Do you believe in fate? I do. If you ever needed proof, this is it. Everything in life seems as if it happens by chance, but I believe it’s more than that. It’s destiny.
I first met Jan King unexpectedly in 1998. My very first Field Sales role (after being a Croupier for many years) was selling Office Supplies. Naturally, as a few of the establishments that I had previously worked at were in my designated territory, I went in there first. One such company was called G B Alluvents in Crystal Palace, SE London where I was a Receptionist/Admin. Jan now had my old position! Of course, we hit it off immediately and I saved them a lot of money. It was a win win situation. We became firm friends over the years, through parenting, house-moves and so much more. Twenty years has gone by but funnily enough, it doesn’t feel that long.
In 2008 our lives were about to change in a way we’d never even dreamed of. Whilst visiting a client in Marylebone, I decided to pop into a free sculpture exhibition (I used to do things like that). I thought it was very interesting and I pondered how lucky I was to be able to do such a thing. Afterwards, I sat upon the stone steps outside in the winter sun to read my book(I believe I was reading ‘The Science of getting Rich’ by Wallace D Wattles) and it was then that I met the lovely Jean Fairweather, Aunt to Tendo Nagenda (worked with Disney and now Netflix). A funny, warm interesting lady. I remember Jean was wearing a Russian fur hat with big dark Jackie O sunglasses; she looked ever so glamorous.
We also became very good friends and met up a few times in London Bridge close to where my office was. On one of our luncheons, I happened to mention to Jean about a game I used to play as a child; Jean thought that it’d make a wonderful children’s book. The thought had never occurred to me at all. So, I asked Jan if she’d like to write a book with me. Of course, she said “yes”. Jean helped edit the book and taught us a lot (she has had an interesting life with much experience and even worked her way up to be the legal advisor to the board of Directors at the Daily Mirror!).
Fast forward to 2014. Jan and I had completed our manuscript and we were in need of an illustrator. One evening, Jan and I decided to go for a Tarot card reading at a lovely pub in Green St. Green, Kent. My reading was given to me by a lady named May. I did not mention the book we were writing until after I’d paid, and I told her that we were looking for an illustrator. I thought nothing of it and Jan and I went outside to the Pub garden to discuss our readings. About ten minutes later, May came running out to us calling my name. May told me that she had just given a reading to lovely young lady that was an illustrator looking for a commission! How about that?
That is how we came to know Yeliz Hakki. We were introduced immediately and that was the beginning of our friendship. Now we had our illustrator! How the Universe works is certainly a musical magical mystery. We were obviously meant to meet.
For some time, Jan, Yeliz and I worked on our children’s book, adding illustrations whilst also helping Yeliz to write her own children’s book about her cat, Flynn who sits at his favourite window and daydreams all day long.
Three publishers turned us down (we only sent to 3). To say we weren’t disappointed would be lie. We were. I think we realised that it needed much more work (which we have yet to finish by the way).
However, a strange turn of events unfolded. Jean mentioned that her sister Lisba had written a book and why don’t we publish it. Jan and I knew nothing of the world of publishing! That would not stop us. I have an Art GCSE and I’ve certainly read hundreds of books plus I know how to sell. Alongside me, Jan’s experience of graphic design, eye for detail and accounts makes us the perfect team (plus, I think she’s a natural-born sales woman).
Old King Cole Publishing Ltd was created in March 2015. How could we not utilise the fact that at the time, my surname was ‘Cole’ and Jan a ‘King’? Two best friends embarked on a new journey. What a fun, exhilarant, challenging ride it has been!
With hardly any capital and learning from scratch we achieved something we never even imagined. In August 2017, we were ever so proud and blessed to publish L.A. Osakwe’s amazing story, ‘An African Story: The Marriage’. A wonderful tale with a twist, set in ancient Africa long before any other cultures set foot upon African soil. The readers love it! This is an amazing book and beautifully written. This wonderful tale will be made into a movie on day.
Jan, Yeliz and I created the fabulous children’s book, ‘Flynn’s Window’. It was part-time though as I home educated my son plus have a daughter in school, Jan was busy with her twin daughters and Yeliz works full-time at Picturehouse Cinema’s HQ in London.
We published ‘Flynn’s Window’ by Yeliz Hakki in August 2018. The response has been overwhelming. Children, parents and teachers absolutely love it! What fabulous reviews. We have been doing many author events in schools in and around London.
February 2020 we met Norman, who had, over the years, written some poems with the idea of putting them in a book. Ninety-Eight poems later we did it! A wonderful motorcycle poetry book about Mods, Rockers, Ton-Up Boys, Teddy Boys, Beatniks, Mids, Skins and Scooter Boys. This is to be released in August 2020 and has already sold out; we now must do another print-run!
Yeliz has been extremely busy writing and illustrating her second book in the Flynn series, ‘Flynn’s Window with Friends’ which we are excited to also release in August 2020. Many have been sold pre-release. I’m sure there will be many children excited to read the new tale from Flynn the cat.
All books are available in book shops and available to buy online.
We did it! How proud we are of what we have achieved. We love the books which we have published (we will only ever publish fantastic books which we know people would want to read) and we love the fact that we have had this opportunity to help others achieve their dream of being published authors.
Not bad for a couple of ladies who knew nothing of the world of publishing. At times it’s been tough, however, it’s been exciting and we thoroughly enjoy it. We will never give up on our authors or our plan of being a respected and successful publishing house.
Onwards and upwards!