Thursday 30 December 2021

Ways of Seeing by Rick Vick

How we came to publish this one

Rick came to us when he visited our web site after seeing something about us on social media. It was clear to us that his writing was of a good quality, so we went ahead and agreed to publish.      

The title

This came to us as we went through the final stages of editing. It was a phrase that he’d used and indeed the pieces collectively offer us a way of looking at the world.        

Some notes about the process

Sadly, Rick passed away as were in the process of editing. However his friend Steve Wheeler, another writer and a well-qualified editor, took over the process on his behalf. It was a real privilege to be able work with Steve and with Rick’s family on making this such a super little book.    

The cover

Of course this is another of our little square books of flash fiction. The art work for the cover is also one of Rick’s pieces.      

Some notes about style

We have a mixture of short poems, short stories and glimpses of life.

Who we think the reader is

Rick has a big following and no doubt other creative writers and academies will find his work interesting. As ever with flash texts, the reader will read a piece and let it sink in for a day or so before moving on to the next. And as ever they can be read time and time again and still bring something new.    

What else

What would normally be the 50-75% share of the net sales revenue is being donated to the Nelson Trust “a charity that brings belief, hope and long-term recovery to people whose lives have been torn apart by addiction and the multiple and complex needs that come with it”.

Review copies

It’s always great if you can buy the book, or download it if you have a plan, and give us a review. Just click here to be taken to our online bookshop. If you would like to review and you are strapped for cash, just get in touch for a free review copy.        



Monday 13 December 2021

Some notes about email

 Wordpress, Blogging, Blogger, Editor, Blog Post, Cms

Emails I get

I receive about 400 emails a day. This is not unusual for a publisher and for many other freelancers. This come through several lists- my own personal one, Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit, The Red Telephone and the Lancashire Authors Association. A lot comes through about books we’re working on as a publisher and from other publishers about my own work. Then there are the items of personal interest. Some emails are important, some urgent, come urgent and important, some urgent but not important and some just interesting. Some can be ignored – for now at least. And there will be a handful of scams and other junk. Good use of the spam filters control the latter well.    

Coping with them

I have a system for dealing with them that means that important ones can take up to 48 hours to receive a reply. I start looking though my inbox a little after lunch and for the first thirty minutes I’ll look at everything in detail. I may buy books, look at properties for sale, read interesting articles or book events. Thereafter, until about four o’clock, I’ll only deal with the important and urgent ones. These are usually ones from writers I’m working with and where they need a quick response. I’m particularly  careful to process any that involve book orders, contracts or invoices. As I reach this deadline I’ll quickly look to see if there is anything urgent and important that is outstanding.



I’m afraid I experience rudeness if an email doesn’t start with a greeting. Does it cost anything to start with “Dear ….” Or “Hi”?. “Hello” is less good. I’m not too keen either on an email that starts with just my name. It seem patronising. Of course it’s fine not to have a salutation if you are replying to an email. As important as the salutation is the sign off. Your name is enough, though you can also add something like “kind regards”.


Proper subject lines

Yes, it’s tempting and quite useful to reply to an email in order to start a new subject. This ensures that you have the email address correct. But please alter the subject line to what you’re currently discussing.


How much correspondence to include each time

It’s useful to include all of the correspondence s far- it’s handy for both parties to be able to scroll down and remind themselves about what has already been said. However, this is less useful if you have changed the topic. Think very carefully about what to include.





Be succinct and get to the point

This doesn’t have to be unfriendly. In fact I make a point of providing a friendly acknowledgement to emails to which I don’t need to provide an answer.


Be as careful as with a letter

Don’t send email after email on the same topic. Don’t give in to afterthought after afterthought. Plan your email as you would a snailmail letter. Use bullet points or numbers if you are dealing with several issues. Read it through three times before you send it. And never send an email if your brain if fogged by alcohol. If you’re dealing with a tricky subject, maybe leave it twenty-four hours before you send it.


Be patient

I’ll usually reply to you within 48 hours. More quickly if it is really urgent or you’re just lucky with timing. But don’t expect me to be attached to my emails 24/7 – otherwise no work will never get done. And some of the work may in fact provide the answer you’re looking for.


Look elsewhere for the information

I have to bite my tongue sometimes when I’m asked questions that are already answered on an imprint’s web site, on this blog or in our monthly newsletters. So, sometimes my answers may be short and will provide a link to an appropriate web page or article.


Folders, folders, folders

I keep a lot of my emails – carefully organised into folders. I also spend some time each day putting the sent emails into folders. Okay, so occasionally I misfile. Thank goodness there is a good reach facility on the service I use.         


Thursday 9 December 2021

New submissions, higher net sales awards, celebration event

The 2022 Anthology

The theme for the 2022 is “Evergreen”. This can of course refer to the Christmas tree.  There can clearly also be a green agenda here.  What might we do to keep our planet ever green?  Or you can go for the symbolic. Isn’t the Christmas tree a symbol of hope?

Submissions accepted 6 December 2020 until 28 February 2022

Editors' decisions by 31May or there abouts!

Editorial 1 June until 31 August

Book design and early marketing 1 September until 14 November

Book release 15 November

Celebration event 3 December

See how to submit: 

Payments to writers

From 1 January 2022 we are increasing the percentage of net sales that you earn to 75% for any time that your book is “in the black”. This will be reflected in all new contracts and applied also to authors on older contracts.  

We are “not for profit” so the remaining 25% is what we use to set up new books. Debz, Martin and I do the work upfront on the whole and pay ourselves later the 50% of net sales on books that are in the red.  We also pay freelancers. Figures in red on our monthly statements indicate where we have paid a freelancer. Figures in green show where we have worked “in house”.  Where figures are all black, look forward to 75% of net sales.     

