Wellcome News

Sorry this newsletter is later than usual. But not that sorry. The truth is that we’ve been delaying it deliberately because we’ve been sitting on some good news. 
We’re happy to be able to tell you that Playthings has been shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize. This is a serious, prestigious, big-ass prize and we’re happy enough to burst that Alex is in consideration. Our wonderful friend has gone and done it. 
Regular readers of this newsletter will already have swallowed an overwhelming number of adjectives about the qualities of Playthings. So for now I’ll just settle for saying how good it feels to have this kind of external validation. Believing in a book is one thing. Having other people recognise the same qualities is another. Playthings has already had some astounding reviews and now it’s getting more of the recognition it deserves. It's glorious to hear the world extolling its virtues.
If you’ve read Playthings, I hope you feel the same. If you haven’t, what the fuck is wrong with you?
I’m kidding. 
If you haven’t, I understand. There’s only so much time in the world, and so much money. God knows I’m never able to read (or buy) all the books I want either. But! This is a special book. Truly. It’s important. The more people that read it, the better the world will be. 
And  I can at least help a little with the £££ issue. For a limited celebratory period we’re selling Playthings for £7 with free postage and packaging on the site. Go on! There are still a few first editions left - and they’re going to be very precious very soon.
In case it swings things, might I also intrude on your good nature? Success is delightful - not least because there’s nothing we want more than to see our authors prospering and getting the recognition they deserve. But success does bring a few fears with it. We’ve now pressed the scary red button on a second print run of Playthings. That brings the fear of bills now, and returns further down the line. The more copies we sell through our site, the more those fears diminish and the more likely it is that we’ll be able to find and champion another book as good as this one in the future. 
But that’s enough special pleading. Today’s a happy day. Alex Pheby. Go! Go! Go! 
Talking of happiness, last week we also celebrated the first successful year of our short story prize in Libreria Bookshop on Hanbury Street in East London. We had readings from seven authors from our longlist and it was a tremendously proud experience to see such talented people get one of their first moments in the public eye. Some of them had even flown in especially and it felt an honour to be among them. Everyone on that list has a great deal to offer the future - and our winner is already turning into a sensation. And well she might, with a story as good as Backburn
It was also, I have to say, a blast. Francis Plug was there. Beer was there. Laughter was there. And I absolutely smashed a rendition of American Trilogy:
(Thanks to Matthew Marland for that photo)
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when I got to the “know your daddy’s got to die” verse. I hit the big notes harder than Elvis himself. 
Okay. I didn't actually sing. But what is true is that this evening was great fun, so thank you again to all our short story writers. We’ll be launching the competition again soon and I can’t wait. Meanwhile, Libreria is an excellent bookshop and I strongly recommend paying it a visit if you’re ever near Brick Lane in That London. 
Okay, onto other business. Onto this:
I’m happy to say that this story will hurt your head. It will make you feel all horrible and uck inside and it will make you  worried. Heck, it even features sad rabbits. But it’ll also make you feel great, because this is literature. This is art. This is another writer doing fantastic things with words. 
Right! It’s most of the way through the month, and I’m most of the way through this letter and I haven’t even told you about one of the biggest things to have happened at Galley Beggar Towers recently. The blackflap revolution. 
We’re trying something new. 
As some of you will already know from reading our site, from later on in 2016, our beautiful black-cover editions will become limited editions, and for sale direct from us. Starting off with Adam Biles’ Feeding Time, which has already been marked by The Guardian as a ‘scintillating’ read for 2016.
This  superb debut will also be available in all good bookshops, in a very lovely paperback edition. But if you want our famous blackflaps, you have to buy them right here
We’re going to print 500 copies printed of this gorgeous black-cover edition. And that's it - full stop. After this they won't be printed again.
200 of this 500 which will be kept aside for Galley Buddies and the other 300 are up for grabs here in our store.
Those are the facts. How about the reasons?
Mainly, we’re doing it because we hope it will be fun and  and we want to offer something special to our most loyal customers and the people who seek out our writers by coming to this website. It's also very important for our future, and our future support of talented writers like Adam. Direct sales make a huge difference for us. When we sell through bookshops, we often end up losing money, especially with our beloved (but expensive to produce!) first editions. 
We hope we are offering just good-looking, tactile, special books - but a chance to be part of our history, and, who knows, publishing history. Think of that first print-run of Ulysses (complete with 2000 typos, yes - but still!); think of those early editions from Hogarth Press, or, a little later on, Calder and Boyers, or Virago! What things of beauty! What treasures! What valuable things - both in terms of posterity and yes, in terms of simple cash. These books are investments and we want to have a personal connection to every book that goes out…
Also, there’s also the practical fact that our blackflaps appeal to a select (and very selective!) group of people. They are for the purists, the people who love books as objects, who just love the damn things like we do. So we thought we might as well gather them all in one place. Let’s see how it goes.  
As for Feeding Time, it’s a marvel. It’s a bright flash of rage against the dying of the light. It’s a plea for dignity and humanity. It matters. We'll be talking a lot more about it soon - and hope you will be too.
Finally, know it’s lame when people comment on an election in another country. I know it’s interfering and could fly back right in my face. But I’ve got to put in a word for Bernie Sanders and our transatlantic cousins, Not only is Sanders not a gold-plated thug, but Jeff Bezos seems to be waging a weird and vindictive campaign against him. Last week The Washington Post that once reputable paper turned laughable propaganda sheet (turned since Bezos bought it)  ran 16 negative articles about Bernie Sanders in 16 hours. If it’s in the Amazon owners interests to do down Bernie, it’s almost certainly in ours to do everything we can to support him. Go Bernie!
And, you know, there’s more Jeff Bezos hates than just Bernie Sanders. He hates sunshine and fluffy clouds and smiles. He hates warmth and solidarity. He hates unions, fun and going fast down slides in waterparks. He hates Robert Smith. He hates you. He hates it when you win things. He hates it when you’re holding hands. He hates it when the sun brushes your cheeks. He hates your first glass of wine after a long day. He hates you sitting down on a comfy sofa.   He also hates puppy dog’s limpid brown eyes. He hates puppies tout court. If he sees one on the street, he kicks it. And he kicks the little girl who’s just bent down to stroke it. In the face. He kicks the toddler in the face with his heavy shoes. Come on Jeff, is that reasonable? And he attacks her mother too, when she complains. In fact… Oh god no. What a psycho. He’s only gone and... What was he even doing with that knife? I don’t understand this.  Jeff? He’s laughing. There’s nothing to laugh at. Leave that body alone! You can’t eat that. That ain’t right Jeff. Where are you going now? Oh I see. But I don’t want to see. At least put the head down? Can’t you at least grant her the dignity of… Jeff! Put that down! No, it is not your new hat. It isn’t. It isn’t. It isn’t! 

