Something about Robinswood Press

Here's a bit about what we like doing, a brief historical picture, and some guidance on how budding writers might join our stable of excellent authors. There's some background on our current authors, too, but you'll have to click here to get there... 

Robinswood Now

Robinswood is a small, independent educational and children's book publisher. Our main aim is to help encourage every child – and every adult for that matter – to experience the joy of the written word, whether reading it, writing it or speaking it. That's especially true for those who may have special learning needs or a degree of dyslexia, or who may simply have been 'put off' reading for one reason or another, or be aspiring readers whose English is a Second Language. So, in addition to titles that anyone can enjoy, Robinswood publishes a range of titles to help child – and adult – learners on the road to more accomplished and rewarding reading. And writing: especially handwriting for left-handed writers!

We are in the process of establishing the Robinswood Educational Trust. Each year we will be donating 1% of our sales turnover to this Trust which will be used to help support innovative, creative projects and individual students.

History of Robinswood

Robinswood was founded in 1989, near Robinswood Hill in Gloucester, England – hence our name. Initially, Robinswood published and distributed specialist educational titles, but it has become more mainstream – whilst retaining a fresh and independent view. Early titles during the 1990s included Take Time, which remains a hugely popular title as a result of the authors' sensitive insight, the Spotlight Series for dyslexic and special needs students, as well as titles for left-handers.

Special Delivery of Lifeboat Books on the ThamesThe Lifeboat Read and Spell Scheme was introduced in March 2000 (with delivery of the first sets to Walnut Tree Walk Primary and Queensmill Schools in Lambeth by a real live Lifeboat down the Thames). The Lifeboat Scheme is now in use in many thousands of schools in the UK, Ireland and beyond. By the early 2000s, therefore, Robinswood had established a first range of materials to fulfill its aim of helping to encourage every child experience the joy of the written word.

Left Hand Writing Skills Book 1More recently, we have published two major series, Left Hand Writing Skills (which provides exactly what it says on the cover); and the High Interest Series: loads of gripping, pacy novels for both Primary and Secondary readers (whether 'avid' or those who 'don't do books'). And there's an equal number of backup titles for teachers which assist in comprehension and encouragement for students to get into these 'fast-moving, high-action, student-relevant epics'. These titles have been produced in association with High Interest Publishing of Toronto, but they are entirely 'Anglicised' so far as vital spelling and word usage is concerned.

Bruno and HarryRobinswood also occasionally publishes standard children's books for various ages, from teenage to toddler. Bruno (a very clever basset hound) was published in support of the The Haemophilia Society and in collaboration with Novo Nordisk, the global Danish pharmaceutical company. 

So Robinswood has become an increasingly familiar name in literacy teaching in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere. This is at all levels and sectors, from special needs to mainstream schooling, at secondary as well as primary level, in adult centres and colleges, YOIs and Sure Start Centres. In addition, Robinswood teaching resources are currently recommended and used by many LEA Learning Support and Advisory Centres, as well as by leading charities and training organisations, such as the British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action, The Dyspraxia Foundation and the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre.

Lifeboat arrives in Cameroon

There is also a growing number of locations around the world where Robinswood titles are in use and where Robinswood books can be obtained Cameroon (shown), USA, Australia, Czech Republic, South Africa... And we are always interested in forming partnerships with educational organisations or distributors where we do not presently have an appointed representative. A number of titles are already translated, and more are in the pipeline.

Well, we could go on, because we enjoy what we do, but that's enough for now... We'll send you news (just occasionally) about what we're doing if you subscribe to our Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Environmental Policy

Robinswood strives to minimise the impact of its activities by supporting its co-workers and freelance suppliers to work largely from home office bases, minimising travel, office space and energy usage. If you publish books of the traditional paper type, though, you do need trees. So we check that our materials are from renewable sources wherever possible, and that whatever can be re-cycled gets re-cycled. 

We always welcome new ideas towards achieving an ideal sustainable modus operandi. And we're pleased to support, in the UK, the National Trust (in whose properties we generally try to hold our meetings) and the Woodland Trust. Discussing a new title over an organic meal, or whilst rambling through a forest or up Cader Idris, always provides an interesting additional dimension to the vision of a potential publication.

Working With Us

Robinswood consistently achieves high standards in both its products and customer support by working with outstanding partners. These include our publishing partners, our authors and our own freelance and full- or part-time co-workers – not forgetting our retail stockists and distributors. We are always on the look-out for new partnerships and new projects. If you think Robinswood can meet any requirement of yours – or you can contribute in some way to the work of Robinswood – we would be pleased to hear from you. Contact information is available at the bottom of this page.

Prunella Scales reads BrunoJon Turley Book Launch

 

 

 

 

 

Prunella Scales reads some Bruno Stories to children in the Pollock Toy Museum and Jon Turley celebrates World Book Day in Waterstones.

 

 

Our Authors

Each Robinswood publication has been created through a careful process of consultation and editorial development with the author. Our authors generally already have an established reputation in some aspect of teaching or working with children, but not always. So, if you have an idea for a book which meets the overall Robinswood objective of fostering an enjoyment in writing or reading, especially in children overcoming barriers to good literacy, then send us details. But please follow our guide (below) to Becoming a Robinswood Author.

Click here to reach a little background for each of Robinswood's current authors.

