Beachy Books Publishes Personae Vectenses – 246 Short Biographies of Isle of Wight ‘Notables’ from Queen Victoria to Alan Titchmarsh

Beachy Books is very proud to announce the publication of Personae Vectenses: Isle of Wight Notables by Phillip Armitage (ISBN: 978-1-9997283-2-8)

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!’

‘Personae Vectenses’ at Blackwells Bookshop for Isle of Wight Literary Festival 2019 (before they all sold out!)

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’ exclusively on first sale at Babushka Books, Shanklin, Isle of Wight

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.)

If you are local to the Isle of Wight, the book is for sale at the following retailers (links to their Facebook pages): Babushka Books in Shanklin, Isle of Wight Traders in Newport, Medina Books in Cowes, Waterstones in Newport IOW and other retailers will join their ranks in the coming weeks…

Beachy Books Publishes First Poetry Volume — The Mermaid is Unimpressed by Sandy Kealty

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 by Sandy Kealty – published by Beachy Books

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.

More details on The Mermaid is Unimpressed page.

Beachy Books Resurfaces!

I am a bit excited. Why? Because I’m relaunching my publishing baby, Beachy Books, with a new look, new authors and new books. 

It’s long overdue because a few years ago, following a personal traumatic storm, I sank, 20,000 leagues under the sea. At least it felt like that. Over the years Beachy Books became a home for barnacles and it started to rust and rot. I didn’t think I would even find her again because it was rather a nasty storm, no real weather warnings, and with no GPS I wasn’t quite sure where she had submerged…

I’ve been hoping I had the energy to resurface for some time now, after being contacted by authors that had heard about me and seen the quality of the books I had published previously. This was heartening to me as I realised that all the years of publishing books without much success or income had finally paid off. Not so much in monetary terms, but in an earned good reputation from just being professional to work with and from having a body of great books. I’d like to think the majority of my relationships with authors in publishing their books has been positive with both author and I having learned new things on the voyage.

I’ve always loved the process of helping authors turn manuscripts into published books (some in turning ideas into manuscripts!) and this burning desire hasn’t really left me. So, with the help of loved ones who have given me back my muse, air has flown into my ballast tanks and Beachy Books has finally resurfaced. 

I’ve been publishing books for over 10 years now, as well as also writing my own books, getting published traditionally and also enjoying self publishing. I’ve had some successes and many fails along the way and in some respects I feel I’m still swimming in the ocean, might never reach land. But this time it doesn’t feel like I’m paddling with arm bands — more carving through the waves in a powerful front crawl. Well, perhaps not all the time, but I feel a renewed confidence in myself and my talent as a writer and publisher.

And what books am I publishing, you ask? Well, anything I really like, to be honest. Over the years I have published local history, children’s books and community and one-off books for organisations, and now I am pleased to say I’m pushing into new areas such as poetry, fiction and short stories. The bottom line is… if I publish your book on the Beachy Books imprint it will be good quality, whatever the genre.

I am now also offering a range of services to help the entrepreneurial self-publisher, such as editing and cover design, alongside my publishing imprint, which some books I receive are more suited to. This works like partnership publishing, where author and I collaborate on a book, with heavy input and direction from myself and also marketing and publicity. Every client is unique and every book is different, so each project brings new challenges and outcomes. I’m getting excited just thinking about reading new work that authors will send me this year…

I have a school of new authors onboard and some fantastic books on the Beachy Books imprint coming out in 2019, and more planned for the following year. I welcome you to the beach party if you’ve only just discovered Beachy Books and I salute you if you’re a long-time crew-member and thank you for your support and encouragement over the years. 

If you want a book published, from a novel, to a local history, or a special one-off charity book, or a community project, or anything bookish, then please get in touch to see how you can join our shoal.

Simply email philipbell@beachybooks.com

And I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the greats…

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” 

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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 Beachy 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.

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