Hard launch / soft launch

This will now appear on contracts where we used to have “release” and “post production”. “Soft launch” is the date when the book is made available but it yet has to appear on all retail sites and get through the Amazon hoops. You can still get some loyal friends, family, fans and followers to read and review for you. 

“Hard launch” is the day on which the title is officially released. Most books come out on a Thursday. So, we’ll pinpoint this day as the last Thursday of the month chosen for “hard release”. This is the ideal day to have a launch but of course any time after that is also acceptable.

Remember, we can’t attend every physical launch, and we can’t provide champagne and a custom cake BUT we can let you have twenty books upfront.  If you live within twenty miles of where we live, we’ll gladly attend and do anything you would like us to do: wash up, help set out the chairs handle sales, be MC etc. etc. And we’re also happy to organise a launch on Zoom.

See ideas about launches in So Now You’re Published, What next?  and also in my course The Business of Writing  

Celebration Event at the Theodore Bullfrog Pub  

This was like coming home. We’ve used then in the past and they have always been very good. We thought they’d become a little small.  However, there is always a drop out number and in fact this will accommodate easily what we have left.

We are still living in difficult times and they were very accommodating about us having to chop and change the order.

They set the room up beautifully for us – see pictures below. 


Wednesday 24 November 2021

Publishers' risk


Investment, Safe, Money, Insurance

When we publish your book we are taking certain risks.

Time risks

·         Editing time: this depends on the length of the book, how well it has been written and edited by the author and how efficiently the editor and writer work together. This has varied between six hours and forty hours.

·         Proof reading: this is in addition to editing. It has varied between two hours and twenty hours.  

·         Design. This can be as little as two hours or as many as twenty. It depends to a large extent on how well the author has formatted their work in the first place – which has more to do with using Word correctly than knowing about publishing conventions. We push the text through a template and if the use of Word formatting was constant the template quickly adopts the text to the publishing conventions we use. Some books have special features such as line drawings and tables. This adds a little to the time but not nearly as much as poor Word formatting.      

·         Cover design. This takes about ten hours. We prefer to do this in-house – there are technical and marketing issues that we understand and authors rarely do . There is a lot of toing and froing in addition between author and designer. We’re just a bit soft that way. Most publishers just send you a copy of the cover design and expect you to say “That’s lovely. Thank you.” In fact in all of the processes we describe here will include elements of that but it will vary from author to author. It’s particularly heavy in this area.

·         Set-up. We have to load up digital fields of the inside of the book and the cover. As we have super-super-fast broadband this now actually less than an hour – the uploads themselves taking seconds.

·         Admin. How long is a piece of string? But there is a process of post-production admin that takes about ten hours. Then admin and marketing carry on our whole inventory for a couple of hours a day.

·         Marketing: this overlaps with post-production and covers the areas of soft and hard launches.

Financial risks

·         Editing. Some of our editing is done in-house by Debz or myself, though Debz sometimes joins our free-lancers. We pay our editors £30.00 an hour, a little over the recommended rate for proof-readers. If we do the work in-house we work out our hours and gradually pay ourselves back from the other 50% of sales revenue.

·         Proof-reading also £30.00 an hour – a mixture of in-house and free-lancers

·         Design - all done in-house    

·         Cover-design – completed in-house. Occasionally we commission an artist and this costs a further £250 - £400.00. Sometimes, with a lot of negotiation, authors provide their own art work. This usually increases the amount of time we spend on cover design.

·         Post-production admin, just in the immediate soft / hard launch phase time x £30.00 per hour – currently all done in-house.   

·         Set-up costs – free on Amazon KDP books which we use for certain titles but for the majority of our books £71 for uploads and proof copy and a further £8.40 per arum for distribution costs.                    

·         British Library – we have to supply one copy of your book to them and the cost of this varies according to the size of the book. Usually under £10.00 including shipping. We are sometimes asked for a further five for the deposit libraries. Again costs vary. This usually comes in under £20.00 as shipping costs plummet with five books and we pay the same for a print run charge for one book a for five hundred or more .  

·         ISBN – we’ve just bought 100 new ones – they work out at £3.50 each.

·         Occasionally we advertise your book, usually spending up to $39.00.

·         Occasionally we enter your book for an award – free up to about £35.00           

·         Overhead costs: membership of Independent Publishers Guild, about £200 and 15p per submission via Duosuma (so tips gratefully received.)

·         Ongoing marketing and general admin just goes on without its time or finance being assigned to any one book or to an hourly fee.



Calculated for the period that your book is in the black. This in includes having to earn out your advance if you have been paid one. This will be in all new contracts and will be applied to all authors retrospectively if this wasn’t in the original contract.      


Publishing patterns

Traditional publisher      

This is us. We never charge anything for any of these services and we take rights so we are a traditional publisher. We use print-on-demand and digital selling, which in my books makes us very modern. We use a financial model that protects us and that means we can carry on publishing books.


Self-publishing services

This includes editing, proof-reading, cover-design, book design, marketing, formatting for print and formatting for e-book. You pick and choose which services you require and who to buy them from. The providers never take your rights. We are looking at offering this service as well.   


Hybrid publishes

They provide all of the above services and take rights. To be avoided? They tend to be expensive though actually buying all of the packages mentioned under self-publishing can cost even more but as you choose who provides what you can create a better package. And you may not need all of the services.


The main point is- this is what we risk when we take you on. And we’ll never drop an author because they don’t sell well. That is what probably makes us different from the Big Five and indeed from some other indies.