. By streamlining the book-to-screen adaptation process, we help indie publishers compete with the ‘Big 5’ for dramatisation rights opportunities. We are loving working with Philip and the team at Beachy Books and are already actively developing multiple titles from their catalogue including Roger Sanders’ hilarious comedy-drama ‘Ted’s Cafe’.”
Roger Sanders said, “I’m thrilled that we have been given the opportunity to work with Pendragon Works on this exciting project, and I look forward to seeing where this journey will take David Tanner and his friends!”
News of this was recently published in BookBrunch.
Forest of Dean-based Beachy Books author K.M.S. Latham (pen name of freelance journalist Katherine Latham) will be celebrating the publication of her debut children’s eco-adventure called ‘Ink’ at Bristol Aquarium this half term Saturday 3rd June 10.30am to 3pm.
Ink is a tale of adventure, bravery and friendship. It is a chapter book that is ideal for children aged 7 to 9+ years and is full of atmospheric illustrations, and is priced at £7.99 RRP and published by Beachy Books.
Katherine will be signing copies of Ink at the launch event at Bristol Aquarium, so any visitors who pay for entry into the aquarium will be able to take part in Katherine’s free junk-modelling activities including junk jelly fish and bottle nose trash fish making.
Reflecting on her inspiration for the book, Latham said, ‘I’ve always loved myths and legends — wondering if there is some truth behind them. So little is known about the sea and the creatures that live in the depths. It’s nice to think there could still be so much more to be discovered. I’m also fascinated by traditions that go back beyond our collective memory, with secrets laid to rest with our long-forgotten ancestors.’
Katherine has written stories for as long as she can remember and now works as a freelance journalist who writes about science, environment and society for the BBC, the Guardian, The Week Junior Science + Nature and more. She felt compelled to incorporate contemporary issues in Ink such as sea polution and migration, commenting, ‘I write about environmental solutions — the ideas and inventions designed to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. I also write about people and how they might be struggling to afford to live, to work with nature rather than against it, or to lead happy safe lives, and how they are making changes for the better. I think the Earth and everything on it is such a miracle. People are feeling increasingly detached from nature and I think it’s so important to realise that we are nature, and everything is connected. I feel it’s my role to help people understand how to look after our planet, and to highlight the good work of the people who are making a difference.’
Beachy Books has acquired ‘Arresting Beauty’ by Isle of Wight author Heather Cooper, an historic romance novel based on the true-life story of Mary Ryan, the maid and assistant of pioneering Victorian portrait photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.
Publisher Philip Bell acquired UK and Commonwealth excluding Canada publishing rights from Sarah Such at the Sarah Such Literary Agency. Arresting Beauty will be published by Beachy Books in the UK in hardback and e-book on September 30th 2023.
Based on true historic events, the novel follows the extraordinary story of Mary Ryan, who was found begging on Putney Heath at the age of ten by the celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Julia takes Mary into her magnificently bohemian household, to be trained as a maid and educated alongside her own sons. When Julia decides to move to Freshwater in the Isle of Wight, to live close to her great friend Alfred Tennyson, Mary—clever and rebellious—finds herself uncomfortably poised between two worlds—that of a servant girl in one, and in another, artistic assistant to Julia and befriending the likes of Tennyson, battling class and attitudes of the time to fulfil her own goals and perhaps even find love.
Philip Bell said: ‘I’m so excited to be publishing Heather Cooper’s latest novel as I love her writing. When I first read the story, through the authentic voice that Heather has conjured for headstrong Mary Ryan, I was immediately transported into her world and incredible true story of finding her own voice alongside her artistic and eccentric mistress, Julia Margaret Cameron. I also have a very special connection with the Isle of Wight where I used to live and still publish many Island authors and books.’
Heather Cooper said, ‘I am so pleased that Beachy Books has acquired my novel Arresting Beauty, particularly as Beachy Books has a special connection with the Isle of Wight, and this book captures a moment of Island history during its extraordinary Victorian heyday when Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and their dazzling circle of friends lived and worked at Freshwater Bay. I am very much looking forward to my association with this exciting independent publisher.’
