We have now found a house to buy and fingers crossed it all goes through quickly. We put in our offer ten days ago and it was accepted. We’re awaiting a structural survey. This can’t be done until next week as the sellers are away in Australia. But they have said they’ll move out and stay with relations even if they haven’t found a place.
So, I’m taking break from writing to do some decluttering. We’ve suddenly become ruthless and it is very liberating. However, I am actually sitting here writing this.
There may be a little more disruption when we actually move for a few days.
News about my writing
I’ve actually had two short stories accepted for publication this month. I’ll let you know when they are out.
Weekly offers on our book
I have now started work on this and there have been several postings: https://www.scribblersbooksbooksbooks.co.uk/
I advertise via Twitter and Facebook and have started to build up an email list.
And I’ll let you into a secret: many of the offers are permanent though we only push them for a week.
Catalogue of books for children
I’ve added several titles to this over the last month. 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. This month I’ve put in a few festivals, conferences and courses.
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/ Please answer the three questions.
Of course, with my Schellberg Cycle I'm constantly in that world.
Find 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.
I’ve recently added Yvonne Walus as a reviewer. She is happy to review crime, contemporary women's and science fiction. Quirky romance and erotica could work as well.
News from all of our writers
Do keep sending news about your publications and events. Remember to supply a link to where reader can buy the book or where people can sign up for an event.
We have one call for submission out at the moment:
Our annual anthology this year will have the theme of “Nativity”. Again we don’t just want retellings of the Christmas story or about what went right or wrong at the local nativity play though such stories would also be welcome. Full details of how to submit are here: http://www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk/index.php/call-for-new-submissions
The entries for the Waterloo Festival are in now. We had 89 in the end. I’d hoped for a few more but in fact that is a good number to work with. We have a pleasing mixture of people we’ve published before and writers new to us. I’m really looking forward to reading the entries.
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
Stories are 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 February we had stories from: Mehreen Ahmed, Jude Alderman, James Bates, Brandy Bonifas, Jo Dearden, Dawn De Braal, Gill James, Rosemary Johnson, Amanda Jones, Shawn Klimek, Mark Kodama, Wendie Lovell,eLucy, Kim Martins, Roger Noons, Khalilah Okeke, Penny Rogers, Copper Rose, L F Roth, Allison Symes and Andrea Williams.
Highest performing posts in February were:
Saachi y Wendie Lovell 189
The Daily Grindby Brandy Bonifas 132
The Food Demonstrator by Kim Martins 101
The Slippery Pole by Mark Kodama 97
Angel Feathersby Khalilah Okeke 87
A reminder to o those people who appeared in The Best of CaféLit7 to cast their votes about hat to put in into The Best of CaféLit 8. You have until 30 April. I have yet to cast my own!
A Walk in the Woods by Jo Dearden
Airport Sandwich by Pat Jourdan
Bats Downunder by Mehreen Ahmed
Budgies and Bingo by Alyson Faye
Dignity and Injustice by Allison Symes
Father Van Der Bosch’s Last Christmas by Robin Wrigley
Gemini Rising by Paula Readman
God works in mysterious ways especially at Christmas by Robin Wrigley
Goodbye My Lush by Shawn Klimek
Induction Day by Janet Howson
Jeopardy in Pink b Penny Rogers
Losing Tony by Gill James
Marking Time by Janet Howson
No Room for Them by Dawn Knox
On Time by Lisa Williams
Redemption by Richard Hough
Rose Tinted Glass by Linda Payne
Remembrance Day by Jim Bates
Salisbury Plain, February 1946 by Laura Gray
Self Assessment by Peppy Barlow
She says we’ll get there soon by Hannah Retallick
The Art Critic by Allison Symes
The First Time by Patricia Gallagher
The Lady in Red by Caroline S Kent
Years & Years by Kim Martins
Yellowjackets by James Bates
Note these are in alphabetic order, not number of votes.
A quick reminder of how stories are promoted: 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.
Our stories are generally spread in the following ways:
- 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
Maybe you could all share your ideas of how to make us more visible and tell us what you do?
