Thursday 2 July 2020

News 2 July 2020

I hope everyone is keeping fit and well and navigating this perplexing time easily. Are you out of stories because right now truth is certainly being crazier that fiction or are the possibilities of how the future could look tantalizing? If the latter, why not submit to our Aftermath anthology?  I’m limiting this to people published by our imprints, those who receive this newsletter, and the trusted writing friends of both sets of people.  Any genre, any length (though don’t send me a whole novel or novella- I think you know what I mean) and it will be accepted though edited. The idea is to capture the speculative mood of the time. Please send to editor at bridgehousepublishing dot co do uk.  Please submit as a Word document attachment. This way I can file it easily. Make sure you have included your by line in the piece itself, below the title. Add a short bio at the end (max 100 words) Put “Aftermath” in the subject of the email. If you would like it to be considered for CaféLit as well, put CaféLit in the subject line as well and also paste the text into the body of the email. The call ends once I have 50 submissions. I currently have eighteen including one of my own.

Some recent lessons

I’ve been attending some fascinating events online. I hope some of this sort of activity will continue even when we get back to normal completely.   Some of it has just been entertaining and some of it has been useful.

Sixty character titles

I always think it’s a good idea to give yourself an action plan after you’ve attended a course so that it has some value to you. I recently attended an online session with Nielsen’s and have been left with a couple of ideas.
Nielsen’s is the company that provide ISBNs world-wide. Any book with an ISBN number should be available at least to order by any bookshop in Europe, US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, parts of India and in other places obtainable via international distributors. We register Bridge House books with them ourselves.  Chapeltown books are registered by our distributor.
Once a book is registered with Nielsen’s retailers and wholesalers can see the details. We optimize the blurb and product description to attract search engines. We actually use Amazon to test these out.
Nielsen’s point out that titles shouldn’t be longer than sixty characters as this is the first thing that buyers see and if it’s more than sixty characters long it won’t fit on to the column.
Something , then, to think about when you’re creating a title.

Author Central

We had an interesting discussion at the Marketing Workshop I organised on 19 June and I took a few ideas from this myself.   
If you have a story published by us you should have an Author Central page on Amazon. You may need to argue with them a little if you have a story in an anthology but we always publish them in such a way that it’s easy for them to identify that you are a contributor.  You just have to quote a page number. 
When you provide links in your bio it’s sensible to include a link to this page as this links to all of your books at a point where it is easy for your reader to go on and purchase your books.

Mailing list

One of the most effective marketing tools is having your own mailing list. People who like your work are notified of your new works, any offers you have on titles and any other interesting news.  I recommend either Mailchimp  or mailerlite for this.  Both will help you to keep data secure, be GDPR compliant and be organised and both let people unsubscribe if they want to.   
However, people do shy away from this a little.
You can of course opt to publish such news on a blog that people can sign up to follow. Then also offer to deliver that content straight to people’s in-box.
It’s worth remembering here that people are only on your mailing list because they are interested in you or your products.

How do you buy books?

Think a little about how you decide to buy books. Is there anything there that you can use in your own marketing?

Revamp of Pre and Post production routines

This is one for me to get on with. But I’m putting this done here so that you can hold me to it.
The discussion continues in the Scribblers Group. Not a member yet? Email me to join and I’ll send you an invite.       

Revamped submission guidelines

I’ve spent some time redoing these this month. If you’ve used the old ones and you’re in the queue, don’t worry, your submission is still fine. But from now on please submit according to what’s written below.  
If we’ve published you on the CafeLit or in one of the Bridge House anthologies or if you’ve already  had another single author collection published by us we’re likely  to accept you, it’s just a matter of time. We take on a new books as others clear their set up costs and as editors become available.
One book has cleared set up costs this month so we’ll be offering a new contract shortly.
For the other calls, we make a selection.  I’m gradually getting more readers involved with this.
So see:  
·         Single author collections see:
·         Flash fiction collections
·         Books for children:        

The new series

Feisty Women : this is a new series and will include novels and non-fiction books. It has a slightly feminist sub-text.  I’m looking for the type of women who appear in my Schellberg Cycle books but with settings in all sorts of other times and places.                    


