The pavements have suddenly become carpeted with conkers where I live (among the slushy leaves and crushed acorns), which can only mean one thing… Christmas is on its way! Eeek!

There, I said it… deep breath. Is it wrong that I’m already in a Christmassy mood and have (ahem) listened to several christmas songs? My excuse is that most shops seem to be playing them now, so I’ve heard them early anyway!

Dealing with Christmas early is one of the pitfalls (I love it really) of the book industry, where everything has to be planned out months in advance, which means we’ve had to consider our releases months before the first leaf even fell from the trees. Fingers crossed, I think we have a cool Christmas range this year. We’ve got a special Christmas adventure from the Boffee Bears; our new signature collection edition of Black Beauty; an anniversary hardback edition of Darkness Forbidden; the next dyslexia-friendly book from the brilliant GJ Stevens. Yes, they are unique and amazing. Yes, they do make perfect gifts.

Which made me think… what if they suddenly fly off the shelves? Can the printer respond fast enough to the demand, or will we get lost in the crazy mass crush of their crazy Christmas schedule? What if a store decides to place a mammoth order mid-November and they make it to the store with only two trading weeks left so they all get returned in the New Year? What if… what if… [deep breathes into a paper bag].

It’s not all snow, reindeer and mince pies, you know. Christmas can be mighty scary when you’re a little publisher. Still, this time last year I was thinking that we were going to have a ghastly time of it for the other reason – bad sales. Thankfully that didn’t happen and we made it through the season unscathed. It shows how far we’ve come that I’m now worried about too many sales.

There’s only one thing for it to steady my fraying nerves… a cup of hot chocolate and cranking up the volume on ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree‘!…