Each month we gather news from our members to share with the network! This is what's happening this month...


Founder member Eric Huang has a new podcast and it's ace! Saint Podcast is about the always fascinating and often controversial lives of the saints. The debut series is all about martyrs, saints who died because of their beliefs. Tune in to hear about a queen who bested the Roman Emperor, a saint swallowed alive by a dragon, twin doctor brothers, a gay icon – and many more.
Click here to access the podcast!


Byte the Book member, author, and writer-producer Jeff Norton has been busy putting some fantastic TV projects together in the past year. The first of several to get announced is a crime serial based on the best-selling books by Caroline Mitchell. It’s a collaboration with Zoe Rocha’s RubyRock Pictures and the great team at Rainmaker Content and Tricycle Media. It’s the first project from his new company Dominion of Drama, which is an IP company focused on bringing books to screen. Amy Winter is a compelling, complex protagonist and the script is fantastic (from SILENT WITNESS writer Susan Everett). Watch this space! Jeff also has a new children’s book coming out on 1st July, DINO KNIGHTS, from Scallywag Press.


Check out the truly excellent Bestseller Experiment Podcast with Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux.

Join the two Marks in their weekly podcast as they talk with leading lights from the publishing industry, million-selling, chart-topping authors who collectively have sold over half a billion books! Binge over 250 hours of interviews from authors,  including Michael Connelly, Joanne Harris, Bryan Cranston, & Ian Rankin, plus agents, editors, lawyers, social media experts, and even our very own Justine Solomons - founder of Byte the Book. The latest episode is with Nadine Matheson, author of one of the major debut's of this year - The Jigsaw Man. Not to be missed.


Byte the Book's Justine Solomons is interviewing writer Salena Godden, and cold water swimmer Caroline Saxton at the Also Festival. If you want to go to the festival we have a discount code for tickets. Just click here and enter code: IAMANIMAL


Byte member and Sales, Marketing, and Publicity Manager at Jacaranda Books, Jazzmine Breary has written a beautiful blog post reflecting on pregnancy, parenthood and publishing, and on recent developments around pregnancy loss. You can read it here on the Jacaranda Books webiste.

Photo credit: Eye of JA


“Not as complicated as John Le Carré, lovely sweet stories” John Sessions. Following the success of the English and Gaelic Captain Bobo radio series based on The Adventures of Captain Bobo picture books, Belle Media (founded by Byte the Book member Kay Hutchison) have just started to bring out these nautical adventures in Gaelic too. The first book in the Sgeulachdan a’ Chaiptein Bobo series is Bananathan! (Bananas! 🍌) and it has just been released. Not only fun, but it’s also a story of teamwork, lost elephants, and helpful pet mice, set against Scotland’s magnificent West Coast. It’s available from bookshops across Scotland and from www.bellemedia.co.uk/books. The translation was by Uist-born actor, singer, and teacher, Gillebride Mac‘IleMhaoil, (who also plays Gwyllyn the bard in Outlander). Gillebride also narrated the Gaelic version of the radio series.


If you would like to send us any of your news and have it included in our future newsletters, please do send it to us at info@bytethebook.com

Byte the Book loves bringing people from all areas of the publishing world together so that they can learn from each other and collaborate, and we want to highlight some wonderful collaborations that have come about via Byte The Book.

Here's storyteller Suad Aldarra talking about meeting Literary Agent Doug Young at a Byte the Book Agent Tables event, and how this lead to the imminent publication of her debut novel I Don't Want to Talk About Home, with Doubleday Ireland.

If you've found some great collaborators through Byte The Book and are keen to share your stories in this series please send us an email to info@bytethebook.com.

How did you get to Agent Tables?

A random Tweet appeared on my feed offering a free ticket to Agent Tables, preferably to a writer of colour. I sent an email and luckily I was the first one.
Who did you meet at our event and what happened?
I had 10 minutes to meet two agents who have already read my book proposal. The first agent gave me tons of edits and things to reconsider in my writing style.
When the next 10 minutes started with the second agent, I was prepared for another round of rapid criticism but the first thing the agent said was: "I love your book, what's your next step?"
The discussion went on about what he liked about my book and we agreed to carry on the conversation in another meeting. I emailed Justine, she connected us, and later, I had a long discussion with Doug Young from PEW literary who offered me representation.
If I learnt anything from that day it is how much the publishing world depends on personal taste. 
What has happened to your book since Agent Tables?

I worked with my agent on polishing the book proposal and three months later, we started the submission process. My book went into a 3-way auction and was acquired by Doubleday (Penguin Random House). It's going to be published in Spring 2022 and I still can't believe it.


