Archive for December, 2011


The flow of orders continues, with some people wanting to buy two books at a time.  Although I called it a steady stream before, to be honest it tends more towards trickle than torrent, but I don’t have JK Rowling-sized sales targets.   It’s quite enough admin getting suitable quantities of stamps and envelopes, the former hindered by the perpetually-long queues at main post office near where I work.  (It’s much easier to get served at sub post offices in the suburbs.)  And I haven’t heard if the third Fontwell parish magazine is out yet, nor if the Avon local history group with 10,000 members has issued its December newsletter containing its review of Bath.  I don’t think any year-end racing book reviews have appeared so far in The Times and The Racing Post

Anecdotally I’d hoped for better sales of The Days so far at Fontwell than the number given to me by the lady in charge of the stock earlier this week.  Whatever the final total, I can at least point to some satisfied customers.  I’m not sure about the chap who has written to me about four times querying elements of the Bath book – one in particular I have rebutted more than once.  He at least is getting good value from it.  Maybe I should ask him to proofread for me in future. 

At least I don’t need to arrange to print any more yet! 

The next post will probably be early in the New Year.  Happy Christmas, dear readers.




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The Pocket Venus

I’m getting a steady stream of orders for Alfred Day and this, coupled with a few evenings out last week and a weekend away, has meant a little bit of a backlog in sending copies of the book.  And posting to this blog.  Usually I send them straight away but now I am a few days behind.  

I’ve seen the articles in two of the three parish magazines now and a third one will be out soon.  There are some more marketing opportunities I am saving up until after Christmas.

Slightly frustratingly, I’ve been reading a recently-recommended book that deals fully with a triangular relationship which I touched on in the Bath book.  If I’d known this book was so esteemed I’d have read it earlier and incorporated a bit more of the story.  The book is Henry Blyth’s The Pocket Venus, which refers to the society beauty Lady Florence Paget, who in 1864 sensationally jilted her fiance Henry Chaplin and married his rival, the Marquess of Hastings.  In a nutshell, this led to rivalry between them on the racecourse.  For emotional rather than logical reasons, Hastings bet huge sums against Chaplin’s horse Hermit winning the 1867 Derby.  Their horses clashed at Bath a week before the big race, when dramatic news came about Hermit. 

For more you’ll have to read my Bath book, and for the full story The Pocket Venus, although copies of that one are not so easy to come by these days.  A friend kindly gave me a spare copy of it.  I plan to repay the favour by buying a book she doesn’t have in her collection.  The trouble is I don’t have that one myself either, so will I wind up buying two?


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Promising news from purchasers of the Alfred Day book.  I’ve had reports of people buying two at a time, one for themselves and one for a friend.  It’s been featured in a couple of the parish magazines already; they are prime vehicles for disseminating local history news (if that’s not a contradiction in terms).  Fortunately for me Fontwell is at the junction of four parishes served by three parish magazines.  The editor of a third tells me, “I warned the racecourse to expect many villagers wanting the book when the magazine comes out before Christmas.”

I haven’t had a huge number printed and it’s very difficult to know how many sales this may actually result in.  On the basis that it wouldn’t do for the racecourse to run out, and I have limited opportunities for the hour-and-three-quarters each way drive before Christmas, I delivered more to them yesterday.  Happily the office was open and I didn’t have to find the manager of the car boot sale that takes place there on some Sundays and ask him to store the books somewhere.

If I need to get more printed, working backwards I’d have to tell the printers at least two or three days before I needed them.  That may be a vain hope, but I must be prepared – just in case.  Over the weekend I posted letters to dozens of buyers of the first Fontwell book in the hope that they are likely to be interested in the follow-up.

One of my great helpers with all things Fontwellian was due to go into hospital today for a much-delayed operation.  Best wishes to Kim, who knows everyone around Fontwell, and, seemingly, everyone who goes racing there.

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