Books On The Hill

As an English Teacher, I am absolutely delighted to be joining forces with the other Random Things Bloggers to share information about this incredible independent bookstore’s Kickstarter project. I see every single day the impact of dyslexia on young people and their ability to experience a diverse range of books and can vouch for the fact that the older they get, the less and less choice they have in being able to access books that are dyslexia friendly.

I was delighted to be involved though Anne Cater’s blog tour and am pleased that since it’s the Easter Break that I’ve had lots of time to get exploring and find out as much as possible about these books, the writers and the project itself. It’s been a fascinating journey and I’m delighted to be sharing it today as part of the tour and encouraging book lovers everywhere to think about participating through supporting the Kickstarter too

Hopefully I’ve managed to include all of the background information that you need to understand what exactly BOTH are trying to achieve as well as find out a bit more information about the books they currently have on offer as well as discover how you can get involved in a number of exciting, innovative and original ways. They are extremely passionate about what they hope to achieve and hope that as many book lovers as possible will read about it and decide to get involved…

Read all about it below and follow the Random Things Blogtour to see what other bloggers are getting involved in as they share news from Books On The Hill themselves.

I am proud to be able to share the news about this project and hope that once people find out more about the BOTH project that they will want to get involved and help by supporting, sharing and getting behind their quest to make books more accessible to all readers

Find out more about the Kickartarter and how to support them here

The idea that when you become an adult there are no dyslexic accessible printed books to read, bluntly said is ridiculous.

BOTH Press, which aims to fill this gap, is a project from Book on the Hill, which is dyslexic friendly independent bookshop set in Clevedon, North Somerset.

Books On The Hill

They are passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or have any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction. They aim to make exciting good quality fiction accessible to those not currently provided for by today’s traditional mass book market and are working with talented and award winning authors to achieve this.

With your help through the whole process of the Kickstater, they aim to publish and print 8 titles of dyslexic friendly books for adults.

Their long term goal is to continue  publishing good quality adult fiction to produce a wide range of books for people who have challenges when reading. 

Their initial target is 3 titles with successive stretch goals to get to the magical 8. 

Of course they want to do more and if by your support they really go over our target, they will produce yet more stunning books with great authors

Books On The Hill are working to bring dyslexic  friendly books with  award winning and award nominated authors. 

So here they are…

Sherlock Holmes and the Four Kings of Sweden

Steven Savile is a bestselling British fantasy, horror and thriller writer. He lives just outside Stockholm, Sweden having emigrated in 1997. His published works include The Memory Man, Coldfall Wood, Glass Town, One Man’s War, Parallel Lines, and numerous short stories in magazines and anthologies. He has written for Games Workshop, Primeval, Stargate and Doctor Who. Steven was a runner-up for the British Fantasy Award in 2000 and again in 2010. He has been published in a dozen languages and sold more than half a million copies of his novels and stories worldwide.

Previous titles: The Memory Man, Parallel Lines, Glass Town, One Man’s War, Coldfall Wood. And more…

Four Kings Of Sweden

Under the pretext of opening a school of detectives, Sherlock and Watson are summoned by the Swedish royalty. The Great Detective must solve a seemingly unsolvable riddle – how can the king be in three places at once?  Why is it happening? And how does this tie in to a string of crimes that seem hound the King’s footsteps?

Watson seemingly alone, lectures at the The Bernadotte Chambers in Stockholm, speaking to his carefully chosen audience how this crimes of murder and mummery had come to pass.  All the while waiting for Sherlock to appear and present the final reveal.

Anchor Point

Stan Nicholls is the author of more than thirty books and was shortlisted for the 2001 British Fantasy Award. His Orcs: First Blood trilogy is a worldwide bestseller, with over a million copies sold to date. Both Orcs trilogies made the New York Times bestseller list. Stan’s books have been published in more than 20 countries. He was the first manager of Forbidden Planet’s original London store and helped establish and run the New York branch. He received the Le’Fantastique Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Literature (2007)

Previous titles: Orcs: Omnibus Edition, Orcs Bad Blood: Second Omnibus Edition, Shake Me to Wake Me: The Best of Stan Nicholls, Quicksilver Rising. And more…

The village of Catterby is beholden to no lord or lady. No one believes Lord Salex Nacandro, a warlord and sorcerer, who’s homeland was far to the north, would be a threat.

They are wrong.

Kye Beven a reluctant member of the ‘Band’, the elite protectors of the village, lacks confidence. Everyone except Dyan Varike, the best archer in the band, believes he should never have been selected. When Catterby is menaced by Eskail Gudreen the Emissary of Nacandro, Kye reaches for his bow and steps up to the mark.

