Saturday, 18 June 2022

 

How we came to publish this one

Pam approached us with her work and we liked what we saw. So, we agreed to publish this collection.  

The title

Obviously there is a little word play going on here. The title is connected to Pam’s name.   

Some notes about the process

As ever the stories went through the three stages of revision. Pam worked with one of our regular editors.

The cover

Our covers usually come about as a result of a conversation between the author and the editor and then the author and our designer. A stock picture from Pixabay was used here.

Some notes about style

As ever flash fiction needs to tell a story succinctly . These do that beautifully and in rich poetic language.  

Who we think the reader is

These stories are ideal for the reader who has only a little time but like to be asked to think deeply as they read.

What else

As ever, we’re pleased to get out another collection of lovely pieces.

Review copies

It’s always great if you can buy the book and give us a review. Just click on the image to be taken to Amazon. If you would like to review and you are strapped for cash, just get in touch for a free PDF or mobi-file.      

Reediting some stories – why we edit even stories that have already been published  

Get your copy here.  

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Reediting some stories – why we edit even stories that have already been published

Typewriter, Paper, Drawing, Digital

A personal story

We edit and edit and edit. In my own personal writing world I always take another look at my work after it’s been rejected and before I send it out again. This is partly to do with me having grown as a writer and partly to do with the world having moved on and in particular what is fashionable in writing has changed. It isn’t even really just a matter of fashion – writing collectively gets sharper and more effective. And when I come to reading my work out in public, I’ll often edit as I go along. Again, we’ve all moved on. Texts anyway need to be a little different when they’re read out loud from the way they appear when they’re read silently from the page. And we all like doing and hearing “voices”.

CafeLit

Stories that are accepted for CafeLit are given a light copy edit before they’re posted. We may miss some things so it’s worth another look if the story is selected for The Best of book. Again even what might have been all right six months ago may no longer seem quite so neat.

Short story collections

We also publish collections of short stories by a single author. These should be by people we’ve published before and they may include stories we or someone else has already published. These are therefore stories that have either had a light touch if they’ve been on CafeLit or gone through more rigorous editing if they’ve been in one of our annual anthologies.

We also accept collections form people we don’t know if about two thirds of the stories they’re presenting have been published elsewhere. Naturally they must have the rights back.

The better the text is to begin with, the better it becomes

This is one of the biggest arguments for careful editing before you even submit. Personally, I edit my short stories at least four times before I submit. Then there are the extra edits between rejections. And novels have fourteen edits.

Editors also become more experienced as they edit so they’ll usually find something even in those texts that have been pre-edited.

It’s never-ending, but worth persevering?                      

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Short Stuff by Jim Bates

How we came to publish this one

Author Jim Bates has been one of our regular writers, particularly on CafeLit, so we were pleased to produce this collection for him.

The title

The title was Jim’s idea. And it’s short and to the point, isn’t it? This is Jim’s “short stuff”.  

Some notes about the process

As ever the stories went through the three stages of revision. Jim worked with the same editor on this as he did for his short story collection Resilience. It’s good when an editor builds up a relationship with a writer.  

The cover

Our covers usually come about as a result of a conversation between the author and the editor and then the author and our designer. Jim found this lovely picture of a humming bird. People often now refer to the book as “the one with the humming bird on the cover.”

Some notes about style

As ever flash fiction needs to tell a story succinctly . These do that beautifully and in rich poetic language.   

Who we think the reader is

These stories are ideal for the reader who has only a little time but like to be asked to think deeply as they read.

What else

As ever, we’re pleased to get out another collection of lovely pieces. Form Friday 27 May 2022 there are offers on all of our collections of flash fiction, on what we call our “little square books”.     

 

Review copies

It’s always great if you can buy the book and give us a review. Just click on the image to be taken to Amazon. If you would like to review and you are strapped for cash, just get in touch for a free PDF or mobi-file.       

See in our bookshop for otehr options of buying. 

 

 

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Wishful Thinking

 


See in our bookshop

How we came to publish this one

Author Derek Corbett has been one of our regular writers so we were pleased to produce this collection for him.

The title

The title was Derek’s idea. Stories, anyway are in the realms of dreams and what if’s so ‘wishful; thinking’ is also very appropriate.

Some notes about the process

As ever the stories went through the three stages of revision. There’s always a balance in editing between producing a polished script and retaining the writer’s style. See my previous post.  

The cover

Our covers usually come about as result of a conversation between the author and the editor and then the author and our designer. Obviously this one screams “justice” and some of the stories deal with this theme. In a sense, anyway, don’t we tell stories in order to find out what’s going on, to measure the balance between good and evil?

Some notes about style

Clearly, Derek is a good story-teller and engages his readers. .

Who we think the reader is

These stories are ideal for the reader who like to be absorbed by a good plot and rounded characters.  

Finances

This book as not yet covered all of its costs but is selling steadily.

What else

As ever, we’re pleased to get out another collection of lovely stories.  

 

Review copies

It’s always great if you can buy the book and give us a review. Just click on the image to be taken to Amazon. If you would like to review and you are strapped for cash, just get in touch for a free PDF or mobi-file.       

