The Wrong Story

By James Ellis

A cartoonist awakes to find his characters' lives more real than his own

Fiction | Humour
104% funded
143 supporters

Publication date: Winter 2017

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Limited Edition Cover Art

Limited edition giclée print of the cover art from Unbound's award winning designers, ebook edition and your name in the Super Patrons list in the front of the ebook.

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Lunch with the author, a copy of the ebook edition, and your name in list of Super Patrons in the front.

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A personal dedication from the author in the front of the ebook and the ebook edition.

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The Wrong Story is about a cartoonist who falls from a car-park roof and is left with partial amnesia. The novel describes his attempts to work out what happened to him - did he fall, was he pushed, or did he jump?

Haunted by the howls of a distant dog and with his life dissected by reporters, social media and academia, his journey is hampered by a growing inability to distinguish between real and imaginary events. The characters from his cartoon strip, Scraps, assume a separate, grimy reality as they also try to makes sense of their situation; while the lives of his friends and family appear ever more unreal.

This novel is about the desire for self-determination and the obligations on a responsible creator. It is about maintaining a link between who we were and who we are. It is about those moments in which reality and imagination are indistinguishable.

But mostly it is about a man with a big moustache who falls from a roof and wakes to find that he is in The Wrong Story.

“… the decisions you make and the turns you take, well, that’s going to be your story, laid out like a trail for all to see. So make it a good one. Make it the right one ...” (Tom Hannah)

“… [he] expunges the reality of our world and creates a clean, minimal, sanitised canvas on which his characters can thrive - Plenty the Cat, Billy the Hedgehog, the Pelican, the always-angry restaurant owner and, of course, Scraps himself … They are pure, defined, untouchable, immortal. The art lies in what we don’t see: in the spaces that surround the characters; in their world beyond the frames …” (Germaine Kiercke)


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57 pledges


E-book edition

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  • James Ellis avatar

    James Ellis

    James lives in Bath and writes fiction.

    He is a graduate of Oxford University's MSt in Creative Writing and is a member of the Unruly Writers group. His story, The Money Launderer’s Box Of Rubbish, was a prize winner for the Real Writers Short Story Awards and he has had a number of flash fiction stories published, as well as a travelogue of his journey through Central America.

    James read his short story, The Fire-Diver’s Assistant, at the 2015 Brighton Fringe Festival for Rattle Tales and he will be reading there again this year. His short story, The Therapist, won third place in the 2015 Carer’s UK creative writing competition and will be published in their anthology, 'No One Should Have To Care Alone'. His short story, A Rare Bird, was published by the online magazine, Pygmy Giant.

    James is a member of the International Flann O’Brien Society and at the 2015 academic conference in Prague he presented his paper on Muriel Spark and Flann O’Brien titled: Parallel Explorations of the Boundaries between Fiction and Real-life.

    The Wrong Story is his first novel.

  • Later, he would remember this: there was no cushion of air to carry him safely to the ground, and if there had been it would have been too thin to take his weight. Instead, he watched the concrete cap above him recede at speed and felt the warm wind push past him in its upward rush. There were no thoughts and no past life; only tumbling and a reaching out for what wasn’t there.


    Cartoonist Falls Off Car-Park Roof

    By Linus De Moor - Monday, 22nd March, 2015

    SOUTH LONDON - An accident closed off a South London street yesterday (Sunday) morning. Tom Hannah, best known by his professional name, Tash, the creator of the cartoon strip, Scraps, fell 60-feet from the top of a five-storey car-park and landed on a market stall below. Miraculously, Hannah survived …

  • 13th July 2020 The Wrong Story characters

    Hello - when I first saw the picture below I thought it was so wonderful I actually cried. The brilliant artist Huy Truong has completely nailed the look, the tone and the characters in The Wrong Story - the grimy reality of life outside their creator’s (Tom) cartoon strip, Scraps’s roll-up, Plenty (a troubled cat with a violent past), the skanky Pelican, Billy the Hedgehog, the Always Angry Restaurant…

    9th May 2020 #LockdownLit stories

    Hi. Firstly, and most importantly, I hope you're okay and are managing in these strange times.

    I wanted to let you know that the sales trend for The Wrong Story has risen which is almost certainly due to the publication of Happy Family. The graphs look almost identical. The reviews have been good too. You can read some of The Wrong Story Goodreads comments here. And if you want to add a review…

    19th November 2019 Happy Family cover design

    Oh, I'm very excited to show off the cover design for Happy Family! I love it. The two main protagonists are in view, the concept is on display, the mood is right and I love the colours. I think Unbound's designers have done a brilliant job. I hope you do too.


