Friday, 13 October 2017

This week at Valley Press, #76: 'Subs talk'

Dear readers,

We need to talk about submissions! (Cue collective *gulp* from prospective authors.) It's okay folks, don't fret; normal service will soon be resumed... it'll just take a few paragraphs.

Our current process, described here, has been open for about six months now, and we're starting to become victims of our own success. Tess, our Submissions Coordinator (who is currently away for her birthday) told me she has 200 unread manuscripts sitting on her computer; if we're going to give them all a fair 20/30 mins consideration, that is going to take a serious amount of time.

So I'm assigning her a couple of assistants, for a start, and I'm also pausing new submissions, effective this coming Thursday (19th October, probably at 5pm). They'll re-open in the new year, and I'll almost certainly tweak the format a bit. I can never resist a little experimentation... but the goals stay the same: happy submitters, happy staff, and lots of great books on the schedule.

The current process has required aspiring authors to buy a book before they submit, which has been a little controversial at times; if that comes as a surprise, check out this recent Facebook thread (particularly the comments; I felt I was eavesdropping on my own funeral at one point). I am considering dropping this rule in 2018, particularly if our next Arts Council bid comes through, but what do you lot think? Do you think we're missing out on any great work by impoverished authors, who can't stretch to the cheapest book? (That's not a joke; I've been there, as I'm sure many of you have at one time or another.)

Something to ponder on, anyway. I'll have plenty of time for that tomorrow, as I head to Ilkley for Daljit Nagra's 'Chapbook Battle', set to include our newest author Caroline Hardaker – and, in spirit, as many of the other Valley Press pamphlet writers as we can squeeze into each round.

Next week is the week of the mole, and then we've got all other kinds of excitement coming for you before the end of the year. Stay tuned!

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

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