Independent trade publisher, Beachy Books, is excited to announce it has signed an exclusive partnership with US-based DropCap. who will now represent the trade publisher’s foreign translation rights around the world.
Philip Bell, director and publisher at Beachy Books, based in West Malling, UK, secured the deal at the London Book Fair in April 2022 as he goes on to say. ‘I was excited and nervous as it was our first London Book Fair and my meeting with DropCap was the first one of the first day. But I am very pleased to report they were so friendly and enthusiastic about our books, and I thought they would be a perfect rights partner. By the end of the fair they had agreed to take us on and over the last month we have now signed contracts and our titles are already for sale around the world. It’s a dream come true!’
DropCap, based in Minnesota, United States, have decades of experience in rights selling and book publishing and combine this with efficient rights management technology that speeds up the whole rights buying process.
Monica Meehan, VP of Business Development and Rights Director at Dropcap Inc., says, ‘DropCap are delighted to be partnering with Beachy Books in representing the foreign rights of their lively, informative, and most charming collection of adult and children’s titles!’
Beachy Books is a small, author-friendly, trade publisher that focuses on publishing a select range of children’s books, adult fiction and non-fiction, while keeping print runs to small, sustainable volumes and printing in the UK where possible. Philip Bell is also a published author by Walker Books, has extensive experience in self-publishing his own range of successful children’s titles, and in offering publishing services to individuals and businesses for over 13 years.
‘This deal with DropCap marks another big step in our growth and commitment as a publisher in offering exciting opportunities to our authors to better represent their work around the world and provide welcome extra income and royalties,’ says Mr Bell. ‘We are very excited that DropCap will also be representing our forthcoming titles, the first being a non-fiction title by former Royal Marine, Andrew Rigsby, called Sabre Prattling: The Language of the Battlefield due out September 30th 2022.’
If you are interested in foreign translation rights for Beachy Books titles please look at our catalogue and then get in touch.
UK trade publisher Beachy Books has announced it will be exhibiting at their first London Book Fair where they will be selling rights in their next tranche of new titles for 2022 and beyond with the first by former Royal Marine Andrew Rigsby called Sabre Prattling – The Language of the Battlefield, a guide to the everyday words and phrases that originate from the language of the battlefield, for Autumn release.
‘We are very excited to have signed Andrew as he is a published author, and his military experience brings a unique perspective on the subject. He writes in an authoritative and entertaining way and his book is ideal for the gifting season and as a useful reference for writers,’ says publisher, Philip Bell. ‘We are very much looking forward to selling rights in this title along with others at our first London Book Fair as part of the IPG stand.’
It’s a pleasure to welcome these newly signed authors to our Beachy family. Katherine and I have been in touch over the years since we were both published together by Walker books and it’s special that I get to publish her story, and it’s a pleasure to welcome Julie Watson to our new imprint with her new collection of travel stories that will inspire people to travel in challenging times.’
‘Beachy Books is an author-friendly publisher who pays royalties quarterly and has fair contracts,’ explains Mr Bell. ‘We are a small company but work collaboratively with our authors which feels like an extended family. We are very pleased to announce another three authors to the fold and excited about the possibilities in selling rights.’
Philip Bell has been in publishing over thirteen years, following a positive experience successfully self-publishing his own series of children’s books, and later becoming published by Walker Books. Along the years, Beachy Books has helped authors, businesses and community groups achieve publication. As well as founding a POD partner publishing imprint, in 2020, the Beachy Books imprint was rebranded to become a traditional trade imprint focusing on adult, non-fiction and children’s books, and now it’s fledging list is growing year by year with the help of professional distribution and sales.
In a nutshell, what inspired you to write this book?
I figured that after nearly 40 years in journalism, 30 of them freelance, or as I like to call it, independent, I might have something to say about operating successfully. Having cracked the six-figure earnings ceiling—a rarity for a non-celebrity freelance. I thought others might pick up some tips about how they might be able to earn big, too.