Ultrasound Shadow

Thana Niveau is a horror and science fiction writer. She is the author of the short story collections Octoberland, Unquiet Waters, and From Hell to Eternity, as well as the novel House of Frozen Screams. She has been shortlisted three times for the British Fantasy Awards – for Octoberland and From Hell to Eternity, and for her short story Death Walks En Pointe. She shares her life with fellow writer John Llewellyn Probert, in a crumbling gothic tower filled with arcane books and curiosities. And toy dinosaurs.

Previous titles: Octoberland, Unquiet Waters, From Hell to Eternity, House of Frozen Screams. And more…

Molly Landor had always imagined having kids someday, though she had hoped it would be by choice and not by accident. After double checking the test was positive, there’s no doubt about it.

Something strange begins to occur and Molly announces that she will go ahead with the  pregnancy.  Friends and acquaintances become alarmed her behaviour becomes erratic and Molly announces details of her baby that no one could know, even refusing to go to the hospital to check the baby.

Is it just normal pregnancy mania or is something more unnatural arising?

The Breath

Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. His novels, The Sea-Stone Sword and The Sky Slayer, were published BFS Award-winning publisher, Grimbold books. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, which has featured authors such as Brandon Sanderson and Kameron Hurley, as well as TV stars. He is outspoken about his dyslexia, supporting efforts to spread awareness through talks, articles, and books. He runs The Campaign Trail podcast, which has featured critically acclaimed authors, such as Anna Smith Spark alongside its regular players.

Previous titles: The Sea-Stone Sword, The Sky Slayer, The Storm-Forged Throne

And more…

The planet Wanda V has been abandoned for some time. The Gates had collapsed generations ago. It was called a waste of time, but the lone scientist, Hala, sets forth to investigate.

While Hala collects data on the planet, legends and mythologies that surround these ruins become all too real.

Can Hala escape a god? And what does this self-proclaimed deity want?

The House on the Old Cliffs

Adrian Tchaikovsky is an award-winning British fantasy and science fiction author. He is a keen live role-player, occasional amateur actor, and has trained in stage-fighting. He has written over 20 novels and won the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award for Children of Time and the 2017 British Fantasy Award — Best Fantasy Novel for The Tiger and the Wolf.

Previous titles: Children of Time, Children of Ruin, Cage of Souls, The Tales of Catt & Fisher: The Art of the Steal, The Doors of Eden. And more…

Doctor Hendry, a known pseudo-historian has gone missing. His employers want answers.

Michael is offered a job that pays ten times what he would get standing outside a club, knocking people over.  On reaching the London office of the law firm, Branmer & Stokes, four other professionals are waiting. Two mercenaries, Shaw and Kelling, with broad minds and little scruples. Cohen, a paranormal investigator and Doctor Furrisky from the University of East Anglia’s department of history.

Together they are given one job. Find Doctor Hendry in his home on the remote clifftop. They find more than they bargained for or even comprehend.

The Clockwork Eyeball

Steven Poore co-produced the Sheffield theatre premiere of Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters. He is a founder member of the Sheffield SF&F Writers’. His novel, Heir To The North, was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards in 2017.

He has featured in a number of anthologies with the BFS Award-winning publisher Fox Spirit Books.

Previous titles: Hair to the North, The High Kings Vengence, Art of War: Anthology for Charity, Legends 3: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell. And more…

It is 1958 in an alternate Marrakesh. The cold war still wages on and  Sputnik has launched, gazing down of earth. Seemingly Russia is conquering space at last.

An uncover agent needs to be extradited and the British expects Marrakesh to facilitate this.

Saif, a local boy has an important mission, to pick up a British spy unnoticed and bring him to the Deputy Security directorate. Saif escapes surveillance in a borrowed Grand taxi, but the pick-up doesn’t go to plan, as the British agent, known as the lighting rod, is the one man guaranteed to make a hard situation, harder.

The race is on to escape the Russian secret service, advanced technology and bring the undercover agent into British hands.

At Midnight I Will Steal Your Soul

John Llewellyn Probert was the winner of the 2013 British Fantasy Award for best novella with Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine. He won the Dracula Society’s Children of the Night Award for his first book, The Faculty of Terror, in 2006. Since then he has published fifteen volumes of horror fiction, including six short story collections. His non-fiction publications include a book on his favourite film, Theatre of Blood (Electric Dreamhouse) and he regularly writes about new movie releases at his online review site, House of Mortal Cinema. He lives in a gothic mansion in deepest Somerset with his wife, the author Thana Niveau. He doesn’t sleep much because there’s just too much scary fun to be had.

