A Wider Audience – At A Cost

Until recently Askance has tried to have all its titles available in as many forms and on as many platforms as possible, not least because giving any single outlet an exclusive right goes against the grain. Askance is inclusive, equal opportunity, and not always with money as the driving force – if that were the case we’d be long gone!

That’s changing now, and still not because of money. Because of readership. This applies particularly to ebooks. There are many ebook outlets and even wholesalers, although the world is dominated by Amazon’s Kindle with Kobo a distant second. Askance has for the most part made its ebooks available through all these outlets by using Smashwords as a wholesaler for everything but Amazon, where we’ve created our own ebooks.

But here’s the rub.

While that gives the maximum accessibility to readers worldwide, in practice it doesn’t get our titles read by so many people. Why? Because of Amazon’s aggressive tactics of making only titles which are exclusive to Kindle available via their Prime and Kindle Unlimited channels.

Is this moral? No. Do we like it? No. Is it anti-competitive? Yes. But a simple trial has shown that it gets a title read by more readers. We experimented recently and took a title off of all ebook outlets except Amazon and enrolled that title in the Unlimited program. In the first month of doing so, that book reached ten times the number of readers than it had done in the previous six months on Smashwords and Kobo. Yes, that small extra revenue (and it is small!) is welcome, but the readership is what matters most.

Are we selling our soul? It certainly doesn’t feel comfortable, but our writers deserve more readers, that’s the motivation.

The world is not as we would wish it to be.

(And if you’ve got this far and you’re a writer, please take a look at our Flash Fiction competition.)

Short Story Competition – closes 31st May

It’s time to remind you that our competition closes in 20 days time, on 31st May. We have received a fair amount of entries so far – but not as many international stories as in previous years.  Remember that we accept entries from anywhere in the world. So get writing!  Full details are on our competition pages.  We are looking forward to a good read in June and handing out a cash price in the autumn.


The 2015 competition is now open for entries.  Closing date: 31 May 2015.

askance competition imageWe are pleased to announce that Askance are running a competition again this year. Building on the success of our 2012 and 2013 competitions, we have made a few exciting changes for 2015.

To be inclusive, there is no theme this year and Askance will be accepting short stories of any length. You can also enter more than one story.  Our 2015 competition is open to all writers over 16, from anywhere in the world.

Entrants are able to submit unpublished stories that may or may not have been submitted for other competitions, and as before, must be happy for Askance to publish their story if it is shortlisted.

Askance Publishing are keen to encourage innovative writing and provide a showcase for writers who might not otherwise have a chance of publication. Experienced writers with a previous publishing record should not feel excluded – they are also very welcome.

Askance are funding a first prize of £300 (roughly $500) for the winning story selected by our judges. The entry fee for each story is £15 (or $25).

We very much look forward to reading all your stories this year and announcing the shortlist and the overall winner in September 2015.

Please see the Conditions of Entry below for how to pay the fee and submit a story.

In the meantime why not read the stories by our winners from previous years?




  1. Entries to be received by 31 May 2015.
  2. There is a fee of £15 ($25) for each story submitted.
  3. Fees may be paid by PayPal by clicking here or direct to askance.publishing@gmail.com(If you don’t have a PayPal account you can use a credit or debit card through PayPal.)
  4. There is no word limit.
  5. Each story must be previously unpublished in any form, including peer review websites.
  6. Each story submitted must be the author’s own work, written in English. You are welcome to submit co-authored work.
  7. The competition is open to any writer aged 16 or over.
  8. Entrants may be resident anywhere in the world.
  9. Entries may be submitted by email to askance.publishing@gmail.com as an attachment in either .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, .rtf or .pdf formats.
  10. Entries must be page numbered and preferably contain the title of the story on every page, but must NOT contain the name of the author.
  11. The email submitting the entry as an attachment should contain the PayPal payment reference, the author’s full name, full address including postal code, and daytime contact telephone number. The subject of the email should be ‘Askance 2015 Short Story’ followed by the title of the story being submitted.
  12. By submitting a story to the competition, authors accept all rules and outcomes.
  13. Up to 20 of the entries will be selected for inclusion in the Askance Short Story collection to be published in digital formats in 2015. One story will be selected as the overall winning entry and receive a prize of £300 (approximately $500).
  14. The copyright of each story submitted remains entirely with the author.
  15. By submitting the story to the competition the author grants an exclusive licence to Askance Publishing, which allows them to publish the story in any form for a period of one year from 31 May 2015.