2017 – A Year In The Publishing Life of Beachy Books

That went quick. The year, gone, never to be relived. It’s been quite a year at Beachy HQ and it’s become customary now for me to round it all up in a blog, take stock of what I’ve achieved and set some goals for 2018.

I didn’t get into publishing for any other reason than to publish my own books, so it is still a surprise to me that I now help others publish their books. It kind of developed over the years from working on community book projects and then word got around and people approached me to ask to be published on the Beacy Books imprint. I’ve been so busy this year that for the first time in ages I’ve had to turn clients away.

I finally published a book I’d been working on during the end of 2016 called Celebrating Together, a book featuring photos taken on the first Isle of Wight Day in 2016. It was a mammoth job. The biggest photo book I’ve ever put together and my first hardback book, all in glossy colour. It turned out very nice so I hope it’s selling well.

It was only a year ago that I advertised my services to the public. The story worked for me and I got several jobs from the coverage.

A lady who wanted to publish her book of family memories on Amazon got in touch, which got me be back into creating books for Amazon’s KDP platform. I do sometimes use it for my books, but it doesn’t offer hardbacks and they don’t have many paper options. It’s great for standard paperbacks and ebooks though and because it’s Amazon, they prioritise stocking the books under Amazon Prime.

I often do little jobs for clients I’ve worked with in the past or those on my imprint. I was asked to edit and reprint another order of Your Journey Starts Here books for primary schools, and also another order of  Fairyland Fairytales

I published several books on the Beachy Books imprint this year including a local history book called I Remember Hill Lodge, Freshwater and a family history with a twist written in the 1st person and fictionalised here and there called Lizzie. We also published a children’s poetry book called Grandma’s Roller Skates and Other Silly Stories. All of the books have sold well for the authors so I cannot want more than that.

I was commissioned by Carisbrooke Castle Museum oral history department to work with children at the Island Free School to create and publish a book called Step Back In Time, a book of recorded memories from retired residents living on the Isle of Wight.

I’ve also been commissioned on a project called Hidden Heroes where I’ve been working with local primary school children to generate ideas for a children’s book about 7 historic characters connected with the Isle of Wight. I’ve also worked with local Island museums and researched and written about each hero. I’ll be revealing more about my Hiddn Heroes book in the new year.

And to top it all I have just secured a writing job for a local employer, which is proving to be challenging and rewarding. All in all a great year in some respects. I hope I continue to have success in 2018 and that I can find inspiration again to start a new novel.

Happy New Year!

Publishing a Children’s Poetry Book

Cover - Grandma's Roller Skates and Other Silly Poems by David A Ballard ISBN 9781999728304

Beachy Books started publishing children’s books so I knew it wouldn’t be long before I published other people’s books. A song writer and poet, David A Ballard, came to me with his rhyming poems for children and asked if I could help him get it published. His friend Christian Hennessy illustrates the book and has helped promote the book. The pair had one of Waterstone’s most successful book signings earlier in the year and the book is selling well.

The book is called Grandma’s Roller Skates and Other Silly Poems and is available to browse on our website.

Press cutting from IW County Press about the Grandma’s Roller Skates Waterstone’s book signing
Press cutting on launch of Grandma’s Roller Skates


Step Back In Time

I often get commissioned to publish books by businesses or organisations for specific purposes. These books may not go onto wider sale in the shops or online. Instead I am funded to print a batch for a specific purpose to give away or sell for charity.

One such commission was from Carisbrooke Castle Museum Oral History Department in collaboration with Isle of Wight Council Heritage Education Service and the Island Free School. The project was funded by a Young Roots grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project was to publish a book of recorded memories from local retired people on the Isle of Wight. The memories were al recorded by children from the Island Free School. It was all part of a integenerational project where the children would work with the oral history team and the retired people to show them artefacts and record their responses to these objects.

I was asked to come into some of the session at the Island Free School and introduce the children to the idea of creating a book full of photos they had taken and edited highlights of the recorded transcripts. Over a number of weeks I helped two groups of children put together an outline boo and curate the content into different themes such as seaside memories, leisure and wartime. More importantly the children came up with a great title for the book: Step Back in Time – A collection of oral histories of older people living on the Isle of Wight.

There wasn’t time for the children to create the whole book at school so I took their outline and designed and typeset a full book full of wonderful memories and images. Funding provided for a print run of copies for a book launch at the Island Free School so that copies could be given to the children and the people who had taken part in the interviews.