    19th December 2018 Happy holidays

    Dear generous The Wrong Story supporter - just a quick note to wish you a very merry Christmas, happy hiolidays and a peaceful, contented new year.

    Kind regards, James.

    29th October 2018 Arnolfini

    Hi - I thought I'd update you on the latest episode in the travels of The Wrong Story. It's on sale in the Arnolfini bookshop!!! (Three exclamation marks means I'm very excited. Four and I wouldn't be able to type.) Arnolfini, the centre for contemporary arts in Bristol is EXACTLY the place I'd love to see my (our) book, nestling amongst all those other books I yearn to buy whenever I go there. Tom…

    19th July 2018 Price promotion

    Hi - fresh from its blog tour, the digital version of The Wrong Story is packing its bags again and going on a price promotion on Amazon/iBooks on the 2nd August for a few weeks. The promotion is going out to over 330,000 people in the UK, Australian and Canadian markets. Jiminy Cricket!

    In other news , An Other's Look is now 72% funded with 99 supporters. It just needs a little shove to get it…

    3rd July 2018 The final third

    Dear patrons and supporters of The Wrong Story. It's a cheek, I know, to use this forum, but I wanted to mention that your book's younger sibling, An Other's Look, is now 67.45% funded.

    That means there is only £1,745 to go. Yippee.

    I thought I'd mention this because you might be thinking to yourself, 'Hmmm, I'd like to support An Other's Look but I'll wait until it's in the final third'.

    14th May 2018 The Wrong Story reviews

    Dear Patrons of The Wrong Story - the book has been out in the world for a year now and it has attracted a number of reviews. I thought I'd list a few here because you deserve the credit too. You backed the book and put your faith (and your money) behind it. This is the result.

    5th April 2018 The Wrong Story Blog Book Tour

    Dear Supporters and Patrons, the book you helped create, The Wrong Story, is going on a blog book tour. Here's the poster with its itinerary. I've asked it to send postcards.

    By the way, if you want to help its sibling to get out there and join it, there's still time to pledge for An Other's Look at


    1st March 2018 The Great & The Good Gather

    <the patrons of The Wrong Story sit down in a restless manner – they are busy people>

    Hello. It’s been more than two months since I updated you on The Wrong Story. The main news is that there has been a reprint. Eagle-eyed reader Mr Mark Davis spotted an anomaly that had slipped past the eyes of the finest editors and the not so finest of authors (me). Hem.

    <people stare, stony-eyed>


    13th December 2017 Christmas present idea!

    Ho ho ho, as the jolly fat one says - but I will lose weight next year. Hem. Anyway. I thought I'd update you on how the year has gone, and how you have made it a good one for me, for which I want to thank you. As you know, The Wrong Story was published in March and launched in Bath and in London. It has had four re-prints and a fith is imminent, which I think is good going, and it's up for two prizes…

    21st May 2017 London launch at Burley Fisher Books

    Hello Shedathons - and apologies for cluttering up your inbox to those of you have already received a Facebook invitation. But for those of you who haven't, the London launch of The Wrong Story will be at Burley Fisher Books in East London on June 10, between 6pm and 8.30pm. I can't pretend that it doesn't overlap with the Scotland/England match which kicks off at 5pm. But if you can make it you would…

    25th March 2017 Link to Launch

    Hello Perfect Pledgers - as promised, here is the link to the launch event is Bath (I'm still trying to get the London launch organised). It is a ticketed event but in return you can redeem it against the book and also drink wine. I really hope you can come along as it would be good to see you.

    (Don't be put off by the gigantic picture of my face)…

    21st March 2017 Review comments

    Hello - well, it's out there. Hopefully by now you've received your digital version and I know many have bought the paperback, which is great.

    What do you think?

    If you get a moment I would be really grateful if you could write a review comment on Amazon. I know, I'm always asking for things.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. It wouldn't exist without you.



    20th March 2017 Bath launch

    Hurrah. Found out this weekend that the Bath-based book launch will be at 7.30 on April 6 at Topping bookshop. Save the date! There will be wine. I'll send out a link and further details shortly.

    Details of the London venue to follow.

    14th March 2017 Release Date: Friday March 17

    Dear Pledge-Pals - as an update to my update, The Wrong Story is now available for pre-order on Amazon as both a Kindle ebook and a paperback. It will be released this Friday, 17 March. Yipppeee.

