We are delighted to be opening for submissions between the 1st and 20th of October 2016.
Unsolicited and unrepresented authors are most welcome and we will consider all genres and work aimed at all ages. We are looking to take on ten titles for release over the next twelve months.
Please follow the submission guidelines below.
At the time of submission your work must be complete to at least First Draft and previously unpublished.
In the first instance please send a detailed covering letter which tells us why you write, where life’s journey has taken you so far and where you want to be. Previous work should be summarised briefly, including any publication details. If you are active on social networks tell us about it and where to find you. We are looking for people we can invest in personally, people with a real personality and a story to tell.
Please attach a one page, 500 word synopsis of the work you are submitting, including the title, word count, current completion status (no less than above), and pop in a two line elevator pitch before the synopsis. (Don’t sweat this, we know synopsis writing is an awful experience, but try to reflect the style of your work).
The covering letter should be in the body of the email and the attachment should be in .doc, .odt, or .pdf format.
If your work is illustrated, please also attach no more than two sample images of your artwork in .jpg format.
Submissions must be recieved between the 1st and 20th of October 2016 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ll notice that, in the first instance, we are not looking for samples of the work itself. Once your submission is in and the closing date arrives, we anticipate it will take around four weeks to select the authors and works best suited to us. At this stage full maunscripts will be requested for a final assessment with an interim offer and draft contract issued where appropriate.
Please do not expect template style rejections, we aim to provide productive feedback to all writers who approach us, because we know how tough the industry can be and want to change things for the better.
Everybody loves an underdog. It’s one of those psychological oddities of humanity, like the fear of bananas. Nobody knows why but it’s no less real as a part of the world we live in.
There have been a few studies of the underdog support phenomenon, one even concluded it was all a matter of BIRG – that’s basking in reflected glory to those of us not in the know. The basic conclusion is people find it more satisfying to watch someone destined to fail (the odds stacked against them by flaws or circumstance) succeed against something else more likely to win. This has been around in books since the Old Testament and is absolutely key to the success of getting a reader to invest in the story.
Misery – the writer’s a mess, his feet have been chopped off, he shouldn’t win but we root for him to overcome and escape.
Fight Club – the narrator’s an oddball who fights himself, yet you want him to win the psychological battle against his split personality.
Spot The Dog – he’s been naughty but you want him to get a cuddle from his mum.
Personally, for what this opinion is worth, I like to think it’s because we all recognise our own flaws, the things which block us or leave us stuck, and we put ourselves in the shoes of a person with a fight on their hands. It’s not BIRG, not at all. It boils down to IIWMIWTWT – if it was me I’d want to win too. Which is much nicer than the other concept of underdog psychology: we all secretly want to watch the car crash unfold because we like to see other people suffer.
Books are a creative reflection of life in which the best stories take the underdog then have them triumph. Life, every now and then, also reflects art. Which is where Cynefin Road has come from. Bumbling into an established, giant industry, without so much as knocking on the door or really knowing the rules. And these are the kind of stories we’re interested in too – and not just the books themselves but the writers as well.
So, Hello! from an underdog looking for underdogs.
It might not be a fancy mission statement but, by all accounts, it’s not a bad starting point.
Everybody loves an underdog. It’s one of those psychological oddities of humanity, like the fear of bananas.
Just imagine the early nineties became the template for the future.
Take That still have number ones, the Stone Roses never split up, Chris Evans is on the telly, and Smash Hits now dominates the media…
We decided this unlikely dystopian premise was the best way to tackle an interview with author J.J. Patrick, seeing as he’s one of ours and all. So we half-inched the old Garibaldi Tin format and fired questions his way at random.
(We will, of course, do something a little more serious with him, but let’s just say he’s had a hard time over the last few months and, sometimes, laughter really can be the best medicine).
We must, however, do something sensible and make you read this logo:
Of course, it’s only fair for us to have a go at this interviewing lark too, so the first question is ours!
Tell us about your forthcoming debut… Right this minute, I’m working on the final tweaks to my first full-length fiction, a novel called Forever Completely. It’s about psychotic primates, witches, the end of the world and a nice old dear in a tracksuit. And love, mustn’t forget that. I just want people to read it and think “I’ve no idea what the fuck that was, but I kinda liked it”. It’s such a good mission statement I’ve nicked it to use in the rest of my life.
Now, let the Russian Roulette begin!
What does your writing process look like? I want you take a boat load of hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals and stand in a circle of clowns, while they throw glitter at you. Then I’m going to chase you with a shark, a pissed shark. [for the benefit of Americans, he means drunk, not angry].
