We’re into that time of year again. Story time. With the cold weather and the long evenings we could do worse than read a good book - or even write one.
The autumn colours have been glorious near us. I think because of the dry summer the leaves have actually changed colour before they’ve dropped. Beautiful reds, browns yellows pinks and even blues everywhere.
Now that we’ve put the clocks back it gets dark really early. But doesn’t that make the late afternoon and evening cosy?
News about my writing
I'm concentrating on Peace Child 4 at the moment and my book about the dark side of children's literature – which is making me read a lot and also reread several works I’ve read before. I’ve put Schellberg 5 on hold for the moment. Peace Child 4 is still proving tricky but it’s getting there. I’m about half way through the first rewrite. The trouble is, as I rewrite I find more things wrong with it. Oh hum.
Paying for submissions
We’re definitely not planning to charge you for submitting to of our imprints. However, I have raised it on one of the writers’ forums that I run. We all agree: whilst we accept a reasonable payment for a competition entry as it adds to the prize money and pays for the judges we don’t think we should ask writers to pay for ordinary submissions. I note on my opportunities list that some opportunities that were free are now charging. I suspect this is because they are using Submittable, a very clever piece of software that easily keeps track of submissions both for publishes and writers. However it is expensive. So we won’t be using it just yet. We’ll only start using it when we don’t need to pass the cost on to writers. I’m gradually pulling off the list the publishers who charge. If you come across one on the list that is charging, and it offends you, please let me know.
Catalogue of books for children
I’ve added several titles to this over the last. It is growing apace. You can find it here. Do take a look if you’re into children’s books.
Useful links for writers
My list of links for writers is also growing steadily. Find it here.
Just a reminder: this is a Facebook group for all people who write about the 1940s. Fiction and non-fiction, for young and old. Topics might then be: the Holocaust, World War II, Civilian Experience (all sides) and the battle front. We can exchange ideas about research and marketing. We may promote books and stories, - the last day of every month and on launch / release day.
If you feel that is you, do join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2026868870924138/
Of course, with my Schellberg Cycle I'm constantly in that world.
I’ve added Grant Boreham in as a proof-reader.
Find Grant and other members here.
This is a personal recommendation. Initially I intend to use my Dream Team a lot myself but gradually I would add in people that friends and friends of friends have recommended.
You sign up to a mailing list and every time a request comes in we mail it out to you or the enquirer contacts you directly via my web site. The conversation then carries on between you and the person making the request. You may also have a page set up on my blog and you may update that once a year.
Interested? You may sign up for more than one category.
Beta readers sign up here.
Reviewers sign up here.
Editors sign up here.
Illustrators sign up here.
Designers sign up here.
Proof-readers sing up here.
DO REMEMBER THAT AT ANY TIME YOU’RE APPROACHED AND YOU’RE BUSY IT’S PERFECTLY FINE TO SAY NO.
News from all of our writers
Mary Bevan reports that she won second prize in the Henshaw Short Story comp. The story will be published in their anthology next year. Also, one of her prose poems was chosen for inclusion in SOUTH 58, the poetry magazine of the Southern Counties.Alison Faye reports that she is proud that her 6000 word short story, 'Mr Dandy' set in 1920's Birmingham (Yes, 'Peaky Blinders' terrain) is out to buy on amazon as a download or as a paperback. - please support independent presses like The Infernal Clock- and consider buying a copy and if you do please leave a review- as reviews matter so much to us writers.
Do keep sending news like this and remember to supply a link to where reader can buy the book.
Crackers is out with authors for proofing now. The book trailer is almost finished. Exciting times.
We’re still getting plenty of interest in our single-author collections. These are now only for authors we’ve published before and they may include stories we’ve already published, ones they’ve had published elsewhere and new ones. The description for this is now on the web site. http://www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk/index.php/single-author-collections You may recycle stories we’ve already included in another anthology, and you may reedit these if you wish. You may also add in new stories. We’re aiming at a total word count of between 30,000 and 70,000 words.