The Business of Writing

I’m making progress with this on-line course. As you complete one module you are invited to download the next one. You are also invited to send in your responses for feedback. At the end of the course you pay what you think it is worth. This can of course be nothing but you might calculate this in terms of the quality of the course, the feedback you receive and how much work that entailed for the person giving you feedback, the value it has to you – does it make a difference to you?  And of course all of this can be tempered by what you can afford.
I’ve offered these “pay what you can afford” events before and have always been very pleased with the result.           


Writers’ news

Gill James

I have had two more works published by Page & Spine. They can be found here:
This publication pays!  
I’ve also had a short article about my work with the U3A published on the Lancashire Authors Association. You can find it at:

Catrin  Kean

Catrin’s debut novel is now out with Gomer press.  You can find it here.
Cardiff in the late 1800s is grimy, crowded, and grey, and Ellen, a domestic, dreams of escaping her dreary life there for the sea. When she falls in love with Samuel, a ship's cook from Barbados, she is able to fulfil her fantasy by running away with him on a ship bound for the bright excitement of San Francisco. Life at sea is brutal and dangerous, but it is a place where they can be free... Until circumstances force Ellen home, and the hardships of working class life and racism begin to poison their lives. Salt is based on the lives of Kean's great-grandparents who married in 1878. It is their love story.

Dawn Knox

Dawn continues to enjoy success with The Basilwade Chronicles.  She is attracting fans in Canada, Tasmania and Hawaii.
Episodes have been broadcast on Gateway radio (97.8fm), read by John Guest who is also producing the audio book for us.
Here is an interesting article about how Dawn came to write the Chronicles:
Note I’m always delighted to include your successes and news of any event in this section for the newsletter but please explicitly tell me you’d like to be included.  I’d hate to miss anyone out.  It’s really helpful if you send me the details and a link to where our readers can obtain your book or a ticket for your event. Even for free events provide the full details and a call to action.

News from Bridge House 

Mulling It Over

We’re pleased to announce that the following will be included in the Bridge House anthology, Mulling It Over, due out on 15 November  2020:
1.       According to Apes Dianne Stadhams
2.       An Angel at Our Table S. Nadja Zajdman
3.       Double Dilemma Linda Payne
4.       Family History Jim  Bates
5.       Her Time Sally Angell
6.       Into the Shade L F Roth  
7.       It is Time Allison Symes
8.       Lines of Gold Margaret Bulleyment
9.       Making a Decision Dawn De Braal
10.   Malak al Mawt Steve Wade
11.   Marry in Blue Candida Spillard
12.   Me and the Bird Penny Rogers
13.   Perfect Justice Paula R C Readman
14.   Shadow Dancers Cathy Leonard  
15.   Taming Fate Dawn Knox
16.   The Holiday Jeanne Davies
17.   The Little Statue Maeve Murphy
18.   The Perfect Haven Janet Howson
19.   The Tangle of Isles Elizabeth Cox
20.   There’s Rosemary, That’s for Remembrance Linda Flynn
21.   Those Nice Suits Hannah Retallick
22.   Twelve Christopher Bowles 
23.  Waiting for the pigeons Tony Oswick
Plus one other which must remain a secret for the moment.

New publications

We’re delighted to announce two new single author collections:

Last Chance Salon   by Fiona McNeil

Who was I kidding? I wasn’t a successful businessman running an empire from a luxury penthouse. I was a chain-smoking, fifty-something, sometime actor in a cardigan, washed-up in a stagnant corner of south London.”

When Rafe Bunce takes over a run-down hair salon in Penge, he hopes to make a success of his life at last. Not content with improving his own fortunes, he is soon meddling in his customers’ lives, too – with bittersweet results.

The stories in "Last Chance Salon" touch on the hopes and dreams, big and small, which we all carry inside us.

Days Pass Like Shadows by  Paula R C Readman

Within the pages of "Days Pass like a Shadow" are thirteen dark tales covering the theme of death and loss. At the centre of every story is a beating heart. For the reader to make the journey to that centre, along the flowing veins of the words, all they need is a few minutes during a lunch break, or at the end of the day. The reader will be introduced to a rich and diverse collection of characters – a gardener, a serial killer, a time traveller, a sleepwalker and many more.

"On the Streets of Kabul", which is set in Afghanistan, a soldier faces a life-threatening situation while searching for his missing comrade and childhood friend among the narrow alleys. "Perfect Justice" finds a secretary planning a murder. "Shelved" takes a reader into the unusual librarian’s office, while "Burning the Midnight Oil" has a son uncovering the truth about his dying mother.

