Tamara Macfarlane of Tales on Moon Lane has launched a website selling children’s books from independent authors and publishers.
Macfarlane created Cantputitdown.co.uk with artist Clare Stanhope because she wanted to support independent authors and publishers, which are “vital” for diversifying the market, she said.
“We have been wanting to find a way to actively be involved and useful, and we are hoping that cantputitdown is the way,” she said. “As awards such as the Man Booker and the Branford Boase recently being awarded to books from small independent publishers shows, there are some remarkable authors emerging, outside of the purely commercial market.”
She said the site offers a “collective sales window” to a range of authors, who will receive most of the money from the sale. “We’ve priced the site just to cover costs, not to make money. We only want to cover admin costs,” Macfarlane said.
Cantputitdown will also act as a support group for writers and publishers, many of whom previously operated on their own, without a support network, she added.
Some of the books will also be considered for sale in the Tales on Moon Lane shop.
“The website gives us a chance to review all of the submissions and consider which would make it into the physical shop,” said Macfarlane. “We can look on website and really consider whether they book will add something to the range in the shop.”
Currently books are offered in four categories: picture books, early readers, confident readers, YA, non-fiction and personalised books, and Macfarlane and Stanhope are currently working on creating a range of their own personalised books for children, aimed at 0-7 year-olds. There is also a section on diverse books, divided into gender diversity and cultural diversity.
“We supply a huge number of schools in South London and one of the issues that we have is finding diverse enough books to mirror the demographic of our primary schools," Macfarlane said. "As the site grows, it will also allow us to have a greater range of books to choose from when fulfilling school orders.”
To join, authors must pay an annual membership fee of £25 (to list 1-2 books on the site), £50 (for 1-4 books) or £100 (for 1-6 books). They receive various benefits depending on their membership package, including book reviews and feedback from an editorial professional.
Publisher membership costs between £200 and £600 depending on the package chosen.