Your work will go through three stages of editing, and will be proof-read twice in-house. We design the book and the cover. We hook it up to all the distributing channels and we complete first-level marketing. We are risking all of this on you as well as the set-up costs and the copies to the British Library and legal deposit agency.
You’ll probably not get rich quick: anthologies by new authors do not sell in big numbers initially. Each month we post to a dropbox information about books’ performance. A link is sent with the monthly newsletter. See below for how to access this newsletter.
We have a huge backlog so please be patient. You can always check our progress at: http://apublishersperspective.blogspot.co.uk/p/work-flow.html
I’ve actually scheduled a couple of my own stories this month. One will appear in a few days’ time. The other is in the Christmas run. This rather reminds me of how I came to set up Bridge House in the first place. As an alternative to all of those letters that people sent out at Christmas, I started including short stories with the Christmas cards. I then had the idea that it might be nice to put them together into a book and make a kind of Advent Calendar. But that would take me twenty-four years to complete. So, I invited others in. Now Bridge House produces an annual anthology that contains twenty-four stories. Debz and I no longer contribute as writers.
Story Goes Missing that will appear on CaféLit on 24 December may seem like a story for children at first and children will understand it at face value. Adults will probably understand it in another way. Isn’t that after all how all good fairy / folk stories work?
The story that’s appearing later this month is there because CaféLit came to the top of my list for places to submit work. Oh, yes, I still submit to other publishers though it may seem bizarre submitting to myself. Never mind. It works.
Some delightful news about The Best of CafeLit 7. Paula Readman took a copy to her friend who is now in a nursing home and asked her if she would like to read the book. Paula and another from their writing group have stories in the collection. Paula’s friend took a look at the book and said: “Yes, I will. The font is just the right size.” So pleased we’re getting this right.
Stories are now all being posted at 4.00 p.m. Afternoon Teatime, Kaffee and Kuchen time and it's also when the kids are home from school. Just the right time for a cuppa and a good story.
In October we had stories from: Mehreen Ahmed, Alison Allen, Peppy Barlow, James Bates, Lynn Clement, David Deanshaw, Jo Dearden, Richard C Elder, Jacqueline Ewers, Iris Green, Jospeh Isaacs, Nerisha Kemraj, Dawn Knox, Mark Kodama, Keelan LaForge, Kim Martins, Roger Noons, Hannah Retallick, Bruce Rowe, Phyillis Souza, Allison Symes, Alun Williams and Robin Wrigley.
Highest performing posts were:
by Hannah Retallick 623
by Mehreen Ahmed 250
by Mark Kodama 189
By Dawn Knox
French Press 158
by Joseph Isaacs
Also over 100 are Alison Allen, Jo Dearden, Keelan LaFforge, Kim Martins, Allison Symes and Alun Williams,
Facebook no longer allows me to schedule posts. Hannah actually queried why I hadn’t posted her piece on the Facebook page. I explained than now that I cannot schedule them there it often seems redundant if I see the story is already doing well. If when I go to my editor’s dashboard I see that a story has fewer than 20 hits, I put it on my own Twitter feed and the Facebook page.
I explained to Hannah how our stories are spread:
- 36 people have signed up to have the stories fed from the blog site
- I tweet about the site from time to time
- some members visit daily or when they have time
- authors make efforts – blog, website, FB, email signature, word of mouth
- casual readers come across the site
- one story being read leads to another
It seems she took this on in spades. She is one of our all-time “best-sellers”.
Maybe you could all share your ideas of how to make us more visible and tell us what you do?
You can read all of the stories here.
