Micro publishing from an English Tudor cottage

I run Gottahavebooks.

Three years ago we decided to set up a publishing arm for our long-established graphic design business. My husband Trevor Bounford (illustrator, artist and author) has been designing and creating books for over 45 years. With our shared interest in social history and the prospect of more ‘free’ time on my part after completing the PhD, we set up Gottahavebooks in 2015.

What we now have is very much a cottage industry.  And that’s not just because we run the business from our Tudor cottage in a village near Cambridge. We like being small scale. For me this is especially appealing after many years of working in large organisations with highly rigid structures and politicised cultures. I’m loving the new freedom and flexibility of working independently as a writer, editor and micro-publisher.

Our publishing is driven by a desire to share people’s stories, and our titles and activities reflect this.

In 2015  Richard Houghton needed to publish the memories he had gathered from people who had attended Rolling Stones concerts in the 1960s. Richard and Trevor jointly devised a concept they named as ‘You Had To Be There’ and we set about getting Richard’s book to press in double-quick time. We also liaised individually with his 500 contributors, confirming their place in the book and keeping them up to date with the production. This was very time-consuming but worthwhile, and we were pleased to have helped Richard with his first publication.

Our second book, ‘Days of Sorrow, Times of Joy’ by Frances Clemmow (2016), is an extraordinary family memoire, interwoven with the grand picture of modern Chinese history from the late nineteenth century through to the Second World War. Trevor had previously assisted Fran with the design, layout and production of a self-published edition in 2012. We offered to publish a new extended edition as a way of helping Fran to share her story with a wider audience, and we were delighted when historian Michael Wood agreed to contribute a foreword. Professor Anthony Bradley describes the book as a,

‘living history, in which the actors in a far-reaching drama speak in their own words. We need not today endorse all aspects of the missionary enterprise, but readers of this impressive and enjoyable book will surely long remember the vivid scenes in which one family’s commitment enabled its members to play a part in events that have helped to shape our world.’

And ‘Philatelic Evangelist’ Devlan Kruck extols the art of Victorian letter writing in a delightful blog post.

We’re pleased to support Fran when she gives talks to local history societies and we’ve recently made this brief film, featuring a cameo from her book:

Our third publication is my own illustrated social history of Heffers of Cambridge. I’ve already written quite a lot about it in previous posts. I too give talks and very much enjoy the audience feedback.

Our forth publication is an unexpected and delightful outcome of the research for the Heffers book. We’ll be announcing this quirky title over the next few weeks.

I’m currently editing another forthcoming Gottahavebooks publication, ‘The Singer’s Tale’ by Carol Grimes. This is Carol’s captivating story in her own words,

‘Forever entwined, my young and my old mind, the voices inside me that chatter and chide, encourage and rage, as I look both outwards and in with the curiosity of a benign, yet wary stranger.’

Born in 1944, Carol spent the late 1960s and ’70s living in a ‘so-called community of freaks, immigrants and photographers, artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers, drug dealers, models, fashionistas, groupies and hangers-on.’

In 1967 Carol married artist Larry Smart and their son, Sam, was born. If you hurry, you can catch a retrospective of Larry’s work at The Muse Gallery, Portobello Road, London. It finishes on 2 July 2017.

Through Gottahavebooks we get to meet and work with really inspiring authors, and we get to hear and share many fascinating memories.

It is a joy and a privilege.

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