It was a rewarding project to be involved with and I think the final colourful book was received very well.

There is more information and transcripts from the interviews on the official website for the project and also you can look at a digital copy of Step Back in Time – A collection of oral histories of older people living on the Isle of Wight.

Beachy Books Commissioned to Create Books for Primary Schools

Your Journey Starts Here commissioned books for primary schools by Beachy Books

In June of this year I was commissioned  by Newchurch school, who is also federated with Nettlestone Primary, to publish a new version of a book I created with the children years back.

Your Journey Starts Here books created and published by Beachy Books

The book is called Your Journey Starts Here and has been a book that has been republished in new versions each year since the book was first made in 2012. The book introduces new pre-school children and their parents to the school using photos and simple text to explain the whole school day from arrival to departure.

Your Journey Starts Here has proved very popular with parents and children and I’m so chuffed to have been asked again this year to make changes with new photos and text and publish more books for the school to give our to new arrivals before they start school.


I Decided to Publish Your Book

I never started all this publishing malarky to do anything other than publish my own books. But, over the years I’ve learned a heck of a lot about writing, creating, publishing and selling books, along with all the ups and downs the process entails.

As the years rolled by I started to work with community groups and schools in helping them create and publish their own books. This then developed into publishing books for private individuals and becoming a mini-imprint boutique publisher I suppose. It has gradually grown and has mostly come through word of mouth, slowly establishing local contacts and establishing myself as a good solid publisher of books, all be it local books mostly because that’s what sells well around these parts.

I put out an story in the local paper and it got a great response and it was amazing to hear from a range of writers who had written books ranging from children’s poetry to local history books. I’m pleased to say the work seems to be rolling in but the trouble is I’ve not had so much time to write my own books. You can’t have it all!

Celebrating Together – Isle of Wight Day 2016 Book


Celebrating Together - IOW Day 2016 Book - Cover - 72dpi

Beachy books has recently worked with Robin Courage, the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, to create and publish a book of photos taken on the inaugural Isle of Wight Day in 2016.

The hardback book called ‘Celebrating Together‘ contains over 500 photos taken by Islanders and celebrates the various events that happened on the day.

The 80-page book is priced at £15 and will be available from the County Press Shop, ferry terminals and other retailers, which will be announced soon.

All proceeds go to the High Sheriff’s Trust which helps deserving causes on the Isle of Wight.

Celebrating Together - IOW Day 2016 Book - page009 - 72dpi

Celebrating Together - IOW Day 2016 Book - page039 - 72dpi

I am very pleased to see the book (held by Robin Courage) featured on the front page of the Weekender section of the Isle of Wight County Press (Feb 10, 2017) and a piece in the paper about the book.

Celebrating Together - Weekender front cover showing robin Courage holding book - IWCP Feb 10th 2017 - web

Celebrating Together launch PR - IWCP Feb 10th 2017 - web

Fairyland Fairytales – all written by children!

Fairyland Fairytales Blog Featured Image

Beachy Books is very proud to announce we have just published a big, bright, magical book called Fairyland Fairytales that contains loads of stories about fairies all written by children.

Fairyland Fairytales written by children - Book Cover

The book was commissioned by Pat Whybrow of The Old Thatch Teashop in Shanklin, Isle of Wight. She wanted us to create a book of stories written by children who visit her teashop and fairy garden, with the aim of donating all profits to a charity close to her heart called Children with Cancer UK.

Fairyland Fairytales written by children - Interior Example Pages

The book is one of our most complex in design, with the children’s stories arranged over classic fairy art. The writers ranged from children of only 3 (with some help from their families) to teenagers, and stories of only a few lines to longer fairy tales and poems, so there’s something for everyone.

Fairyland Fairytales is priced at £10 and is ONLY available direct in person from The Old Thatch Teashop in Shanklin, Isle of Wight or can be ordered from their website.

All profits go direct to Children with Cancer UK.

Children with Cancer UK Logo


Jack and Boo children’s books skip across the Island with help from book-loving wholesaler

Beachy Books Jack and Boo Island 72dpi

Thanks to a new partnership with wholesaler, Island Tourist Products (ITP), our Jack and Boo children’s books are now skipping into retailers across the Isle of Wight. This is a brilliant partnership because ITP are very passionate about books, and even have their own book publishing company called Coach House Publications.

