Sunday, 19 February 2017

This week at Valley Press, #42: 'Views from Yorkshire'

Dear readers,

A huge week here – lots of stuff going on behind the scenes (which I'll tell you about in the future), and plenty going on in front of the scenes too (if that's a phrase?), which I'll tell you about today. Strap yourselves in!

As promised last week, the editors of our Yorkshire Anthology have presented their finished manuscript to me, and it is looking brilliant. We gained an editor in the process; the anthology's instigator Miles Salter has been joined by fellow VP poet Oz Hardwick, and together they've brought the thing home.

So I can now announce the 66 writers whose poems feature in the book; they are listed below in alphabetical order. Some names will be familiar, some will be completely new to you, and can you spot any laureates..? (I should say, I'm yet to email most of these poets with the finer details and confirmation, so this is provisional for now.)

Amina Alyal, Bruce Barnes, Matt Black, Helen Boden, Pat Borthwick, Jo Brandon, Carole Bromley, Michael Brown, Anne Caldwell, Becky Cherriman, Neil Clarkson, David Coldwell, Oliver Comins, Joey Connolly, Julia Deakin, Janet Dean, Carol Ann Duffy, Ian Duhig, Antony Dunn, Mike Farren, Rachel J. Fenton, Kate Fox, Dave Gough, Cora Greenhill, Doreen Gurrey, Martyn Halsall, Mike Harding, Oz Hardwick, Ian Harrow, Yvie Holder, Andy Humphrey, Carol Rowntree Jones, Will Kemp, Pauline Kirk, Peter Knaggs, Gill Lambert, Patrick Lodge, Char March, Fokkina McDonnell, Andrew McMillan, Ian McMillan, Rob Miles, Pete Morgan, Helen Mort, Paul Munden, James Nash, Marie Naughton, Ian Parks, Stuart Pickford, Clare Pollard, Robert Powell, Wendy Pratt, Davina Prince, Lesley Quayle, Bethany Rivers, Miles Salter, Peter Sansom, Michael Shann, Jane Sharp, John Siddique, Hannah Stone, Matthew Hedley Stoppard, Nick Toczek, Fiona Ritchie Walker, Sarah Wallis, Mike Watts

The whole 'anthology' business is rather complicated, it turns out; I don't know how Emma keeps them coming at such a pace!

The official release date for this anthology is August 1st, Yorkshire Day, and that's when you'll be able to buy it in Waterstones etc. (they like a lot of notice). However, because the book is part of our 2016 Arts Council project, which ends in April, I need to start selling copies ASAP, and hold an event related to the book next month.

Luckily, Headingley Literature Festival (that's an area of Leeds, non-locals) have stepped in to help with the latter; so we'll be launching the book on Saturday March 18th, from 7.30pm, at the New Headingley Club. Tickets are £4, and include entry to the next event, which features the hugely talented novelist Anna Chilvers. If you can't make it, you can pre-order the book here, or come along to another event later in the year.

In an unexpected twist, the festival organisers have invited me to take part in another event earlier in the day; titled 'Pitch and Pen', it involves authors pitching their books in person to three 'industry professionals', including Kevin from Bluemoose and Alison Taft. We then choose a winner, who gets to slip their submission into my still-significant 2016 pile, from which I'm slowly populating the 2017 and 2018 lists. If you're interested in pitching, details are on the Festival's website.

Let's pause for breath now, and look at a photo of our new office, which has been up and running since Monday:

So tidy, isn't it – and filled with promise! Last week I hinted at a 'new face' who might be seen there, and today I'm pleased to introduce Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe, who has joined the Valley Press team as 'Director of Publicity'. We all know how important publicity is for a book's success; a bit of luck there can be the difference between 200 sales and 2000, so having someone devoted to this pursuit seems like a great step forwards. (It's also an area I'm guilty of neglecting in years gone by ... it comes after all the production steps, and there's never enough time to do it justice.)

Local readers may know Elizabeth for her acting work, but her career has been spent in marketing, publicity and promotion – at one point, for royalty – and she's also a published writer, who studied Creative Writing at Hull University. She's qualified and enthusiastic; what more can we ask? You'll be hearing from Elizabeth soon on Facebook and Twitter, if you follow us on those (and when I remember to tell her the passwords!)

That's enough excitement for now: next week I'll give a hard deadline for subs decisions, share a poem from the elusive Helen Burke book, and tell you about a great VP event coming up in Birmingham. Thanks for reading!

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

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