December 2015 – Happy Christmas!

Wow, this year has gone so quickly, I’m still catching up! Firstly, thank as always to the wonderful authors and artists who have shared their work with us at the Booktique during the year, and to our lovely customers who have supported our independent bookshop. It has been an excellent year for us, and we have enjoyed a nice mix of festivals and high street events. It was great to take the Booktique down to Brighton for the first time – and to sell out! Thanks to JPS Biz Awards for making us a finalist in June, and to Small Business Saturday for making to Booktique one of it’s Small Biz 100. Sadly we have lost our base in Horsham as Rachael will be closing her kitchen in Jan. We have so enjoyed working with her and her team, but with a new addition to the family, she is now focusing more online.

Daisy White’s Booktique will be continuing into 2016 with a few changes… As many of you are aware I have become more and more involved in the fascinating world of pop up, and am delighted to announce that from Jan 2016 authors and publishers will be able to book spaces in Pop Up Horsham. Cost is £199 a month, and you will need to staff at least two days a week. The team at PUH will soon be offering spaces across the UK thanks to a rather special collaboration (watch out for the press release!).

The Booktique will move from the Horsham pop up shop to Cranleigh Arts Centre for Cranleigh Literature Festival for March 6-11th.

Finally, I am so thrilled to have two wonderful US publishers for my YA trilogy and YA series respectively. I love working with the editing/marketing teams and look forward to continuing my writing into 2016!


Summer Festivals…

Copyright Warwick Stafen


After a short break, whilst I worked hard on developing my pop up consultancy, and consolidated the Daisy White’s Booktique high street pop ups, the Booktique will now be appearing at the following venues this Summer…

Uckfield Festival – One Big Day Saturday 11th July in Sussex. This is a big, well established family event and we will be outside son fingers crossed for the weather!

Lindfield Arts Festival – Saturday 19th September. a welcome return to this lovely and brilliantly organised event. This year we are leaving the tent and taking up residence in the high street at Limes Bistro.

TBC – I am just waiting for the final release date from my publisher, but we will also be making a pop up appearance in Brighton in July/August.

Finally, the pop ups in Horsham at Rachael’s Kitchen, and in Farnham at The Business Hub continue to introduce a steady stream of indie authors and publishers to new readers.

It is so lovely to meet and chat to the many inspirational authors and readers, and I encourage you to come along to an event!

December 2014 – Happy Christmas!

So much has happened this year and I have met so many amazing and inspirational people that I feel like cracking open the champagne every time I think about how lucky I have been!

Probably the weirdest day of 2014 was taking my kids swimming in the morning, then finding myself speaking at Downing Street in the afternoon…

I have always been someone who makes impulsive decisions and I am learning to combine them with good old fashioned business sense as my little Booktique grows. Mini Pops continue to be well stocked, and the rebranding is coming along well. I have a new website for my author scribblings and books and we just shot a promo video for that with Silverback Productions. Brilliant fun and of course we had a vintage tea party! Some very exciting new consultancy work on a Pop Up project is just beginning and all will be revealed in 2015 ;-). My New Year’s resolutions (I always make them in December lol) are to be more organised, fitter and healthier (Hmmmm…) but also to try and make more time for my wonderful friends and family.

Anyone running their own business, especially from home, knows is a really hard to shut off but I am going to try harder to achieve that elusive work/home balance.

I have a new book review column in OA magazine, and a regular book slot on local radio so obviously I am looking forward to reading that huge pile of books propped on my side of the bed.

I am looking forward to cracking on with the sequel to Taming Tigers, to the first pop up of 2015, and to learning a whole lot more about just about everything!

Happy Christmas!

Love Daisy xx

November – I got Signed!!!

ARRRGHHHH! So excited to report that I have just signed with US publisher Melange Books. My debut YA for their Fire and Ice imprint will be out Summer 2015. I wrote ‘Taming Tigers’ after being selected for the Curtis Brown/Foyles New Beginnings Workshop at the start of 2014, and it gave me the kick up the bum I needed to get on and finish the book.

As everyone knows sending out your book to agents and publishers is fairly terrifying, but I had a professional critique from Cornerstones, and after rewriting the end and beginning edited AGAIN (x 4) sent out my ms. I chose 5 agents and 12 publishers so was delighted to get some full ms requests (even one from an agent) after the first month of biting my nails and stressing over my email in box.