Previous titles: Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine, The Lovecraft Squad,The Last Temptations of Dr Valentine, The Complete Valentine, Theatre of Blood. And more… 

Lynda is having second thoughts about joining Dr Sampson choir, but she really needed to get out of the house. Too long she has spent putting herself into boxes for others benefits, but really was a choir in a psychiatric hospital the right way to find something for herself?

Of course it had to be one of those Victorian gothic monstrosities, and of course it had a dubious past, so really it’s just her imagination setting her on edge right. The weather isn’t helping nor is the fact that suddenly she is a prisoner and something does not want her to leave.

The Man Who Would Be King

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in India, which inspired much of his work. Kipling’s works of fiction include The Jungle Book, Kim, and many short stories.

Books On The Hill have lots of rewards for people who are dyslexic, or who know someone who is dyslexic, or you just want to help us in this project. We have four main categories of  rewards. Digital, Print, Art, and Unique. 

With our stretch goals adding a book each time, the first 3 book will be:

  • Ultrasound Shadow 
  • Anchor Point
  • The Four Kings of Sweden 

Our next 3 books unlocked will be:

  • The House On The Old Cliffs
  • The Breath 
  • The Clockwork Eyeball 

Any reward that says ‘choice of 6’ means these above. 

Our last two unlocked will be; 

  • I Will Steal Your Soul At Midnight 
  • The Man Who Would Be King

Flexibility 

They are very flexible.  If you want to increase your pledge, please do so, they are very happy for you to have more than one reward.

 We have two digital only rewards and one combination reward.

The fourth major catagory in BOTH rewards.

Many of the authors on this project have put forward unique offers in this rewards tier.

We will facilitate with Stan when you take up this reward. So send the story to us and we will forward it on to him, and vice versa, forward his comments and advice to you.  This is really exciting reward from a brilliant and generous author.  

Who doesn’t want to be a character in a books.

This is what Steven is offering. He won’t promise though that you will live happily ever after, who knows, you could get that death scene you have always wanted. 

 We will facilitate this with Steven when you take up this reward.

So send the story to us and we will forward it on to him, and vice versa, forward his comments and advice to you.  This is really exciting reward from an award winning author.

This is something I might take up, as Thana is such a great writer and anybody generous  enough to take this reward is a lucky person.

We will facilitate this with Thana when you take up this reward. So send the story idea to us and we will forward it on to her, and vice versa, forward the finished story to you.

Being a guest voice on a D&D podcast with author such as Anna Smith Spark taking part.

Hell yes! What’s not to like. Joel will be in contact with you directly on this one when you take up this amazing reward. 

 This reward will come available when we hit our first stretch goal.

Mr Horror himself writing a story for you. It gives me chills. We will facilitate this with John when you take up this reward. So send the story idea to us and we will forward it on to him, and vice versa, forward the finished story to you. 

With your help by the end of this Kickstarter we will be able to publish and print 8 books and even begin the process to publish more books in the future.  These books will be unlocked after hitting the following stretch totals. 

  • When we hit the £4000 Adrian Tchaikovsky, The House On The Old Cliff will be unlocked. So every Reward that is a complete set will have this paperback added. 
  • The Digital & Print reward will change to choice of ‘3 from 4’ on paperbacks and ebooks. 
  • When we hit the £5000 Joel Cornah, The Breath will be unlocked. So every Reward that is a complete set will have this paperback added. 
  • The Digital & Print reward will change to ‘choice of 3 from 5’ on paperbacks and ebooks. 
  • When we hit the £6000 Steven Poore’s  The Clockwork Eyeball will be unlocked. So every Reward that is a complete set will have this paperback added. 
  • The Digital & Print reward will change to ‘choice of 3 from 6’ on paperbacks and ebooks. 
  • When we hit £7000 John Llewellyn Probert’s “At Midnight I Will Steal Your Soul” will become available as a paperback and ebook. Any rewards that has ‘choice of’ will now be ‘choice of 7’.
  • Any reward that has ‘complete set’ will get the extra books added to their reward. 
  • When we hit £8000 the classic by Rudyard Kipling “The Man Who Would Be King” with become available as a paperback and ebook. Any print reward that has ‘choice of’ will now be ‘choice of 8’.
  • Any reward that has ‘complete set’ will get the extra books added to their reward.  

One we hit both of these total, please don’t stop sharing about us and continuing to pledge to this project. The more support we get in the kickstarter,  the more we can do in the future, producing many titles of quality fiction for people who deal with dysleixa. 

What is Dyslexia? 

Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. The NHS estimates that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, while other dyslexic organisations believe 1 in 5 and more than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected.