Co-operative Publishing

Robinswood has considerable expertise in working with charities and other organisations to create publications which match both their aspirations and the expectations of readers. We can also help with the sale and marketing of these titles where needed. 

Shaping the FlameThe Well Trod Stage

 

Examples include 'shaping the flame', Foreword by Sir John Taverner, for the Camphill Foundation; Kenton Theatre's 200th Anniversary title 'The Well Trod Stage', Foreword by Boris Johnson (former MP for Henley / former Mayor of London / currently Foreign Secretary); the production of 'Bruno – a very clever basset hound', royalties for The Haemophilia Society and the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation!

 

Becoming a Robinswood Author

Becoming a published writer can involve navigating through a mass of contradictory, sometimes chaotic advice! Multitudes of websites give you endless different views:

Publishers tell you to "Send us your manuscript". Or "don't ...". Printers, especially 'on-demand', proclaim "No need for publishers". Authors advise you not to "... sign away your future!" and "... get yourself an agent". Agents prefer that you're already a published author. But publishers won't take risks if they don't have rights over your future work as well. And publishers don't always respond too well to agents – or, alternatively, authors contacting them direct. And then there's Amazon... E-books... Do-it-yourself...

Hmmm! Confusing!

Robinswood's Advice

– Go to The Society of Authors website. It's comprehensive and gives you a very good overview.

– Go to The Word Pool website – especially if your interest is writing for children. This gives you masses of good information – plus a long list of publishers.

– Decide what you want to achieve. Fame? Wealth? Recognition? Just 'being published'? Happy readers? Transfer of Knowledge? Be realistic about your expectations – it's a hugely competitive world.

– Check out the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. Very good, everything you need to know.

– Select just a few publishers (unless you want to try an agent or do-it-yourself) who set a tone on their websites with which you feel you could be comfortable. Check out their specialities and limitations, too.

– Email an editor at each of your selected publishers with the essential details they require. Persist a little, but not too much, and try to get feedback. Add to your list every now and then. And always think positive!

– Of course, you can now self-publish very easily. You can even go for a self-published finished product, digitally printed on demand, an e-book: Kindled, or as a download. Marketing all done for you, so – hey! – no design, print or distribution costs, just profit! But, before you cut out the designer, the publisher and the retailer, remember they exist for a reason: to create and display a fully professional presentation. But maybe we would say that, wouldn't we?! Our last word of advice is to remember that you're contacting publishers – so do check your spelling, grammar and punctuation!

What Robinswood Wants to Know

Well, if Robinswood is still on your list, what we want to know is:

Who you are. What do you do? Where do you come from? What's your background? A bit of a CV-cum-autobiography – just four or five paragraphs will do. What sort of 'Work' you've produced. Is it a teaching resource? A teenage novel? Something for younger children? What age group? Why have you written it? Are you a teacher? Or a Mum? Or a Dad? Or just 'inspired'? Have you spotted a 'gap in the market'? What published products are most like yours? And prepare a good summary of your 'Work': a synopsis – the story or content – some short extracts, a list of characters and their descriptions, and practical data like proposed number of chapters, word-count, the expected number of pages.

Send that all on a single email. But don't send attachments – we never open those unless we've entered into a dialogue with you.

What Robinswood Does Next

We expect you'd like to know the process we endeavour to go through...

– We'll generally acknowledge your email within ten working days.

– Within four to eight weeks, we'll tell you whether your Work looks as if it might fit our range and we'll ask you for the manuscript (disc, pdf, Word file or hard copy).

– Copies will be sent to our 'Readers' – teachers, parents, educational specialists, children – and we'll share their comments with you. This can take at least three months.

– If it's still looking positive, we'll send you a draft contract to mull over. Talk to professional friends and The Society of Authors about this. You'll have to confirm that the Work is your own, i.e., your copyright (or agreed with third parties if extracts appear) and agree to give us an indemnity to that effect.

– If we finally sign a contract with you, your Work would normally be published within twelve to twenty-four months if there are no complications. Of course, sometimes – but rarely – it can all happen very much more quickly than that. Just don't expect it!

 – You should also know that, whilst Robinswood covers all design, marketing and publicity costs, we often request new unpublished authors to contribute to the cost of printing. Why do we do that? It's so important that the author is an enthusiastic member of the marketing team. The author's contribution is generally recovered quite quickly from sales of their title, and we have found that the whole involvement in marketing including the incentive of recouping the print run investment can lead to an even greater dynamic and creative team effort. If further titles are subsequently produced, it is unlikely that further contribution would be requested.

So now it's over to you...

Final Comment: Please Take Note!

[September 2016: We regret that we cannot accept any more submissions for children's books at present. Titles with a purely educational content, especially meeting a specific difficulty teachers face in their tasks, will continue to be considered.]

As many publishers no longer take submissions, those that do – including Robinswood – get inundated! The timings quoted above are our aspiration: we can't always keep to them. So be patient – and do send your Work to a number of publishers: you won't get a reponse from all of them, though. We will only look at your Work if you send the background details outlined above. Where we only receive manuscripts without background information, it is unlikely that we will look at the Work.

BTW: Calling us to check out we've got your email: Fine. A little persuasion: OK. Hassle: Not Good!

Phone 01684 899419         Email customers@robinswoodpress.com
No longer available Email 129 West Malvern Road, MALVERN, Worcestershire, WR14 4NG

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