Editorial Team 1 developed many lifelong skills and useful industry knowledge during the production of Beyond the Walls 2018, including how to face and overcome professional challenges. This blog post will give insight into what was expected of the team, activities we have completed, and the numerous valuable experiences we have had on the Publishing, Production and Performance module.
Overview of our role
Our team was tasked with organising and reviewing all submissions for the anthology. We also decided on the acceptance of pieces based on specific parameters provided by the module director on behalf of the YSJ Creative Writing course. This included selecting work by all 3rd year and MA students and ensuring that the material was appropriate for international distribution, whilst also doing our best to guarantee that York St John’s reputation, including all individuals working on this project, remained at a high standard. We also had to make sure the length of the anthology didn’t exceed the price point for the publisher and its eventual readers. This process was overseen by the module director, Dr. Kimberly Campanello, who made final decisions on the manuscript.
Another important aspect of our role for the Beyond the Walls Anthology was producing the manuscript. We imported all final pieces into a document and focused on finalising format and layout, writing the preface and acknowledgements, and ensuring that all names were spelt correctly whilst adhering to other requirements. Arguably, this was our favourite part of our role since we could finally witness the anthology coming together; the challenges we had endured at the beginning of the project were non-existent at this point since we only felt euphoria at producing the final manuscript.
We thoroughly enjoyed reading the variety of pieces submitted to the anthology, which had doubled since last year thanks to the work of the Promotions team, and we found it extremely difficult to not exceed the word count as there was so much strong work to potentially include. Working with Valley Press for the first time this year meant we had stricter deadlines than previous years, which pushed us to use a professional manner and maintain our editorial integrity at all times.
Trip to Woodend
We visited Valley Press in Scarborough during this module to learn about the publishing process from the professional who would be assisting us with Beyond the Walls 2018, publisher Jamie McGarry.
We were informed of the short background of his company as he then explained all aspects of publishing from costs and printing, to roles in his team, genres preferred and the importance of an audience. This information was invaluable and encouraged us to change our approach to the anthology, ensuring professionalism and working closely with the other teams on the module to ensure that this project was to the highest standard; a piece of work we could be proud of.
Throughout the module we have had many guest speakers visit our class to share their professional experience. For our team, the speakers who have had the largest impact on our work include:
- Rob O’Connor, the Director of York Literature Festival, who shared with us the importance of planning ahead, providing insight into areas we were not fully aware of, and expressing how important all our roles are to the York Literature Festival in regard to the anthology.
- Donald Winchester, Professor Abi Curtis’s literary agent, who spoke about the agent-author relationship, offered advice on how to write to publishers and agents, and gave us knowledge of what to expect of writers submitting to our anthology.
- Jamie McGarry, founder of Valley Press, who shared all aspects of publishing with us and has worked closely with our entire group to produce Beyond the Walls
From the beginning of this project we attempted to delegate jobs to different individuals at various times depending on who was available, therefore trying to create a fair workload for all. Being a team of 13 was extremely beneficial at the beginning of the project as it allowed us to read the submissions and gain an overall majority very quickly. However, towards the end of the project this became more difficult due to the various documents we had to write, making it challenging for us all to approve the style of writing and information included. We relied on our weekly meetings to discuss any issues and focused on creating documents during this time. We solely used professional communication channels, specifically Trello and email, which was sometimes challenging for us as students who are used to using social media in our personal lives.
To conclude, this project has been extremely valuable in developing our professionalism, creating a relationship with the publishing world, and forcing us to work to the best of our ability individually and as a team. This project is one we will never forget.
Editorial Team 1
Beyond the Walls Anthology 2018
Publishing, Production, Performance Module