Here's a reminder of how we select stories: I open my inbox and I'll often see four or five submissions. I'll select the best of the bunch and schedule it for in a few days' time. I'll let you know. I may reject one or two but ones that are basically sound I'll keep forever or until they’re published. Consequently if one you've submitted to us has not been rejected, and you find a home for it elsewhere, let us know the name of the story and the date you submitted and we'll remove it from the archive. Try to include the drink each time. Do put CaféLit in the subject line so we can identify your submission. Remember to include your bio (50-100 words including links for longer stories, just links for 100 words or less) each time. I haven't got time to look up an old one and in any case your bio is probably changing all the time.
We're always open to submissions. Find out to submit here. Remember, this gives you some exposure, you can add in a short CV each time, and there's always the chance that your work might be accepted for the annual anthology.
We have some seasonal opportunities coming up now:
Autumn in general
11 November – end of World War I
So, get writing.
On offer for CaféLit authors is a page on our web site. See examples here. The list is growing. Click on the names to find out more about the authors and to access their work. If you're a CaféLit author and would like a web page, use the ones there to get ideas. You need to send me between 250 and 350 words about yourself, an attractive image, a list of up to six publications, up to six awards and up to six links. I then also link the page to your stories on CaféLit. Send to gill at cafelit dot co dot uk.
We’re very excited to have produced out first hardback highly-illustrated book Magical Christmas. We’re just waiting to get the proof back from the printer. These are folk stories from around the world produced by brother and sister Karda Zenkő (artist) and Szabő Eniko (writer).
To celebrate this I am offering, at my own expense, ten copies of this book in a beautiful package with other goodies. First come, first served.
And of course, I hope you’ll give us a review.
Our Chapeltown authors continue to be very proactive in promoting their work. They have managed to get their books into shops and libraries. They are also buying lots of author copies and are getting on to blogs – mine included, of course.
We’re still interested in producing flash collections but only by authors we’ve already published on CaféLit or in a Bridge House anthology or who already have a collection out with Chapeltown.
The month I’ve added the Poetry Café in London. See it here . Some of you, especially the poets amongst you, are probably familiar with this establishment. It encapsulates exactly what the Creative Café project is about – and it’s been going for long before our project began.
Keep sending suggestions and review them if you can.
Café s might further support the project in the following ways.
- I could provide you with flyers about The Creative Cafe Project and CafeLit
- You could have the ezine up and running for people to browse and search – they should pick stories according to the drink they fancy!
- run an event on writing for Cafelit
- hold an event for local writers published by CafeLit
- stock some of anthologies (they are available through normal distributors)
- host a Writer in Resident – see http://www.creativecafeproject.org/search/label/writers%20in%20residence / http://www.creativecafeproject.org/search/label/Writer%20in%20Residence
- host a readers’ event where readers all read the same anthology and then talk about two or three favourite stories
Do you have any further suggestions?
I'm continuing my tour of creative cafés where I collect stories for an anthology. In some cases, writers may offer them and in others customers may tell me their story and I'll write it for them. Do you know of a café that might be interested in this? Let me know if you do.
Remember you can now buy merchandise for the Creative Café project. The profit on anything you buy here goes to the Creative Café Project. Check this out here.
We’re always looking for new cafés. If you visit one of the cafés in the project and would like to write a review of between 250 and 350 words – nice, too, to have a couple of pictures – send it to me here. Do the same if you find a new café.
The Red Telephone
I have some books now lined up to read. I'm particularly interested in near-futures speculative YA fiction.
Facebook Group for the Imprints
Scribblers Sans Frontières - Here you can:
· Discuss all technical issues re our books
· Exchange marketing ideas
· Advertise and report on your events
· Promote any of your titles or successes
· Share good practice and ideas
· Get help with writing problems
· Anything else appropriate
The page URL is https://www.facebook.com/groups/185719828704485/
Please come and join us if you're eligible. Or you can ask me to sign you up.
I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street project. I’ve now developed a whole workshop for this. It starts off with a board game, includes some role play and creative writing and ends with a discussion.
It is now possible to purchase the kit to work on on your own. Find details here.
