SMH Books founder Sandra Saer is retiring 30 years after setting up the publisher.
The company is based in Arundel, West Sussex, and focuses on Sussex memoirs and other local and regional books, Christian-orientated titles, and anthologies of prose and poetry. Saer will leave the business to her grandchildren to carry on.
Originally starting her working life as a local reporter in Chester, Saer became an editor and book publicist, both in a freelance capacity and for the BBC. She founded SMH in 1987 with publication of her own book, Coldwatham: A Story of Three Hamlets.
In June she celebrated her 30 years of publishing “mainly as a one-woman band” and published her latest children’s book Star Sandwiches and Moon Custard. The event was celebrated in her hometown of Arundel with a picture board of SMH Books.
A picture board of SMH Books
In January 2012, The Bookseller reported on SMH's success after Andrew Lack’s Redbreast: The Robin in Life and Literature sold 900 copies during the Christmas period.
“At the end of 2018, I am retiring from publishing,” she said. “I still have books to sell, but Star Sandwiches and Moon Custard is not only my latest, but my last book to go into print. As a poet and writer, I will not, of course, be able to stop the ‘word ideas’ coming, and written down. As Maya Angelou wisely wrote: ‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’”
She told The Bookseller: “I don’t want to give up SMH Books as such so I have left it to my grandchildren to carry it on, in my will." She has 10 grandchildren, aged between four and 21, and so SMH will be on hiatus until it is decided who will take over.
Saer has written a series of plays for television, 'The Lucky Ones' based on the Eight Beatitudes, and is now looking for a production company to take them on.