Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Cutting-Edge Technology Behind Print On Demand Book production.

A Publisher Event at Ingram Lightning Source.

Last week I and my OH were privileged to be invited - under my publishing hat - to an event at the UK print and distribution facility at Ingram Lightning Source in Milton Keynes.

Of course, in true Just Us Two style I took the opportunity - quite a valid one - to have a couple of overnight stops due to the length of the journey. A good move as it turned out due to traffic delays. I found that the Pear Tree Lodge by the Grand Union Canal and Marina in Milton Keynes was a delightful choice with easy access to the Ingram location.

Arriving early on Thursday morning, we were taken up to a pleasant presentation room by an efficient receptionist. Once there, we fortified ourselves with a nice cup of tea and chatted to other arrivals.

The presentation given by Andrew, the Marketing Manager was an eye-opener as he took us through the formation of the Ingram company in the US to the present day where the Ingram Content Group has expanded to meet modern day demands of authors, publishers, and retailers.

The tour around the print and distribution facility was both fascinating and staggering. We watched each aspect of print as jackets of all kinds came off a print run, some were I off a title some were 2 copies; the book block (inside) was passed through the printer at a rate of knots; the book and jacket were married up , trimmed and passed for packing.

The cutting edge technology was set up so that the right jacket met the right inside. Most important! All in the space of minutes.

We have been using Lightning Source for many years now. The economics of print on demand made sense to me as there is no need for a 'shed load' of books to be stored and sold to wholesalers. All that is handled by the print and distribution facilities of Ingram Lightning Source. Of courser, another benefit of Print On Demand (POD) is that each copy of pristine clean and fresh-off-the-press. The paper used in environmentally friendly and acid free. No nasty stuff to wash off after you have picked up the book as happened to me a few years ago when I ordered a book about publishing from an on line company. The book was yellowing at the edges due to storage, the paper was thick, and I had a residue on my hands. I was so glad that the publisher hadn't accepted my manuscript. And so glad that I went down the POD route with a major organisation.

Our titles are a quality production from design, to upload, to print, and receipt. Some years ago, I took a copy Chasing Rainbows to a local major retailer for consideration. The manager examined the book and declared 'well, you have quality.' At the time, there were still some reservations - and suspicions - about POD. It has taken some time for the industry to realise what a benefit POD is. In fact some major organisations use Ingram Lightning Source. They are not a special order in the traditional sense as for retailers,there is the 'returnable' option if they want to find shelf space for a copy or two and they only need to order what they need from one book upwards. Ordering a copy at the point of sale would of course probably be regarded as a special order by the bookseller.

The day was well organised by Emily Wright, Marketing Coordinator. Andy was on hand to answer any queries and I also had the opportunity to discuss eBooks with a member of the new Ingram Spark set-up. We left with much food for thought. 

(There is also a machine called the Espresso Book Machine which is available in some retailer stores/Universities in various parts of the world including Europe. Imagine ordering a book at checkout and watching it being printed, bound and handed to you before you could finish your cup of coffee. All our titles are in the catalogue.)

Arriving back at our hotel after lunch, we walked along the canal bank, over Pear Tree Bridge and around the village green for a cool cider at Ye Old Swan.



Monday, 22 August 2016

More tales in the hurly burly of writing life.

The last few weeks have been a mixed bag.

Wearing two hats in my writing, marketing and publishing life I hop about from one focus to  another. I was going to say  from my main love, travel,  but both travel and personal development are dear to my heart.

It is August and the silly season when many people forsake the UK for more exotic climes. I did read this weekend that the number of what they call 'staycation' holidays have increased massively. In other words people have stayed in the UK.

During our years riding our beloved Honda Gold Wing we went on ride-outs in North Wales and beyond as well as  to events in other parts of the country. I have to say that if we had not, we would never have discovered the true beauty, diversity, and the staggering extremes in the formation of this land of ours. On a bike you can go on roads that you wouldn't have dreamed of before. It is not the same in a car - you are not at one with the world the same.

With our wings clipped now - forgive the pun -  we are limited to reading on Face Book how our friends are having fun as they hop from one event to another or simply ride off in a group. Snowdonia is one of our favourites as I have posted on here many times. The drive to Llangollen in particular and Betws-y-Coed are so different at all times of the year when the mountains are wearing a different dress. Barren one season, clothed in purple heather and yellow gorse, or snow capped mountains giving way to the new growth of spring in others, at every turn the view is stupendous.

So what about this mixed bag?

It is also that time of year when many are leaving full-time education and stepping into

that scary new world of work. Their learning journey has not ended with full-time education. It in reality is only just starting as they forge their way in the world.

Now that I am a lone worker, I find that I am increasing my knowledge on the technical front as the organisations that I work with on the publishing side have updated and expanded their websites for data submission.  All exciting as I can now feed more detailed metadata to the printer/distributor.  The hosting company for my websites recently re-designed their platform which meant that I had to completely update and input  before the cut off date of September which is now alarmingly near. The changes make for a more vibrant site and even more user-friendly experience for anyone not familiar with using HTML to build a site as I am.