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares? Yes. My dreams are all mad, there’s a lot of flying, a lot of big cityscapes (normally half poking out of oceans at sunset). Once there was a waterfall, but I think that’s because I needed a wee. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life awake, I’d pass on asking about nightmares.
What book do you wish you could have written? I love the experiences books have brought me over the years, the magic being at its strongest when someone else hammers out a world you can see. I definitely wouldn’t butcher a single one of them with my hamfisted understanding of grammar. I might have missed that bit at school, when they dicked the syllabus and forgot about the kids in the middle, but at least I got milk…
What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told? Aside from “Yes, Roy, there’s only a 10p mix in this bulging paper bag”, it’s called Forever Completely. That’s what fiction is – a giant porky. The real magic is the truth which exists behind the lie, a line which Stephen King once made up and has always stuck with me. He’s my number one author, by the way, though I’m also growing to like Bukowski. That guy was gloriously fucked up.
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would you choose? I’ve actually daydreamed through this with Sketch Girl, not so long ago — she’s a superhero and I’m her lame sidekick, Jump Off Boy. We’re talking Tom Hiddleston, Romola Garai, Gil Gadot, James McAvoy, Russell Howard — yes, you heard — Evanna Lynch and Jim Broadbent. We’re still wrestling with the Maggie Smith versus Julie Walters issue…It’s the best film that may never be made.
What do you want your tombstone to say? That’s easy: “So…that went well”. Why are you holding a shovel? It’s unnerving…
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? I can’t write about sex, it makes me feel grubby. I’m a proper prude about it, which is weird because I love humping.
Have you ever gotten into a bar fight? Yes. Numerous times. Normally through trying to stop other people. My face is like a fist magnet though, so I’ve upped my game over the years and fighting stopped being scary, or a problem, a while ago.
Excuse a brief hijack…weren’t you a copper, and wasn’t there a “thing” in Parliament? I did something not many people have, and it was for the greater good, but otherwise I’m going “No Comment”. It’s not me nowadays and my tab is almost settled.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors? The first rule of write club is, get your thumb our of your arse and write. The second rule of write club is read as much, if not more, than you scribble. The third rule is finish and walk away. You are not capable of editing yourself. The fourth rule is let the story tell itself to you. If it dead ends, move on. The last rule is easy to remember… You are going to suffer a lifetime of self-doubt and rejection because the publishing industry is fickle. But that’s no reflection on you, so toughen up, cupcake.
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? Random! I can do quite a few convincing accents but my favourite for daily use sounds a lot like Cartman from South Park. There’s nothing funnier than handling PPI calls with a cheerful “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, how would you like to suck my balls!”
Last one…What is your next project? My balls are in the air….no, I mean…right. I’m writing two books at the same time, both very different and both coming along at quite some pace. One’s connected to the world of Forever Completely and the other is just plain old scary. They should both be done — by which I mean launched at an editor like live hand grenades — by the end of this summer. [Spring, due to life].
There you have it, our nutter in a nutshell, just for fun. When he’s ready, we’ll get serious with him.
Forever Completely is out worldwide 16.9.16, keep your eyes on Cynefin Road!
We are deep in the post production phases of the lovely debut’s of Stephanie and James and are already thinking about the future.
Though we’ve no experience of crowdfunding, we have launched a limited time Kickstarter project, seeking development funding to help make sure those books are driven out into the world, and to pave the way for the future of beatiful publications with us:
Please take the time to have a look at our project page, and pass it on if you feel you can.
Last week we set J.J. Patrick a two week challenge to write a political thriller. As ever, he rose to the occasion but his daughter has been in hospital unexpectedly, so he’s had to set it aside. (It’s clear the subject matter is one he considers personally destructive, too).
What he made a start on was, as far as we’re concerned, a fantastic book in the making, so we are sharing it below. (At least, what we had up until last Sunday). It is, of course Copyright of J.J. Patrick (James Patrick) 2016, all rights reserved and reproduced here with permission. It is a work of fiction and no actual MPs or journalists were harmed in the writing process.
We also (democratically) agreed that it’s important to show the writing process at the rough draft stage because it’s often buried behind the scenes and forgotten about, but it’s precisely how all great books start out…
We hope you all agree that James should revisit it, when things are more settled for him. Enjoy!
Hot off the heels of our Q&A with author Stephanie Shields, it’s time to meet the illustrators of her Children’s debut, The Star Princess and The Kitchen Witch.
First up it’s five year old Jessica Patrick, a zesty little monster with a glint in her eye that suggests she can be trouble.
