Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The other side of the publishing fence...

So Lonely Scribe has booked a launch event for Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform. This is great news, but it's a new departure for me. As a career editor I've been involved, on the fringes, with many book launches. I've attended plenty of launches of books I've edited as an in-house copyeditor. But I have never had my own name on the cover before, and it's somewhat nerve-racking. Perhaps the problem is that I know what can go wrong: double-booked venues, publicity printed with wrong dates or times, or, worst of all, the book isn't ready and the launch has to go ahead without printed copies.

This time (with my publisher's hat on) I've had to organise the event down to the last detail (most authors are not in this position!). I researched venues, eventually booked one, decided about catering arrangements, picked the date, and am sending out all the invitations and collating replies. I've got to invite newspapers, magazines and radio, and prepare a press pack; I need to order copies of the book for the event. I've also made a list as long as your arm of small but important items I need to take with me on the night (stapler, copies of lists, tablecloth, cash box, promotional postcards, digital camera...). Last but not least, I need to come up with a short speech to make to the assembled company. Yikes.

At the same time, in the background, we've completed the final stages of the editorial process - we've uploaded the finished, corrected book file and jacket to our print-on-demand publishing partner Lightning Source, and now we have to sit back and wait (impatiently) for a proof copy to drop through the letter box. Once we approve that, the book can be ordered - by us, by bookshops, and by the general public (via Amazon or other websites).

So, exciting times. I suppose I should be relishing the fact that I'm so involved in every aspect of my book's production and promotion, but at times it all feels like quite a responsibility. I'm looking forward to a glass of wine at the launch!

Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform will be launched on Wednesday 27 June 2012, at 8pm, at the Strutt Centre in Belper, Derbyshire. If you're interested in attending the event, or know someone who might be, get in touch.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

That TIME cover... and breastfeeding older children

This TIME cover shot has been all over the web this week. Featuring an older child standing on a chair to breastfeed, the picture was meant (allegedly) to illustrate an article on attachment parenting. Unsurprisingly, it's not the attachment parenting aspect that is being discussed, it's the breastfeeding.

To be honest, I couldn't wade through all the endless discussion about the image. After years of breastfeeding and supporting breastfeeding, I'm a little jaded by this kind of debate. However, the TIME furore did prompt me to take action. I finally did something I've been meaning to do for months: I ordered Ann Sinnot's book Breastfeeding Older Children.

It's a great read. Not only is it well-researched, honest and thought-provoking, but it's full of the voices of women, their partners and their children (yes, these children are old enough to talk about breastfeeding), talking candidly about their families and their breastfeeding relationships. There is something so eye-opening, and so mind-expanding, about this approach. I can almost feel my cultural baggage being unpacked as I read - their honesty forces me to be honest about my own prejudices, to challenge them and to arrive at a new understanding of how others feel and live.

This was a timely reminder for me of how powerful the experiences of others can be in gaining one's own perspective. I'm currently working on the final stages of Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform, which is due to be published by Lonely Scribe at the end of June. As a companion volume to our book Home Births: stories to inspire and inform, it's a collection of first-hand accounts by mothers of their breastfeeding experiences. If readers of our books can gain real insight from them, in the way that I did reading Breastfeeding Older Children, then that is something for us to be proud of as a publisher.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Who we are, and what we do.

Lonely Scribe is a small publisher. Very small - there are literally two of us. Susan, the publishing director (that's me), and Tom, the managing director. Our rather grand-sounding titles cover a multitude of roles; between us we are responsible for everything that a publishing company does: commissioning and producing books, looking after our authors, marketing and selling the books and keeping on top of the finances. We rope in other people - our long-suffering spouses, friends and occasional freelancers - when we can.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Welcome to Lonely Scribe's new blog! We've got grand plans for it. Here you'll be able to read much more about our publishing philosophy and how we work (and how we fit it around our many other commitments). There'll be news of all our books, both previously published and in the pipeline, plus (we hope) guest posts from our authors and friends. And, of course, plenty of posts on our pet topics: publishing, parenting, childbirth, breastfeeding, life, the universe, everything... We hope you enjoy it.