Preston Jongbloed creates e-commerce websites but also prints book for self published authors. He says lockdown had authors writing feverishly, so he has a stockpile of books to print. Jongbloed, right chats to Jayson George at a conference. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Preston Jongbloed creates e-commerce websites but also prints book for self published authors. He says lockdown had authors writing feverishly, so he has a stockpile of books to print. Jongbloed, right chats to Jayson George at a conference. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Helping authors fulfil book dreams

By Nathan Adams Time of article published Nov 29, 2020

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Preston Jongbloed creates e-commerce websites but also prints book for self published authors. He says lockdown had authors writing feverishly, so he has a stockpile of books to print. Jongbloed, right chats to Jayson George at a conference. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Preston Jongbloed owns a digital marketing and publishing agency. He creates e-commerce websites and also prints book for those self published authors. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Preston Jongbloed owns a digital marketing and publishing agency. He creates e-commerce websites and also prints book for self published authors. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Successful businnesses begin when smart entrepeneurs find solutions and turn them into profitable businesses.

This is how Preston Jongbloed began building a printing and publishing operation. He and his wife Tanya run the digital marketing agency Brandgrowth Agency and during the lockdown they managed to keep their business afloat by creating e-commerce websites for clients, managing their social media accounts and helping with various online campaigns. Since he launched his own book Dream Again in 2016, which was self published, Jongbloed decided to start helping other self-published authors get their work onto bookshelves.

“It was after the terrible experience of eventually getting my book out that I said I am going to refresh my skills and build a team that can do book publishing,” he said.

Jongbloed added: “I had a desktop publisher that I worked with and it was a nightmare, this person was unreliable but because I was so far in the process, I couldn’t change service providers.”

With the Brandgrowth Agency already going strong, Jongbloed then added another division to his business. He said: “I went for a refresher course and did an internship at a big printing press that prints books; I had a friend who approached me and asked me how it’s done so we developed his book and subsequently we’ve done about 25 titles.”

Recently, he took advantage of the weak rand currency and expanded to offer his publishing services to overseas clients.

Jongbloed said: “Because we belong to book publishing forums around the world we have now been able to service clients in Australia and the US – we got these two clients two weeks ago. These books are due at the end of March.”

With the lockdown being a perfect time to put pen to paper, Jongbloed says they have manuscripts waiting to hit the printing press: “We have about 15 outstanding projects at the moment, between now and June next year.”

He now does the design, layout, book editing, the legal aspects, branding and marketing and web developing and getting it into an e-book format for anyone who’s taken the step into self publishing their work. He offers authors a competitively priced package to print their work which Jongbloed said is a huge saving when compared to big publishing houses.

There are three parts to his business: the digital marketing division, the book publishing business and training and development. It was the training side of his business that took the hardest knock during the height of the pandemic in Cape Town. “The digital side is what keeps the business going, our bread and butter ... but we also train people on social media management and we do all training concerning the workplace from conflict resolution to report writing and more.” He added: “Digitally we scaled up during the lockdown. We took every social media client on our books who never had a website and we digitised them either to go fully online, mobi or go the app route.”

And this outweighed what the business lost in not being able to offer their training and development courses.

Jongbloed said he is optimistic about the future and the growth of his business.

He wants his company to expand into a fully fledged advertising agency that can help brands grow and be profitable beyond expectations.

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