Mama Makes Books

<em>Kicking off during February 2021 in the middle of a covid lockdown Mama Makes Books took a leap of faith and put their bright and cheerful books out there into the world.

With a commitment to producing quality products in an environmentally friendly way, recycled materials, no plastics, and carbon offsets, they not only want to make great books but help toward keeping a planet for the children they produce these books for.

Mama Makes Books
49 Newlands Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN4 9AS, UK

Twitter: @mamamakesbooks
Instagram: @mamamakesbooks

In their own words…

When did you start publishing?

In February 2021 – the timing couldn’t have been worse! All the important bookfairs were cancelled the year before so the fact that I managed to launch at all felt like a mini-triumph.

What made you want to start an independent publisher?

I was going through a time of deep reflection after I lost my mum. I had been working in children’s publishing for 30 years and the words of a lovely lady I met at a friend’s BBQ kept ringing in my ears. She was a successful businesswoman in the theme park industry. She said, “It’s all about the ideas. You have ideas. You should do it yourself.” I am naturally adventurous and entrepreneurial, so I decided to do just that and I haven’t looked back.

What genres do you specialise in?

Children’s books: baby and toddler books, early learning and non-fiction.

Where are you based?

In Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Do you have a submission window, if so when?

I’m open to submissions anytime for clever ideas, originality and new approaches to popular subjects, or those ideas that have an educational aspect to them – not fiction or picture books.

What is your submission procedure?

Just direct via email. You don’t need an agent. If it’s not for me, I’ll probably email back quickly. If it sounds interesting, it may take a little longer. I like to let ideas rumble around in my head for a while. All submissions should be well thought through book proposals that detail the target age group, the unique selling points, similar (successful) titles, along with the text or a sample of the text if it’s non-fiction. I don’t need to see any artwork, unless you are a professional illustrator with an idea, and then I’d love to.

Who are you (team photo if possible)?

We are a small team. Me, my partner and our daughter. We are now lucky enough to be working with a PR and marketing consultant, and we have wonderful rights and sales agents.

Background in the book industry?

I started out at Orchard Books, working for two inspiring publishers. It was a happy place to work and the learning curve was steep. I remember the day we first got computers on our desks! I then went to Kingfisher and Ticktock, where I discovered how much I loved working on non-fiction books. When I had my daughter, I became a freelance editor, writer and book packager, creating books for publishers. I also did quite a few maternity covers – at Puffin, Macmillan and Egmont.

Talk about some of your books if possible?

We only have three published, so it’s not hard to choose. They are baby board books with interesting formats – Baby Look!, Baby Love and Tummy Time. Babies and toddlers love books that DO things, so these books are offering plenty of interactivity, with mirrors, flaps, wheels, fabrics and sliders. They were fun to create and babies love them. In July, we are publishing our star title, The Most Important Animal of All, beautifully illustrated by Hannah Bailey and endorsed by the British Ecological Society. It’s a positive introduction to ecosystems, challenging children to learn about and champion one of seven keystone species – bee, bat, beaver, elephant, shark, tiger and krill. There are photos, too, so children can marvel at the animals up close and in real-life. Next year you’ll see more of the same, with some early-learning and humour thrown in.

and future projects/dreams if you can?

I dream of having a small but mighty publishing company that publishes interesting, quirky, unusual, innovative books. I aspire to the Disney model of entertainment – producing things that kids will love and that parents enjoy sharing with them. There is nothing better than a happy shared reading experience. It’s a special bonding time.

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