Why should anybody read this book rather than any other on the subject?
My book is passionate—a story of determination and survival. I am told it is an inspirational read. I do not have a monopoly on career wisdom. However, no one has my perspective. My book weaves the gripping autobiographical story of my career with practical lessons on how others can earn big, too. Of course, it’s not always just about the money—but hey, it helps. We all have bills to pay and mouths and lifestyles to feed. The Bounty Writer tells the story of how, debilitated by lifelong anxiety and depression, a stammer that dogged my life into early adulthood and severe hearing loss, I nonetheless enjoyed a successful journalistic career. So if I can do it, with all my issues, why not you?
Your biggest inspiration, the thing that drives you, your muse, if you will?
My biggest inspiration is my fear of destitution. It has always driven me. After my mother died of cancer when I was 14 my life spiralled out of control. I was desperate, did not have a secure roof over my head, suffered addictions and mental health crises. I vowed to myself that I would not just survive but succeed. My determination never to be that desperate, lonely, bereft 14-year-old again is what has driven me, as have the love I have for my wife and two daughters.
What’s your view on how journalism is today, the current state of play? How do you think it will develop in the future? I’m guessing it’s one industry where AI and robots will not take over? What about foreign competitors, freelancers offering their services for peanuts?
I frequently fret about journalism today. I hate lazy journalism and cliched journalism. How many times have you seen reporters on news programmes describing scenes ‘like a battlefield?’ Ugh! Really? Are they all like battlefields? Have you ever seen a battlefield? How many times do you see news programme presenters who present like they are more important than the story?
I despair of politically biased reporting. I hate the fact newspapers have reputations of being right-leaning or left-leaning. A reporter’s job is not to reflect their own bias. It’s different if they are writing an opinion piece, but no news story should report anything other than the facts. No newspaper or news programme should distort news to reflect their own bias. The internet is what helped send my earnings stratospheric, but I never used the internet lazily.
I detest the way many experienced journalists do not sufficiently scrutinise what they are reading on social media and what the PR industry feeds them. However, I believe that principled journalism in democratic countries will out, because a ‘free’ press is vital in democracies.
AI and robots will never replace intrepid, driven, passionate reporters. God, I hope not!
Freelance journalists who offer their services for peanuts are the enemy of freelancing. They make it difficult for all the professional independents out there. I’m not fond of cliches, apart from this one: ‘If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.’ Precisely!
If you hadn’t earned six figures doing this, would you still have done it all? What I mean is, was it something that found you, or did you find it?
Journalism was never about the money. It was about being the best journalist I could be and being principled. I feel journalists have a great responsibility. I felt that when I entered the trade and I feel it today. But we are mere humans and we all have material aspirations unless we are saints. I am not. And so, I discovered I could earn really well and worked towards a dream of semi-retirement in a beautiful location and that is what I have achieved.
I found journalism rather than the other way around. I had to do something with my love of the written word and my ability to communicate articulately in writing. I stuttered even into my mid 20s, although I learned to control it, Ed Balls-style. As a child, my fear of stuttering meant I didn’t put my hand up in class or, when I did, my failure to spit the words out met with cruel laughter from classmates, and one teacher, who said: ‘Spit it out Don!’ The only way I could get the teachers to recognise I had a brain was to hone my writing skills. I also played various musical instruments, despite my deafness, and won over one teacher who was mad about Music Hall.
Do you need qualifications to do the job? Or is real world experience, working your way up the ladder, enough nowadays?
I am a great believer that academic achievement, in itself, should not be the be all and end all of getting a great job in journalism. Intelligence, drive, moral scruples and a glimmer of potential are more important. If someone can demonstrate they can express themselves concisely, have a nose for a story, enthusiasm and a passion for truth—that, to me, should carry more weight than a degree. Of course, if you’ve been on a specialist course in pre-entry journalism, that speaks volumes for a person’s focused direction, but I believe in people and not degrees.
Your one top tip for a beginner getting into this business?
Don’t become a journalist unless getting a page-one by-line gives you more of a thrill than sex or adding up a column of figures.