Tell us about you, we asked, as she worked away on her first solo book, The Elves and The Shoemaker.
“My name is Jessica, I’m five I like visting Adventureland for free and making necklaces. I love all of the people in the universe who are my friends. I especially love, love, love my family.”
Turning to her experience as an illustrator and the drawings of the Star Princess, it’s hard not love her to bits. She’s clearly proud of her work, and rightly so in our eyes.
“For a long time I was drawing pictures of everything for mum and dad. Old tree houses and stuff. I love drawing and painting. For the story I had to draw a big castle, and a princess, and a hill, and stars. I like the drawings because they are lovely.”
But she does have other projects on the horizon and is keen to work on a sequel with her brother, too. She’s also a good source of information about witches, it would seem…
“Maybe next time I could do the witch and Cameron could do the princess. Did you know that witches who don’t make potions are good?”
Her big brother, Cameron, is seven years old and clearly takes writing and engineering very seriously already. As it happens, we interrupted him right in the middle of drafting a chapter in his latest novella.
“I write on the computer quite a lot. Mostly quests about anything really. I make robots, too.”
Being this independently creative, we had to ask what inspired him to get involved with illustrating a book alongside his little sister.
“Well, I just heard the name of the story and thought ‘I love writing, so I really want to get involved’. The story is really good, all of it. I just got the kitchen witch out of my mind. She’s definitely a good witch, this one.”
It’s a pleasure to hear such a clever young man so in love with story telling – the future of fiction appears to be in safe hands. We also let him in on Jessica’s view of witches, which turned him to the one sticking point in the story – his editorial is fierce, to say the least – and led to a fit of giggles.
“I don’t know why she gave the princess a present. If I was that witch, I’d have given her squirting goo in a box! Because it’s funny!”
Boys will be boys… But what is in store for this bright little author?
“I’m probably going to carry on writing The Highway Raider because I’ve finished Scary Quests, so that just needs publishing.”
The Star Princess and The Kitchen Witch is due for release in September 2016 by Cynefin Road.
It almost certain that Cameron and Jessica will have their own titles dominating the bestsellers soon…
We’ve known Stephanie for a while now, a few years in fact, having first come across her on Twitter. Back in those days she was a leopard and, though times have changed, she still takes the time to give people tail cuddles when they need them.
Though she works full time – chasing bad buys – we managed to persuade her to sit down for five minutes, so we could run through a brief Q&A about her upcoming debut in the world of children’s books.
We can tell you that it’s quite fabulous, too!
Q: Tell us about the book!
A: It’s a children’s story, though adults will like it too as it’s about despair and hope and friendship and bravery. It’s called The Star Princess and The Kitchen Witch.
Q: What inspired the story?
A: Twitter. I asked online for some help and the darling Ella Risbridger (@missellabell) not only replied online but also sent a magic spell for courage in the post. I keep it on my laptop and it helps with my writing every day.
Q: What can you tell us about the illustrations?
A: They are excellent. And I’ve only seen a few pages. They are drawn by Jessica and Cameron, two children very close to my heart yet that I have never met.
Q. Does it have a moral?
A: It is allegorical. And it does have a message. Is that the same as a moral? I don’t know.
Q: What’s the best thing about writing for children?
A: The best thing about writing for children is the best thing about writing for everyone. People, adults, children, whoever, if they read it and like it then job done. Although I write different mediums I’ve never differentiated who I write for.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: Since I was a teenager.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Life. People. Music. Red wine. The scent on the air and the breeze on the trees. A snatched line of conversation, a dream, a whisper.
Q: What’s your writing process like?
A: The least disciplined thing ever. I can run to my laptop in the middle of cleaning because I’ve had a brilliant idea and turn out a few thousand words. Or I can sit myself down, tinker with 3 lines, take to Twitter, and still be there an hour later. Though I do always have a phone and a notebook & pen with me when I’m out to capture ideas then.
Q: If you could give advice to inspire other writers, what would it be?
A: Write. Yes, it is the tritest piece of advice ever but it’s also true. Write. Write some more. Write differently. Oh, and read David Quantick’s books on writing. They are very good.
Q: What are you working on next?
A: Other children’s stories. A couple of romances. And, most excitingly, an anthology of One Hundred 100-Word Stories that I am hoping Cynefin Road will publish for me later this year.
The Star Princess and The Kitchen Witch is due for release by Cynefin Road in September 2016.
A very special interview with the illustrators, Cameron (age 7) and Jessica (age 5) will be published later this week.