Andrew and Jennie’s
Jennie and Andrew wish you a Spice Christmas
Hello again from Santa Diego. Yes it’s that time again where I alleviate my guilt for not/barely having talked with you all year by palming you off with this cheesy, mass-produced, egocentric letter. I hope it finds you well.
Proposing on the Plane
The big news of the year is that, after 6-1/2 years, I finally proposed to Jennie. Fortunately she said yes. We were on the plane back from England at the time so we got some free champagne out of it. We want to do a party in the US and one in England so we’re going to wait a while until we have the time and money to put that together. In the meantime we’re just happy being committed partners.
Publishing My First Book
The other big news was that I published my book this year. If you remember from last year’s episode, I left my job in April 1996 to self-publish a series of guides for people who enjoy photography. I spent the first half of this year over a hot computer, combining 400 photos with some text to make a 352 page book. I sent it to the Korean printer in April 1997 and spent most of the next eight weeks on the phone, fax and Email at midnight trying to get it printed.
I printed two titles, PhotoSecrets San Francisco and Northern California and PhotoSecrets Yosemite. The most exciting days were one in June when I drove to Los Angeles docks to receive 18 pallets of books through customs and load them onto a truck to my distributor, and one in August when we first found my books on the shelves of our local bookshop. Since then I’ve been busy trying to market the books. Like most businesses, publishing seems to be 20% creation and 80% sales.
The books are now on sale at major US and Canadian chain bookshops (Barnes & Noble, Borders, Crown), media stores (Virgin, Tower Records), discount chains (Costco, Target, Walmart online), giftstores (SF Visitor Information Center, W.H.Smiths, Golden Gate Bridge, Monterey Bay Aquarium), museums (Ansel Adams Museum, Museum of San Francisco, Museum of Photographic Arts), Yosemite National Park, travel book shops and camera shops.
I’ve sold about 4,500 books so far which is pretty good for a self-published series. They’re not available in the UK yet as I need to build up a bigger list of titles before I can get distribution there.
I’m now working on PhotoSecrets San Diego which is due out in May 1998. Next year I’ll start on an Arizona and Grand Canyon book.
Meanwhile, Jennie has been progressing at her PR/Advertising job. She’s been with Bailey/Gardiner Creative Communications (10 employees) for about eighteen months now. She develops and pitches stories to the media (TV, newspapers and magazines) to get coverage for her clients which include a golf resort, a chain of athletic clubs, AIDS Walk San Diego, an historic hotel and others. She’s also got PhotoSecrets reviewed in major photography magazines (Outdoor Photographer, Shutterbug’s Outdoor and Nature Photography, Petersen’s Photographic and Family Photo) in her spare time!
Back in England
Our holiday this year was to England (again!) in July. We spent a great re-union weekend in Bolton with my University friends (now mostly married with children), met some more University friends in London, travelled around the Cotswolds with my parents and brother, and met my relatives in Oxford, Cheltenham and Bristol.
My brother Patrick has just resigned from Jaguar and will be spending most of next year travelling around South and Central America - hopefully he’ll stop off in North America. My Dad is busy setting up a sales and marketing firm for a maker of ozone manufacturing equipment. My parents are considering moving from Redditch but haven’t decided a destination yet.
In Other News:
We were visited this year by Peter Finter (ex-GEC Coventry) and James Tagg (ex-Manchester) and his wife Elizabeth. We’re taking bookings for next year! I’m still sailing and it has been going well - I won a couple of series this year and came second in four others. Jen and I have taken to spending weekends with friends at a house in Mexico.
I hope everything is well with you. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and keep in touch.
Andrew and Jennie
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