If you would like to take part in one of our upcoming Agent Tables events, tickets are still available for September, November, & January. Be quick as this is a very popular event and tickets sell out fast. 


Suad Aldarra is a Syrian storyteller and a data scientist based in Dublin, Ireland. She was long-listed as part of the Penguin Random House WriteNow 2020 programme, which supports under-represented writers in the UK and Ireland.Suad was the PENx Common Currency Writer in Residence at the 2021 Cúirt International Festival of Literature, in partnership with Cúirt, English PEN and Irish PEN. Her memoir, I Don't Want To Talk About Home, which discusses themes of home and identity is forthcoming from Doubleday Ireland in Spring 2022.


Doug Young has worked in the book industry for over three decades, latterly as a publishing director at Penguin Random House, where he worked for 17 years. He joined PEW in 2019 and is interested in hearing from writers with a story to tell, mainly but not exclusively in the form of non-fiction, and people who write in a distinctive voice or from a fresh perspective. His range of interests is broad – including history, popular science and politics, as well as memoir and the occasional off-the-wall novel.

Publishing Consultant Janey Burton discusses whether traditional publishers will republish your self-published book...

One of the most common questions I’m asked is about whether it’s possible to get a traditional publishing deal for a book that has been previously self-published.

In general, traditional publishers want to buy first publishing rights. They don’t want to republish material that’s already been published, as quite often it is thought the market for the work has already been served.

Historically, there are exceptions, usually for work that has fallen out of print but is thought to have the potential for a new life if put in front of a new audience. Persephone Books would be an example of the kind of publisher that works this way.

These days there are also some agents and publishers who will consider previously self-published work, although in limited circumstances. Carina Press, a digital-first imprint of Harlequin, is an example.

So, can you now get a traditional publishing deal for a previously self-published book?


You can’t sell your rights to a traditional publisher if they are still controlled by a hybrid publisher. You will need to have the rights reverted to you if you have not retained them. Getting your rights back may not be completely straightforward and you may need help. Check your contract, or bring it to me to check.

If you have published independently without using an assisted self-publishing company or a hybrid publisher, you should still control your publishing rights.


The difficulty with previously self-published work, for a traditional publisher, is that very rarely is there an untapped market for it. It isn’t like publishing a debut author, who is brand new to the market.

When an author whose work has sold poorly asks whether they would do better with a traditional publisher, the answer is ‘No’. The poor sales show that the buying public has had the opportunity to buy and read the book, but not taken it up. That suggests it has a limited market, which has already been served.


Let’s assume the reason for low sales is the marketing of the book, and not the quality of the book. In the event this is true, it may be that the wider reach of a traditional publisher would result in good enough sales to make republishing the book worthwhile. But then again it may not, and why should they risk it?

Traditionally published authors still need to do a lot of the marketing of their books, they can’t sit back and rely on the publisher to do it all. If an author is unable to achieve sales with their own marketing efforts, the problem might well be that the book is not good enough to attract an audience, and in which case a traditional publisher who takes it on will merely be throwing good money after bad.


Some books are outliers, and their success becomes a talking point because it’s unusual, not because it’s usual. That means they’re not a great basis for comparison. Don’t pin your hopes on replicating one of these rarities.

In fact, there was a clear case for Vintage Books to republish that previously self-published work. They saw the potential for sales to many more readers, and so were able to take the books from a minor hit, which relied almost entirely on word-of-mouth recommendations, to a worldwide phenomenon.


Outside of the incredibly rare cases, if an author has a strong publishing background and can show good sales of their work – and the book will need to sell thousands of copies in its first year of publication to be of interest – it might be possible to show that untapped markets exist which would be best served by a traditional publisher.

For instance, I know an author who gradually built a following for her self-published books over the course of about 10 titles. Her sales were good enough that she was able to interest an agent in selling her foreign rights, so she could demonstrate international interest in her books. Her next ebook became a Kindle bestseller and, on the strength of those sales and that history, she was able to sell the paperback rights to a traditional publisher. The book could then be sold to bookshops by the publisher’s sales team, thereby reaching a market that’s difficult for self-published authors to penetrate.

The book became a series, the later titles also published in paperback by that publisher, and the author’s next series sold to a Big 5 publisher.

It was a long road, but in the end the case for republishing that author’s previously self-published work was strong. The publisher could see a clear way to make money from it, because there was an untapped market for them to service.


Very often, the answer is still ‘No’. The truth is, self-publishing is incredibly easy to do now, and especially easy to do badly. That means everyone is doing it, with wildly varying levels of quality and success. The fact that you’ve self-published a book is therefore not impressive in itself.

