July 2017

Howdy! I thought I’d better send a quick newsletter because – oh my golly, the time has come.  For the first time in a long time, we’re opening general submissions for the last two weeks of July, from 15th July onwards.

This wasn’t an entirely easy decision to reach. We still have a frightening backlog of manuscripts. And we remain profusely apologetic to all those people still waiting on us. But we also want to keep ourselves open to surprises and the wider world – and to gather in submissions before the summer, when we’ll hopefully be able to get down to more reading.

Our submission guidelines are on the website. Briefly, we hope that people who submit to us will have read some of our other authors – because we want you to understand where we’re coming from and where we might be heading. 

I also want to give a few words of encouragement. Submitting a book takes guts. I know it can feel like cutting your own heart out and serving it up so other people can poke around in the red, bleeding, somehow-still-beating flesh. I’m acutely aware of how dispiriting it can be when this act of emotional exposure is met with either a negative answer or silence. So I want to be clear on a few things. We admire anyone who has finished a novel, let alone been brave enough to send it to us. Just because we might say ‘no’ (or nothing) this time, it doesn’t mean we won’t say ‘yes’ another time. Just because we might feel your book doesn’t fit on our list, it doesn’t mean it might not fit somewhere else. Just because we’ve said ‘no’ – it also doesn’t mean we might not have regrets later. (In the past we’ve missed some damn good books. It happens. You can’t always understand what you’ve got in front of you when a manuscript comes in.) 

All of which is a convoluted way of saying that you’ve really got nothing to lose by sending in your work, if you think it fits with what we do. And potentially, lots to gain. Even if it’s quite a long shot...

It’s also a way of saying: don’t give up.

I wish luck to everyone who submits. People who write are the people who make our world work. And! Talking of brave and fine writers, our short story prize is two months in and going great guns. I’m happy to say that we have now been able to give away 60 free entries, out of the 70 we have at the moment. I’m also happy to say that regular entries are ticking over nicely too – and it’s those entries that make it possible to also give a chance to writers who might not be enjoying the best financial circumstances. Touchingly, many writers have even donated an extra submission fee for someone else, while submitting their own – which is part of the reason we’ve now been able to set aside 70 free entries instead of the 50 with which we started out.

People can be wonderful.

There’s still plenty of time to get your entry in – just follow this link. And if you want to help other writers who don’t have the financial means, we’ve got a ‘donate’ button up and running on the site again. Speaking more generally, donations make a huge difference to us – and, more importantly, to our ability to keep putting out superb books.

On that latter subject, We that are young is weeks away from publication. The final adjustments to the galleys are being made as we speak – after that, it will be rolling off to the printers, to make into our two beautiful editions. 

Here’s two scenes from the engine room:


Remember, you can only buy the limited editions from us, and a very few other bookshops. These editions are a crucial part of our business. Partly because they are beautiful. Partly because direct sales are a key part of our funding. Partly because, black covers are so damn cool it hurts.

In the next newsletter, I’ll be hoping to bring you some of the reviews of We that are young. I don’t want to jinx anything by saying too much now. But we’re excited. (In truth, we’ve been excited about this book since we read the first page of the first draft and the hairs on the back of our necks started standing up... But now we're excited with the promise of... no, no... can’t jinx it.)

In the next newsletter we’ll also probably be getting equally excited about We Are The End. We’re just about to get the proofs of that made and god we love it. (It’s the best book about computer games I’ve ever read, among other things...)

And oh boy. We've got Megan Dunn’s astonishing Tinderbox to tell you about soon too. And Toby Litt’s Wrestliana! Part of me feels quite apologetic that all I do is bang on about how good these books are. But then I look at the words and how else to describe them?

But hey! If you don’t believe me, we've got a mighty fine new feature on our website where you can read our opening chapters. Just click on a title and take a look at each individual book. 

Okay. This short newsletter update has turned out to be very long, hasn't it? Just a few more reminders. If you’re lucky enough to be going to the Edinburgh Book Festival in late August please come and see some of our wonderful authors in action.

Also, by god, I’ll be talking about Enemies Of The People on the 27th July in the centre of our literary universe, Shakespeare & Co. Just to make me happier still, I’ll be talking to Adam Biles, the glorious author of the glorious Feeding Time. Hopefully we’ll also be able to talk about his wonderful book and editorial, so there should be a few good insights into getting fine work done... As well as a great big call to resist the evils that have been thrust upon us. If you want to join us in this great cultural omphalos, tickets are available here.

Almost finally, some even more egregious self-publicity. My lovely editor who commissioned Enemies Of The People just sent me a cheering email to say it’s selling pretty healthily. Also, that if it gets to a reprint, I might be able to update the chapter about Jeremy Corbyn in the light of his success at the general election. So I’ll be talking about how good it is that young people turned out to vote. And how bad it is that our gnome-faced potential-saviour still seems to be propping up Brexit. Anyway, that’s if I’m lucky enough get to revisit things. Meanwhile, if you want to see if you think I got him wrong I got him first time around, please order a copy as soon as you can… And of course, there are all the other people in the book. Their entries, alas, remain bang up to date and bang on the money. The money they’ve all been nicking from us…

Actually finally, since I’ve taken up a lot of your space and time already, I’ll just close with a list of all the benefits that Brexit has brought us so far:


P.S. As usual, I’m also going to use the end of the newsletter for a few more adverts, where you can safely ignore them, or kindly indulge me, depending on your fancy:

If you want to know more about  Enemies Of The People, have a look at my website. If you want to buy a copy, I will sign it, and be oh so grateful. Hopefully you’ll feel like you’re striking a blow for the truth too. Which matters now more than ever... Spread the word!

If you want to help us in our mission to bring the best possible literary fiction to the best possible people, you might want to consider subscribing and becoming a Galley Buddy.

And that’s it. Oh! Here’s a fun thing about being a dad. My daughter’s started introducing me to music. I have to admit I’m not that into Little Mix. Taylor Swift, however, is pretty much a genius, isn’t she? Even the lyrics are good. Stories, jokes, heartbreak. It’s all there. I also recently went on a nostalgia trip and hunted out a 90s band called Eggs on itunes. Their song The Government Administrator is one of the best things you can hope to hear about not wanting to work for The Man.  And who expected Ride to release a political album? And for it to actually be really good. I’ve really been enjoying that. Also! Has everyone bought Hold Tight from Influx Press? What a brilliant book - and what a good way to look at music culture. If you’re shopping around their site, I can also highly recommend Ghosts On The Shore by Paul Scraton. And like everyone else, I’m completely bowled over by Attrib by Eley Williams. All their books are great, basically.