In Between The Covers

The Continuing Story of Our Anthology Uncertain Truths

What do you find between the covers of a book? Fantastic writing, quirky illustrations, the foreword, contents and bios page, a bookmark, or that 2019 shopping list when you were able to pop out to the shops without PPE? Or even a piece of bacon? ( I have a friend who once worked at a library and found grilled bacon neatly tucked between the pages of a returned book. ) All of this and more, but the short answer is you find plenty of creativity and a lot of hard work.

Back in February, after our cohort had decided on the theme rumours and our title Uncertain Truths, the project managers drew up a set of submission guidelines. Having never produced a book before, we researched other submission guidelines to help us decide what to include. Decisions needed to be made on the word limit for pieces, the type of work we would accept, the deadline we needed to set, and the format we would like to receive the work in.

Fast forward four months and we have received submissions from twenty-four writers, ranging from new writers such as ourselves, to established writers including John Harvey, Alison Moore, Megan Taylor, Lynda Clark, Rory Waterman, David Belbin, Andrew Taylor, and Jo Dixon. The fruits of this labour will be published in our anthology in the form of short stories, memoir, flash fiction, poetry, prose poetry and extracts from longer works. Amongst the fruits to be harvested are strange fish and fishy tales, roaming wolves, an odd hand at work (not just the writers), a magic doorway and legends, ghosts of the past, odd suburban happenings, the transient rich detail of life, plus much more.

Once all submissions were in, there began the hard work of editing and proofing. We shared the work in our cohort to those who were willing to edit and proofread. I for one know that my strength does not lie in proof reading. Luckily, we have own inhouse trained and experienced proof-reader Abi for that, thank you Abi. For the past few weeks those of us who volunteered for editing have been doing just that, (as well as meeting deadlines for course work.) Before finalising the design of the book there is the nitty, gritty detail of do you really need that line or paragraph? Should that comma go there? Do you need that overused word that? – (a case in point) and why has a full stop suddenly crept into the middle of a sentence? And (yes, I think it’s okay to begin a sentence with and) what is that stray semi colon doing? You get the picture. Hopefully, the hard work will pay off and we will emerge relatively intact, sane, and with suitably polished pieces for the next part of the process, which will be the ordering of work and designing the layout due to start in mid-July.

In the meantime, thanks to Lee, our website has developed further and now has a Meet the Writers page plus bios, and a maskless ‘shop’ where anyone can pre-order a copy of Uncertain Truths in time for the launch if you get a move on, preferably with a large glass of wine or beer so you order more than one copy!

We have also launched a series of blogs promoted on our twitter feed (thanks to Kyran) ranging from progress blogs such as this one on how to produce or not produce an anthology (as the case may be) to ones about writing. I have just read the last blog by Jade which is an interesting read on The Sadness of Sitcoms – food for thought. If you are reading this blog in September, hopefully by then, there will be other more interesting blogs to read than mine.

Added to our blogs are additional postings (see our twitter feed) about reading recommendations and- a chance to nose into our writing spaces – the many and varied places in which we write, which is not always the super-duper garden office complete with a wall-to-wall library, sofa bed and coffee machine (I wish).

Over the next few months our focus will turn to organising our launch and the marketing of our book (did I mention the sales button) So watch this space for more details as we progress forwards.

Bacon aside, we anticipate our anthology will contain everything such a book should contain. I’m keeping the bacon for breakfast.

Alison Goodchild

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