One more change … and it’s a big one!

March has been a very busy month for Manifold Press, in the run up to announcing our new May titles on 1 April. And, just in case you might wonder if it’s an April Fools’ joke, we want to take this opportunity to give you a preview of a change that will be implemented on that day.

This is the last of our significant changes for now, but it’s a doozy.

We are going to change our book cover design.

I know that many of you love our current designs, and have made a point of telling us so. Similarly, some people haven’t been so impressed, and have likewise told us! Our covers have certainly been a distinctive part of the Press’s identity. In professional wrestling terms, they have brought us a lot of ‘heat’! (Which is a good thing.)

However, after almost six years in business, it felt like time to make a change and try something a bit different.

We are hoping that those of you who love the current designs will stay with us through this change, as we wanted to broadly keep to our current approach. We’re still focussing on an image that reflects the setting or theme, as we believe this helps us emphasise that before anything else, story (and character) is what the Press is most interested in. For better or worse, we are still avoiding the more obvious romance tropes on our covers – and we still want to leave the appearance of our characters to our readers’ imagination.

We were delighted to work with a friend of the Press, Michelle Peart, in creating these new designs. She is also a writer, so she certainly empathised with what we’re trying to achieve. If you want to connect with Michelle, you can browse to her writerly blog The Copper River or follow her on Twitter @shellpeart.

Michelle created a number of draft designs, and we ended up choosing one of them, and then establishing variations that would help identify an individual title’s genre. The covers will vary depending on whether the setting is contemporary or historical, and on whether the story is paranormal.

I feel that the important distinction we’ll make via the covers, however, is whether the story is romance or fiction. We’ll be following this up with new tags on our website, but we’re colour-coding it into the covers as well, with romance indicated by a red strip and fiction by a blue. We know it’s important that the reader knows what they’re getting!

We had some real fun with the draft covers … The ideas we used were all for imaginary books – as written by Ewan Byge, one of the characters in my novel THE ‘TRUE LOVE’ SOLUTION. It seemed easiest to start with a fresh slate, and not worry about existing content or the comparisons inherent in using actual Press titles.

So … if you’re anything like me, you’re curious to have a glimpse at the draft designs. I’ve included four samples below the cut. I hope you like them! I have to say that I love them. And if it’s any reassurance, I think the covers for our real titles (that you’ll see on 1 April) are even stronger still.

Continue reading “One more change … and it’s a big one!”

Launching our new “Coffee Club” newsletter

 

MP Coffee Club Newsletter icon 200pxAs you will have gathered by now, we are implementing a number of changes at Manifold Press – one of which is to launch a quarterly email newsletter for our readers. The timing of it will tie in with our announcement of new titles, but of course we hope to also offer you news, short articles, exclusive giveaways, and other items of interest. The first issue will be sent out on 1 April 2016.

Staying with our coffee metaphors, the newsletter will be called Coffee Club. It will be run via MailChimp, so you know you can rely on all the appropriate Data Protection rules being met.

(Julie has just sent out an invitation email to a number of you who have bought a book, entered a giveaway or been in touch with Manifold Press at some stage over the years. However, we promise you that this was a one-off mailing, and if you choose not to respond, then we won’t contact you directly again!)

If you are interested in subscribing to the newsletter, please click this link http://eepurl.com/bTVKM9

We hope you will join us! If there’s any news or information you’d like to share via the newsletter, we are always interested in considering contributions. And of course, if you have any requests, please let us know likewise.

Thank you again for your interest in the Press, its authors and its books!

AUTHOR GUEST BLOG NUMBER TWENTY SIX – R.A. Padmos

Author R.A. Padmos talks about the first title she published with Manifold Press, back in August 2011. She is giving away a paperback copy to one lucky reader. See below for details!

Ravages, a few years later

RAVAGES - 200pxWriting RAVAGES started with a simple question. What would it take for a Premier League footballer, in the middle of his career, to come out as gay? This idea resulted in a novel about the consequences of the brutal violence of a few, the friendship of many and the love of one very stubborn man.

Ravages was published in 2011. I had hoped, perhaps even expected, that a hugely popular sport like football (soccer) would by now have at least one or two openly gay players active in any of the major European competitions. At the moment of writing this article, in March 2016, there are no such players. I guess the reason for that is a complex mixture of culture, imagined and real risks, lack of courage (hey, manly men in their twenties have as much right to be scared as anyone else), money and public image.

As a lesbian with a history of being out to pretty much everyone I ever met since the late Seventies, I’ve seen the price people pay for being in the closet. After all those years, and having met far more accepting straight people than homophobic ones, I have yet to meet the first heterosexual who truly understands the complexity of telling yourself it’s all private and half-believing it’s actually the honest truth, while at the same time feeling something in your reasoning doesn’t quite add up. Even if there are, obviously, situations in which you’d better keep your mouth shut if you prefer to leave home on your own terms instead of being kicked out by mum and dad.