Costs for my workshops = travel expenses plus £400 for a full day and £200 for a half day. This includes all materials and some freebies. Two schools near to each other might consider splitting the day and halving the travel expenses and fees. This is open to negotiation in any case.
I also offer a free half day visit, though you pay my travel expenses, if you allow me to promote my books.
I’m continuously adding materials for schools to the site that are different from the ones I use for the workshops. I’ve recently added in resources and books to do with the topic. See them here:
Query for a school visit here.
I’m also happy to tailor a visit for your agreed donation. This can be for either a Schellberg Cycle visit or a creative writing workshop. Any monies raised this way will go specifically to a project I have for a non-fiction book about a journey that will follow the footsteps of Clara Lehrs. I’m hoping to do the whole journey by train, including departing via my nearest Metrolink station. It’s important to feel the rails beneath my feet.
I offer as well standard author visits which include readings from my books, Q & A sessions and creative writing exercises.
Please remember, with these as well, I’m open to negotiation if you can’t afford the full price.
Free listing for our writers
If you are one of our writers and would like to offer school visits, please contact me. I'm offering a free listing on the imprint pages.
State: age groups you are prepared to work with, a definition of your work, distances you are prepared to travel. Appropriate links. Please provide an image.
Waterloo Festival Writers’ Workshop
If you’re already published by us you may not need this but you would still be welcome. On the same day as our celebration event we are running a workshop for people who want to enter the Waterloo Writing Competition. Debz and I will be running this together. You can find details here: https://www.waterloofestival.com/shortstory
London event 1 December 2018
Just a few places left now.
Places are free but must be booked: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/celebration-event-tickets-48762320413
This will follow our normal pattern of events.
There will be:
- general mingling
- cash bar
- an opportunity to buy books at an advantageous rate
- “speed-dating” where you get to speak to as many people as possible in the room i.e. promote yourself to readers, swap tips with other writers
- author readings
- latest news from me
- collection for the Mustard Seed charity
- big book swap (bring one of your other titles and take something else home – hopefully all will be reviewed. If you bring a non-writing friend they can just bring a book they love)
Scribblers Celebration Event
YOU DON'T NEED TO BE AVAILBALE ON 23 DECEMBER TO JOIN IN.
https://www.facebook.com/events/528939584193914/ 23 December 14.00 – 17.00 GMT. Do come even if you can't come at that time. Items will be added to before and after that time.
This is for all those people who cannot attend the event on 1 December; perhaps you live too far away or you have something else on. You can attend outside of those times but it will be live then.
Take a look at my blog post about cyber events: http://apublishersperspective.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-on-line-launch.html There is also a chapter about this in my book on marketing: So Now You're Published, What Next?
This gives you some idea about how this all works.
In addition, I ask that everybody who attends offers a secret Santa. This could be a physical gift that you send to one other attendee. One of your books, a notebook with your book cover or coffee mug. Or you could offer a one-off service such as a critique of a short story. Or you may offer a file that I'll put into a dropbox and you could expect multiple downloads. This could be a mobi or PDF of one of your books, an audio file, an excerpt, or a tip sheet.
Would you like to make a short video of you reading?
Current reading recommendation
Most of this month I’ve been making my way through a huge book set in ancient Egypt and written in Spanish. It is fiction but introduces us to a lot of fact about this era. It’s particularly interesting for me as I write historical fiction based on true facts - see my Schellberg cycle.
I’m also currently reviewing a YA book in which the pace is so fast I feel dizzy.
This just leaves one other, a book I read for my book club. Fortunately it was an excellent novel: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Alexander Rostov is under house arrest and lives in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. We get to know him well and see that he is indeed a gentleman. Russian history plays out in the background and he seems to live in a protective bubble. It gradually becomes clear, however, that he is far wiser than we at first believe.
The text engages throughout. The ending is both upbeat and surprising. Give it a try.
Find it here.
Calling all writers
I'm running an occasional series of interviews on my blog.