Republishing a book is a business decision, there’s no romance about it.

You may need to take the book off the market before submitting to agents or publishers, and you may need to rewrite it substantially. You will probably need to repackage the work to show it to its best advantage and explain its untapped market potential.

If you’re serious about entering traditional publishing from a self-published start, you’ll need to put together a plan for making the leap. A mini-consultation with me can help you reposition yourself and your work.

Book a mini consultation with Janey


About Janey Burton

Janey offers Consultation, Editorial, and Contracts services, individually tailored to her clients' needs.

She has worked for literary agencies, independent and Big Five publishers. She uses her digital publishing expertise and legal background to support authors looking for an agent, those who don't need an agent, and those who want to self-publish successfully.

Her work includes substantive editing, proofreading, manuscript assessment, assistance with routes to publication, and negotiation of author contracts. For more information visit www.janeyburton.com or email janey@janeyburton.com



Mis Higginbottom, by Catherine Evans

Miss Higginbottom had been games mistress at Highbridge School for Girls for twenty-seven years. Sundays aside, she was never seen in anything other than a navy tracksuit with yellow piping, which clung to all her lumps and bumps, providing a rich source of satire to the girls, aged between eleven and eighteen. Secret satire, it must be said, for Miss Higginbottom could wither with a look, and the children were mightily afraid of her, especially those who were no good at games or who couldn’t be bothered to try. The tracksuit top failed to conceal a large spare tyre in the front and a hefty bottom which jutted out like a shelf at her rear. ‘You could eat your dinner off that,’ remarked Mr. Moody, the maths master to Miss Ellis, the new housemistress, who had yet to learn that it is not obligatory to laugh at unkind remarks made by men.

Other than a long-departed aunt’s pearl earrings, Miss Higginbottom’s only adornment hung from her neck by a piece of industrial strength string: a silver whistle, which bounced from side to side on her monoboob as she moved. ‘And boy, can she move,’ observed Mr. Moody to Miss Ellis as they drank tea in the staff room, which overlooked the games fields. ‘Like a hippo on steroids.’ Miss Ellis tittered, out of amusement or politeness it was hard to tell. Like many of his waspish remarks, this one was deadly accurate: Miss H was either running her bulk from one end of the lacrosse pitch to the other, stalking the edges of the swimming pool or marching the grounds and the corridors of the school. The monoboob was an object of fascination to many, remaining solidly immobile, even in the face of its owner’s frequent bursts of exertion. 

Miss H was seldom seen without her clipboard, an item which arguably gave her more authority than a loaded gun. She used it to keep a register of her classes, lists of her carefully chosen sports teams, and also to ruthlessly suppress any form of skiving from the ranks: ‘So what if you have your period? This is the twenty-first century. Haven’t you heard of tampons?’ ‘Forgotten your games kit again, Penelope? Have a rummage in the lost property bin. I don’t care if it’s dirty and doesn’t fit you. You’ll jolly well remember to bring it next time.’ ‘A stomach ache. Honestly, Corinna, is that the best you can come up with? Get changed and get out there. I’ll let you off if you faint, chuck up or die.’ 

Her voice was a deep foghorn, occasionally disturbing the focus of certain lessons. For example, it had been a challenge for 4C to fully appreciate the pathos of Cleopatra’s death while 6B jumped hurdles, being urged by Miss H at full volume to ‘Move it, you bone idle little baggages.’ 

Her hair was an iron grey helmet which was ruthlessly cut back by the village barber every six weeks. Miss H saw no sense in paying extra for a pretty interior, inane chatter and magazines filled with drivel. 

These attributes, along with her spinsterhood, provided a rich and predictable seam of humour for the girls and those more insensitive members of staff, such as the aforementioned Mr. Moody, who only had time for those of his female colleagues who were under the age of thirty-five.

As well as being Head of Games, Miss Higginbottom was, of course, a housemistress. Without any family, her life revolved around the school and its sporting life, such as that was. One of her duties was to do a last round of the dormitories at ten at night, to ensure that they echoed only with the sound of slumber. She fulfilled this responsibility diligently, as she did all others. One evening, however, she had been uncharacteristically gripped by a romantic film starring Tom Conti, which finished at a half past ten, and she allowed herself to veer slightly off course. With a bittersweet smile as she pondered the film’s conclusion, she set off on her rounds. All was quiet on the top and middle floors, but on the ground floor, which was occupied by the older sixth form girls, she heard the unmistakable sound of vomiting. 

As Miss H entered the bathroom, which was flanked on one side by a row of loo cubicles, the stench of sick was thick in her nostrils. She could see immediately which receptacle was being defiled, as the occupant had not bothered to close the door, and was on her knees, hugging it as if it were a beloved pet. 

