Tuesday 12 February 2013


The Jelly Bean team are currently busy at work on their latest project, Danny Down the Drainpipe.

Written by GCSE English teacher, Lynda Nash, Danny Down the Drainpipe is a fresh and vibrant picture book that sees a reluctant Danny sent to have a bath by his Mother, only to be sucked down the plug hole and taken on the adventure of a lifetime! From the sewers to the sea, Danny sees rats, bobble hats, goldfish having tea and he even flies on a cloud!  

With Lynda’s sharp and enjoyable text and featuring beautiful illustrations from up-and-coming designer Carie Martyn, we are certain that Danny Down the Drainpipe will be another Jelly Bean success.

Check out some of the artwork below.

Danny as he travels through the pipes
Sewer rats and bobble hats

Danny Down the Drainpipe is available to pre-order now at a reduced price for a limited time. To secure your copy, please click here. The finished book will be released in March (2013).

If you have a book that you’d like to print through JellyBean Books then please get in touch

Wednesday 19 December 2012


In October we created a poetry book for Philomena A’Herne. She wanted to print a book which contained the poetry of two of her family members – Gus and Bernadette A’Herne. We helped her decide on an order for the poems and worked with Philomena to write biographies for both Gus and Bernadette to go in the beginning of the book. Next we proofread the text, and Shaun did the typesetting.

Philomena wanted to call the book ‘Just Another Day’, after one of the poems that Gus had written, so we worked around this title to design the cover. Philomena requested that there were trees on the front cover, and we eventually settled on this photo.

We decided to put photos of Gus and Bernadette on the back cover. They were edited and cleaned up in Photoshop to blend in with the overall design of the book.

As there was a theme running through both Gus and Bernadette’s poems, Philomena decided she would like an illustration at the beginning of each section to reflect this. We decided on cogs for Gus’ poems and shells and ferns for Bernadette’s. We comissioned Terry Cooper to draw the images.


Once the book was finished we sent it off to the printers. We were very pleased with the final result and Philomena was too!

If you have a book that you’d like to print through Jelly Bean Books then please get in touch.

Thursday 6 December 2012


On Tuesday 4th December Candy Jar Books hosted its first self-publishing workshop. Twenty participants attended the day, which had sessions on editing, social marketing, cover design and how to get started as a self-published author. The course was fully booked and participants came from all over South Wales to learn about self-publishing from the Candy Jar team.

Some of our workshop participants and South Wales Short Story Competition winners
(L-R Carly Holmes, Laura Foakes, Stella Wells, Jane Fraser and Noelle Bryant)
The day was a great success, with participants leaving glowing comments:

“Thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to attend yesterday's workshop.
It was motivational to hear from other writers and has certainly given me much to think about.”
Laura Foakes

“By the way, forgot to say a big 'thank you' for putting on the workshop and what you are doing. How kind of you - lunch, opportunity to have some work read and feedback etc.”  
Beverley Lennon

“Thank you so much for putting on such an interesting and thought provoking workshop yesterday! It was lovely to meet you all as well. Despite feeling a bit under the weather with a sore throat I really enjoyed the day, and it's given me plenty to think about!”
Carly Holmes

As the day was such a success, we hope to run a similar workshop in 2013 – watch this space!

Monday 26 November 2012


The South Wales Short Story Competition – organised by publishing and video production company Candy Jar Ltd – has attracted entries from South Wales and overseas.

Shaun Russell, co-founder of Candy Jar Ltd, said: “The response to our competition has been phenomenal. Entries have been submitted from the UK, Europe and the USA. The fact that the competition is in its first year and is already attracting writers from across the globe is very exciting.”

The competition was launched to celebrate National Short Story Week, (12th-18th November) which aims to get more people reading and listening to short stories each year. 

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.

Candy Jar hopes to make the competition an annual event. Shaun Russell continued: “Short stories are an excellent way for writers to perfect their craft. Our competition has shown us how much promising and exciting talent is emerging in both South Wales and beyond.”

A list of the winners of The South Wales Short Story Competition 2012 can be found on the Candy Jar Books website.

Some of our South Wales Short Story Competition winners.
(L-R Carly Holmes, Laura Foakes, Stella Wells, Jane Fraser and Noelle Bryant)

Thursday 8 November 2012


The Candy Jar Team

Jelly Bean Books is hosting a self-publishing workshop for aspiring writers who need help with getting their work into print.

The workshop will take place on Tuesday 4th December between 10am and 4pm at 113-116 Bute Street. It will consist of talks from industry experts, interactive sessions and a Q&A session for potential authors to ask all the questions they need answered.

Writers will be able to bring in a page of their writing for critiquing by the company's editor.

