It all began with a magazine…
So what’s the story behind Chudleigh Phoenix Publications? It all started with Chudleigh Phoenix, a monthly community magazine written by and for the people of Chudleigh in Devon. From October 2009, the Phoenix was edited and published by Kate McCormick and Sharon Cook. Originally a bimonthly, by March 2012 we had grown from 4 pages to 10 – and every issue was bursting at the seams with news and views from Chudleigh. From April 2012, the Phoenix became monthly; and now we have 10-16 pages per issue and we’re still growing!
Our main distribution channel is electronic (either via email or on the site); a small number of paper copies are produced each month, courtesy of Chudleigh Town Council, and these are snapped up very quickly by people who tend not to use the internet. The January 2013 issue was produced as a paper version and delivered free of charge to every house in Chudleigh. There are currently no plans to repeat this exercise.
In January 2013, Sharon Cook stepped down from the role of co-editor, but still writes for CP on occasion.
In July 2013, we offered the children of Chudleigh Community Primary School the opportunity to produce a special edition of CP, in conjunction with our third annual Chudfest celebrations. The Chudleigh Junior Press Team threw themselves enthusiastically into the project and the outcome can be read in the archive. We were so impressed with their efforts that we offered them a monthly page in CP; The Children’s Voice ran from September 2013 to August 2017.
From Small Beginnings…
Our annual short story competition was launched in August 2010. It was open to all writers, published or unpublished, anywhere in the world. Closing date was 31st January and results were announced in the April issue of CP. There were three main prizes (£100, £50 and £25) plus a special prize for the best local entry (£25). For the 2013/4 competition, we increased the first prize to £200; in 2014/5, we discontinued the local prize due to the low numbers of entries, but increased the first prize to £250. After 5 years, we have decided to rest the competition for the moment. But it may well return at some point.
The Next Step…
In July 2011, we set up Chudleigh Phoenix Publications. Our first anthology of short stories Life is Not a Trifling Affair, written by Elizabeth Ducie (Kate’s pen name) and Sharon Cook, was launched at the Chudleigh Literary Festival on 13th July 2011. We were very proud of our new baby and hoped it would be the first of many. In January 2012, we took a step further and published it as an ebook.
Our second anthology Life is Not a Bed of Roses, also by Elizabeth and Sharon, was launched at the pre-Christmas book fair in Chudleigh Town Hall on Friday 23rd November 2012.
In between writing and publishing fiction, we brought out a how-to book on running a successful summer party. Sunshine and Sausages grew out of more than twenty years experience and provides some great tips to make sure you enjoy your party as much as your guests do.
Our fourth book was a collection of short stories, flash fiction and memoirs entitled Parcels in the Rain and Other Writing.
Then we branched out very briefly into publishing on behalf of other authors: RAMMblings is an anthology of musings by members of Chudleigh Writers’ Circle, resulting from a day out at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter. Copies of this book can be bought via the CWC website. This was a one-off project.
Our next publishing project was a series of ebooks aimed at writers who are in the process of turning their hobby into a full-time occupation. Part One: Business Start-Up was released on 1st April 2014 and Part Two: Finance Matters came out on 1st July 2014. The final instalment, Part Three: Improving Effectiveness, was launched in January 2015. A few months later, the whole series was converted to a Print on Demand paperback, The Business Of Writing Parts 1-3. The last two books in the series were published in August 2019. The Business of Writing Workbook is a companion to the paperback version of the first three parts of the series. The Business of Writing Part 4: Independent Publishing puts into writing everything we have learned since 2011, and is available both in paperback and as an ebook.
Our biggest project so far, and the one of which we are most proud, is the publication of Elizabeth’s novels. In October 2014 we published her debut novel Gorgito’s Ice Rink which is available both as an ebook and as a paperback. We were absolutely delighted when this was Runner Up in Writing Magazine’s 2015 Self-Published Book of the Year Awards. In 2017, it has received two Chill With A Book awards.
Elizabeth’s second novel, Counterfeit!, came out in July 2016. It is the first in the Suzanne Jones series of thrillers, set in the sometimes murky world of international pharmaceuticals. In 2015 it came third in the Literature Works First Page Writing Prize. In September 2017, Deception! was published. This is the second in the Suzanne Jones series and this time the action moves from Africa to Latin America. The third part in the series, Corruption!, is set in Ukraine and Russia; it was published in September 2018. In March 2019, we published all three thrillers in a single box set, in ebook format only. And besides all that, we managed to squeeze in a collection of flash fiction stories under the title Flashing on the Riviera which is free to download!