Why did you want an independent publisher?
I am an independent. I believe in independence. I have always lived independently. I’ve written prolifically about independent businesses. Independence is in my blood. I wanted a publisher who would care about my book as much as me—not one of the giants for whom I had written something niche and was one of many in a huge stable of clients. I wanted personal contact, someone I’d work well with on edits and proofing and who had my kind of work ethic. Beachy Books felt right.
What’s the next book you are working on?
I don’t want to give too much away at this stage, but I am writing a novel at the moment about a dog—think What Dreams May Come meets Lassie. You’ll just have to wait.
Funniest ever piece of writing/journalism you have ever written?
I used to write for a hairdressing magazine called Hairdressers’ Journal International in the days when it was a weekly magazine. I wrote a couple of Christmas pantomimes—one based on The Lion King (Haircuna Haircutta) in typical Crackerjack Christmas panto style. It just flowed from my fingers and I cried with laugher as I wrote it. That someone wanted to pay me for it was the icing on the cake.
Philip Bell would like to thank Andrew Don for his time in the interview. If you like the sound of Andrew’s book then you can find out more and buy it by selecting the cover below:
Independent book publisher, Beachy Books, based in Kent and run by published author, Philip Bell, has grown up! Director and publisher, Philip Bell, is happy to announce a new significant development for his publishing company with news of their first professional book distribution partnership with Combined Book Services (CBS) of Paddock Wood, in Kent.
Philip says, ‘I am so happy to have secured book distribution for my traditional titles through CBS. It’s such a big deal for a small independent publisher. Previously, through Covid lockdowns, we were self-distributing, which is very hard work, but now I’m confident CBS will be able to supply all retailers and get our lovely books into shops when they are open again!’
CBS will be handling all trade orders for books on the Beachy Books imprint, which has been rebranded to reflect a varied publication schedule by cherry-picking interesting authors and genres across picture books, original contemporary fiction and well-researched non-fiction.
Of course, book distribution is nothing without sales, so it’s another first too for Beachy Books to also have secured professional sales representation from Bang the Drum sales agency, headed by experienced publishing industry sales director, Chris Moody, who will be handling all UK book sales for Beachy Books.
Speaking of the news, Philip says, ‘Chris has been like a mentor to me, helping in so many ways as we grow as a publisher. He’s worked for some of the biggest publishers including HarperCollins and Egmont, so I’m very grateful he also wanted to represent Beachy Books and get our books in front of booksellers.’
It’s just been an incredible journey so far for Beachy Books, which started ten years ago to self-publish a series of children’s books. Since then, they have helped many authors get into print.
But it wasn’t until 2019 that Philip got serious about publishing, following a life-changing event, ‘I had a marriage breakup, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. It took some time to rebuild my confidence again and I wondered what I was going to do next, but I just kept coming back to my passion — books, writing and publishing! So, I rebranded Beachy Books and rose from the ashes with a new traditional imprint, alongside our other publishing models, to publish all the amazing manuscripts I was being sent. My goal was to create an author-friendly publishing house to publish a wide variety of quality books. And now, with help from CBS and Bang the Drum, and news of the pandemic easing and bookshops opening in April, 2021 is certainly looking beachy!’
It’s Black Friday and if you are still at a loss as to what to buy for a Christmas gift then how about buying a book for a loved one from an independent book publisher?
“Yes!” I hear you shout! “Show me the bargains…”
Well… here I have to confess I cannot directly control the discounts of our retailers, but I know there are some great online book bargains to be had if you spend a few minutes shopping around before you click on the buy button.
I found this nice website that enables you to compare book prices across the main book retailers, including Amazon and Waterstones. Go to the website, enter your book details and the site does the rest…
BUT, please be aware it is no substitute for manually searching as I have noticed that this site cannot get book data from sites like Waterstones reliably, as well as other retailers on some of the searches I have made and I know our books are available at mostly every online book retailer site worldwide.