Each workshop participant will be given an information booklet to take home with them. A place on the workshop costs £5 and can be booked online or by contacting Rose Widlake on 02921 157202.

10.00 – 10.15 Registration & Introduction

10.15 – 11.00 Self-Publishing: A Crash Course in ebook Publishing
This session will guide you through the essential questions for an author choosing to self-publish: why go it alone? What skills are needed to be a self-published author? What do you need to be aware of before embarking on a self-publishing project?

11.00 – 11.40 How to Successfully Edit your Work
A session on the importance of editing. Should you edit on your own or pay for an editorial service? What kind of editing does your manuscript need - developmental or a close copy-edit? If you go it alone, what should you be looking out for?

11.40 – 12.00 Coffee Break and Networking

12.00 – 12.30 Eileen Younghusband
A chance to learn from Eileen's journey as an author, which began with self-publishing her autobiography Not an Ordinary Life.

12.30 – 13.10 Social Networking for Writers: How to Market Yourself
Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress... which social media platform should you choose? This session will show you how to build an online presence and attract fans.

13.10 – 13.40 Lunch

13.40 – 14.10 Andy Frankham and Terry Cooper
This session gives participants an opportunity to ask published authors Terry and Andy questions about their writing careers. How did they get published? How do they market themselves? What advice can they give to new writers? etc.

14.10 – 14.40 Choosing Your Route: A Discussion Panel with Shaun, Steve and Justin
In this session we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing compared to mainstream publishing. The discussion will last approximately half an hour, followed by a chance to have an informal chat with the panel afterwards.

14.40 – 15.00 Coffee Break and Networking


The recent news that the two publishing giants Penguin and Random House are set to merge has caused a big stir. The merge will create the world’s leading publishing house, dominating up to thirty percent of the global market. Random House published the extremely successful Fifty Shades series earlier this year making them the UK’s biggest publisher. Joining with Penguin will give them the advantage to move forward.
Robyn Paul

Monday 5 November 2012


The whole idea of paying for reviews came about in 2010, with a man called Todd Rutherford and a website called gettingbookreviews.com.

Since then the world of online book reviews has never been the same.

Mr Rutherford observed how the day-to-day consumer has become an essential part of selling, noting how they offer an illusion of truth and brutal honesty. He took advantage of this and began charging outrageous prices for five star reviews; for $499 you could have 20 'fabulous' reviews.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued guidelines stating that it must be made clear when there is a financial relationship between the author and reviewer, but enforcement has been minimal. It appears there is no real way to stop the force of false reviews.

It has been estimated that over one third of online reviews are fake. Many reviewers don't read the books they are voicing their opinions on. This misleads readers and takes away the romantic element of carefully selecting a book.

Some argue that writers are just using all the resources available to them to get their name out there. But the question arises of how far is too far? Does it only become unethical when you start paying for it or is soliciting your friends and family just as bad?

The idea of paying for reviews changes the way people perceive a writer's work. My opinion is that people who pay for reviews are simply looking for a quick rise to success, and are not prepared to put in the hard work to achieve their goals.

Robyn Paul

Friday 2 November 2012


Self-editing is a quintessential part of making your writing look polished and professional. It can be a tedious task, but the following tips will make it all worth your while. 

Most publishers will expect your work to be pre-edited to a certain standard before submission. The final stage of self-editing is not about elements such as character development or plot; that should have been done already. It’s about stylistic mechanics such as the overall layout, spelling mistakes and repetition. There are several things to bear in mind when editing your own work.

1. Firstly, you need to distance yourself from your writing. Set it down for an hour or two before you begin.

2. Once you've given yourself this much needed space, print your work off. When reading a hard copy you are far more likely to pick up on obvious spelling and grammar mistakes. 

3. A good place to start is by looking at the visual layout of your writing. Bear in mind that a whole page without a break is uninviting to the reader. Are there paragraphs in appropriate places? Is speech appropriately indented? Look at existing published work to get an idea of what a finished novel looks like.

4. Once you've done this it will be easier to read your work aloud, which allows you to see how your writing flows. If you stumble over words or phrases, then you know what parts to rewrite. This will also inform you whether you’re using the most appropriate word for the piece. 

5. When self-editing you must check for unintentional repetition and emphasis; you don’t want an excess of exclamation marks and italics cluttering up your writing. You should also cut out the clich├ęs and replace them with more original descriptions of your own. 

6. Finally, after reading your piece as a whole you should completely dissect it. Read it sentence by sentence, analysing whether each word conveys your intended point. Rewrite extraneous words or phrases and importantly, remember to vary sentence structure and check for consistency.

Thorough self-editing should leave you with a smooth and refined piece of writing. 

Robyn Paul

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