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Anthony Bullock, father of three and founder of Monday2Friday publishing.
If you’ve ever had that Good Life feeling that you want to give it all up and
start again, then you’ll know how Anthony Bullock felt a couple of years ago and
you’d probably admire him for going with his instincts.
“I noticed when we first had Esme that everything changed inside me. I had an added responsibility that I didn’t expect. I really loved it, I knew right from the beginning I knew that’s what I was here for; I had this realisation that that’s what it’s all about, they are the most important thing from now on. I really had this feeling that now it all makes sense.”
He admits it was a difficult decision to make to walk out on a very secure job, but if the amount of enthusiasm he clearly has for his new life and Monday2 Friday Books is anything to go by, I doubt if he would have been deterred very easily. Two years later with a flourishing new publishing business producing bedtime stories ‘for grown ups to read to children’, he has no regrets.
“I really had to think whether I was doing the right thing. Carol was fantastic, she just said ‘well, you haven’t got a choice because you’re so unhappy and you’ve been so happy since you decided to do leave’ ”.
Anthony had already had the ideas for children’s stories that are divided into five nightly chunks and began researching it while taking time out to help with the new baby. It was the first time he’d been so involved in the experience of a new baby, despite already having two children and it was a bit of an eye opener for him.
“When I went through that first year I was a bit lost and was coming up with lots of ideas as to what to do as well as dealing with the new baby. I was right there with that and really enjoyed it. It was really great for my relationship with Esme (8) and Josie (6) as well.
With four titles under their belts already, it is just a year since they first went to the London Book Fair with a sample book to look for a publisher. They got a lucky break and managed to find a company willing to help them make Monday2Friday Books (m2f) a reality. Despite now being available in most high street bookstores, it remains very much a family affair as Carol is now working two days a week on editing the books having studied creative writing herself for several years. The children too are a part of the business as they initially provided the chief test bed for the stories Anthony was writing, though they proved to be a little less than objective:
“They’re our product testers but the trouble is they tend to be too loyal, ridiculously loyal. ‘Oh yeah, Dad, that’s brilliant’ is the usual response and you can’t convince them to criticise it. So the real testers tend to be their friends in class via their parents who we’ve asked not to tell the kids who wrote them. Although that’s not working out too well now either as the girls have told all their friends what we do..”
The idea for the books came about by swapping notes with friends who are also parents about the difficulty of being consistent with stories with slightly older children. Anthony feels the age range between picture books and chapter books has little to offer.
Children between 5 and 8 years are too old for picture books but perhaps not quite ready for the length of book that, say, Harry Potter is. So m2f books aim to fill the gap by providing chapters that are 10-15 minutes long but that also have a synopsis at the beginning so that parents can quickly sum up what has happened previously for their own and the child’s benefit.
That way, if a few days have passed since they began the book or another parent is reading that night, it is easy to pick up and carry on.
“The nice thing about the summary idea is that you can read one day a week over five weeks if you want to and it doesn’t matter, the summary helps you instantly remember what happened before. It’s one of the comments we receive most often on the website that it makes it so easy for parents to share the reading or to pick it up again a few days later.”
With ambitions to have 16 titles on the shelves next year, it certainly won’t be an easy year for Anthony and the family but I can’t imagine he would have it any other way.
To find out more about Monday2Friday’s books, please go to m2fbooks
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