Friday 15 October 2021

The Lost Hat


How we came to publish this one

We were approached by Albert Ventura – who had already had this published in Catalan. He retained the rights, including translation rights and we were able to proceed.      

The title

It really is simple and to the point. 

Some notes about the process

Albert had already translated the book into English and had done a very good job on this. One of our editors worked with him to polish the text.         

The cover

The cover image was of course created by Albert. As he is an author illustrator and this book already has a pedigree in the original Catalan, it made sense to retain the original cover.   

Some notes about style

The figures in it are quirky and endearing at the same time.

Who we think the reader is

This is the type of picture book a caring adult can read to a child. There are plenty of fascinating details in the picture which tell a story supplementary to the one included in the text. The figures in it are quirky and endearing at the same time.

What else

As ever with picture books, especially now that we might read on screens more often, this is a lovely book to hold. It’s size and format makes it ideal for an adult and child to share.

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 on the link 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.       

See The Lost Hat in our book shop.    


Monday 4 October 2021

Working with Amazon

Online Shopping, Amazon, Shop, Shopping

Amazon is actually part retailer and part search engine. As a publisher we can’t dictate to them what they do. As a business they just want to make sales. In order to do that they are more geared towards supporting the customer than the publisher.  Yet a publisher or indie author can learn to work with them and get some very pleasing results.


They’ve recently made linking books easier. You are invited to flag this up as you load the book up to Kindle. They will then promote the linked titles as a package. They usually also manage to find the paperback even if you’ve not had it published by them.


For most of our titles we’ve used Ingram Spark / Lightning Source for our paperbacks rather then Amazon’s KDP. This is because you’re offered slightly more choice in formats, and it’s easier to get books into bookshops,. However, they now offer extended distribution on their paperbacks which would help to get them into bookshops. And actually do that many get into bookshops anyway? We’re using KDP for some titles – e.g. The Best of CaféLit series and the CaféLit serials. We might think again, especially for our standard paperbacks. Amazon KDP makes distribution to other countries easier.


Amazon offers some really good marketing tips from the KDP site. They also offer advertising and webinars on how best to use that.


Though Amazon can be very frustrating at times, if you work with them, they can be very helpful.                          

Saturday 2 October 2021

Show Me the Money


Bank, Business, Cash, Coin, British, Stack, Deposit

The Society of Authors has provided some excellent online talks during the pandemic. I actually signed up for Show Me the Money – and forgot to attend. However, I’ve watched it in the last week and it has given me some food for thought. The only snag about watching it retrospectively is that you can’t get to see what was in the chat box.  

Candy Gourlay, a children’s writer and fellow SCBWI member, chaired a panel with Shoo Rayner and Steve Antony, author illustrators.  They discussed side hustles that we writers can do to supplement our income and some marketing strategies.   

A lot of what they spoke about was very familiar. Rounding off the topic they concluded that in order to earn a living from writing you have to write according to what the market wants rather than just have the wonderful idea that you think everybody should read. And you need to make that visible. You have to change your mind-set.

Now, I’ve always told my creative writing students that once the writing is done you have to switch personality from being the introspective writer beavering away in their garret to taking on the mores of car salesman and marketing aggressively. My own routine reflects this: mornings are for my own writing.  Then once I’ve tackled CafeLit and my 300 or so emails, I spend the rest of the day marketing, my own and other people’s work,  –often until about 9.30 p.m.  

I guess I’ve been fortunate in working for eleven years in a day job that recognised me as a writer and though there was some pressure about being excellent  - not sure whether I achieved that though they never sacked me – but there wasn’t so much commercial pressure. In fact niche was appreciated.  CafeLit and the Creative Café Project came out of that job. I also wrote the first of my Schellberg books as the result of a sabbatical.    


We value niche in what we publish. We never put pressure on people to market but always appreciate any what you do.  


However, marketing needn’t be seen as the enemy. Learn to enjoy it. Find the strategies that work best that are also palatable to you and replicate those. That is the philosophy behind the book tweaks published every month.