Shawn Klimek has been in touch and told us that he shares his stories not only on his own tiny (his word) Facebook page but with the many Facebook groups he’s a member of. These groups allow members to promote their work. He says if he gets into a Best of anthology he’ll add this to his author page up on Amazon. Well, Shawn, if you take a look at the chart above, you will see that you will soon be putting more on your author page.
You can read all of the stories here.
And 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.
If all stories are equally good I may select a new writer. If there is no new writer I’ll go for the one that is easiest to post. It should be in the body of your email and set out thus. I’ve added notes in brackets and red.
(title, by-line, and drink centred. Note lower case for “by” and drink)
by Jim Bates
(I don’t mind which font – in fact I like the variety as we move from story to story)
Back then, back when he was just a gangly kid and before he became an artist, I felt I had a job to do - teach my son to be better at sports than I ever was. I'd been a second string jock during high school so on the day Joey was born I vowed to teach him how to play football, baseball, basketball and hockey better than I'd ever been able to. My underlying thought was that maybe one day he'd become a superior athlete, someone I could be not only proud of, but could also brag about to anyone who would listen. You can imagine my horror (or maybe not, but let me tell you, it was real) when Joey, try as he might, proved to be even less athletically gifted than his old man. (Note the paragraphs are both indented and have a line space afterwards. Either or both are good. This translates well on to the Blogger platform)
He was nine years old when, after pre-season hockey tryouts, the awful truth finally reared its ugly head. Joey dejectedly skated over to where I'd been watching from behind the boards and said, "Dad, I'm sorry, I really am. I'm trying, but those other guys are just way better than me."
One look at the fluid motions of the other kids on the rink, skating comfortably backward better than Joey could ever skate forward, and I had to finally admit it - my son was not now, nor would he ever be, a hockey player. Which was his best sport. Football, baseball and basketball? Forget about it. The reality of the situation was painfully apparent. Joey would never be the star athlete I once imagined he'd be.
I swallowed my disappointment and put my arm around his thin shoulders, hugging him a little. "That's okay, son. Really. Let's head home," I told him, trying to man up, along with beginning to adjust my game plan for him. Now that sports were out of the picture what could I get him interested in? Chess, maybe? Cribbage? Orienteering? I drew a blank. None of them sounded too exciting.
I went into the locker room with him while he changed out of his gear. When we sat on the bench, he unzipped his equipment bag and I saw a notebook.
I pointed, "What's that?"
"Oh, nothing," he shrugged. "It's just my sketchbook from art class."
"Art class? You're kidding." I hadn't a clue. Having trouble drawing a stick figures, myself, I'd never once imagined he'd enjoy anything like painting or whatever.
He grinned, "Yeah, Dad, for my drawings. Here, let me show you." He opened it. "Lately, I've been sketching snowflakes and winter scenes. I'm thinking about maybe using them for cards for the holidays. Tell me what you think."
He laid the sketchbook on my knees and went about getting changed. I paged through his drawings, each one more impressive than the previous. He'd used what looked to be a pen and ink to create intricate snowflakes all with six pointed tips. Each one was unique and amazingly detailed. The snowflake sketches were followed by a series of charcoal drawings of winter scenes, mostly landscapes in the country, some with farmhouses, some with people, some with animals. One even had a horse drawn sleigh. He'd used colored pencils to make the scenes come alive with subtle tones of greens and browns and reds and blues. To my way of thinking they were utterly charming and made me think of those Currier and Ives calendars.
I turned to him, "Joey, these are amazing. How long have you been drawing like this?"
He laughed, "Ever since I can remember, Dad. Since I was a little kid." Then he was quiet for a moment before adding, "Mom kind of got me started."
Oh. Gail. My wife and Joey's mother. She'd passed away four years earlier when he was only five. In many ways we were still coping.
I looked at him seriously. "These really are wonderful, son," I told him.
"Thanks, Dad," he said as we stood up to leave.
He grabbed his heavy hockey bag, hoisted it over his shoulder, tilting to the right a little under its weight, and started for the door. I held his sketchbook in my hands, aware that I was holding something special, something that really was what my son was all about, not just some sad, preconceived sports fantasy of his father's. I suddenly had an idea. "Hold on a minute." He stopped and I took the bag from him. (It really was pretty heavy.) "How about if on the way home we stop at Blick's Art Supply and check out what they've got, maybe get you some supplies. What do you think about that?"
