Saturday 31 December 2016

The Janus report – looking back over 2016 and forward to 2017

2016 is now drawing to a close and what a year it’s been. Thank goodness in my little area of publishing things are going a little better than in the world in general. Perhaps this is a useful reminder that things are never completely black or white and that there are more than fifty shades of grey.

What we did in 2016

Bridge House got out its annual anthology, called Baubles this year. You can read a few extracts here. We managed at last to get out the Shelagh Delany collection Salford Stories just in time for Shelagh Delaney Day 2017. A week’s illness in January 2016 set us back months. It just shows how finely balanced everything is for the small press.

CaféLit on-line continues to thrive. The Best of CaféLit 5 came out nice and early in August. A few more cafés have been added to the Creative Café Project. We’re always looking for more, so do let us know of any you come across.  

CaféLit and Baubles writers, along with their friends and family and other writers and connections of Bridge House, CaféLit, Chapeltown, The Red Telephone and their associates met for a celebration on 3 December at the Princess of Wales pub, Primrose Hill. This seems to be the ideal venue but we’re probably about to outgrow it. Tickets were free but we “sold out”. In any case, we’ve already booked for next year.

The Red Telephone is open to submission and I’m currently reading a couple of scripts that are looking promising.

Chapeltown is now accepting collections of flash fiction. There are currently two in production, one waiting in the wings plus three being read.  

Looking towards 2017

Bridge House’s new annual anthology for 2107 will be Gliterary Tales. So, glittery stories that have a touch of literature about them. I wonder what that will add to the debate about the difference between literary and popular fictions? Debz Hobbs Wyatt will be getting the call for submissions out soon.

Bridge House is also offering to publish single-author collections. These are for authors we’ve published before and they may include stories we’ve already published,  ones they’ve had published elsewhere and new ones. We’ll be putting a description out about this soon but we’ve already had some enquiries.

Bridge House is also being a bit cheeky and getting a little political. Are we are in danger of getting our books burnt? Well, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. We’re doing an extra anthology, Citizens of Nowhere, with the theme of the global citizen. Oh, I hope we don’t upset Ms May. We’re commissioning just over half of the work from known authors but there is room for a few open submissions. Stories can be “one you prepared earlier” or a brand new one, with a cut-off date of 31 January, though this may very well be extended. Stories between 1,000 and 4,000 words. Submit to editor at bridgehousepublishing dot co dot uk.  

CafeLit, Chapeltown and The Red Telephone are all open for submissions. Check out the details by clicking on the names in the previous sentence.

Chapeltown is also excited to be publishing Colin Wyatt’s Who will be my friend? – a delightful picture book about friendship and accepting others. Yes, Colin is Debz’s dad. He is a Disney licensed illustrator and his latest publication is The Jet Set. We feel very honoured to be publishing him.

I’m also organising a summer celebration event in Manchester. Watch this space and follow my newsletter.    

So, we’re busy and optimistic about what we can achieve over the next year. We just hope we can take the world with us.                                            

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Some marketing tips

These were gathered at the Bridge House / CaféLit event held on 3 December 2016. I’ll put these up on the various publisher sites as well and add to them as we come across more.
  • When self-promoting make sure your message involves facts, feelings and actions
  • Don't just use social media to tell your audience about "you" - actually engage with your followers - what have you seen / read / experienced that they might like or discuss.
  • Be open to possibilities. I went into flash fiction by accident but am so glad I did. Also, enter writing competitions and build up a "CV"
  • Get double sided bookmarks printed advertising 2 books, and leave them in local libraries
  • Promote other writers, don't expect them to promote you back. But when you give you get back. 
  • Review, review, review.
  • Organise mini book events like Tupperware parties.
  • Always have a call to action on your landing pages and other important pages. However avoid saying explicitly “Buy my book”.