Archive for September, 2011

Not too much to report on the marketing front, except that after Bath’s penultimate race meeting tomorrow I hope to confer with them about what else we can do to push the book.  I foresee the phrase “an ideal Christmas present” being used.  I see that they are inviting people to book now for the Wurzels’ next appearance on 3 August 2012!   My next visit will be for this year’s final meeting on Sunday 16 October.

I have managed to acquire a few more copies of my Croydon book, which is handy as I still hear occasionally of people wanting to buy it.  I hadn’t any spare copies for years – until now.

I visited a friend in Newmarket who is the grandson of one of the prominent characters in the Bath story.  He is interested in racing history and showed me the old National Hunt course, which lasted only eleven years between its first meeting and its last meeting in 1905.  The stands were converted into dwellings.  Parts of the course are still used for exercising locally-trained jumpers.  Adjacent to it are the offices for the Newmarket racecourses and the stabling area for visiting racehorses.  There and on the Rowley Mile, where I watched good quality racing that afternoon, it was noticeable how well kept the grounds are.   

Newmarket has had lots written about it.  A book on Britain’s racecourse architecture, both current and defunct courses, would be nice.  It would be fun to do, but it would take a long time and be rather expensive.  I’m game, though.

More prosaically, it looks like I may have found a suitable printer for Alfred Day.  More news next week.

Read Full Post »

I spoke last week about not being able to end my interest in Bath history. Feedback about the Bath book has given me the impetus to dig deeper into the backgrounds of some of the people involved in the Francasal case.  I wish I could have included some of it in the book!  Quite what I’ll do with the information I don’t yet know.  It may be that someone else can incorporate it into another publication one day. 

I’ve emailed a contact at the Bath Royal Scientific & Literary Institute in the hope that they will have some historically inclined members who will be interested to learn about the book.

Meanwhile, with Alfred Day in mind, I have been surprised to find how few local printers there are nowadays.  I need someone like Prontaprint, who I thought used to be in every High Street, but they don’t seem to have many branches now.  The latest recommendation I‘ve had is a firm about three miles away, but they are only open on weekdays.  I will have to make use of some time off I have next week to get along and see if they can do this and another simple print job.

This week I was asked for some pictures and information to support a forthcoming article about Fontwell in Sussex Sport magazine.   I learned something new doing that – that the famous Bob Champion-ridden Grand National winner Aldaniti ran there once.  I hope to see the finished article in a few weeks.  It would be nice if there’s room to mention the old Fontwell book and the next one on Alfred Day.

There are still several other potential writing projects I have in mind and I hope to have some more news on them in the next month.

Read Full Post »

Having a Super time

I’ve adjusted the Alfred Day format – but what’s making the page numbers appear at different distances from the bottom of the even and odd pages?  I’m being indecisive about the pictures and neither of the printers has bothered to quote.  Plenty more fish in the sea, though.

Finishing Bath doesn’t mean my interest in it has finished.  There are some subjects I want to find out more about, and I hope a few library trips in the next few weeks will enlighten me.

I’ve completed my marketing log of what we’ve done and what else there is to do.  We’ve probably done all the “quick wins” and easy stuff and I expect we’ll discuss who does what else from here.  We will probably put the book in local bookshops at some point, but the shops will want their cut and we won’t get the full profit. 

I’ve posted a few more books to customers and wholesalers.  I collected a fresh box of books from the racecourse yesterday, having almost exhausted the stock I was given on launch day. 

It wasn’t their biggest crowd, but they have had a lot of meetings in a short period and the morning rain didn’t help.  Several racegoers in fancy dress were undeterred.  Chaps wearing kilts, long stockings, white shirts and dark waistcoats took the eye first.  Then there was a party of girls fetchingly dressed as wasps – skimpy yellow and black striped bodices with fairy wings.  There was a large contingent of comic book superheroes and villains, such as Batman and the Penguin; I think I saw the devil too.  I was impressed with the heroic Flash, whose forte was running at almost the speed of light.   He positioned himself alongside the stalls for a race which started about a furlong from the winning post.  When they opened he sprinted for about a hundred yards across the enclosure, parallel with the horses.  His powers must have been affected by one of the supervillains, as the horses were  in front when he ran out of running room, but it would have been a creditable effort for a mere mortal.

Read Full Post »

I missed a week of blogging by being on holiday.  I am not IT-literate enough to update the blog while away, and part of the essence of a holiday is, after all, to escape from the ordinary routine.  I read the first hundred pages of Peter Stevens’s book and was impressed even more by the huge background knowledge he displays.  He has mini- and not so mini-biographies of all the runners in every year’s National Hunt Chase.  How has he done it?  By going through all the form books?  If so, it must have been an enormous manual effort.  There are lots of snippets of background material for my potential future books, if he doesn’t mind me using it.  He breaks it up with essays on other more general historical subjects, some of which have relevance today.

Some time ago I became aware of the existence of a racing video about a subject which I associate with one of my possible future books.  It was scarce; the only one I could find cost fifty dollars plus postage.  Luckily, I came across a copy when on holiday and snapped it up for £15.  Now I will have to watch it and see if that association is for real.

More orders for my older books have been coming in, which is quite nice, but   I could really do with a mention of Bath in a national daily newspaper.   The one I’ve focused on has come to nothing, so I will have to see if another will take the bait. 

Bath have put dozens of pictures of Ladies Night on their Facebook page, and Heart FM have done the same.  Everyone seems to be having a good time.  Fortunately yours truly is not seen in any of them.

I have revised the Alfred Day narrative and it’s close to a final version now.  I am working on a shortlist of pictures to include.  Two high street printers I asked for quotes have failed to respond – maybe they don’t need any more business!

I’m back at work tomorrow, but at least I have Bath to look forward to on Saturday – via the central library, where I will drop off a consignment of books they have ordered to stock it and other local libraries.

Read Full Post »