No, not the spongy, creamy, totally bad for you kind – CAKE is a project to help unpublished writers get their work in front of

Chiffon cake kanko

the public. It’s based in Manchester and distributes short stories free of charge via a network of cafes and bars. Each issue of CAKE is also available to download from the website.

There’s no payment for the stories printed (as you would expect since no-one appears to be making any money out of this) but CAKE will do their best to give feedback on any stories submitted plus, if your story is selected for publication, you will also get a plug for your website/blog.

Stories up to 2200 words will be considered and there are no rules about having to live in Manchester to submit. Full details of the submission process are here.

Sadly, those of us who have been published in magazines are not eligible to submit stories but there is still something useful for us to take away from the FAQs on the website. Apparently over half the submissions they receive are about death in one form or another, so if this is the subject of your story then you need to find a unique way of making your tale stand out from the crowd or write about something completely different. I’m sure this advice will apply equally well to any short story competition that you choose to enter.

By the way – did you know that this is Love Your Local Bookshop Week? It runs from 30th June to 7th July. Reading about it made my conscience prick about the purchases of both traditional and e-books that I make at Amazon. So I used my postcode here and was amazed to find that I would have to travel 15.66 miles to get to my nearest independent book seller, even though I live close to a large city. These shops have suffered badly from the growth of internet and supermarket purchasing and, sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any way back for them now.


  1. #1 by cakeshortandsweet on July 2, 2012 - 12:11 pm

    Sally, thank you so much for taking the time to spread the word about CAKE! Do you mind if I ask where you heard about it?

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on July 2, 2012 - 12:21 pm

      I heard about you via my mum, who had an email from CAKE forwarded to her by a writing group which she attends occasionally. A bit like Chinese Whispers except I hope I got the message right!

      • #3 by cakeshortandsweet on July 2, 2012 - 12:31 pm

        You did, yes! It’s really exciting to see it rippling out.

        I get your comment about magazine-published writers too. It’s difficult to know where to draw the line with it. There will be people who’ve only published on a couple of websites and a magazine, but we had one submission from somebody who had a list of magazine publications that stretched over 2 A4 pages (they’d slightly misunderstood what we’re about!), so of course already had a lot of experience being published.

  2. #4 by Tracy Fells on July 2, 2012 - 2:06 pm

    Hmm I read this expecting a virtual slice of cake, but thanks for the heads up on the new venture. I spent a bit of money last week in local independent bookshop. I’m really lucky to have a great bookshop in next village and I try to balance my book buying. Sadly I need to use Amazon for buying second hand books as simply can’t afford to buy new, but whenever I can I do book new from local shop. Just like our libraries: we will lose ’em if we don’t use ’em. Sigh…
    P.S. Good luck in Emerald final competition 🙂

    • #5 by Sally Jenkins on July 2, 2012 - 6:52 pm

      It is expensive to buy every book new & from an independent bookseller – but well done for doing what you can, Tracy. Good Luck to you too in that last Emerald comp. – it’s really nice to see several names I recognise from the blogosphere in that final long list.

    • #6 by Marcy on July 4, 2012 - 12:57 am

      Funny, that’s the opposite of what I used to do, but same reasoning — I’d buy used from an independent store that sold used, often better prices than amazon because of no shipping costs. But new I’d get from amazon, because the independent stores have a really hard time competing with them in price for the new stuff. I mean, I worked at an independent for a while, and sometimes we’d even buy books for the store from amazon because they were cheaper than our supplier!

      But now the independents near me are gone, and I wish I’d bought a little more from them. Not a ton more, because I couldn’t afford it, and so it wouldn’t have been enough to make a difference, but if everyone did…

      • #7 by Sally Jenkins on July 4, 2012 - 7:30 am

        Hi Marcy, It’s interesting to know that sometimes independents bought from Amazon to sell on! I suppose we all now wish we’d bought just a little more from independents because they offered that pleasure of browsing in a bookshop that you just can’t get from Amazon.

  3. #8 by Marcy on July 5, 2012 - 9:08 pm

    Yes! At least my store did. I guess I don’t know if the situation would be the same over in the UK. We mostly just did it for big bestsellers, the ones amazon gives huge discounts on — sometimes they’d offer 45% or even 50% off list price, and our discount from our supplier was only 41%.

    But yes, the book itself is the same from amazon or a bookshop (unless you’re buying Kindle books, which I admit I enjoy), but amazon just can’t replicate that browsing experience. I mean, I like amazon’s “if you liked __ you might like __,” I’ve found some good books that way, but the smell and feel of a bookshop is priceless. 🙂

    • #9 by Sally Jenkins on July 7, 2012 - 8:14 am

      Agreed, Marcy – nothing beats the smell and anticipation that a new book brings.

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