Mary Barnard, the Director at ITP, said, “We are happy to be working with Philip and pleased with the warm response from our customers to his new book, ‘Jack and Boo’s Dinosaur Island’, particularly with the imminent release of the 3D movie ‘Walking with Dinosaurs!’”

If you are a retailer on Isle of Wight and would like to stock our Jack and Boo Island children’s books then please contact Mary Barnard at ITP on 01983 884411 or visit Island Tourist Products (ITP) website.

If you would rather deal direct with Beachy Books, as some of our clients prefer, then please contact us via one of our channels.

And in no particular order, you can now buy our Jack and Boo books at the following Isle of Wight retailers (please call before to check they have stock!):

On Isle of Wight (by location):


Waterstones Newport – Google map – 118 High Street, Newport, Isle Of Wight, PO30 1TP. Tel:  01983 527927

The County Press Shop – Google map – 123 Pyle Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1ST. Tel: 01983 535007.


IOW Zoo – Google map – Yaverland Road, Sandown PO36 8QB. Tel: 01983 403883

Dinosaur Isle – Google map – Culver Parade, Sandown, Isle of Wight, PO36 8QA. Tel: 01983 404344


Briddlesford Lodge Farm Shop – Google map – Briddlesford Road, Wootton, Isle of Wight, PO33 4RY. Tel: 01983 884650


Babushka Books – Google map – 3 Carter Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 7HR. Tel: 01983 864114


Aqua Marine – Google map – 60 High St, Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO31 7RL. Tel: 01983 291061

East Cowes

The Classic Boat Museum – Google map – Albany Road, East Cowes, Isle of Wight PO32 6AA. Tel: 01983 290006


Bookworm – Google map – 2 Pier Road, Seaview, PO34 5BL. Tel: 01983 612195


Reflections – Google map – 1A Wheatsheaf Ln, Yarmouth, PO41 0PF. Tel: 01983 760244

Holdings – Google map – Quay Street, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. PO41 0PD. Tel: 01983 760265


Godshill Village Stores – Google map – Godshill Village Shop, Godshill High Street, Godshill, Isle of Wight, PO38 3HH. Tel: 01983 840483.


Ryde Book Shop – Google map – 135 High St, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 2RJ. Tel: 01983 565227

Made On The Isle of Wight – Google map – Bullen Mead, Bullen Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 1QE. Tel: 01983 564949

The Needles/Alum Bay

National Trust – The Needles Old Battery – Google map – West High Down, Alum Bay, PO39 0JH. Tel: 01983 754772

This is just the start. We update this page with our current stockists for Isle of Wight, the mainland and on-line retailers, including addresses, contact numbers and links to google maps.

Soon Jack and Boo will take over… THE WORLD! (maniacal laugh)

Bedtime at the Lighthouse selected for Walker Books/Mumsnet Book of Bedtime Stories

I’m happy to announce that I am one of 10 lucky writers chosen by Michael Rosen to have their bedtime story included in the Walker Books/Mumsnet Book of Bedtime Stories scheduled for release in October 2013.

I had such a good feeling about the story, but you never know what judges or publishers will be looking for. My story plays on a theme I think will resonate with many parents – getting children to sleep in an unfamiliar place! The story of Bedtime at the Lighthouse, which was based on a real stay in my mum’s cottage under the lighthouse at Portland Bill, is very special and like most of my children’s stories was inspired by my wife and children.

I read it aloud to my family after I’d written it and they all seemed to approve. My children can be harsh critics so I thought this was a good sign. I wanted a story that could be read aloud over and over by parents to children at bedtime without it driving them mad. I’ll have to wait to see what parents and children think of the story when it’s published.

More information on the Book of Bedtime Stories competition news over here at mumsnet.

I’ll tell you more when I know more!

Jack and Boo Wish You Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Lights - Photo by Philip Bell Copyright 2012

We would like to say thanks to all our family and friends who have supported us this year, and thanks to the retailers and bookshops who have chosen to stock Jack and Boo books. It’s been wonderful to get some fantastic reviews and grow our fan base.

Thanks to all the people who have bought books for children and to those who have told us how much you and your children have enjoyed reading our books. It has given us great motivation and energy to continue publishing next year. Thank you!

Jack and Boo are asleep in bed now, but they asked me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas 2012!