To be honest, I don’t believe for a moment, that 100% closeted gay footballers active in the Premier League are the rule. Assuming that there are gay players at the highest level, and why wouldn’t I, my guess is that most have at least some friends, family, team-mates and others who are in the know. So, what keeps them so unanimously hidden from their fans?

It’s not my, or anyone else’s, business if or when any gay footballer of (inter)national standing fully comes out of the closet, let that be absolutely clear. To be honest, I would find the whole matter utterly uninteresting if I wasn’t so aware of the fact that being even partly in the closet in a society where homosexuality is neither a crime nor a shame, is perhaps not the best thing you can do for your mental health. After all, some heterosexual players might be more private than others, but none of them will go out of their way (including telling downright lies) to hide the fact that they are straight.

I don’t need public figures to come out to make the world easier for me. I even think there is an argument to be made that it’s the other way around. We, the mostly nameless gays and lesbians, paved the road that led to nice stuff such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and one famous individual after another being openly gay, lesbian or bi.

But I also don’t see why people who play professional football in any of the big European competitions, should exclude themselves from the wonderful feeling of trusting other people’s decency and learning that they are strong enough to handle the surprisingly few truly ugly minds.

I’m giving away one paperback copy of Ravages, signed with a message of your choice. I will ship worldwide, so anyone can enter. Simply enter via the Book Giveaways form (no one but the site admins Fiona and Julie will see the details). I will randomly select the winner, and contact them for further information. I’d also love to hear from you via the comments, though!

A PRIDE OF POPPIES is a Lambda Literary Award finalist!

WWI anthology cover FINAL 200pxWe were beyond delighted to discover today that our WWI charity anthology A PRIDE OF POPPIES is a finalist in the LGBT Anthology category of the 28th Annual Lambda Literary Awards.

Looking at the other seven finalists in this category, it is easy to see that we are in truly excellent company – and to have even made it this far as one amidst a grand total of 933 submissions is a great honour.

Congratulations to the Press and to all my fellow Poppies – including our indefatigable proofreader F.M. Parkinson – for all your hard work. This title was a real team effort, and I know you put your hearts into these stories. I am sure you are all feeling that this recognition is a terrific reward!

The winners will be announced on Monday 6 June in New York City.

The “Coffee House” eBook Giveaway – The Last Day

MP Coffee House Blog giveaway

Yesterday was the last day of our seven day eBook Giveaway. We now have the results for Day Seven: Random.org has drawn Dianna’s name out of the virtual hat. Dianna chose a copy of WRONG ROOM, RIGHT GUY by Liam Livings – which is already heading your way, Dianna!

Thank you to everyone who has visited our new blog, commented on the various posts, and taken part in the giveaway. We hope the winners enjoy their books!

Do visit again, whenever you can. We have more news being announced throughout March, and of course our new titles on 1 April.

Launching our new strapline!

When Manifold Press first opened for business back in 2010, we called for submissions of same-sex stories, thinking that we’d receive plenty of lesbian romances in the mix. Overwhelmingly, however, our submissions were male-male romances or gay fiction – and we eventually decided to make it clear that’s where our focus was, rather than risk readers riffling hopefully through our backlist to no avail.

There has been an organic shift over the past couple of years, however. As editor of our WWI charity anthology A PRIDE OF POPPIES, I opened it up to stories featuring characters across the full spectrum – and that’s what I received, too, though there is a weighting towards stories about gay men. We have since published Jane Elliot’s terrifically fun novel SMOOTHIE, which features a romance between two women. Other novels began naturally including minor characters from other hues of the spectrum – and, in any case, a fair number of our main characters could more properly be called bisexual rather than gay.

This is certainly a direction in which we want the Press to keep moving. While it’s true enough that male-male romance and gay fiction are still the most popular stories, and will probably remain a significant part of our offerings, we want to open up the Press to representing the full LGBTQIA spectrum of characters. It seems only good, right and proper to do so.

Hence our new strapline:

Life in all the colours of the rainbow

We chose the word ‘life’ rather than ‘love’ because we have always focussed on characters and story, and we don’t see that ever changing.

We’ll also continue to ‘strive for excellence’ in all that we do – and so that aspect of our old strapline isn’t being retired. It lives on as our internal mission statement.

Thank you to the authors, friends and readers who’ve been an essential part of our journey thus far! We certainly hope you’ll continue on with us into a brightly hued future.

The “Coffee House” eBook Giveaway – Day Seven

MP Coffee House Blog giveaway

Welcome to the seventh and last day of our eBook Giveaway!

