Saturday, 10 May 2014

Valley Press Friday Digest, #2 (Saturday Edition)

A busy Friday meant I was immediately regretting my promise of last week - that I would write a blog every Friday letting you know what I've been up to in the preceding seven days, and pointing you in the direction of any interesting links that might have cropped up. Nonetheless, I did promise that, so here is the second instalment ... just very slightly overdue.

  • If you're one of those people who thinks Sunday is the first day of the week, my week began at the Totally Locally Scarborough Fayre, held in and around VP HQ, a.k.a. Woodend. It quickly became clear I was no longer the only publisher in town, as I shared the reception area with a young lad who had produced a book of old Scarborough photos - and in fact has more than six thousand Facebook followers for it, so may well know something I don't! The talented Mr. Steven Ayckbourn was also there with some charming (and well presented) children's books he'd just published. He took his chances outside, on a day when rain was forecast - but it turned out to be lovely, so Steven won the day by default. I sold four items, which is not too bad.
  • Also in the reception area was the Big Smile Photo Booth, and after a day sharing a small space with the friendly proprietors, I had to oblige when they asked me to get in front of the lens, with a couple of props. Here is the result:

  • This was the week after I announced submissions were re-opened, with the proviso that you must buy a book first, and the response has been staggering - literally dozens of sales and enquiries, some of them very promising indeed. I've spent many happy hours this week (probably a full day) meeting with prospective authors for the future; I can't give you any names yet, but I will as soon as the contracts are signed. Some very exciting stuff in the pipeline.
  • VP followers have been almost unanimous in their support for the new submissions system. Everyone except Paul Robinson-Kamp, that is, who sent me this message: "So if Jack London were to appear now on the streets of Leeds, ragged and penniless after an epic trek across some frozen tundra, and somehow he had managed to salvage the tattered manuscript under his coat, hoping to give the world a chance to share his experiences, you wouldn't look at his work because he didn't have a Paypal account?" I replied that, in the situation he described, I would probably accept a cheque - and this goes for everyone else too. There are no exceptions to the 'buy something first' rule, but you can post a cheque if you're frightened of PayPal for some reason.
  • It turned out Paul was already in the process of being published, and agreed I could use his witty message in my blog if I plugged his book, This Scheme of Things, which is due out on December 1st. Look out for it - if the dramatic stakes are as high as in his enquiry, it should be worth a read!
  • Besides the aforementioned meetings with 'prospectives' (which is in contention for my favourite part of the publishing process), I divided my time this week between calculating everyone's October-April royalties, and working on a forthcoming pamphlet, which has been fully edited and designed in the last five days. I'll tell you all about that next week, but for now, you can rest assured that the editing was a success ... at once point, by removing a single letter, we agreed we had 'enhanced the interchangeability of pronoun and primacy of the common physical experience of space' (that is an actual quote from an email).
  • Finally for today: if you follow this link you can read a charming article about Cara Brennan which appeared in some sort of Newcastle cultural supplement. See you next Friday for more fascinating insights!

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