‘Anna, what on earth…?’ 

Anna was a particular favourite, an ace on the tennis court and Right Attack on the First Lacrosse team. Added to these formidable attributes, she could swim butterfly, and represented the school in the Over 16s Individual Medley.  

The girl stared glassily at Miss H. She was forced to re-engage with the loo as another heave convulsed her.

She was scantily clad, but not in her nightwear, and stank of alcohol and cigarettes. Miss Higginbottom was aware that she was privy to a scene quite alien to the pages of Malory Towers

Miss Higginbottom marched to the bathroom window. All windows on the ground floor could incline only to six inches, thus keeping the girls in and the riffraff out, but this aperture offered no resistance, and swung to a fully horizontal position, allowing Miss H to deduce the girl’s means of escape and subsequent re-entry.

Miss Higginbottom trooped to the kitchen opposite to retrieve a mug and filled it with water. ‘Drink this,’ she ordered. The girl obeyed, and flopped against the side of the cubicle wall. 

She began to cry. ‘He dumped me, Miss H. I can’t believe it, after… after everything we did… he told me he loved me. Told me he was gonna leave his wife.’

‘His wife!’

‘I believed him, and we… and then he…’ she sobbed.

‘Anna, I’m not sure you’re going to thank yourself for telling me this in the morning.’

Her manner was brusque and her lips had disappeared inside her head, but in truth, while of course she could not approve of a child filling herself with alcohol and throwing her good name away on a paedophiliac predator who ought to be behind bars, she was in fact full of pity, and wished she could provide a crumb of comfort to a visibly suffering soul. As the old cliché goes, she herself had once been young, and in her twenties had been taken in by a gentleman of Levantine extraction who had stolen her heart and her savings, and had skipped the light fantastic, leaving her dreams of love and dark-eyed children in tatters.

When the worst of her sobbing was over, the girl lifted her head. ‘You’re right’ she slurred. ‘You don’t geddit. ’S’not your fault.’

‘Anna, I strongly suggest you finish that water and get yourself to bed.’ 

Miss H was torn. Her duty dictated that she report this incident, which would result in Anna’s expulsion. Undoubtedly this would be a blot on the girl’s future, but it would be a disaster of colossal proportions for Highbridge’s forthcoming match against Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

‘Yeah, you don’ know what it’s like,’ the girl slurred. ‘You never loved anyone, did you Miss H? You never wanted a man, or kids, or anything like that.’

‘That’s immaterial now. I need you to pick yourself up and-’

‘Even if you did you did nothing about it and now it’s too late. Sorry, Miss H.’ It was unclear whether the girl’s scattergun apology was meant to express pity for Miss Higginbottom’s solitary state or for the want of tact in mentioning it. 

Later that evening, moments after Mr. Moody had delivered the coup de grace to Miss Ellis in her quilted bed, scattering her stuffed animals to the floor in the process, a strange noise could be heard coming from the adjoining flatlet, which belonged to Miss Higginbottom.

‘Crikey,’ said Mr. Moody, still panting. ‘If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the old hefferlump’s crying.’



About Catherine Evans

Author of The Wrong'un, published by Unbound in 2018. Trustee of Chipping Norton Literary Festival, and organiser of ChipLitFest Short Story competition. Editor of fictionjunkies.com, a website which publishes short stories of all genres by authors from around the world.

Writers’ room workshop


An unrivaled opportunity to have your brilliant idea for a psychological thriller, action thriller or police procedural workshopped in a small writers’ room group (no more than 6 people) led by Inkubator Books’ Founder and Editorial Director Brian Lynch.

Who should enter?

This workshop is for you if you’re keen to write genre fiction for digital publishing, would like an insight into the process of doing so successfully… and want the chance of your book being picked up, developed, and run with by a publisher that knows how to get a book to the top of the Amazon eBook charts.

And if you are selected you’ll also win a free ticket to Byte Confluence 2021.

How to enter

Click here and complete the form. The authors of no more than six shortlisted entries will be invited to join this exclusive workshop.

Brian will then select one of the shortlisted entries to be workshopped by the group. You might find it useful to watch Brian’s Top tips for writers video before you start.

With Byte Confluence 2021 fast approaching, we asked some of the fantastic speakers at this year's event to share their top tips for storytelling in these short videos.


David Baddiel, Comedian, Writer & author of Jews Don't Count share his top storytelling tips. He will be giving a talk called How I Write at Byte Confluence.


Cathy Rentzenbrick, bestselling memoirist, shares her top tips with us. She will be running a memoir clinic at Byte Confluence.


