UK indie market: Valley Press
Valley Press has a submission window open until July
Valley Press is an independent Scarborough-based publisher with a wide-open remit.
‘We have perhaps the widest scope of any independent publisher; we are looking for great books, without any limits on genre, length, author experience and so on,’ said publisher Jamie McGarry. ‘In 2018 alone our new titles include poetry, novels, short stories, flash fiction, essays, music history, graphic novels, travel writing and memoir – including some in translation – and that’s not an unusual year.’
Jamie launched Valley Press before he finished university. ‘I have been making books all my life, but I started using the name Valley Press in 2008 as a twenty-year-old English Literature student living on Valley Road, in Scarborough, North Yorkshire,’ he said. ‘I began publishing full-time at the start of 2011, as a sole trader, after a fruitless six-month search for other employment within the industry; I knew starting a business would be a tough journey, but it seemed the only way forward. The current incarnation is a limited company, formed with my wife Laura at the start of 2017.’
Ideal Valley Press books are written with great craftsmanship and literary knowledge. ‘But also that don’t exclude any potential readers with jargon or unnecessary complexity,’ said Jamie. ‘Our target is to publish books that can be enjoyed both by seasoned academics and the average man/woman on the street… can be tricky, but we do achieve that more often than not.’
The number of titles published each year varies. ‘Between 15-20, depending on what kind of books we’re working on,’ said Jamie. ‘Some are easier than others! I do hope to see the business continue to grow. We’ve increased our turnover by around 50% each year since 2011, and it would be lovely if that could continue – and if we can give even more authors the opportunities they deserve.’
Valley Press has got a submission window open until July. What is Jamie looking for? ‘After all these years, the prospect of working on something truly new is what keeps my passion for the job alive. Surprise me!’
To submit, head to valleypressuk.com/submissions. ‘Have a quick look over the rules and regs, and follow the right links – it’s pretty straightforward,’ said Jamie. ‘Submissions are all done digitally at the moment.’ All writers submitting to Valley Press are asked to buy a book through the website, which would surely be a basic research need anyway for the committed writer.
Jamie asks writers to be practical about why he’s only able to publish a tiny number of the submissions he receives. ‘Keep expectations realistic, and please don’t take our decisions too personally – I had some real hair-raising emails in my inbox last time the rejections went out. Historically we have published one in 100 submissions received, but of those 100, probably eighty are publishable, twenty are books we’d be honoured to work on, but nineteen still need to be turned down due to our current scale. There is so much quality writing out there; an overwhelming amount.’
Valley Press always publishes in paperback, and have also produced hardbacks, ebooks and audiobooks where they felt there was a market. ‘Not every book needs all of those, so we pick and choose,’ said Jamie.
Submitters to the current window will be offered a royalty of 5% paperback RRP per sale. ‘We’ve only recently started linking royalties to the book’s RRP, but I think that’s the fairest possible way of paying authors, and we have now moved our existing writers onto the same system.’
The current submission window is open until July 2018.
To see more of the latest opportunites to get into print, check out the Writers' News pages in the latest issue of Writing Magazine.
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