    11th March 2017 A quick update on dates...

    Hello again - I know, I don't write or call for ages and then suddenly you can't get rid of me. As an update to my previous message: The Wrong Story has gone to press and towards the end of next week it will be available for pre-order on Amazon. The publication date will be 27th March. Unbound will release the eBooks to you on Monday (13th).



    7th March 2017 Launch

    Hello patient pledgers. The Wrong Story is now in production. I should be getting my advance copies in the next two or three weeks and it will be generally available shortly afterwards. We are planning two launch events, one in Bath and one in London. I'll let you know as soon as they are confirmed and of course, it would be great to see you at either one so that I can thank you in person for making…

    8th February 2017 The Cover

    There are still a few tweaks to be made to the image, final dimensions of the spine to be confirmed, and the page proofs (press ready files) to be signed off, but I thought I'd share the cover design with you (from left to right: back, spine, front). 

    3rd December 2016 Where's my book?

    Hello patrons of the arts. If you are thinking to yourself, "Hey, where's my copy of that fabulous new novel, The Wrong Story?", then please don't worry. The game is afoot as someone once said (was it Shakespeare or Sherlock Holmes? I get the two confused. Perhaps it was Phil Collins).

    Anyway, the final, final, final proof read is complete (the Unbound editors, copy editors and proof readers now…

    15th October 2016 Almost there...

    Hi - it seems like a long time ago but it was in Febuary that Unbound accepted my submission of The Wrong Story and decided to publish the novel as an eBook in the first instance with options on a print run, and also with options on a second novel. Only eight months ago!  Wow.

    With your support and encouragement it took 110 days to get fully funded, which led up to the end of May, followed by a…

    9th September 2016 Reading Aloud

    Dear pledger-seekers, were you wondering if you'd dreamed pledging for The Wrong Story? It seems a while ago but thank you for your patience. The editorial process is now complete and the publication process is moving forwards and I'll let you know the launch date as soon as I have it.

    Meanwhile, I'll be reading extracts from the novel and taking Q&A at various venues as we get closer to the launch…

    1st August 2016 Synchronicity...?

    Hello Pledgosaurs - things are moving on. I have received feedback from my Unbound editor and it's  very thorough. She was hugely encouraging and thinks a light edit is all that's required. After that, she'll review it again and then it goes to the copy-editor (which is good news because I have a tendency to over-hyphenate and use parentheses too much). I think the manuscript will be in the hands…

    30th June 2016 Submitted!

    Hello Shedlodytes - how are you? I wish I'd come up with the plot for all the political twists and turns we're witnessing at the moment - although it would probably have been red-penned as too implausible.

    I started submitting short stories, poems, radio plays and cartoons in my teens. In those days I used a typewriter with carbon paper and posted the copy to magazines and publishers along with…

    16th June 2016 The Wrong Story - Phase 2

    It's a busy month, what with the EU Referendum, Euro 2016 and the Bath festival of motoring, but I know that what's really keeping you awake is what is happening next with The Wrong Story. So let me tell you... editing, editing, editing.

    This week I have been locked up in the garret combing through the hardcopy to get it ready for handing over to Unbound. It's unnerving how many times I use the…

    29th May 2016 Wine, anybody?

    Here we are again in the Unbound Publishing blog area called 'the shed'. It's a big shed because there are almost 150 of us in here - so let's think of it more as a rustic stone outbuilding in a meadow somewhere in the mediterranean region. You know the sort of place: with cool flagstones and earthenware and heavy wooden furniture; maybe some paintings by a local artist...

    ...anyway, the important…

    11th May 2016 Getting very very close....

    Yikes! Only 11% to go. It’s looking very real now. Thank you, all you pledgers. The leaflets, articles, readings, inteviews, begging letters, and chronic nuclear hinting at every social occasion have borne fruit. I like to imagine Kafka and Conrad also trudged through the rain pushing flyers through letterboxes. Yes, even my fantasies are pledge-centric.

    My plan (I call it a plan) is to be fully…

    27th April 2016 Go Leaflets, Go!

    Here's a link to my blog on the next stage of my pledging campaign. 70%! Thank you all for getting us this far so quickly!

    29th March 2016 The Eyes Have It

    Hello treasured supporters of The Wrong Story and shed-invitees - I thought I'd give you an update on how things are going: pledging and editing.

    Pledging: as I write we're at 57%. I still have an innate disinclination to ask people but I'm getting much better , although every time I see a pledge I still want to send flowers.