Richard Butchins, British filmmaker, shares his top tips. Richard's talk True Stories, will be about structuring truth in documentary and duty of care to the stories people tell at Byte Confluence.


Julia Tyrell, the independent Literary Agent for Theatre, Film, and TV, share's her top tips. Julia will be a sharing her expertise on writing for TV at Byte Confluence.


Miri Rodriguez, globally recognized Storyteller, Head of Global Internship Program at Microsoft and author of Brand Storytelling, shares her top tips with us. She will be sharing her expertise with us at Byte Confluence.


John Higgs, novelist and writer of books about various cultural phenomenons including the KLF, Watling Street, and most recently William Blake, shares his top tips with us. He will be giving a talk entitled How to Tell the Story of a Bewildering Visionary at Byte Confluence.


Brian Lynch, Inkubator Books Founder and Editorial Director, shares his top tips for writing genre fiction for Amazon. He will be running a writers room workshop for up to 6 lucky competition winners at Byte Confluence. The winners of the competition will also get a free ticket to Byte Confluence as well as a place in the workshop. Click here for info on how to enter!


Dr Rachel Lawes, social psychologist and author of Using Semiotics in Marketing, shares her top tips for telling stories to business people. She will be running a seminar on how to engage business people with stories at Byte Confluence.


Emma Jane Unsworth, British writer and author of short stories and novels including her latest After the Storm, shares her top storytelling tips with us. She will be joining us at Byte Confluence.


Byte Confluence is an event is about the business of storytelling, and for people in, or interested in, the business of storytelling to connect, learn, share, and collaborate. 


Click here to find out all the amazing speakers and events at Byte Confluence and to purchase your tickets!



Byte the Book loves bringing people from all areas of the publishing world together so that they can learn from each other and collaborate, and we want to highlight some wonderful collaborations that have come about via the Byte The Book.

Here's Byte the Book member  Amelia B. Kyazze (author) talking about getting published through Unbound, a connection she made via Byte Confluence 2019...

If you've found some great collaborators through Byte The Book and are keen to share your stories in this series please send us an email to info@bytethebook.com.

How did you find out about Unbound?

At the Byte Confluence in 2019, held at Google’s offices, I met my editor from Unbound, Xavier Cansell. He was a speaker on a panel about innovations in storytelling, and we got chatting in the break afterward. We talked about how Unbound was open to books that were a bit more unusual and cross-genre.

What did you work on together?

Unbound agreed to publish my debut novel, Into the Mouth of the Lion. It is a fast-paced mystery about a photographer going into the last days of Angola’s civil war, trying to find her missing sister. It is also a love story that crosses from 1960s Lisbon to London, and on to the highlands of Angola. 

What was Unbound like to work with?

Unbound uses a crowd-funding model, which means the funding for the editing, cover, and printing of the first edition needs to be raised before the book can go ahead. It can seem daunting, but as an author who has worked all over the world, I reached out to my connections from my humanitarian experience and my photography. I managed to raise the funds fairly quickly. It was very moving to have the backing from friends, family, and strangers, supporting my book and helping it come into the world. 

After that, Unbound were very professional, and I have really enjoyed all the colleagues who have worked on the book. I particularly love the cover design, made by Unbound’s art director (and fellow Byte the Book member), Mark Ecob (@mecobtweets on Twitter). 

Into the Mouth of the Lion is published 6 May 2021 by Unbound, available on Amazon Bookshop.org.uk, and independent bookshops. Follow Amelia on @abkwriting on Twitter, or Abkyazze.com 

Meet your next collaborator at Byte Confluence 2021. Click here to find out more and get your ticket.

More about Amelia.B. Kyazze

Amelia B. Kyazze is a writer, photographer, and editor based in southeast London. Her debut novel, Into the Mouth of the Lion, was published by Unbound in May 2021. Based on her notebooks and photographs from when she worked in Angola in 2002, the book is about a photographer searching for her missing sister at the end of Angola's civil war.

More background: for 18 years she worked with humanitarian aid organisations such as Oxfam, Save the Children and the British Red Cross. She travelled to more than forty countries documenting humanitarian crises and efforts to rebuild or prepare for future disasters. Her work took her to Angola, where Into the Mouth of the Lion is set, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur (Sudan), Uganda, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, India and many other countries across Africa, Asia and Southern Europe.

She also writes short stories, and Covid in Brixton, a light-hearted story about friendship during the time of the pandemic, was story of the month for the Byte Shorts showcase in May 2020. Another piece Rush Hour is included in the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2019  and a new story will be included in the 2021 Anthology In addition, she writes book reviews of children's literature.