I have found the best way is to Google the book title and/or the ISBN, or use the various buying links we have provided in our book pages. Have a browse of our stock in our Books section if you want, but we’ve picked out a few best prices for some of our books below.
I’ve found that even on non-Black Friday days, discounts can go very quickly and can change by the minute, hourly and daily. Also some of the sites like Wordery.com are doing extra special Black Friday discounts for all books on top of the discounted books prices so please shop around to get the best bargain! Good luck!
Happy shopping and happy Black Friday 2019!
So, what have we got on offer?
Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day
Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day is a picture book that follows the adventures of two children who have an adventure in the snow, exploring nature and spotting wildlife. Winter fun for everyone! Great for children aged 2-7. RRP £7.99.
Waterstones is coming up best price but do shop around.
Personae Vectenses: Isle of Wight Notables
Personae Vectenses: Isle of Wight Notables contains 246 short biographies of notable people who have been born, or lived on the Isle of Wight who have all had a wider impact on society. From Queen Victoria to Alan Titchmarsh! RRP £12.99.
Hive is coming up cheapest, with Blackwells a close second but do shop around.
Lizzie is a story, told by her in 1979 in her ninety-fifth year, as she looks back at her youth in Ireland, her journey to Canada, and her life on the prairie. It is a tale truly of ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’. A lovely purple hardback. RRP £14.99.
Amazon has got an amazing bargain but do shop around.
Grandma’s Roller Skates and Other Silly Poems
Grandma’s Roller Skates and Other Silly Poems contains funny, rhyming poems and silly illustrations. There are belly laughs, including a roller skating grandma, and a mischievous elephant, and a boy with a musical talent for playing his bum, and a mouse that flies to the moon, and a bookworm called Bertie – and don’t forget Giggling Gertie! Great for children and adults who like rhyme. RRP £9.99.
This book, affectionately known internally as ‘PV’ or ‘The Blue Book’ has been the passion project of Isle of Wight-born Phillip Armitage for some twelve years. In his own words, Phillip explains:
‘… I only stumbled across names at first. And then the names just came popping out of the blue. Some came from books I was reading on the Isle of Wight. I decided that there were so many names with an Isle of Wight link that it was worth putting together as a publication …’
And this was just the research and writing. It’s been a project on Beachy Books’s whiteboard for most of the year. It all started one rainy afternoon in February 2019, when an email from the author popped into the inbox:
‘Good afternoon, I see that you publish books related to the Island. I have assembled a file of information concerning 250+ folk who were either born on the island or lived there and had a significant influence on the wider world…’
And so, eight months later, after several drafts, weeks of editing and design Beachy Books is finally able to announce to the world that the author’s twelve years of labour is finally published.
Personae Vectenses: Isle of Wight Notables is a shiny blue volume filled with the famous and no-so-famous, those long gone, and others who are still active in their careers from Alfred Lord Tennyson to Mimi Khalvati, Robert Hooke to Elizabeth Meek.
Publisher, Philip Bell, is proud of Personae Vectenses, as he explains:
‘I’m very happy with the design of this one. I wanted it to have some imagery but have a fresher look than the typical local history book. The author loved the cover on first look and I’m confident the public will want to pick it up and buy it!’
Early signs of pre-sales on Amazon and an early set of copies all selling out at Blackwells bookshop at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival 2019 bodes well for sales of PV. Philip Bell adds:
I have such a good feeling about this one. I think it will chime with a lot of locals and those who are just fascinated with how many people have connections to this wonderful diamond. As well as the interesting stories, I think people will also like the Location Index so they can see who lived in or was born in their own town. I hope Personae Vectenses becomes a local Isle of Wight classic.
With the Season of Goodwill looming Beachy Books hopes Personae Vectenses: Isle of Wight Notables will be a popular Christmas book for anybody interested in fascinating historical biographies of people with connections to the Isle of Wight.
In the run-up to the publication there have has been some great local press coverage of PV on the web, social media and in print, including stories on On The Wight, Island Echo and Isle of Wight Observer who are running a give-away of two copies and reviewing in the local newspaper. More press coverage is expected in the coming weeks, including magazine features.
