holywell makes self-publishing easy: release your inner author

Benjamin Burrows

Managing Director

holywell makes self-publishing easy: release your inner author

Developments in print technology mean it’s never been easier or more cost effective to publish a book. If you’ve written something that you haven’t had published or if you’re in the process of writing now and wondering how to publish a book, we can help. 

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Whether it’s an autobiography, a novel, a collection of poetry, a children’s book, an illustrated book, or an academic or business book, Holywell can take care of all aspects of the production process with our digital and lithographic presses, in-house finishing and our design studio.

Self-publishing may seem daunting at first but we at Holywell have a wealth of expertise and experience and have helped a wide range of authors into print. We offer bespoke advice on all aspects of the publishing process from manuscript preparation to print, from marketing to distribution. Rather than offering a one size fits all approach, Holywell takes particular care to tend to the needs of each of our clients individually.

Over many years, we have published many books for a wide variety of authors. Here are just a few examples of self-published books we have produced:

A Kewriosity of Dragons by L A Perdoni

A Kewriosity of Dragons by L.A. Perdoni

Leon Perdoni first contacted Holywell on the recommendation of a friend in the hope that we could help him publish his fantasy story centring on the mystery of the dragon sculptures from the Kew Gardens pagoda.

Leon was new to publishing and printing and was grateful to the Press for advice on all aspects of the process from how to register for an ISBN to the materials and binding alternatives. He has described his experience of working with us as “a pleasure from the start” and was very pleased with the outcome. The casebound books with colour illustrations printed on high-quality 115gsm off-white paper and finished with case binding and foil blocking to the front and spine have been widely admired.

If you are interested in buying a copy of the book, then please get in touch with the author at [email protected].

Since the publication of A Kewriosity of Dragons, we have worked with Leon again on a second book, A Slice of Green Apple, which was published in December last year. This book was perfect bound but with a cover with flaps, making the cover feel more substantial than a standard paperback book. Again the story is accompanied by colour illustrations.


Private View by Jean McCurdy

Private View by Jean McCurdy

Elaine McCurdy came to Holywell because she was an admirer of the poetry anthologies published by Lautus Press (www.lautuspress.co.uk) and printed by the Press. We worked closely with her to produce this anthology of poems by her late mother accompanied by black and white illustrations. We designed and laid out the book as well as printing and binding the books in-house. Elaine was very pleased with the finished books:

“The book looks fabulous, thank you so much and I really like the laminated finish which will give the book a much longer shelf-life. Thank you for all your help!” Elaine McCurdy

If you are interested in buying a copy of Private View then please get in touch with Elaine McCurdy at [email protected]


The Templar's Garden by Catherine Alette Clover

The Templar’s Garden by Catherine Alette Clover

When Oxford University graduate, Catherine Alette Clover, was looking for a printer to produce her debut historical novel, The Templar’s Garden, she looked for a long-established Oxford printer because of her ties to the city and the part the city plays in the book itself. Holywell was a natural choice and a perfect fit.

Catherine was first attracted by the publications we regularly print for Areté. Like the Areté titles, Catherine's book has a double cover. It has a standard paperback cover printed on coloured card with the addition of a dust jacket with flaps.

Catherine was pleasantly surprised to learn that, not only could we print the book for her, but our studio could also design and typeset the book and indeed provide the illustrations that she was looking to include in the book. The illustrations were produced in our studio to look like they had been drawn with childlike naivety by the main character of the novel, a young girl. Another unusual feature of The Templar’s Garden is the addition of hand-drawn fold-out maps and family trees.


Death at Bishop Rock by Hugh Trevor

Death at Bishop Rock by Hugh Trevor

Hugh Trevor is the pen name for Dr J. T. Hughes, a retired physician, pathologist and medical scientist, a career which surely qualifies him more than most to write a novel with death at its centre! ‘Death at Bishop Rock’ is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Isles of Scilly and follows an investigation into a mysterious death at sea.

Dr Hughes supplied the text of his book in Word format for us to work from, and ahead of printing, we produced laser proofs for him to check. All text was digitally printed in one colour. The book is case bound with the dust jacket printed lithographically in two colours – finished with matt laminate and spot gloss UV.

“Holywell is now the main surviving high-quality printer in Oxford. They combine old-fashioned practices of quality printing with ultra-modern equipment and well-trained staff. Nothing is too much trouble, and they were happy to proof my book several times for me.” Hugh Trevor

Since Death at Bishop Rock, we have produced two further murder mysteries for Dr Hughes: Mediterranean Murders and Pall Mall Murder.


Out of Bounds by Bruce Hugman

Back in 1975, when he was 30, Bruce sat down and wrote the story of his life up to that point. It lay neglected among dozens of other manuscripts until 2012 when he decided it was time to do something with it.

Bruce’s book is among the finest we’ve produced. The case-bound version of the book is printed in 4 colours throughout, with gold blocking to the spine and a matt laminated dust jacket. We produced special versions with head and tail bands, ribbon markers, and slipcases. 

“It has been a journey of extraordinary pleasure and achievement. Given my amateur status in the production of books, Ben and the team showed great patience and support in helping me devise the plan for a beautiful book. The books were everything I could have hoped for; the service, exceptional in every aspect.” Bruce Hugman


Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus by Sue Wikstead
Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus by Sue Wickstead

Primary school teacher Sue decided to turn her creative talents to authoring a children’s book, and the result was ‘Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus’. Having used a publisher for her first book, Sue decided that self-publishing would be a better route for her new venture, giving her the freedom and flexibility she wanted. Sue was impressed by our broad capabilities. The fact that we’re experienced in printing a wide range of books of all genres gave her the confidence to entrust us with the project. The picture book is litho printed in full colour throughout and perfect bound.

“Self-publishing my own book has been a learning experience, but working with Holywell has been very straightforward. Jay-Jay has been taking shape in my mind for many years, and it’s great to see him finally take off! I’m really pleased with how the book looks, and I’m already thinking about the next one!”

Sue Wickstead

Sue has since published two further Jay-Jay adventures and her latest book features another bus, Daisy Daydream. All her books are available from her website, www.suewickstead.com.

If you’d like to find out more about self-publishing or book printing, please call 01865 242098 or contact us using the button below.

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