She was encouraged to find that she was long-listed for the Mslexia Woman’s First Novel Prize 2017.

Amelia is a member of the Greenwich Writers Meetup, sharing drafts and tips with other writers. In January 2020 she started a new venture, Writing the 7 Senses, facilitating creative writing workshops for children and adults, in schools and at local festivals.


Each month we gather news from our members to share with the network! This is what's happening this month...


Producer, academic, and author Lisa Gee has produced this beautiful film Eliza Hayley - The Portrait Mystery.

Lisa Gee discusses Eliza Hayley and her portrait with Lucy Bamford, Senior Curator, Derby Museums and Art Gallery, Dr David Bartle, Company Archivist, The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, (the portrait's owners), Conservator-Restorer Simon Gillespie and art historian Alex Kidson, author of 'George Romney: a complete catalogue of his paintings" (Yale University Press).


Earthed by Rebecca Schiller, agented by Byte the Book member Julia Silk (at Kingsford Cambell Ltd) is out 6th May.

'A powerfully confessional memoir that excavates important truths about our lives, our selves and our dreams and what happens when we have to let go.'

Clover Stroud, (author of My Wild and Sleepless Nights)

You can pre-order the book here!


Visual Verse would love to hear from writers, artists, publishers and agents in the Byte the Book community who would be interested in a collaboration.

Co-founded by Byte the Book member Kristen Harrison, who is based in Berlin, Visual Verse is a unique publication that gives writers the opportunity to respond to works of art. They have published many established writers alongside up-and-coming voices and Kristen would love to hear from you about showcasing your talent. Visit visualverse.org or email kristen@thecurvedhouse.com.


Break the Habit Press is publishing This Is Us: Black British Women and Girls on the 2nd May.

This is Us captures a lifetime of lived experience from Black British women, retelling their stories of challenges and hardships, triumphs and strengths. Collected by Kafayat Okanlawon from strangers, acquaintances, family, and friends, the women in this book aren’t an afterthought or an add-on, everything they are is the criteria. This book is more than just words on paper, it is a representation of resistance, freedom, and sisterhood.

All profits of the ebook are being donated to Imkaan and 10% of the profits from the paperback are donated to Imkaan. Imkaan website: www.imkaan.org.uk.


My Next Read, the ebook promotion site, has just launched and started selling slots.

Contact  hello@mynextread.co.uk for more information.


Byte the Book member Mark Piesing is having is book N-4 Down: The Hunt for the Arctic Airship Italia is coming out in September 2021.

The riveting true story of the largest polar rescue mission in history: the desperate race to find the survivors of the glamorous Arctic airship Italia, which crashed near the North Pole in 1928.

You can pre-order it now! Click here to pre-order!


Writer, Photographer, Editor and Byte the Book member Amelia Kyazze is publishing her much anticipated by Into the Mouth of the Lion with Unbound Press.

Into the Mouth of the Lion is the story of a young photographer looking for her sister in the final days of Angola’s civil war. It is also a cross-cultural love story, about family, faith, and the importance of bearing witness.

You can pre-order your copy of Into the Mouth of the Lion at various book selleres:

Amazon uk


We are happy to share the news that Byte the Book member Andy Charman's book Crow Court has been included in the longlist for this year’s Desmond Elliot Prize.

Congratulations to Andy and his publishers Unbound.

Read more about it here.


On World Book and Copyright Day, Publisher Christopher Norris is launching two communities for creatives of all disciplines - including writers, illustrators, designers, publishers, agents, and booksellers - on the Founders and Mentors' platform, which is free to join via this link.

Chris will be hosting a 30-minute Zoom webinar at 16:00 hrs BST on 23 April 2021 to introduce both communities, which act in tandem on a freemium basis: Artist in Your Own Residence is free to join; Content Creators is a valued-added subscription-based group. Anyone in the Byte the Book family who would like to attend the webinar is most welcome to come and find out more.


Author, Gemologist, and Photographer Kim Rix has just published her book Buying Gemstones and Jewellery in Great Britain

This is the latest in the Gemstone Detective series in which Kim Rix is dedicated to visits different countries, to provide readers with up-to-date and trusted information for each place.

Welcome to Wordville 

Wordville is an award-winning communication agency, launched in 2007, with offices in London and Barcelona and clients in the culture, charity, and technology sectors. In 2021, Wordville began an independent imprint to publish exceptional written works that excite, entertain and enlighten readers. OUTSIDE IN is the first collection by queer poet Polly Bull, exploring memories of their English/American upbringing and tragedies that led to an awakening. MINERVA AND THE WHIR is Jo D’arc’s debut short story and poetry pamphlet and is part of a multi-art project by the popular Glasgow-based musician. Another poetry anthology and a non-fiction book about the Crucible Theatre Sheffield planned for this year.

