Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Jelly Bean Fairy

Earlier this month I visited the offices of my two publishers. SPCK publish my previously self-published children’s books and Lion Hudson, my new mystery series for adults.

I was warmly welcomed at SPCK and was introduced to seven different people who were all working on some aspect of my books; from editorial, to distribution, to marketing, to sales, to design and stock management. I noted wryly that not so long ago I was doing all seven of those things on my own. No wonder I was exhausted!

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child, and the same can be said for publishing a book. Even though I used to do most of it on my own, I know that it can now be done with much greater efficiency and much less threat to my physical and mental health.

Publishing is team work. And even when I was largely on my own, I wasn’t entirely. I had a wonderful illustrator and designer – Amy Barnes Warmington – and my husband Rodney, who managed the website and e-sales. Then my daughter Megan who helped sell books at launches and markets. Beyond that I had supportive friends who helped promote the books and kind book shop managers who stocked it.

These ‘secondary’ roles are just as important to the team and should not be forgotten.

I was reminded of this when I visited my other publisher, Lion Hudson, a few days later. Again I was warmly welcomed and introduced to various people who were working on my book. I was also accompanied by fellow Lion Fiction authors Elizabeth Flynn and CF Dunn who have been immensely supportive on my journey to getting the book published.

But there was one person who I didn’t get to meet and that was the Jelly Bean Fairy. Dotted around the Lion Hudson offices were bags of jelly beans. I asked who provided them, and neither of my editors was able to tell me. I suggested that perhaps it was the Jelly Bean Fairy and was told that that indeed was the most likely explanation.

The Lion Hudson Jelly Bean Fairy, whoever he or she may be, performs a crucial role on the team. They bring happiness and joy through their kindness and make the office a nicer place to work – and that will have a spin-off effect on my books too.

Who are the Jelly Bean Fairies in your life? A family member who brings you a cup of tea when you’re working late? A friend who gives you a cuddle when you’re feeling down after yet another rejection? Perhaps it’s an online friend. I know of lots of Jelly Bean Fairies in the ACW Facebook group whose kindness and thoughtfulness has made the lonely business of writing and publishing a sweeter place.

The Lord made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, pastors or teachers and … some to be Jelly Bean Fairies. And thank God that He did.

Fiona Veitch Smith is a writer and writing lecturer, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She writes across all media, for children and adults. Her formerly self-published children’s books The Young David Series, are now available from SPCK. Her mystery novel, The Jazz Files, the first in the Poppy Denby Investigates Series (Lion Fiction), is due out in September 2015 but can be pre-ordered now..


  1. What a lovely idea! And a real challenge: Not just to recognise the Jelly Bean Fairies in our own lives, but to work out how we can join their ranks.

    1. Yes, we should all be Jelly Bean Fairies!

    2. We could start a movement - you supply the wings, and I'll bring the tutus.

    3. Yes! We could have jelly bean coloured ones!

  2. Love this, Fiona! Thank you.

  3. Lovely. The world needs many more Jelly Bean Fairies. :-)

  4. Thanks Fiona. This made me smile. And I too am grateful to God for making some to be jelly bean fairies :D