To continue what I talked about yesterday, what is CafeLit?
Well as part of the vision Gill James had about the creative cafes, she also wanted to use it as a way to showcase the wealth of writing talent out there. Since Gill is a successful published YA novelist as well as a short story writer, she decided these would take the form of short shorts, less than 3000 words, usually closer to 1000. These are stories someone could read while supping coffee in one of the cafes. So she launched CafeLit as an ezine, the stories are published on the CafeLit website and each one is assigned a suitable drink, we ask you the writer to think of a drink when you submit and we input if you can’t think of something. But it’s usually easier than you think! Think nettle tea for stories about bitterness … espresso for stories about love in short measure, summer fruit cordial for spring time stories … snowball for this time of year. We even had coffee with curdled cream once, imagine what kind of story that was?
And we publish anything good … and that in itself is a vague term — good? Nice? Urgh! Is that not subjective? To be honest, when I was taken on to edit by Gill, once she’d got it established, I decided I would very much go with gut. As I think Gill did and I wanted to follow her vision of publishing essentially (here comes the vague word again) ‘good fiction’. And pretty much anything goes, if it is strong writing or has potential with some editing. I reject a few stories each year … but if I do I always provide a mini critique and editorial suggestions and will always reconsider if it’s sent in again. So you can gain some of my critiquing as well 🙂
When I say we publish anything I guess then that’s not strictly true, and they have to be stories not poems (and I am not a poet!) — flash is fine, as little as a sentence if it’s good would be 🙂 But it has to ‘have something.’ It’s the indefinable thing again. I know it when I see it!
Is it easy to get published on the site?
Actually it’s a LOT easier than many of the publishing outlets available to aspiring writers. Why?
Not because we take anything, even badly written, we certainly don’t … but because many writers play with styles, genre, try new things, are a little experimental. The market for this can be difficult, certainly for finding an agent and having a collection published. But we like to encourage these differences. True they aren’t published in some high brow acclaimed literary magazine … but who knows where this might lead. But they are published on the website and the dedicated Blog and we have a Facebook page and of course we Tweet about it. I’m greedy and am @PawsDebz and @BridgeHouseDebz and Gill is @GillJames . So do have a look at the links above and if you don’t follow us on Twitter, why not? We did have some website issues and migrated the old website earlier this year so there are all of the stories on the Blog but the website is only from half way through this year …. we weren’t able to migrate all the stories across.
The aim is to have a story a day but that hasn’t happened yet, although we are over this week and next (with maybe the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing Day… although I might! Ho hum ….
When you submit you are giving permission for it to go on and I will contact you with edits (if any) and to tell you when the stories will appear and will share links when on!
Each year we aim to publish an annual of the Best Of, stories on from October 15 one year — October 14 the following year. At the moment I have been reading all the stories again and deciding what would make a good showcase selection of what CafeLit is. Last year Gill chose her favourites.
So far I have 22 I plan to include in the Best of 2012, but I won’t release the names until I have read them again all together as a collection as I copy-edit, to make sure they work well, the traditional alongside the more unusual, and see if I feel the need to add a couple more. So watch this space and the Facebook Page for the names after Christmas.
If you want to see the collection we put together last year then the book is on Amazon and I know some of my lovely followers have bought this as stocking fillers … and indeed have stories in it! There’s even a great little piece by a child who worked in one of my Paws Workshops … it was so good I encouraged him to send to the site and Gill chose it for the book! Another one published under the age of 16!
Click on the links below by the cover to look at and order this book!
So, if you want to send me something I am looking now for New Year stories, about new beginnings perhaps? Email me using the email@example.com email (check out the guidelines) and you might start the new year with a success! And you never know … it might make it into the Best of 2013!
And remember, we love unusual, thought-provoking, experimental as well as mainstream …
Have a great day all!