    Apart from direct emails, telephone calls and DMs on twitter, I have…

    13th March 2016 Stop me and buy one

    Hello The Wrong Story supporters. As I write this we've hit the fifty percent mark. As a statistic that's fantastic but more than being a number, I'm so happy that each of you want to support the book. So THANKS!

    As previously mentioned, I'm on final edits now and I'm combing through every page to make sure it's as polished as possible. My target is around £3500 and the budget is designed to allow…

    23rd February 2016 Themes & Tributes in The Wrong Story

    Hello The Wrong Story shed-dwellers - the second week has gone by and incredibly we are now at 32%. Thank you, to all of you, to those I know and to those I don't.

    In the previous post I began to introduce some of the characters. This time I thought you might be interested to know more about some of the themes in The Wrong Story. If you've seen my video, you'll see that I have a very cheesy smile…

    13th February 2016 The characters begin to gather...

    Hello fellow shed-dwellers. Watch out for the garden rake and be careful of the seed potatoes...

    I thought you might like to know a bit more about The Wrong Story such as who are the main characters.

    Well, thanks to you wonderful people we're 15% funded now, so some of my characters are starting to show up for work. You can imagine them hanging around in the wings if you like, or just outside…

    10th February 2016 I'll need to get some tables and chairs for the shed.

    Five! Gail, thank you so much for your great retweeting - I am very grateful. And Sally, what a wonderful pledge.

    I'll start providing updates on the editing and final changes to the novel. Don't forget, if you have any questions just ask.

    Thanks again to you all.

    10th February 2016 Why Unbound is the right choice for The Wrong Story

    Here's a link to my blog on why I chose to go with Unbound...

    10th February 2016 Day 2: and already 3%...

    Thanks very much Lauren and Sylvia for you support - I can't wait to see what the artwork will be.  

    There's four of us in the shed now, which sounds a bit weird, but there you are. While we're here, can you work out what instrument I used to create the music that goes with the video? If you can, I will bow down with awe....

    8th February 2016 My first pledger!

    Thanks very very much for your support, Susie! Wonderful to see the Unruly Writers esprit de corps in action - and welcome to the shed!

    8th February 2016 Welcome to my Unbound shed - and an opportunity to find out more about The Wrong Story

    Hello - and welcome to my shed. To be honest, that's not a phrase I use very often, but right now I love it! Unbound have accepted my book and are making this whole venture possible. The Wrong Story has been about two years in the making and even as I write this, the marked-up copy of final edits is by my side.

    If there's anything you want to know about its inception, background or influences,…

  • These people are helping to fund The Wrong Story.

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    Tim Atkinson

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  • alex wilson
    alex wilson asked:

    Hi james, thanks for email. Interesting project. How much do you need to raise per book? (minimum?)

    James Ellis
    James Ellis replied:

    Hi Alex - as I understand it, the production costs (graphic design, editing, proof-reading and marketing et al) are all covered by the pledges. It also gives Unbound a good view of the likely take up of the novel and its potential success. In my case, the first run will be eBooks distributed via Penguin Random House and there is a tipping point of sales that will generate a print run. It's difficult to say what that tipping point is, but Unbound will be the print publisher in that case too. So basically, once the crowd fund target is reached, it's self-funding. The more I sell the more they publish. When we met, I'll explain the commercial model which is also very interesting and very pro-author. Regards, James.

    alex wilson
    alex wilson asked:

    thanks James.. so if i have it right, the pledges are for the ebook which is then distributed by Random. But an ebook only costs a couple of hundred ( i have done one for kindle) and so I am guessing that the costs are more to do with the distribution? Being as the distribution/selling is the problem I look forward to hearing how they go about. by the way, I think it would be helpful on your page to know how much you need to raise as in 'just giving' because it motivates people. Anyway, all looks very professional! be in touch re writers lunch and look forward to meeting you..

    James Ellis
    James Ellis replied:

    Thanks Alex - good tips - and looking forward very much to meeting with you.

    Annabel Gaskell
    Annabel Gaskell asked:

    Why e-book only?

    James Ellis
    James Ellis replied:

    Hi Annabel - apologies for the late response - I was logged in as a reader and not an author. Technology. I would love to go to a paper print and that may be possible if the demand is there, but for the moment it will be an e-book. So all I need to do is sell enough to make it a viable option. Unbound have an option on a print run.

    Annabel Gaskell
    Annabel Gaskell asked:

    Sorry - just read the previous answer fully.

    James Ellis
    James Ellis replied:

    Lol - just seen this. We are out of sync.