That’s not a trick question, by the way.
A business is a bit like a relationship, especially when its basically just you and everything you create.
When is the start?
The moment you stop researching and decide to go for it? (Eyes meeting across a crowded room?)
Registering the business with Companies House (First date)
or first actual product – in this case a book, obviously– (moving in together?)
It’s been our tenth anniversary year for a while now, as the first flicker of a plan was January 2012, but last Thursday was the anniversary of registering with Companies House and paying the first insurance premium. (I was WAY too busy then to post this…)
Our first book (London Lies) came out in September 2012 and we had planned a month long online festival this September to celebrate this unequivocal, ‘yes, we’ve existed TEN years’ – but plans have gone awry with a failed funding bid.
We are committed to three wonderful books between now and Christmas, and we will now hold the festival in January, always a quiet month. (Funding permitting etc)
We will also be having a year long ‘backlist’ sale with money off books as they hit their anniversary – so every book published in September regardless of the year, is on sale for the month of September and so on, take the opportunity to fill the gaps in your collection!
There won’t be a Solstice Shorts Festival this year. What we are doing instead is having a competition. Vote for your favourite Solstice Shorts story or poem (you aren’t allowed to vote for your own!) AND submit a flash or poem (max 500 words) on the theme of Hiatus – ‘Solstice’ refers to the pause, when the sun seems to hang unmoving in the sky on the 21st December, so it’s quite an appropriate time theme. we are limiting submissions to 50 and the closing date is end of September. There will be only 2 winners: one poem and one story. They, with the voted for poems and stories will go into a ‘Best of Solstice Shorts’ eBook, which will be available from 21st December. Free entry. All the stories and poems included will earn royalties of 25% of net receipts. Depending on funding, this may be a printed book for 2023. We are thinking about a Celtic Fringe Solstice Shorts festival for 2024 ( the next time its a weekend), which would include the Scottish Western Islands, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and maybe Brittany, and maybe multilingual if we can find translators and editors who are right for the job. Anyone who is interested in helping plan this, shout now.
We need to focus where we are being successful (thank you Wales, for embracing our ideas), and crowdfund to try to bridge the gap. If anyone has any dazzling crowdfunding ideas glad to hear them! We have 10 copies of A470 signed by about half the poets, so that’s a start.
This means that we are thinking even further ahead than usual for everything, so that we can tell funders what we have up our sleeves, but at the same time, give ourselves time to find alternative funding if need be, its a bit of a juggling act.
We’ve had a call out for our Menopause anthology for a while, and we are now planning a Byways anthology – rights of way that you can’t (or shouldn’t) take a vehicle on – so think alleys, snickets, ginnels, bridlepaths, greenways, the high water line on a beach, mountain passes, desire paths, tow paths, shortcuts or circuitous routes… the path to somewhere else: the familiar and the uncertain. Fiction and poetry – our ‘1st date’ anniversary seemed a good time to announce this one! Deadline for both of these is 31st December 2022.
Submit to one of the current open anthologies
We are also thinking about our next Welsh/English bilingual anthology, but it’s tough to come up with something as iconic as the A470 – we are thinking about the Welsh Coastal Path, the Welsh Marches/Offa’s Dyke, Heart of Wales Railway, Rivers… We’ll be canvassing our Welsh writers for their opinions, but if anyone else has a ‘great idea’ happy to listen.