Jamie Parker | Non-fiction Author

Bringing Political History to Life: Painting Britain Blue

"The standard was so high in most areas, so my expectations were high. SilverWood’s publishing service is professional and good value for money; they are really good if you’re looking for an end-to-end service. They help you from the conception of your idea, then take your book and allow you to produce something which looks like a fully professional, published book that you’d see in any bookshop."
Jamie Parker | Author

Author profile

Since studying history at Cambridge, author Jamie Parker has worked as an analyst and a management consultant. When he first started penning his thoughts about the political dramas of recent years, Jamie thought it might make an interesting academic article to add a contribution and a new voice to the debate. Yet as his ideas flowed, he soon found he had ten thousand words. He says, "As a writer, you’ve got to start somewhere. At first it felt like a muddle of incoherent thoughts, but once I began organising my work into chapters, I saw it had the potential to be much longer. By following the chronology of our political history, I soon realised there was much more to say on each of the constituent parts. The first pandemic lockdown gave me extra time and the momentum to write the majority of the book. Once I went back to full-time work, it was harder to find the time, but that’s when I finished the book. It didn’t feel like a chore, I really enjoyed writing it."

Published in August 2021, Painting Britain Blue is designed to be as accessible as possible for people interested in politics, rather than a partisan read. Although it more obviously appeals to people who align with centre-right politics, it gives a compelling explanation of the Labour Party’s difficulties in winning and holding power. As Jamie points out, "I wanted to pitch it as 'surveying the scene’ across the last 120 years of political history." Painting Britain Blue is a must-read for anyone interested in the current state of British politics and what the future might hold. Since publishing the book, Jamie has moved into a more politically-focused job role.

Common challenges for first-time authors

When searching for a publisher, Jamie was looking for quality that would reflect the work he had put into the research and the writing. "I searched online to find a publisher - and the quality was what drew me to SilverWood. I had a really good call with the publishing assistant at the start, they were very professional and I felt reassured early on that I was in good hands. It was an easy decision because I didn’t feel the quality or guidance would be there with the others. SilverWood was higher in price, but I could see the value they were adding."

Jamie needed guidance on the publishing process, not having had any experience of the importance of typeface, fonts and interior. The one thing that was obvious to him was the importance of the cover to help the book stand out, as people judge it first. "The publishing was a very clear, linear process and well-guided. Before SilverWood started to ask me questions about it, I hadn’t thought through the fonts and sizes. But that’s what I liked about SilverWood: they know all the British best-in-class standards for publishing books and gave advice for what to do with mine. The cover design was a memorable part and I thought that they did a fantastic job on it."

Seeing the book in print and marketing it

On reflection, Jamie recognises that your book reaches a point where you have to hand over control and trust your publisher. "One thing I’d do differently is that I was trying to change things a bit too far down the line. I needed to recognise that once you get into the publishing process, you’ve handed the book over and it’s time to accept that there has to be a hard stop on making minor changes."

Receiving the books was a proud moment for Jamie. "It was a really good feeling, it was like the climax of a long journey to see the physical books arrive." Upon publication, he held two book launches, the first one on Zoom with friends and family. Jamie organised the second launch at Hatchards on Piccadilly, where although numbers were Covid-restricted, he filled all the seats.
Sales of the book in the first five months after publication were promising, setting a foundation for Jamie’s future book marketing plans. Jamie has taken part in podcasts and given talks about the book and plans to do more in the coming year to tie in with Britain’s ever-changing political news and events.

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