It is hard to believe that it is really 5 years since this little yellow kite was let loose to soar around the publishing universe, swooping among authors, designers, illustrators, editors and agents and enticing them to come and join in and create some very special books with us. The vision for this imprint was to publish books to help readers live a good life – whatever ‘good’ means to them – and to inspire and show them innovative and interesting ways to do just that. I hope we have delivered on our promise.
Five years on and our original team of two has more than doubled in size and we have published more than 100 new books, and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in that short time. We have created an industry-leading self-help and wellbeing imprint with a strong identity and a loyal following. I could tell you about our shortlisting for Imprint of the Year at The Bookseller Industry Awards in 2016, or about our record-breaking sales success with Deliciously Ella’s wonderful vegan cookbooks, or about the other books that have nudged their way into the Sunday Times bestseller lists, or about the numerous rights deals, audio sales, ebook sales, or the innovative commissioning by our editors, or about how we have helped create trends, or about our fantastic Yellow Kite events and festivals. But I am not going to do that. Instead I am going to tell you a story.
This story is about a man who was always seeking something else to make his life complete. He was an actor, and he was young, and he was living a party lifestyle. He knew deep down that the way he was living wasn’t serving him well, but it wasn’t until he suffered from a breakdown and went to live in a quiet place surrounded by people who were content and happy that the man realised he too could find happiness, and that the happiness was within him. He became a Buddhist monk and learnt to meditate, but it was hard to do. He sometimes felt lonely and uncertain. After a while, he decided to go into a retreat for 4 years to deepen his meditation practice. He found it was an incredibly helpful tool that gave him insight and helped transform his thinking and his attitude. When he emerged from his retreat, the world had changed a lot! He realised that a lot of things people were grasping for were external things, which they believed would make them happy. The monk decided to teach other people meditation and to write a book about his journey, to help inspire other people to find the happiness within them. Today he is regarded as one of the most influential meditation teachers in the country.
I am delighted to announce here one of our lead titles for 2019 – A Monk’s Guide to Happiness by Gelong Thubten. Thubten is a world pioneer in mindfulness meditation teaching, with over 20 years’ experience working with businesses, hospitals, schools, universities, prisons and addiction counselling centres. He works with major clients such as Google and LinkedIn and he teaches mindfulness to medical students. He is a wonderful warm and compassionate person and I am thrilled to be publishing his first book in June 2019.
This is the kind of book that can change someone’s life. If a reader can relate to Thubten’s story and feel inspired by his ‘micro-moments’ of mindfulness and bring them into their own life, then they will see an improvement. We want to find the best authors writing about topics that are relevant and meaningful and that provide readers with the tools they need to inspire them and to help them tweak their own lives and improve themselves. We want every book to find its audience and to become a lasting success.
When we launched back in 2014 the publishing landscape and the media landscapes were both quite different; platforms we take for granted in 2019, such as Instagram, Stylist magazine, The Pool, YouTube – were either in their infancy or didn’t even exist. Meanwhile the conversation around health and wellbeing, mental health and happiness, and around topics like veganism and the environment has changed dramatically. We have tried to always be at the forefront of these movements and to understand the environment we are publishing into and to publish books that matter, books that people want to read, and books that are beautiful and that people want to own. I am so incredibly proud of the list, and of my team and of my authors and of the legacy we have created within the publishing industry and the wider world, and I want to thank you all, especially the readers of this blog, for all the support and encouragement along the way. This is a major milestone. Here’s to the next 5!