Monday 12 December 2022

Our Annual Celebration Event 3 December 2022

 

Despite all the concerns we’d had about trains being cancelled or problems with Transport for London everyone arrived on time and we spent a pleasant afternoon together. 


 

 The Theodore Bullfrog again did us proud. I just love this venue. It is very close to Charing Cross Station and also quite close to Embankment. It’s furnished in a cosy homely sort of way and the winter light creates a nice atmosphere: There are windows on two sides and really nice light fittings. Actually as well, being so close to The Strand seems so appropriate for a book event.    

We eat and drink, we sell books, we chat. We swap marketing tips and business cards. 


 

 

 

People read from their work.

 






One of the nicest aspects about all of this is putting faces to names and getting to know our authors a little bit more closely.   


 

 

And next year? We’ll be here 1 December .

And the next anthology has the theme “Gifted”. Details here.             

Friday 2 December 2022

Fair Submissions

Scales, Justice, Balanced, Orange, Gold

You are probably all familiar with the site we run about fair submissions: https://www.fairsubmissions.co.uk/ The site is fully searchable and browsable. Currently there are over 800 opportunities on there – and that is after the 30 November cull:  twenty-two opportunities ran out on 30 November.

We define “fair” as:

·         Being a reasonable price or free to enter

·         That there is the opportunity of publication with royalties or a fee, of prize money, of excellent exposure or of just great fun. Note that there are only a very few of the latter two. Most of the time it’s about earning.

We’re taking less notice of how long response time is and whether they allow simultaneous submissions.

A publisher’s perspective

I can understand why some publishers are not too keen on simultaneous submissions. It can be very annoying when I’ve taken quite a while to read several submissions to CafeLit and    scheduled one for publication only to be told by the writer that they’ve had the piece accepted elsewhere.  We reckon to reply about a CafeLit submission in under a month but sometimes we take a little bit longer and often a lot less time. In any case, we expect you to let us know if your work gets taken up by another publisher before we get back to you.  

A writer’s perspective

Many publishers say how long they will take. If I’ve not heard back from them within that period of time, I assume I’m not going to and I submit elsewhere. I feel a little miffed that some publishers are telling me I can’t submit to someone else if I’ve submitted to them. I feel it’s my work and I should be able to do what I like with it. However for the sake of my own sanity and a little out of regard for other publishers I tend to only submit to one place at once.

If they don’t say how long they’re going to take, I assume three months. This all seems to work and so far there have been no problems. 

Serial publication, inspired by Charles Dickens

 Charlies Dickens, Portrait, Line Art

Most of Dickens’ novels were published first of all in serial form in the magazine he edited.  Once the serial had finished, the works were republished as a book.

Naturally before the work went into the magazine it would be edited. As the episodes came out he would receive some feedback from his readership.  Before the book was published he would respond to that feedback perhaps revising chunks of the novel.     

We would like to replicate this with our Sunday Serial. This can be for a collection of short stories or flash fiction, a novel for our Feisty Women or Red Telephone imprints.  It could be for one of our non-fiction Feisty Women books. Once we’ve cleared our backlog, we’ll consider other novels.  We’re not extending this to children’s novels, though of course we have included young adult. 

If this was agreeable to you, we would:

 

Publish your work chapter by chapter or story by story each Sunday, giving it a light copy edit before publication. 

Put the whole story / collection back together and collate all reader comments

Give you two months to respond to any feedback

Re copy-edit the new version (one month)

Get two proof reads completed (two months) 

Publish the book

Take down the serial from our site

Use the book for a Saturday Sample once it is out

Go through all of our normal marketing routines   

 

Don’t forget that CafeLit site is now monetized.  Any payments for submissions or any payments made through Kofi , minus the fee for Duotrope submissions, are shared 50 /50 between us and our writers.  Your excerpt will still also qualify for being included in the appropriate year’s The Best of CafeLit book.

Monday 21 November 2022

For a Few Hours by Yvonne Walus

 How we came to publish this one

We have published several of Yvonne’s stories in our anthologies and we know she works well with our editorial team.  

The title

This so apt. These stories will occupy you for a few hours – except that you’ll hardly notice those hours pass. You will be totally engaged by this work.   

Some notes about the process

This went through the normal three stages of editing . This was a very smooth process because of Yvonne’s professionalism. She worked with editor Allison Symes on this and Linda Flynn completed the final proof-read. We also give all of our books a  technical proof read as we design them.  

The cover

We thought the gold clock parts gave the impression of time passing.  