If you would like to be on my blog just answer the questions below and send them with appropriate images to gill dot james at btinternet dot com.
Please feel free to pick and choose which of these to answer.
1. What do you write? Why this in particular?
2. What got you started on writing in the first place?
3. Do you have a particular routine?
4. Do you have a dedicated working space?
5. When did you decide you could call yourself a writer? Do you do that in fact?
6. How supportive are your friends and family? Do they understand what you're doing?
7. What are you most proud of in your writing?
8. How do you get on with editing and research?
9. Do you have any goals for the future?
10. Which writers have inspired you?
Please write as much or as little as you like for each section and supply as many pictures as you like. Also let me know your latest publication and supply me with a link if it's not on Amazon.
I 'm also happy to offer you a post whenever you have a new book come out, even if I'm not your publisher. In this case answer the following questions:
- Tell me about your book.
- Tell us about your research for this book.
- What inspired you to write this?
- What's next?
- How can we get a copy of the book?
- Do you have any events planned?
Again write as much or as little as you please. Alter and add to the questions if you wish. Provide as many pictures as you wish.
Send to: gill dot james at btinternet dot com
It’s that time of the year and I’m giving a lot away! Four opportunities in fact:
- Last month’s giveaway is still accessible. Sign up to have this letter deliverd to your inbox (see below) to get the link to the dropbox where you will also find:
· An extract from Clara’s Story
· Some seminars for schools about The House on Schellberg Street
· Some fiction writing exercises
· The opening chapters from my manual for writing the young adult novel
- At my own expense I’ll supply you with up to ten copies of Citizens of Nowhere. You might like to send one to your MP or you might want to sell a few to support an appropriate charity. Note: contributors will still get royalties.
- See what I said under Chapeltown about Magical Christmas.
- A paperback copy of my language learning book: The Complete Guide to learning a Language.
Just email me if you’re interested in any of these offers.
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I manage sell for anything form £0.99 to £10.99, with most on Kindle being about £2.99 and the average price for paperback being £7.00. We have to allow our writers to make a living. But we’re offering these free samples so that you can try before you buy.
Naturally we welcome reviews.
Some notes about my newsletters and blogs
They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they all do.
Bridge House Authors For all those published by Bridge House or interested in being published by us. General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.
CaféLit Writers For all those published by CaféLit. General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. News about the Creative Café Project. Sign up here.
Chapeltown Authors For all those published by Chapeltown or interested in being published by us. General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.
Chapeltown Books News about our books and our authors. Sign up here.
The Creative Café Project News about the project and CaféLit – for the consumer rather than for the producer. Sign up here.
Gill’s News: News about my writing, general news about what the imprints are doing, news about other writers I know, news about the Creative Café Project, a recommended read, a giveaway each month. Find it here.
Opportunities List Remember I keep a full list of vetted opportunities on my writing blog. See them here. New ones are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I go through it and take out all of the out of date ones. At that point I send it out to a list. If you would like to be on that list, sign up here.
Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher News about conferences and workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) Sign up here.
Red Telephone Authors For all those published by The Red Telephone or interested in being published by us. General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.
Schellberg Cycle Workshop News Offers and news of events to do with Schellberg Cycle workshops. Sign up here.
School Visits Offers and news of school visits. Sign up here.
Red Telephone Books News about our books and our authors. Sign up here.
A Publisher’s Perspective Here I blog as a publisher. Access this here.
The Creative Café Project Listings and reviews of creative cafés. See them here.
CaféLit Stories Find these here
Gill James Writer All about writing and about my books. View this here.
Gill’s Recommended Reads Find information here about books that have taken me out of my editor’s head.
Gill’s Sample Fiction Read some of my fiction here.
The House on Schellberg Street All about my Schellberg project. Read it here.
Writing Teacher All about teaching creative writing. Some creative writing exercises. Access this here.
Happy reading and writing.