Obviously, with a book sub-titled ‘Isle of With Notables’ there is bound to be some debate about who was included, who was left out, but the author explains his criteria for including a ‘notable’ in PV:
‘They had to have lived on the Island for a reasonable amount of time, or have been born there. The most significant thing is, they had to have had an influence on the wider society.’
Incidentally, for those who are interested, Beachy Books enlisted the help of latin experts on Twitter to ensure the translation was correct, as the book was originally named ‘Personae Vectensis’. It was eventually confirmed that the ‘ensis’ ending is added to a place name to mean ‘from this place’, so ‘Vectensis’ means “person from Vectis”, however ‘Vectenses’ means ‘people from Vectis’. So, ‘Personae Ventenses’ was chosen as it is grammatically equivalent to ‘Notable people from the Isle of Wight’. Phew! Still with us!?
Personae Vectenses: Isle of Wight Notables retails at £12.99 and is available to buy on Amazon UK (and worldwide), and also at other online retailers such as Waterstones and WHSmiths. (Due to demand, if it says Out of Stock at any time, do not despair, just order away and you will get your book! It just may take a bit longer. Beachy Books are never truly out of stock and more are always printed upon order.)
I’m pleased to announce that Beachy Books has published the first new book on our rebranded imprint. Poet, performer and musician, Sandy Kealty, is hoping to make a splash with her first book of published poetry called The Mermaid is Unimpressed.
The Mermaid is Unimpressed is filled with 29 poems that Sandy has written over a lifetime of writing, as she explains:
The collection is taken from work over 7 years or so, which is taking my story through various stages of my life. It was long overdue to put a collection together. I feel that what I’ve been doing before is a bit ephemeral. To me, the performance I did was for the here and now, and then I’ll go away and do a performance for somebody else. But I like little poetry books. It’s time in my life to put together some of the work that other people have been enjoying over a period of years. I’ve chosen the ones for ‘The Mermaid is Unimpressed’ that I feel best tell the story.
Sandy has been writing since, in her words, ‘she was knee-high to a grasshopper’ and later started to perform her poems as a way of rebuilding her life following a tragic personal incident:
I started reading my poems aloud, seriously — as seriously as you can read my poems! — when I was living in Whitstable, around the 1995, after my first husband died. I needed to reconstruct my life. And I did it through dancing, singing and writing poetry. And then when I came to the Isle of Wight, I did an Open Mike at Quay Arts. This is where I felt particularly comfortable, fitted in and found friends.
Her influences are poets from the 40s to 60s, those who write in a direct style. She likes A E Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad, John Betjeman’s Summoned By Bells and Welsh Incident by Robert Graves. Sandy explains why:
It was poets who wrote with strong observation and utter clarity. I’m not one for mucking around. I don’t like obscure poetry very much. I don’t really like to spend hours working out what the hell they were talking about, it’s not me at all!
It was an absolute pleasure to work with Sandy on publishing her book of poems and also lovely to work with another creative on the Island, Shaun Cuff aka The Constant Doodler, to do the fabulous cover that Sandy really loved:
The cover needed to be eye-catching. I think Shaun has made a most fantastic piece of work of that. The doodle is one line carried around. The mermaid’s expression is just right — I’ve felt like that at times, I truly have!
Sandy and I learned so much on the journey to publication and I am very proud of this book, and it seems Sandy is too from what she had to say:
It hasn’t been at all frightening. It’s been joyful and splendid good fun! It’s come out as we had planned. I like the feel of it in my hand. It’s the right size. It’s a lovely texture. It invites me to open up and have a look to see what’s inside!
Well, I don’t think I could have summed it up better. If you’d like to find out exactly why the mermaid is unimpressed then you’ll have to buy the book.
The Mermaid is Unimpressed is available to order from bookshops, and can be purchased online, worldwide, at retailers such as Waterstones and Amazon.
If you’re on the Isle of Wight it is currently available in Babushka Books in Shanklin and IW Traders in Newport.