 

Some notes about style

Some of the reviews on Amazon give a useful indication of the style:

 

Author Yvonne Walus creates a captivating collection of slice-of-life stories that will make you laugh, break your heart, and keep your eyes glued to the pages from start to finish. From moving tales that will strike a chord to stories that portray the unexpected absurdities of life, For a Few Hours is a diverse collection that will appeal to readers with a wide array of tastes. The characters are colourful and brimming with life. Their vibrant and distinct personalities pop out of the pages and leave their mark on you. Each story offers something unique. Although I enjoyed every single one of them, I found ‘Revenge of the Redhead’ particularly rip-roaringly hilarious. A fascinating anthology that I highly recommend.

This is a tremendous collection of short stories. A great variety of themes and perspectives, with something for everyone. The writer's prose flows effortlessly and the dialogue is spot on with so many different characters and voices - young, old, female, male... I really recommend this book, with the story 'Never Have I Ever' likely to long remain with me.

The diverse settings, plots and ambience lift these stories above the mundane. These are real characters with strengths and flaws, painted with a punchy writing style that suits the stories perfectly. To me, each offering, whether set in South Africa (like ‘One Wedding and One Funeral’) or New Zealand (‘Where Art has No Place’) or ‘Just Anywhere’, has left me wiser and genuinely satisfied. Interesting and entertaining in their own right, they provoke thinking long after they are read. You’re sure to choose your favourite but mine was ‘Superheroes of Yesteryear’. Thoroughly recommended. 

 

Who we think the reader is

The reader of this book like to be invited to think. Yet the style is not heavy.  

 

What else

We have published a record number of books in the last twelve months. 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 link 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.   

Thursday 10 November 2022

Editing Etiquette

 Cutting, Editing, Filmstrip, Film Strip, Film, Movie

Every publisher has a slightly different editing routine but they do share a lot of common features. It’s important to take note of precisely the way your editor wishes you to work. Here I’m explaining what we do.

Edit 1

This is a general read through and a look at the bigger picture. We might query the role of a character, we might find a hole in the plot or we might notice a stylistic habit that is detrimental to your text. We’ll ask you to provide a fresh text taking all of those matters into account.  

 

Edit 2

We use Track Changes for this but only the comments feature. We’ll pick up such matters as clich├ęs, poor structure and telling where you could be showing. The odd typo, spelling or punctuation mistake we’ll just correct.

 

Edit 3

Again we use Track Changes but suggest you read the text without the changes showing. We’ll carry on sweeping up errors but also correct anything we’ve missed on Edit 2.

 

Always, always you have the final say but you really should take note of what your  editor is saying. We’re on the same side; we want to make your book as good as it can be.

 

We really urge you to take your time on this. We abandon rather than finish. You can always find something more.

 

Final proof read

We offer you a camera-ready final proof. This is a PDF showing you what the inside of your book will look like. We ask you to check his carefully and we get one other person to proof-read it. We also perform a technical proof-read e.g. looking for extra spaces, consistency in spelling etc.   

 

Be disciplined

Take your time with each edit. Don’t send your editor material in between edits. This leads to utter confusion and we may end up publishing the wrong version of your text.

 

What happens if you ask for changes after you’ve signed off the camera-ready

This costs us time and money and makes us grumpy.   

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Return on Investment – ROI

Calculator, Calculation, Insurance, Finance, Accounting

I’m working with this quite a bit on my own books and on the ones in the imprints. Of course we all invest a lot of time in writing the books in the first place but then we spend time and maybe money on marketing.  

It’s good to find out what works and then replicate that. That is the philosophy behind the 31 Day Marketing Plan. There are however still many unknowns and it’s possible that different outcomes will occur with different books and different marketing times.

I’m spending a little money on advertising: Facebook, Amazon, Contentmo, Bookbub, The Fussy Librarian etc. Then I’m using a formula in a spread sheet to turn that into a  ROI figure. E.g.

Prompts 2022

Fussy Librarian

05/09/2022

15.64

20.44

1.306905

 

So, I spent £15.64 on an ad. The book made £20.44 profit during the time the ad ran. The ROI index is 1.306905 which is 20.44 divided by 15.64. It’s not a huge profit, especially when you take out the fee for the ad, but it is a profit. Sometimes we actually make a loss on an advert but at least it has exposed the book, an author name and our imprint to more people. Sometimes as you probably know you need to see an item three or four times before you respond to it.  We’re into unknowns again then.

Before I advertise another title with the Fussy Librarian I would check out all of the ROI figures for The Fussy Librarian and look at which time of the month and what sort of book was involved. When I want to advertise I’ll generally look for the best ROI for the type of book and the time it is being advertised. Time of day and weekday can also affect this.

In addition with Amazon and Facebook you can target different markets. Initially you use some intuition with this but as you start to get results you can start establishing what is working best.  

Similarly Contentmo and Bookbub offer different patterns for different prices.     

Are you playing around with this as well? Let us know what you’re discovering.