Yorkshire pub landlady swaps pints for print
15 November 2010
A former Barnsley pub landlady who refused to give up when her book was rejected by major publishers has launched a new business to help other would-be authors.
Grandmother Margaret Foster was 59 when she started a degree and wrote From Pit Boots to Green Wellies based on her life behind the bar during the 1980s.
After approaches to around 30 publishers failed, she and husband Geoff turned to the Business Mine, part of the Enterprising Barnsley programme, for practical support to set up their own company Fruition Publishing and get Margaret’s book out to the public.
From Pit Boots to Green Wellies is now on sale at local branches of WH Smith and Waterstones as well as at smaller independent book shops and online via Amazon. Within two weeks of its launch it had sold 120 copies.
Margaret and Geoff aim to provide a route to publication for other authors who are struggling to be noticed by major publishers, while also offering support at every stage of the process.
Margaret, of Athersley, said the name of the business came about because she firmly believes dreams can come to fruition through hard work and determination.
She was accepted for a Psychological Studies degree at University Campus Barnsley (UCB), part of the University of Huddersfield, despite having left school at 14 and having no formal qualifications. She wrote the book in her spare time while also helping to care for her father Patrick, aged 83, who lives with the couple.
The book recounts Margaret’s early childhood in Ireland and follows her setting down roots in Barnsley and taking on her first licence at Carlton’s Woodmoor pub during the miners’ strike; then on to two other pubs in the mystic moors of Haworth and the surrounding countryside. Although the book is autobiographical, Margaret weaves in historical facts about places featured.
Margaret, now 61 and due to graduate next year, said: “It’s always been my dream to write a book. I was writing it without anyone’s knowledge, even my husband’s, and I’m absolutely thrilled to see it on sale. I feel very lucky to have received so much practical help as well as guidance and support to get this far and now Geoff and I want to make a business out of passing on everything we’ve learned to other new writers.”
Margaret and Geoff received £1,000 towards their venture from the Proof of Concept Fund available through the Business Mine, which is based at UCB. The Business Mine offers University of Huddersfield students and recent graduates a professional environment in which to research and develop ideas for businesses or self-employment for up to 12 months, as well as access to bursaries and grants and free services include business mentoring.
Fruition’s website was set up with assistance from Enterprising Barnsley’s Services to Business project which employs placement students to provide eligible small to medium-sized Barnsley firms with up to five days of free work.
The Business Mine’s coordinator Suzanne Bagworth said: “Margaret’s commitment is inspirational and we’re delighted to help Margaret and Geoff get their ideas off the ground.
“When you’re starting out in business, it can make all the difference to have someone to bounce ideas off or to talk to when things get complicated.”
The Enterprising Barnsley programme offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential. Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
For more information about the Business Mine or Services to Business Scheme contact Suzanne on (01226) 644262 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to News Editors:
Margaret Foster can be contacted on (01226) 291535.
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, University Campus Barnsley and Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support.