As time dragged on and another couple of ‘full’ requests, together with some very helpful feedback pinged back via my email I was still holding my breath for any actual results. The agent eventually got back, saying the book was beautifully written (I held that thought because it was one of those emails where you just know that ‘but’ is coming!) BUT she wanted to see more of my sexy, complicated soldier Kellar. Hmmm. Glad she liked him, gutted she didn’t like him enough ;-)

At this stage Caroline Andrus from Melange Books LLC asked for a full ms, and 3 weeks later sent me that wonderful email offering a contract – woohoo! She wasn’t the only one interested and to my disbelief I eventually had 4 contractual offers for Taming Tigers and was even offered an advance.

It was soooo hard to choose between the publishers – 2 from the UK, 1 from Ireland, and then Caroline in the US so I approached it with my business brain, and then went on gut instinct! In our email conversations it was obvious Caroline and I would work well together – she was enthusiastic and professional. The other publishers were of course, just as professional and courteous but I took a deep breath, wrote my ‘thanks but no thanks’ emails (I did take a lot of time with these because I really do appreciate my work being yanked off the slush pile and the editors taking the time to read through new work),and then signed the contract with Melange Books.

Hurray! Time to write that sequel…. around work of course.


October – Book Launch Season!

Wow – seems like everyone has a new release this time of year and I’m looking forward to reading all of them (and adding to that pile next to my bed lol). A few changes currently being made at Booktique HQ… The business is now at that difficult transition stage between start up and SME and I have had to take a long hard look at the accounts. First step has been to hire an actual accountant, secondly some marvellous freelance admin/PR help in the shape of Sophie Ray which takes some of the pressure off and enables me to answer emails as they come in rather than a week later.

Much as I intend to keep to the original business ethos of giving independent publishers and authors a chance to showcase on the High Street, as the business progresses I have been forced to admit the way forward is wholesale. The massive amount of work that goes into each pop up means that certain profit margins have to be met. Sooooo a new strategy – the Booktique is undergoing some rebranding taking the shop upmarket with some slick new pop up furniture. Following this I will announce approx. 3 pop up dates for 2015 – looking at London, Brighton, Guildford (we had a wonderful time in Surrey and would like to return).

I will order in books on a sale or return basis, from both publishers and self published authors for each pop up, and obviously buy in the usual wholesale products and goods. For each day we are popped up there will be a chance for one author/artist/maker to have a signing slot/workshop hour. Anyone can apply for these and they will be FREE but you will need to convince me you have some amazing promo ideas/are social media savvy and will draw some crowds! No pressure then ;-)


September Sunshine!

Busy month with the kids going back to school, but I’m thrilled to announce we have opened at another ‘Mini Pops’ venue. Farnham Business Hub, run by the amazing Selena and Emma is a one-stop-shop for all business info and advice. We have ‘popped’ a shelf of business books into the Surrey/Hampshire based Hub with authors including; renowned marketer Dee Blick, award winning Mike Higgins and more.

Lindfield Festival was a fantastic experience (with added extras Toploader and Simon Cowell!) and the village continues to support us in our little ‘independent bookshop’ aka ‘Mini Pops’ on the second floor of The Tollhouse Store and Café.

The Horsham venue at Rachael’s Kitchen continues to be our main local hub, and I have been running ‘Think Outside the Book’ drop in workshops there every Thursday (in term time!) from 1000 till 1100. Very informal chat and PR ideas, plus the latest publishing gossip and media requests from the week.

Southwater, and the adorable Little Teahouse has a teeny weeny rack of books for customers to enjoy with their cakes and this popular venue is fronted by Caitlin and her family.

I am very excited to have been approached for some consultancy work for three very different, but all book or indie shopping related, businesses. After much hard work, and a pro critique from the fabulous Cornerstones I sent out my new book Taming Tigers, and waited… (we’ve all been there!). I was shocked to receive six full manuscript requests (one agent/five publishers) along with a raft of great feedback. After much deliberation will be signing on the dotted line with…

A fab night out planned tomorrow for the launch of Dee Blick’s new book ‘The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Marketing a Bestselling Book’. Every author should have one of these, and get their marketing plan by the scruff ;-) Love it! The book also encourages authors to treat their writing as a business and really have the confidence to get out there.

Another new release I have to recommend is Charlie Plunkett’s ‘The Writers Muse’ – perfect for writers just starting out or needing a little inspiration on their journey, this book is written with Charlie’s usual blend of gentle chat, conversational advice and inspiring quotes.



Happy Reading!

August… We’re a real business!