Now, after a change of priorities in the 'to-do' list over the last few weeks, it is time to focus on outstanding work, complete the metadata updating, and progress the notes on Tenerife and complete the first draft for Island Interludes before the end of August. ( We do have a field trip planned next year to re-visit the interior of Tenerife - just to check facts and update you see.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Stress Management. What is Stress?

What do we mean by stress?

We often hear someone saying: ‘I am stressed!’ Are they really? On the other hand, are they just under extreme pressure. If you are to manage your personal and professional development effectively, you need to be able to recognise and manage stress.

What is Stress?

‘Stress is a reaction, physical, mental, or emotional, to demands or changes in your life’
Diagram-Stress - copyright Rosalie Marsh 2011
(Permanente 1996 P1) 

Another explanation could be explained as follows:
‘Stress occurs when the pressures upon us exceed our resources to cope with these pressures’ (Changing Times 1997 P1)
There are many articles and books on the subject of stress. The indicators are that what is beneficial for one e.g. working under pressure, can be harmful for another, and be acute distress.

Therefore, in seeking to analyse stress, it becomes apparent that there is no stereotype definition. Acceptable stress levels vary with each individual. Indeed, they are dependent on individuals' needs and preferences, at any point in time. This indicates that what may not have been stressful some years ago, could be stressful some years later due to changing conditions and factors in a person’s life.

What is clear, is that stress occurs when pressure becomes more than is acceptable. At this point, it is counterproductive. There is a difference in stress and pressure.

Pressure is being stretched – but within the capacity of the individual
Stress occurs when pressure becomes more than acceptable. It occurs when the optimum level is reached.

Many people work well under pressure and indeed produce their best work under these conditions. However, stress (distress) is counterproductive. Pressure can turn to stress not only over workload problems; it could be work conditions, which impinge or have an adverse effect on personal life. A build-up of an unresolved problem may result in a seemingly unimportant incident being the trigger for acute distress.  This incident may reflect back to psychological problems or feelings previously buried.

Post published on LinkedIn 09.08.2016

Excerpt fro Release Your Potential 2011

Rosalie Marsh http://www.discover-rosalie.com

Monday, 1 August 2016

Some fine and relaxed dining in and around Wrexham

One of our 'hobbies' shall I say, is treating ourselves to a meal in a relaxed restaurant with good food and service.

In North Wales there are many such venues ranging from small pubs to larger establishments.  Here are just a sample of what you can find in and around Wrexham.

The Golden Lion Pub and Restaurant, Chester Road  Rossett. Wrexham. Rossett.http://www.thegoldenlionrossett.co.uk/
Situated in the very heart of the lovely village of Rossett, just past the old mill with its water wheel,The Golden Lion is managed by  Allan Parrington who combines efficiency, friendliness and flexibility of seating for parties with keeping the wheels turning with his cheerful team.
Some recent additions are new patio furniture in the rear extensive gardens plus a new outdoor eating area at the front amid a profusion of flower tubs and hanging baskets. We know from experience how flexible the team are in re-arranging the interlinking rooms for parties of various sizes. Over the years we have got to know some of the locals and the friendly staff. There is ample parking.
Oh, and did I mention the food? A high standard as always with good wines. Our favourite Sunday Lunch choice.

A cosy fire in winter. 

A view from one of the dining rooms.                 Daffodils in Spring.

The Beeches, Chester Road, Gresford. http://www.whitbreadinns.co.uk/the-beeches-pub-and-restaurant
A Whitbread Inn the pub/restaurant is next door the recently extended The Premier Inn. The menu is extensive and the wines good. Staff are friendly and the waiter service is most welcome. We enjoy going her in the week for lunch.

The Lemon Tree Restaurant with Rooms. Rhosddu Road, Wrexham. http://thelemontree.org.uk/
In the centre of town within convenient walking distance from the bus station and rail station. We have visited many times over the years under various managements. It is a lovely location with an excellent menu for lunch or dinner - or even just a coffee while you read the paper and meet with friendsafter a shopping session.

The Egerton Arms, Broxton Roundabout, Chester. http://www.egerton-arms.com/
About ten miles from Wrexham off the Nantwich Road at the Broxton Rd/ Whitchurch Road junction. An excellent choice with good food, wines, service and friendly staff. All managed by Wayne Barlow.

The Stamford Bridge, Tarvin Road Chester. http://www.stamfordbridgeinn.co.uk/
Although it is a while since we have been there as it is a little far out for us, I am giving it a mention as our friend from The Golden Lion, Richard,  has recently taken over the management. We will have to pay him a visit. His knowledge of wines is excellent.

Even further out but handy for meeting friends who live a distance away is The Boat House at Parkgate. www.theboathouseparkgate.co.uk Managed by Wayne who we first met at The Golden Lion some years ago.

Just a flavour!