So put your feet up, relax with a cup, or glass of your favourite beverage and let’s begin with "The Meetings"…
If you can, please support our authors by buying their books and reviewing them.   

Email catalogue of our books

I continue to post every week: .  At the moment I’ve stopped the pot-luck physical books. These come from my stock at home and the logistics of getting to the post-office are a bit beyond us at the moment.  We hope to recommend from 1 August – providing we don’t go back into lockdown.  The offers, with the exception of the Amazon Count Down deals, though even these are repeated, are in fact permanent.  We flag up one a week, but if someone stumbles across an earlier one, we will honour that.  
You can still, however, order physical copies of any of our books at author discount price and we’re still offering physical bundles of books via the Friday email. These are all dispatched directly from our printer. 
I advertise via Twitter and Facebook and have started to build up an email list.
I’m keen as well to do a few more featured authors. Here we offer deals on all of the books you’re in and also advertise books you have with other publishers. You may offer a giveaway as well. Contact me if you’re interested.   
The impact on sales is tiny at the moment but certainly the featured books are getting more hits. 
Take a look every Friday to see what’s on offer. You can either join the mailing list at
or just go to the web site:
I’m circling through: red hot offers ( the books whose monthly sales figures suggest they need a bit of a boost), little square flash fiction collections,  single author collections, charity special books, illustrated books, YA books, books for young people, charity books, The Bets of CafeLit collections,  annual anthologies and then circling through offers on these of e-book bundles , physical book bundles, and Amazon countdown deals.           

New author discount scheme

We’ve simplified things. You get 25% author discount on all books.  If you order five or more we do not charge shipping costs. On your first order for five or more of a title you’ve contributed to you get one free book.  If you order 51 or more books you get a 35% discount.  You still get royalties on these books.    

The Magnet Book

This is now up and running and the number of subscribers to the email catalogue list, Books, Books, Books has more than doubled.  It is a fine book and really shows what a great bunch of writers we have.  As I gave it its final proof I really appreciated it. Hopefully it is also pointing readers to more of our works.
We could still do with more readers on our mailing list. Invite all of your friends and family to download the book. See what we’ve done here: (See top right-hand corner)
Please feel free to create your own call to action from this. The link for the letter sign-up and which then takes your contacts to the download is:          

Save the date

Imprints celebration and launch of Waterloo Competition’s paperback – 5 December 2020.  Watch this space.  We won’t be able to use St Johns or St Andrews this year as massive renovations are going on. I have a couple of other ideas but I can’t confirm with these venues until the current crisis is over.  Keep your fingers crossed. Two things are certain, however: an event will happen on 5 December and there will be a physical event sometime somewhere.   

Useful links

This month I’ve added more about book launches and this particular one about writing is rather useful and amusing:     

Book Performance

Those books that are more in the “red” are on the whole the ones where we’ve bought in services.    It makes no difference to royalties. But remember: when a book gets out of the red we can afford to start work on a new one. 
I’m working on a check list of simple things you can do, one a day, to help boost sales. Watch this space.   

Prompts 2021

Do send prompts in for the 2021 book. It will be a gift to you again at the end of the year.  

The Opportunities List

Please remember our waiting list is long. Even with six editors it takes a while for your work to get to the top of the list and one book has to recover financially before we can go on to the next. So, it may be worth looking at this list in detail whilst you’re waiting.      
I often add several items a day. I look for fairness. Competitions must not be too expensive to enter.  Everything must lead to fair payment, decent publication, fantastic exposure or just be good fun.  
Note, I am gradually moving this over to Fair Submissions . It’s wise to check both sites at the moment. There are reminders on both.  On Fair Submissions to find what you’re looking for, click on Labels on the left hand side.  You’ll see a lot of dates to start with.  Then click Show More and you’ll see a list of genres and categories.   Or simply type your search term into search filed. When I send out the list to those of you who have opted to receive it I’ll feature the latest three posts. 
I’ve had to give in and include some who charge submission fees but I’m still only including those who charge a reasonable fee – no more than £3.00 which is perhaps the equivalent of old-fashioned postage, return postage, paper and ink. We currently have no intention to charge. I understand totally that those who charge are doing it mainly because that’s what Submittable software costs.   
Note, though, we expect and approve of a reasonable charge for competitions which may be slightly higher than this – they have to pay the judges at least expenses and create a prize fund. 
You always have to remember however that only a handful of people will be named in a competition or win.  But if you do get shortlisted or even longlisted it’s a great line on your CV.      
You can sign up to have the list drop in your in-box every time it is tidied up i.e. every three to four weeks.  Sign up here: . “Tidied up “means removing the out of date entries i.e. when it is past the call for submission date. I don’t have the time to actually monitor whether the web sites mentioned are active or whether a publisher has gone out of business.  So, if you come across anything like that, do let me know.   


