Wednesday, 14 June 2017

“No one takes Short Stories anymore!” - Louise Boland

When I took the decision at the beginning of the year to start up a new publishing house, I have to say I wasn’t prepared for the reaction I was to meet from the industry at large.

As I started my rounds, doing such dull but necessary things as sourcing print providers and sales channels and supply chain solutions, the first reaction I consistently encountered from industry hands, young and old, was one of total delight:

A Publishing House focused on quality writing and literary fiction! Only publishing a handful of carefully curated titles! Each with beautiful covers! Wonderful! Wonderful!’ they all chimed.  For the one thing that I have learned over the last few weeks is that everyone in the book publishing industry shares a single passion – and that’s a love of books.

Sometimes as a writer it’s easy to lose sight of that.

I call myself a writer, because I have a drawer full of rejection letters from agents, a failed novel on some old laptop for which the plug has long since been lost, and have dabbled in the self-publishing world.  With my writer hat on, I know the frustration of knocking on agents’ doors, of hearing publishers say they are looking for something new and different, and then watching them churn out yet another photo-fit copy of what was hot last year, with a cover that is black and white apart from one small red thing.

Recently a writer friend confided that her husband had said to her, ‘Why don’t you just stop trying?” as he discovered her distraught, another rejection letter clutched between her fingers. (Of course as any writer knows, that’s not a question that warrants a serious response!)

So, it was with great joy that I discovered, when I took the giant leap over the divide between the world of writers and writing groups, and the world of publishing, that there really is passion and excitement across the publishing industry for a publishing house providing new quality and literary fiction, with beautifully produced books.

For someone who has spent the last twenty years ‘flogging a bit of ‘Leccy’ as my sister calls it, this was surprising, but wonderful news. The chance to work with a product that can denote mystery, intrigue, sadness, joy (often all in the same book) is a very exciting prospect. At my old firm we used to joke that the gas we sold had a bluer flame, but however hard we tried this would never be the case.

At Fairlight Books our intention is to publish beautiful books of original and quality fiction. We are actively seeking new submissions of longer fiction for publication as well as submissions of short stories for our soon to be launched short story web portal.

In current titles, we have The Tale of Senyor Rodriguez, in which conman on the run, Thomas Sebastian, hides out in a Mallorcan finca. Here he slips, with disastrous consequences, into the lifestyle of its previous owner, the late Senyor Rodriguez.

The cover was designed by Portuguese Illustrator Rui Ricardo.

On the 27th July, we will publish The Madonna of the Pool by the acclaimed writer Helen Stancey. It is a collection of short stories which explores the triumphs, compromises and quiet disappointments of everyday life. It is richly poetic and deeply moving. We are very excited to be launching it.

The cover for The Madonna of the Pool was illustrated by Finn Campbell-Notman, he who created that famous cover for The Book Thief with its striking image of a child and death dancing together.

If any fellow writers would like to send us their writing for consideration, we are currently accepting submissions to add to our first list. We are looking for novels of literary and quality fiction. For a short period, submissions can be emailed direct to us at: (with the usual bio and synopsis). There are more details on our website: if needed.

The other thing we are keen to do, is to make well written short stories more accessible to readers. It’s a great way to showcase talented writers who may not yet be published, plus we want to support and encourage the recent resurgence for short story collections. I have never failed to wonder at the industry’s mantra, ‘No one takes short stories anymore!’ as there is nothing more joyous than a short story that lingers in one’s mind days or even weeks after it has been read.

We’re also actively seeking short stories for our revamped website due to launch in July 2017. For a short period again, submissions of short stories for consideration can be emailed to us at:  (again with the usual bio and synopsis).

So, yes! We are taking short stories!!


Dennis Hamley said...

Louise dd not say that she is the author of 'The Tale of Senyor Rodriguez' and not only is it a marvellous evocation of a Spanish summer but it's also a terrific example of post-modernism and magic realism, done unobtrusively and as effectively and memorably as anything I've read. What a lovely book!

madwippitt said...

Hurrah - I love collections of short stories - there is always room for another volume on my shelves!