Lucy Tertia George, the Mayor of Wordville, is a very happy member of Byte the Book.
Get in touch on Twitter @wordville or by email to info@wordville.net

If you have any news to share with us, please do email us at info@bytethebook.com


These two micro-stories are from the book Story Cities. A City Guide for the Imagination, published by Arachne Press, conceived and co-edited by Rosamund Davies. The book features over 40 writers in all (Byte the Book helped reach out to potential contributors). It’s an anthology of flash fiction about all the different experiences, characters, voices, and stories that make up the city.

The Right Place

When we return to the hotel, it is no longer here. 

The taxi dropped us off here this morning, we think… we’re pretty sure, we hope… and there is a hotel here and it looks like our hotel, but it does not have the name of our hotel. 

So we look at the dot on our phone and we find that we are almost in the right place, but not quite. We need to move up the street a bit. 

So we move up the street until we reach the dot. But the dot is not in the right place. It marks an empty shop that we do not recognize at all. 

So we ask a passer-by, who tells us that the place we are looking for is not in this street at all. 

So we turn right and right again and find another street with another hotel that has the right name. But this hotel does not look like our hotel. 

Has our hotel got bored in our absence and swapped names with the hotel in the next street? Has it reproduced or split into two? How can we get our hotel back into the right place? 

And what tricks will it play on us tomorrow?

Careful where you tread

Around that corner, many years ago, a little girl trailed behind her mother, hopping from one paving stone to the next, taking care not to tread in between them onto the cracks, because she knew that, if she did, the bears would jump out and get her. 

‘Come on’ her mother said, ‘walk normally.’

‘I can’t’ said the little girl ‘because if I do the bears will get me.’

Her mother laughed. ‘Well, hop a bit faster!’ she said.

The little girl took no notice, but carried on hopping and skipping at exactly the same pace. They passed on by.

Today, at this moment, a little girl comes round the corner, trailing behind her mother, hopping from one paving stone to the next, taking care not to tread in between them onto the cracks, because she knows that, if she does, the bears will jump out and get her. 

‘Come on’ her mother says, ‘walk normally.’

‘I can’t’ says the little girl ‘because if I do the bears will get me.’

‘Don’t be silly’ says her mother. ‘Hurry up!’

The little girl takes no notice, but carries on hopping and skipping at exactly the same pace. They pass on by.

Under the paving stones the bears wait, still hoping that one day they’ll get their chance.


Rosamund Davies has a background as a script editor in film and television and currently works part time as a senior lecturer in screenwriting at the University of Greenwich. A published author of non-fiction, she is also interested in digital forms of storytelling and is the author of hypermedia fiction indexoflove and the location-based short story, Meet Me at Crystal Palace, designed for a mobile phone interface. Rosamund’s interest in the relationship between storytelling and space is also what led her to conceive, together with her colleague at the University of Greenwich Kam Rehal, the idea for the Story Cities anthology, for which she is co-editor and a contributor.



Now that I have caught your attention with a clickbait headline to this article, let us get down to the
serious business of talking about video content.

A large percentage of my working life is spent talking with publishers across the education,
academic, professional, and trade sectors of the publishing industry. In parallel to that, I spend the
rest of my time in conversation with brands, non-profits, and on occasion government departments
about the very same, and a definite pattern is emerging.

Within the publishing industry, I see a general trend that does not make the future look terribly
bright and rosy, and perhaps goes some way towards explaining the rampant consolidation (for that
read merger, acquisition, and redundancy), which we have seen accelerate in our industry over the
past few years. And much of this centers around us not yet fully realising the true digital
opportunity, that a spread portfolio of formats can achieve.

Whilst some publishing sectors such as education and specifically ELT education are commissioning a
lot of video content for their digital product portfolio, much of the industry is not. Video is seen as
comparatively complicated and expensive, and therefore without the demand and the right business
models, it is initially hard to see the ROI.

Let us look at some of the statistics and tackle some of the issues around demand.
Since the beginning of the digital drive, the opportunity for our industry has been to expand into
other media types and areas. And we have been good at some. Audiobooks are now returning
healthy revenues, new online retailers have appeared and secured the eBook channel for
themselves, catapulting their brands to the top of the global company revenue leagues. We have
reached a point where revenues from digital products are healthy for publishers but at the same
time, mass-market consumer digital media consumption trends are showing that short-form video is
fast becoming the number one chosen format, certainly for post-millennials, and probably for
millennial consumers too.