CaféLit site

Published in June were:  Jim Bates, C W Bigelow, Harman Burgess, Mason Bushell, Dawn De Braal, Greg Duncan, Linda Flynn, Anne Forrest,  David Gower, Pauline Howard, Janet Howson, Dawn Knox, R I Miller,  Roger Noons, Linda W Payne, Wendy Pike, Mark Readman,  Michal Reiben, Hannah Retallick  Anindita Sarkar, Robert Ward, G Allen Wilbanks, Susan E Willis and  S Nadja Zajdman.    

Top performing posts

·  Dear Margaret, Love Fred  by Hannah Retallick 164
·  Crust of Egg by C.W. Bigelow 131
·  Is There Such a Thing as True Love?  by Jim Bates 104
·  Eagles’ Rest by Dawn Knox 98
·  Nothing Left to Lose  by Dawn DeBraal  82

The Best of CafeLit 10

Yes, I’m starting votes for this and also doing this retrospectively. If you are published in a particular month, I’m asking you to vote for one story that you think is the best that month. You mustn’t vote for your own. However, if you have two stories published in a particular month, you may vote or two stories, three vote for three stories etc. Just email me your choices and say which month(s)  they’re for.
Final votes for December 2020 should come in by January 2021.
I think this make it a little more manageable.    

Creative cafés

No new cafés added this month but hopefully we’ll be able to add more as soon as everything starts opening up again.   
Keep sending suggestions and review cafés if you can. 
Cafés might further support the project in the following ways. 
Do you have any further suggestions?
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.


Find out more about all of our members here.   
This is a personal recommendation. I use my Dream Team a lot myself but gradually I’m adding in people that friends and friends of friends have recommended.

What happens?

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.   
And of course, you could be using these people yourself.

School Visits:  Free listing for our writers

If you 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.  
School visits are tricky at the moment but you can meet up via Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype and you might consider offering a few free materials for “home schools” at the moment. Perhaps even a video of you reading out some of your work.        

Calling all writers

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:
  1. Tell me about your book.
  2. Tell us about your research for this book.
  3. What inspired you to write this?
  4. What's next?
  5. How can we get a copy of the book?
  6. 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
The latest interview I’ve added is with Anne Forrest.  Read it here.

Work Flow     

Please note the new site for checking work in progress on editing, designing and post-production.  You can click from here to separate pages for all of our editors.  My page includes other processes.
Note also the new Submissions awaiting assessment section and new pages for Allison, Alyson,   Amanda, Linda and Madeleine.    
There is now a separate page for progress on assessing submissions: 

Some notes about my newsletters, blogs and Facebook groups and pages.

They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they all do.

1940s Group

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, as often as you like and especially on launch / release day.
If you feel that is you, do join us:    
Of course, with my Schellberg Cycle I'm constantly in that world.  
Bridge House Authors For all those published by Bridge House, CafeLit, Chapletown or 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.
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.   
Fair Submissions Remember I keep a full list of vetted opportunities on this 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.   
Gill’s News: News about my writing, The Schellberg Project, School Visits and Events. Find it here.   
Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher News about conferences and workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) 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 and news of new books. Find them here. 
The Young Person’s Library This is where I review books for children and young adults.  My reviews are factual and neutral, offering information about the books for concerned adults: teachers, librarian, parents, guardians and scholars.  Find it here.  
Scribblers Sans Frontières This is a private group is for writers published by one of our imprints: Bridge House, CafeLit, Chapeltown, The Red Telephone. 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  
I also tend to let you know news that appears here earlier and in a little more detail.  It’s a sort of inner sanctum, if you like. You need an invite to join this: contact me for an invite.
Gill James Writer You will find this page here.   This informs you in brief about what I alter put in my newsletter. It is slightly more immediate.  It also alerts you when I’ve posted on one of my blogs.

Happy reading and writing.  

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 

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