Joey picked up his hockey stick and looked at me questioningly. He knew how much I loved sports. "You sure, Dad?"
"Yeah," I said, biting a metaphorical bullet, "Looks like we've got an artist in the family."
Joey grinned as we walked to the car. His step seemed lighter, somehow, like a weight had been lifted, and I don't just mean the equipment bag. It was good to see him so happy.
Next to the art store was a sporting goods exchange. We parked and while Joey went inside and looked around for art supplies, I went next door to see if I could sell his hockey equipment, which I did. Then I hurried next door to met him. But before I went inside I stopped a minute, looked through the window and watched as he perused the aisles, happily caressing the paints and brushes and sketchpads and canvases. He seemed in another world, one that he felt comfortable in. Natural.
I headed for the front door. Once inside, I'd get him to show me what all the art supplies were used for. Maybe I'd buy him an easel or something to get him set up properly for his art work. He was a good kid. I guess I had a lot to learn. It was time I started paying better attention.
About the author
Jim is a former hockey player and devoted parent, hence the genesis of this story. (Jim has provided a succinct story-specific bio. This could be enhanced a little if he had added a link. He usually does, actually! )
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:
Spring Bank Holiday
So, get writing.
Don’t forget also 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.
I’m happy to update the pages each January.
I’ve added just one café in February: http://www.creativecafeproject.org/2019/02/the-toast-coffee-house-okehampton-uk.html See also the interesting review by one of our writers, Amanda Jones.
Keep sending suggestions and review them if you can.
Cafés 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 Residence – 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. Again, I’m only accepting proposals from people we already know.
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.
Editing / marketing course
Last call for the first of our marketing and editing course:
The work we are doing is rapidly expanding and we could really do with some extra help now. We’re looking for help with commissioning, editing and marketing.
You should be either one of our own experienced writers – three or four stories published in our various anthologies and / or a single author / flash fiction book or have commissioning, editing and marketing skills from elsewhere.
We’re offering a one day course for you to see if this suits you and you suit us. Commissioning and editing will be one course, marketing will be separate.
The course is free and travel expenses will be paid. It’s even all right for you to take the course and then decide you don’t want to be involved; it will have given you some insight into our editing process. However, I do ask that you only apply for the course if you think you would like to be an editor or publicist.
The course will include some homework before and after the course. It will probably be 10.00 to 4.00 with a working lunch.
It now looks as if the venue will be in London.
If you do decide to edit or market for us, you will be paid a fee and later royalties after the fee has “earned out”. This will show up on the monthly book performance statements. It would be great to have separate editors for each stage of editing.
If this is of interest, please email me, let me know if you’re away any item in the next few months, which course you’re interest in – you can of course do both – and where you’re located.
Waterloo Festival Marketing Workshop
This will take place on 8 June 10.30 – 1.30 St John’s Westminster. This is different from the course mentioned above. This is about marketing your own work. Save the date and watch this space!
Waterloo Festival Celebration Event
Free event. Again 8 June at St John’s Westminster. It will follow a similar pattern to the one we held last year. Stars of the show will be those selected for the 2019 anthology. 2.30 – 4.30. Save the date. Watch this space.
Imprints Celebration Event
7 December 2.00 - 4.30. St John’s or St Andrew’s Westminster. Save the date and watch this space for more detail.
Current reading recommendation
It was difficult this month to choose as I’ve read so many good books. Eventually, though, I’ve decided on Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.
This is a book that is probably aimed at upper primary school girls but I would say it is readable by everyone. It’s a quite tactile book, a hardback, and has its own ribbon bookmark. There are 200 pages of double spreads. Over 100 women who have made their mark on the world are featured. On one page there is an account of what they did and on the one facing it there is an artistic impression of her / them, with a quote to inspire the reader. Maggie Thatcher is in there (!) but so is Ada Lovelace, Elizabeth I and Yoko Ono.
There is also a second volume that I’ll be reading shortly.
Find it on Amazon 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
This moth I’m giving away another Bridge House anthology: In the Shadow of the Red Queen – another early work.
Access it and lots of other freebies here.
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I manage sell for anything from £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, and 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.
Books Books Books Weekly offers on our books. Find them here.
Happy reading and writing.