According to Cisco, in any given second 1 million minutes of video are crossing the internet, and at
the end of 2020, 75% of all internet traffic was video content. They have predicted that this will rise
to 82% by 2022.

Publicis and Verizon in a joint study have discovered that a lot of video content is consumed on the
go or at work and because of this, 92% of those watch video with the sound off meaning that
captions are becoming a must!

More than 2 billion people use Youtube – that’s one-third of all internet users with around 5 billion
videos watched on Youtube every day, and Youtubers are uploading 500 hours of video every
minute. According to Social Media Today, 82% of Twitter users mainly use the platform to watch
videos. These are mostly mobile users as well since roughly 90% of all video views on Twitter
happen via mobile phones.

This tallies with eMarketer’s study in 2018 which shows that most view video content via mobiles
and this trend has only grown since then. We are nearing the point where everyone who possibly
can in terms of device ownership, will view short-form video content daily, wherever they are,
anywhere in the world.

What’s interesting to learn from Brand Gym is that when consumers are viewing adverts on a mobile
device, 75% skip the advertising in an average of 5.5 seconds (ie: as soon as they can!), so if
advertising supported video content is the end strategy, then it’s completely the wrong one and
something needs to change.

On the educational front, video-assisted learning has become more and more popular. Classrooms
are awash with high-tech digital displays and now that schools are fully connected to the internet
worldwide, video has become an important part of everyday learning – this has of course extended
into the home this past year. The Covid pandemic has created the perfect environment for distance
learning which has increased spectacularly with universities having to create high-quality distance
learning modules complete with high production values for their remotely delivered video content.
Animated videos enrich subjects and help pupils and students understand complex subjects simply
and easily in a format with which they identify. As one university employee put it to me “simply
pointing a camera at a member of teaching staff in a lecture theatre, just isn’t going to cut it with
today’s multimedia savvy student, yet it is still what we do.”

The US government have recognised that short-form video is an important learning format and are
awarding grants to those who produce educational video content. PBS Education, an off-shoot of the
network PBS, have secured a $24M federal grant in the past year. They have seen the opportunity
that presents itself and are going to spend it on creating high educational value, curriculum-linked
video assets and they have employed early-learning and children’s education experts as well as
media producers to realise this project.

Those non-publishing businesses whose aim is to target post-millennials are getting it right too. I
often talk about Blippi and how he has grown to become a multi-million-dollar brand in his own right
through simply producing quality edutainment videos and posting them on Youtube. Last year he
made about $12M. This year, judging by the merchandise in our house he will be making a lot more!

Without a doubt, we are going through a big transition where short-form video content is fast
becoming an important weapon in the digital armoury of any savvy business involved in the media
sector. It was always on the cards that short-form educational video was going to become the
learning medium for learning anything. But the fact that the entire population of the planet was
forced online in this past year, whether they liked it or not, has made this happen today and it is
leaking rapidly into other subject sectors. Not next year or the year after. Today.

We at Makematic are seeing an explosion of opportunity as a business. Trade publishers are coming
round to the fact that any book series which targets under 18s, must have a short-form video
component to go with the books, be they print or electronic. Professional publishers are focusing more and more on short-course CPD qualifications where those interacting with their products can simply
view a series of short films during a lunch hour and then answer questions to earn their next
“badge”. Academic publishers have realised that through the addition of high quality 2–3-minute
video abstracts, huge increases in Altmetric scores and full-text views are being realised, as many
more are accessing their sites. And in the education sector, very few publishers launch new digital
products without a considerable video component that goes hand in hand. At governmental level,
MoEs are commissioning video content along with everything else that they need to provide a
successful education for current and future generations.

Demand and expectation amongst new generations of consumers definitely exists. That is
irrefutable and because of this, business models are now being proven to satisfy that demand. It’s
not that publishers must abandon the whole idea of print and move swiftly to an online world of moving live-action and animated images, but instead that short-form video is expected, and that it
must play a part in the overall armoury that we have when attracting and retaining new consumers.

2021 will see a rapid increase in the amount of high-quality short-form video content, professionally
produced, and tied into new products and services. Those who choose to ignore this dynamic
format will simply fall behind.


Jon has over two decades of experience in digital content and publishing. He has held senior roles with DK, Macmillan Education, Ingenta plc and Semantico, He is fascinated by the constant changes being driven by the networked economy, how this affects all aspects of content consumption and whether or not parallels can be drawn across media sectors. He can be contacted via jon@makematic.com

Makematic are a trusted partner for purpose-driven brands, non-profits and publishers to create inspiring and impactful educational videos. They make better educational media for the next generation of global citizens.