Big Books

Ever since the day I first saw the French edition of The Snow Leopard I have wanted my books to be published in this larger format. From the first I was told no, by editorial and sales. Bookshops won’t like them, libraries won’t like them, because they won’t fit on the shelves, I was told. Every year I would ask, every year I was told no. It worked in France, where there was still the net book agreement in place, where books come in all shapes and sizes. ( The Snow Leopard won an award in France and sold over 13 000 copies.)

Meanwhile I found two books in bookshops dominating the indies, Maps and Animalium, both large format, both beautiful, both selling well. So, I asked again and was told that, no, the size can’t work with 40 pages, and 32 pages.

Then I met Graffeg.  During the course of working with them we produced The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow. It’s a large format production, selling at £25. And, guess what? It did sell. It was Love Reading no 1 in the charts for weeks. The independent bookshops in the UK who took the book put it in the windows, on the tables, and face out on shelves, because it was big. Matthew of Graffeg said that he loved the way people would pick the book up and hug it, close to their chests. It seems that my books sell well in this large format. And so, when the rights for Icebear and The Snow Leopard were reverted to me I spoke to Graffeg and said, ‘if I give you the rights to these two books will you produce them in the large format, the same as Quiet Music?’ No hesitation. Matthew said yes. He said he had seen how people responded to The Quiet Music and to build a large format library of my books, showcasing the artwork was definitely the way forward. The book sold well, through bookshops, gift shops, galleries and as ever through Solva Woollen Mill, who are always a great support.

Today Graffeg announced the reissuing of these two books, in large format, on beautiful paper. ( Still trying to persuade them to produce them with no title or author name on covers!) Hoping there might also be Welsh language editions. Which leads me on to this. My favourite foreign edition. Tibetan.

Some time ago I was asked by a charity if they could produce a Tibetan language edition. I leapt at the chance. The people behind the request were the Rogpa Charitable Trust. However, the first reaction from my publishers came back as negative. Sometimes I refuse to take no for an answer. There wasn’t any money in this, but neither was there a reason to say no. The aim of the book was to encourage the Tibetan language to remain a living language both at home and among those in exile. So, I worked, with my editor, Janetta Otter-Barry, to get this passed and eventually the book came to life and to light. I can’t tell you what it feels like to know that this book which came to mind in a series of ideas while walking the coast path in Pembrokeshire now wanders the mountains of Tibet. This is worth so much more than money.

The Snow Leopard and Icebear have sold 53 991 and 30 561 copies so far in their lifetime. Snow Leopard is ten years old this year. I’ve been told stories of children sleeping with the books tucked under their pillows, families who have used the book as a harbour to help them through bereavement, and has been used to raise money for and awareness of snow leopards in the wild by the Snow Leopard Trust. I hope these new editions carry the beautiful leopards and bears into the hearts, dreams and minds of many more people.

The new editions will publish in September, and be available from Solva Woollen Mill in August I hope, and we will have a launch party to celebrate their release back into the wild.

About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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5 Responses to Big Books

  1. Cecilia Hewett says:

    This is such wonderful news! Your books make such beautiful gifts which are always loved so much by those to whom I give them. These gorgeous big books will be treasured even more.

  2. faith says:

    What a Wonderful thing to do! and the Tibetan alphabet is beautiful in itself!

  3. Charlie says:

    Hello Jackie,

    My 9 year old daughter has a passion for Snow Leopards and my friend brought her a card for her birthday today with your illustration ‘the child held the old leopard’s head in her small hands’

    Do you sell these illustrations as prints? I would love to get one for her for her bedroom. The little girl in the picture represents my daughter for me, she understands and loves animals but she is inexplicably drawn to the snow leopard.

    Anyway if you don’t I plan to buy the book being published in September!

  4. Bernie Bell says:

    Aye aye aye – Snow Leopards. The favourite animal of my good friend Mick, who passed from this life some years ago. They remind me of Mick.
    And – just how they ARE – I sent this to Jackie – I can’t remember if it went on the blog or not – here it is now……………

    On 3 Feb 2016, at 13:08, Bernie Bell wrote:
    Hello Jackie
    Yesterday, we received a bundle of your cards, which we’d ordered from Graffeg – they are wonder-full! I’m going to set aside the Snow Leopards and Polar Bears, for next Christmas, and the others can go out into the world, to put a smile on people’s faces!
    I’m now going to try to tell you about the dream I had last night, but, as dreams do, it’s flying away, quite quickly. All I can grasp of it, now, is that it was to do with me, wandering about somewhere, somewhere out-doors, sometimes grassy, sometimes rocky, and meeting, Snow Leopards! There were three of them, which I met singly, and then together. One of them had stunning, yellow eyes, and when I first saw him, I was afraid, but then I told myself not to be stupid, turned to meet him and greet him, and he came up to me, and presented his head to be held. “We be of one blood, thee and I”.
    It’s all a jumble, and it’s also obvious where the dream came from – receiving your cards, but I thought I’d try to get the basics of it across to you, as it was great, really great. The big Snow Leopards, all with different personalities – the yellow eyed one, being the most……impressive, and the most loving, at the same time. What a dream!
    The feel of their fur, is something else. Soft, and strong at the same time. And the noise they make, deep, deep in their insides. Not exactly purring, and not exactly growling, but ……..rumbling in a furry, soft sort of way. What a dream.
    Thank you, Jackie. I’m not sure where else the dream can from, but I know your cards, opened the door.

    And- keeping the Tibetan language alive – good on you Jackie – once again, good on you.
    If folk would like to check out Free Tibet – peas do so, and please support them.
    Cultural oppression is simply WRONG.

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