Dyslexia does not stop someone from achieving. There are many individuals who are successful and are dyslexic. Famous actors, such as Orlando Bloom; Entrepreneurs like Theo Paphitis, and many, many more, including myself. All of who believe dyslexia has helped them to be where they are now. Dyslexia, though, as I can attest to, does not go away. You don’t grow out of it, and so we are acknowledging that and creating a selection of books that will be friendly to people who deal with dyslexia every day, without being patronising. 

What Do We Mean By Dyslexic Friendly? 

  • Cream paper rather than white. 
  • A sans-serif font, or a specific dyslexic friendly one. 
  • Extended spacing between paragraphs, sentences and words

The Paper

Getting the right paper for the job is one of the critical aspects of the production of these dyslexic friendly books. It also has a impact on the kickstarter funds we need.

Originally we were going to go with 80gsm cream paper, which would be digitally printed, which on a production cost point of view would have made thing a lots easier for us, and we would have needed less start up cash.

However, after careful examination, we concluded that the more expensive 120gsm which would be litho printed, would be the best for this project. This paper and printing is more expensive, but we feel it worth it, as it is opaque, and so as you read it, the text on the other-side is not visible.

This is important so the reader can concentrate on a single page. Also due to this opaqueness the paper appears much creamier than the 80gsm paper, which again helps with the contrast and ideal for readers who struggle with dyslexia. 

Our Shop Experience  

Since we started the project in 2019, Books on the Hill have had many adults customers with dyslexia come in shop the asking for something accessible to read.

For example, one customer asked if we stocked well known novels in a dyslexic friendly format.

Unfortunately we had to say no, as they just don’t exist.

We explained what we are trying to achieve by printing our own and she replied:

This response is not isolated. We have had many adults come in to the shop with dyslexia, who do not read or struggle to read and they believe dyslexic friendly books would have real impact on their reading for pleasure.

We have been so lucky that many great authors have agreed to particpating in this project. Not least the great friend of mine, Stan Nicholls who has supported me since my university days examining archaeology and fantasy and writing fictional narratives for my PhD.  

Joining Stan in this project is Steven Savile, another bestsellling author, whose father lives in Clevedon and is a customer of the bookshop.  

Then we have the horror duo that is Thana Niveau and John Llewellyn Probert, both well estabished and engaging authors,  who also happen to live in Clevedon, and be customers of the shop.

Alistair Sims

Books on the Hill is Alistair Sims. He is the manager and commander-in-chief of the bookshop (though his partner, Chloe and his mother, Joanne, who set up the bookshop with him, may disagree with this description ). Alistair is dyslexic and has a PhD in history and archaelogy.  Alistair could not read until he was 13 and is passionate about helping anyone who has difficulty reading. He is the driving force behind BOTH Press and  has been involved in every step in this project, from finding award winning authors to contribute, the cover design, and the road to publication, including setting up for distribution. 

 Chrissey Harrison 

Books on the Hill  are collaborating with Chrissey Harrison, who is also an local author and member of North Bristol Writers Group. Chressey and Alistair have designed the bookcovers together, with Chrissey creating the finshed product we now look on at awe with. Nearly all the design work has been done by Chrissey, and she is also in charge of the printing process and typesetting. We are so proud and appreciative to be working with Chrissey. 

Nine Worthy Design 

Special mention must go to Harrison Gates, who runs Nine Worthy, and who has dedicated his time and expertise to produce our print catalogue for us free of cost. 

Joanne Hall

Joanne Hall is an author, editor and formerly the Chair of BristolCon, Bristol’s premier (and only) science fiction and fantasy convention. We must give a huge thank you to Jo for proof reading the stories free of cost. 

Vicky Brewster 

Vicky Brewster has edited all the new stories by the authors. She specialises in editing and beta reading long-form fiction, although she also has experience in short-form fiction, non-fiction and academic work.   Vicky is a great editor, with her skills honed by years spent writing for the commercial market, and postgraduate academic study of both English Literature and Creative Writing.  She has also completed several course with SFEP on editing and proofreading.

Risks and challenges

Books On The Hill are a small independent bookshop seeing that something needed to be done to produce these books.

They are small team, and this is their first Kickstarter.

They also have shop commitments, and so delays could happen.

Due to Covid the project had to be delayed and as a consequence the price of paper has gone up.

They have also decided to go with the thicker paper as they do not want to compromise on quality.

They had to adapt to the new cost and reflected this in the kickstarter project.

They are very fortunate and proud to be going to UK Printers, which should speed up delivery of the rewards.

They ask that you please bear with them and they will keep in contact with all backers to ensure we get your rewards to you as speedily as possible.

They will be working very closely with the authors in regards to their rewards to facilitate their contact with you where appropriate.

Do please bear in mind that these author are very busy and there could be delays.

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