Wednesday, 10 October 2012


To celebrate 'National Short Story Week' Candy Jar Books and Screaming Dreams Publishing are launching a competition offering aspiring writers the chance to have their work published for the very first time.

'National Short Story Week' (12th-18th November) aims to get more people reading and listening to short stories. Candy Jar and Screaming Dreams will publish the winning entries as an ebook anthology. The best short story will receive a selection of Candy Jar and Screaming Dreams books.

Shaun Russell, co-founder of Candy Jar Books, said: “We are committed to inspiring and encouraging new talent, which is why we have created this competition. To make it as accessible as possible for all writers there is no age limit and no entry fee.” Many writing competitions charge a fee for entry to help cover the printing costs of the book, which is why the anthology will be available purely in ebook format.

Steve Upham, owner of Screaming Dreams Publishing, is also excited by the competition. He said: "The experience winning writers will gain will be invaluable in preparing them for future publication. If successful we would like to print the anthology in paperback form and make the competition a yearly event."

Many publishers have championed the short story format this year. Bloomsbury has declared 2012 the 'Year of the Short Story' and 'The BBC National Short Story Award' has become international just for 2012 to celebrate the Olympics.

'The South Wales Short Story Competition' is currently accepting submissions. Entrants are permitted to submit up to two stories and each story can be a maximum of three thousand words. The competition is open to all unpublished writers across the UK.

All submissions must be received by 5pm on Friday 9th November 2012 and can be sent via the Candy Jar and Screaming Dreams websites. Alternatively, entries can be posted to Candy Jar Books, 113-115 Bute Street, Cardiff, CF10 5EQ. 

Good luck and get writing!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


 Shakespeare and Company Bookshop
E-books are fantastic. You can carry hundreds of them in your bag at once, have a new one in your hands in seconds and try a new author at the fraction of the price of its paperback counterpart. But there is something strangely satisfying about the tactile nature of turning a page, of finishing a book and putting it on the shelf. You don't get quite the same experience with an e-reader.

I used to volunteer at Oxfam Bookshop in Swansea. We'd get thousands of books donated to us each week; the backroom was always drowning in piles of them. Many were instantly bagged to be recycled. But there were some with inscriptions from friends and lovers scribbled inside, some hundreds of years old, some rare and occasionally, some worth hundreds of pounds. One donation we had was a large selection of books owned by Enid Bagnold. Many were rare editions of books written by members of The Bloomsbury Group. We had an afternoon tea to celebrate the donation and sales of the books raised thousands of pounds for Oxfam

There is also the sentimental nature of holding onto books. Guardian journalist Imogen Russell Williams cannot get rid of the books she read to her children: "My daughter's size is now inversely proportional to both the tidal wave of jolly-coloured, beeping crap she generates, and to the beetling pyramid of classic children's books I am pretending to keep for her benefit."

Modern society wants everything faster. Adverts can be skipped through on the television, information can be instantly accessed through the internet, e-books can be downloaded to e-readers in seconds. But for me, there is something vital missing. In a world where everything seems to be speeding up, there is something quite satisfying about walking into a bookshop and choosing a book from the shelf.

Rose Widlake

Monday, 8 October 2012


Many writers seem to shy away from this question, afraid that self-publishing is in some way admitting defeat. But the recent rise of self-publishing marks a radical change for readers, writers and publishers and shows that this is no longer the case.
Self-publishing is no longer associated with ‘Vanity Publishing’ – a process where authors are left with poor quality books and are often significantly out of pocket.
Now several companies, including Candy Jar Books, offer quality self-publishing services which deliver real results. Reputable companies offer professional support throughout the self-publishing process, from initial guidance on the first draft through to publicity and marketing of the final book.
Deciding to self-publish is becoming increasingly popular. Many who self-publish are later noticed by publishers and some have had huge success – current bestseller E.L James’ Fifty Shades trilogy being the obvious example. Self-publishing has existed as long as publishing has – Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and William Blake all printed their own work.
Authors are increasingly using alternative publishing routes to get their work noticed. Larger publishing companies are also recognising the importance of self-publishing as a source of talent. This summer Penguin acquired Author Solutions Inc, one of the world’s largest self-publishers for £74m. As Penguin CEO John Makinson said: "Self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry". Similarly, HarperCollins launched the website several years ago, which encourages writers to share their self-published work. Their website says: “The publishing world is changing. One thing’s for sure: whether you’re a reader, writer, agent or publisher, this is an exciting time for books.”
Have you written a book which you are unable to get published? Would you consider self-publishing your work? If you have a book that you'd like to publish then please get in touch!