To celebrate our new blog, we’ve been giving away one free book per day, for the first seven days of March. The draws have been made as close as possible to 10.00 am UK time, starting on Wednesday 2 March.

We have the results for Day Six! Random.org has drawn Helena’s name out of the virtual hat. Helena chose a copy of THE PEACOCK’S EYE by Jay Lewis Taylor – which is already heading your way, Helena!

To enter the last day of this giveaway, click here for the Book Giveaways form. This will open in a new window or tab. You’ll be asked for your first name, an email address, which title you’d like, and in which format. All these fields must be completed before clicking the Submit button.

No one but we admin peeps will be able to see any of the details you enter via the form. Please note, however, that any comments made on this post are not screened other than via the usual WordPress security. All comments on this post will in effect be public.

All our current titles are available for the giveaway, but only in electronic formats.

If you are successful once, please feel free to enter again. You can win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway. This means that Andrea and Helena can enter again, but Chris and Jen, alas, cannot.

So, pour yourself a beverage of your choice and browse our titles. You might like to experiment with the work of a new author, or complete the backlist of a favourite.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!

The “Coffee House” eBook Giveaway – Day Six

MP Coffee House Blog giveaway

To celebrate our new blog, we’re giving away one free book per day, for the first seven days of March. The draws will be made as close as possible to 10.00 am UK time, starting on Wednesday 2 March.

And we have the results for Day Five! Just to prove that lightning does indeed strike twice … er, twice, Random.org has drawn Jen’s name out of the virtual hat. This time, Jen chose a copy of SOLEMN CONTRACT by the lovely Morgan Cheshire – which will be heading your way shortly, Jen!

To enter the giveaway, click here for the Book Giveaways form. This will open in a new window or tab. You’ll be asked for your first name, an email address, which title you’d like, and in which format. All these fields must be completed before clicking the Submit button.

No one but we admin peeps will be able to see any of the details you enter via the form. Please note, however, that any comments made on this post are not screened other than via the usual WordPress security. All comments on this post will in effect be public.

All our current titles are available for the giveaway, but only in electronic formats.

If you are successful once, please feel free to enter again. You can win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway. This means that Andrea can enter again, but Chris and Jen, alas, cannot.

So, pour yourself a beverage of your choice and browse our titles. You might like to experiment with the work of a new author, or complete the backlist of a favourite.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!

The “Coffee House” eBook Giveaway – Day Five

MP Coffee House Blog giveaway

To celebrate our new blog, we’re giving away one free book per day, for the first seven days of March. The draws will be made as close as possible to 10.00 am UK time, starting on Wednesday 2 March.

And we have the results for Day Four! Random.org has once more drawn Chris’s name out of the virtual hat. This time, Chris chose a copy of THE PEACOCK’S EYE by historical novelist Jay Lewis Taylor – which will be heading your way shortly, Chris!

To enter the giveaway, click here for the Book Giveaways form. This will open in a new window or tab. You’ll be asked for your first name, an email address, which title you’d like, and in which format. All these fields must be completed before clicking the Submit button.

No one but we admin peeps will be able to see any of the details you enter via the form. Please note, however, that any comments made on this post are not screened other than via the usual WordPress security. All comments on this post will in effect be public.

All our current titles are available for the giveaway, but only in electronic formats.

If you are successful once, please feel free to enter again. You can win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway. This means that Andrea and Jen can enter again, but Chris, alas, cannot.

So, pour yourself a beverage of your choice and browse our titles. You might like to experiment with the work of a new author, or complete the backlist of a favourite.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!

The “Coffee House” eBook Giveaway – Day Four

MP Coffee House Blog giveaway

To celebrate our new blog, we’re giving away one free book per day, for the first seven days of March. The draws will be made as close as possible to 10.00 am UK time, starting on Wednesday 2 March.

And we have the results for Day Three! Chris‘s name was chosen via random.org. Chris chose a copy of MAKE DO AND MEND by the ever popular Adam Fitzroy – which will be heading your way shortly, Chris!

To enter the giveaway, click here for the Book Giveaways form. This will open in a new window or tab. You’ll be asked for your first name, an email address, which title you’d like, and in which format. All these fields must be completed before clicking the Submit button.

No one but we admin peeps will be able to see any of the details you enter via the form. Please note, however, that any comments made on this post are not screened other than via the usual WordPress security. All comments on this post will in effect be public.

All our current titles are available for the giveaway, but only in electronic formats.

If you are successful once, please feel free to enter again. That includes Andrea, Chris and Jen! You can win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway.

So, pour yourself a beverage of your choice and browse our titles. You might like to experiment with the work of a new author, or complete the backlist of a favourite.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!