I was chatting to another entrepreneur at the Lindfield Arts Festival and she happened to mention that moment when all the hard work pays off (and the rest is about to start!) and you call yourself a ‘real business’. Hers was when she paid her first employee, mine is definitely when we won the Innovation award at the JP Press Business Awards. To have industry pros giving you the nod is amazing. Back to all that hard work though…

We opened our first three Mini Pops venues in August and now have three of the smallest independent bookshops in the UK (probably!) in Horsham (Rachael’s Cupcake Kitchen), Southwater (The Little Teahouse), and Lindfield (The Tollhouse Store and Café). With independent bookshops struggling with high rates and internet competition we are thrilled to be able to keep the High Street alive in our tiny way, by collaborating with other independent businesses and entrepreneurs. If you’re in the area do drop in and enjoy a book with your cup of tea!

After a brilliant day at Lindfield Arts Festival  all the books are now back at HQ awaiting another stock take. I’m very excited to have six new authors joining us, again bringing some real variety to the Booktique, and plus new publisher Forelock Books. I’m off to do a radio show next week as a result of LAF and we are looking forward to seeing the results of a photoshoot and interview in Ect. magazine in October.

We have two new display units ready in the workshop, after fighting the kids for control of the hammer and drill bit… grrrr, and we hope to announce another Mini Pops venue in September. I am now back to sifting through our offers of a pop up for Christmas Fayres etc, doing the admin and catching up with everyone on social media!


July… Awards, Number 10 and much scribbling.

A mad, mad month and probably our best so far! I kicked off with a visit to Number 10, Downing Street (much smaller inside than you’d expect so the opposite of the tardis – lol) to speak at a business delegation organised by Enterprise Nation. Inspirational, sums up the day rather neatly and it was great to kick ideas around with PM Advisor Daniel Korski and the other awesome delegates. You can read the official press release here…

I was nominated for the Women of the Year Awards 2014 in the ‘Woman to Watch’ category, but due to a family commitment was unable to attend, so author Keith Mapp and his wife Linda kindly stepped in the represent the Booktique.

Next we were shortlisted in three categories at the JP Business Awards 2014 and were so thrilled and honoured to win the ‘Innovation’ category. A truly amazing month, and we are now looking ahead to August and the launch of our new ‘Mini Pops’ – teaming up with other independent businesses on the High Street to showcase in our usual vibrant, crazy manner. Watch this space!

The kids are on school holidays so fitting work round taking them out and about is a constant battle. I feel guilty most of the time, but I’m not alone and most of my working mum friends admit to the same. That dream work/life balance is a bit distant sometimes, but squeezing in time where I can means the kids seem happy enough (and the youngest won Monopoly again tonight!!).


June – Festivals, rain and Pimms…

The festival season is in full swing and we are lucky enough to have nabbed some prime slots so time to get wellied up! All set for 4 days at beautiful Ardingly to kick off so I have been frantically painting, packing and pricing. Those who have an RRP on their books thank you ;-)

I had a wonderful time at the Summer Party in Chelsea last week – run by the amazing Helen Lewis (Literally PR). It was a great and inspirational event – nothing nicer than chatting to authors over a glass of English wine. There were some excellent readings, and a rather stunning dog…

Next week I’m very excited to be up in London again with Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones. I have been asked to Number 10, Downing Street to pitch the Booktique and ‘talk business’! This is a wonderful opportunity and as you all know I am a bit passionate about championing indie business, and have a lot to say about the demise of the High Street…

Congats to Booktique author Jeff Gardiner on reaching the final of the ‘Peoples Choice Awards’ with his YA book ‘Myopia’ – I love to hear author success stories!

Finally, I am currently working on the next step of the Booktique business plan which would see us expand Nationally before rolling out Internationally. This would be a huge step so much careful thought before I proceed…

May… PR Darling!

Okay so I have two jobs, am trying to hibernate and finish my new book and have two small children to look after… Calm… Actually the more I speak to people connected with the Booktique the more I realise that it isn’t uncommon to have several jobs these days. Most of those who do are parents trying to fit work around school runs, but some are pursuing their dream jobs whilst holding down a full time role.

We’re off to Ardingly Arts Fest next month (June 23/24/25) so I’ve been busy getting the stock ready and checking our author availability for talks and signings. As well as this the fabulous Jim Pirrie (The Video Marketing Guy) has asked me to help launch his new podcast, so off to the studio soon ;-) and roving international author Gabriele Martin is launching her new Writing Retreats in Italy and Dubai. Gabriele is an inspiration (I truly believe she never sleeps!) so I was honoured when she asked me to put together some marketing/PR material for her new ventures.

Oh, and a fabulous PR party in Chelsea to look forward to courtesy of Literally PR – time to drag out a suitable glam outfit and nab a goodie bag!