PS As usual, I'm also going to use the end of the newsletter for a few more adverts, where you can safely ignore them, or kindly indulge me, depending on your fancy:

Firstly, please join The Singles Club so we can pay writers to write. Here's the blurb:

We have a fantastic subscription system set up for our Singles Club so that you now only have to make one payment to get hold of 12 stories. But how to go through the ins and outs of paypal payment systems without boring the dirtbox off you, I don't know. Probably the best thing to do is to head over to the relevant page on our site, where I've tried to give a brief, but to the point explanation, and to take it from there. The important things to know are that:

(1) Subscribing saves you the trouble of going to the site every month to get your fix of superb ebook literature – we'll just email you the files every month.
(2) Subscribing (so long as enough people do it) will enable us to start giving our authors money up front on for each story. Yes! We are going to pay people to write short stories. It's like the golden days of the 1920s. Only they'll be in electronic book format instead of Strand magazine… Anyway! You get the idea. This is a mighty fine way to keep authors doing what they do best – entertaining you.
(3) It costs £12 a year, or £1 a month, or less than a meal in Pizza Express. (Unless you have a voucher.)

Secondly, please be our friend! Become a Galley Buddy. It's a good deal for us, and a great deal for you.


Thirdly, to donate to Galley Beggar Press and earn yet more of our gratitude, click here.

Fourthly, go on, buy a postcard set. They're lovely:

Fifthly: Did you know it's almost 25-years since the Wedding Present released Seamonsters? And do you know how good that record still sounds. It sounds like David Gedge is singing in front of the gates of hell and all the choirs of doom are howling behind him. It's brutal. It's brilliant. Go put it on, turn it up real loud and blow the heck out of your speakers. (And don't worry too much if that 1991 release date made you feel sad and old. The Wedding Present are still putting out cracking albums. Gedge wails plenty good on Valentina.) 

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