Feel free to congratulate me on uploading an image – albeit a hazy one – onto my blog for the first time.
I’ve signed up for a mentoring scheme where people who know the publishing ropes act as mentors and help clueless types like me. The Independent Publishers’ Guild who run the scheme have been very generous and given me two mentors, one of whom I was lucky enough to meet earlier this week.
I was kindly invited by Chris Jolly, MD of Jolly Learning, to visit him at his office in Essex. His business, where he and his 20 or so staff work, is in fact based in a wing of his very large country home.
Chris told me when explaining his business, that they also have a warehouse larger than a football pitch from where they send out large orders. I told him I ran my company from a tiny room which I share with my son’s toys. Upon hearing I had a son, Chris searched through boxes and gave me some Jolly Phonics books.
Chris also introduced me to every member of staff and they told me a little of what they did. One ran the website, one handled marketing, one liaised with illustrators, one handled the finance, one made the coffee, and so on.
Chris has grown the business over 32 years so that now Jolly Learning sells two million books a year. Two million. If Firestone Books sell half that in my lifetime I’d probably faint. As he spoke, I scrawled down everything I could in a pad, and will try absorb and apply all the advice I was given.
Why is Jolly Learning so successful – I couldn’t really say, at least not in under 9872628 words. But whatever the reasons, my son is absolutely hooked on the Jolly Phonics books he was given.