Grab your copy here 

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Your ultimate guide for practical submissions

 

We thought it would be a good idea this month to look at what from our point of view makes a submission that is easy to publish. We’re not talking here about the content of your text but how it’s presented.  

Most people know about double spacing, using a regular 10 or 12 font and indenting paragraphs but how you format your work can make a big difference to how easy it is for us to turn your Word document into a book.

Word docx is our favourite format. Not everyone can use that but most systems allow you to emulate it.

We’ll never reject a text because of the software that’s been used to create it but our design time can be much longer if you don’t follow best practice, and that delays the time it takes for your book to clear its set up costs and your profit share to convert from 50% to 75%.   

So here are five tips that may be helpful:

1.      Use the paragraph tool in Word set your paragraphs rather than the tab key or typing in extra spaces.   


 

2.      Click the little arrow at the bottom right.    

3.      Set your paragraph  like this:


 

4.       However, your first paragraph and the opening paragraph of any new section should always be “full-out” so set your paragraph thus: 


 

5.      For new sections us the “full-out” above and insert an extra line before the paragraph. 

This really makes big difference to how easily your book can be published. What’s more, we’re more likely to understand exactly how you meant your work to look.   

                 

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Some subtleties in editing

 Correcting, Proof, Paper, Correction, Correct, Mistake

Quite an intimate relationship can build up between author and editor. Indeed, often when we’ve offered writers a second book deal they’ll ask if they can work with the same editor again. Okay, so it might be “better the devil you know” or “ear of the unknown” that motivates them but I rather suspect it is because they have found a way to work together and that the editor understands the author’s motivations.

We tend to keep the same editor for the main edits and then find another for a final proof read. Our authors also proof read. It’s probably not possible to spot everything if you are as close to the text as the writer and their first editor are.

The first edits consists of an overall read to see whether the text has an acceptable shape and that any story and characters are quite clear. In this initial stage the editor may even pick the writer up on some frequently occurring faults. The second stage is a line edit where the editor looks for clichés, odd expressions, odd paragraphing, a character’s words not ringing true or not being in their voice, etc. At this point there may be some negotiation about some expression that may seem unusual. This may be to do with the voice of the piece. Anyway editors only make suggestions. They do not dictate. Often it’s a case of seeing that something isn’t working and inviting the writer to suggest something else. The third edit picks up on grammatical, spelling, formatting, punctuation mistakes and remaining awkward expression that isn’t part of the narrator’s voice.  

That third edit differs form a proof read which should only be looking for typos and spelling, punctuation and formatting mistakes that have not been caught in the other processes.

There can often be a problem between proof-read and the third edit. We ‘ve had a couple of instances recently where the proof-reader had tried to edit out some of the subtleties that have been agreed between the writer and editor. I’m also currently proof-reading a text and there are some things I feel tempted to edit. I have to remind myself that that conversation has already been had between the editor and the author.

I was very surprised when someone recently reviewed one of our books and said privately to me that they were surprised at how many mistakes there were in the text. I really panicked. What, after three edits, two proof-reads and two technical proof-reads? I revisited the text and found one typo.

It came down to us using a different house style from the one that the reader was used to. They were also applying something as a hard and fast rule where there is actually a choice e.g. some words can be made up of two words stuck together, kept as two words or hyphenated. This particular reviewer, who also works an editor, was confusing also when words such a mother and father are spelt with uppercase or with lower case. I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that another style guide will suggest something different.           

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

The Best of CafeLit 10

 

How we came to publish this one

We publish a Best of CaféLit book every year. This time we invited those writers who had appeared in The Best of CaféLit 9 to select the stories for this volume. This time we asked authors to pick their favourite story other than their own, for each month they had a story published, if they had two stories in one month that could pick two stories etc. .   

The title

We used to use the year the stories were first published as part of the title. However  the book comes out during the year after the stories have originally been published on the site so it looks a little odd for example to talk about The Best of CaféLit 2020 in August 2021. So now we just give the book a sequential number  We’ve actually just made the selection for The Best of CafeLit 2011. More about that later.         

Some notes about the process

All CaféLit stories are edited as they go on to the site. This is just a copy edit / proof read. They have to be up to a certain standard before we accept them. Once the “camera ready” text has been produced, contributors are invited to check their work and we proof-read it twice in house.  

The cover

The cover is branded. It’s the same picture every year though our designer varies the colour.

Some notes about style

There is a variety of submissions. Some are dark. Some are light-hearted. Some are longer. Some are shorter. We have a few poems as well.

Who we think the reader is

Ideally, this is the reader who want to sit down with a cuppa at around 4 p.m. Some of the stories are seasonal so may speak to a certain mood. On the site we publish Halloween stories around Halloween time and Christmas ones around Christmas. There is no accounting for when you’ll read various stories in the Best of volumes.

Finances

This book as not yet covered all of its costs but it has almost covered the money already laid out. The editor and designer have not yet taken a fee or wage for their work on the book. It has almost covered its actual costs.       

What else

We are pleased to have this within our collection.

 

Review copies

It’s always great if you can buy the book and give us a review. Just click on the image to be taken to Amazon. If you would like to review and you are strapped for cash, just get in touch for a free PDF or mobi-file.