Valley Press is an independent publishing house based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK. We publish poetry, including collections, pamphlets and the occasional anthology; fiction, including novels and collections of short stories; and non-fiction, including memoirs and travel writing.
Valley Press is built on one very important belief: great literature, and great publishing, is for everyone and anyone. We don't want any reader to feel like an outsider, with their nose pressed against the glass of the 'literary world'; we promise to never be elitist, smug or exclusive. We promise to treat world-famous and first-time writers with the same respect and courtesy; and we promise to keep our submissions process wide open, so we can meet more people from both those categories (and everyone in between).
We believe a couple of other things too. For a start, we believe publications from a ‘small, northern, independent publisher’ (as we are typically referred to) should match those from the big London publishing houses in every sense – production values, editing, distribution and promotion. We're not saying that'll be easy, but we will always try our best.
We also believe that poetry can sell just as well as fiction and non-fiction (in fact, we can prove it), and as such deserves to be taken as seriously. That's why all our books are in one big list; whether they are works of intense, thought-provoking literary fiction, performance poetry played for maximum laughs, brick-sized travel epics or sixteen-page children's stories about baby seagulls – because a life spent reading needs all of those, at one time or another.
If you feel the same way about any of the above, you should probably get in touch – we'd love to hear from you. Or, read on to find out how all this came into being.
The Story So Far
The origins of Valley Press can be traced back to 1994, when six-year-old Jamie McGarry printed and stapled together his first booklet. Jamie continued to experiment with publishing throughout his youth, alongside a variety of other media projects, until in 2008 – as an undergraduate student of English Literature – he produced a 38-copy print run of his first novel, and added the words ‘Valley Press’ to the back cover.
The name of this then-fictitious publishing house came from the area of Scarborough, North Yorkshire where Jamie lived at the time, and Valley Press is still based today – home to the iconic Valley Bridge, and at one time, the Sitwell family.
In 2009, Jamie decided to attempt publishing the work of someone other than himself, a project which resulted in the next Valley Press book, Tenebrae by Nigel Gerrans. This attracted the interest of various other individuals and charitable organisations; by the time Jamie graduated in 2010, there were ten books published under the Valley Press name.
Jamie hoped this publishing experience would secure him a job within the industry, but a long and fruitless job hunt was to follow. After six months of unemployment and frustration, he decided to attempt running a publishing operation as full-time self-employment, starting on the 5th January 2011. With support from the Prince’s Trust – and after several years of 'learning on the job' – Jamie was able to build Valley Press into a successful small business.
Milestones along the way included VP being Highly Commended in the 2012 Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards (which made it officially one of the top thirty graduate businesses in the UK, at the time), and Jamie receiving an invite to meet the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace in 2013, in honour of his contributions to ‘contemporary British poetry’.
In September 2015, Valley Press was awarded a £50,000 Arts Council grant to develop the business further – you can read the original news story here. This enabled the creation of the wonderful website you're currently on, and provided a secure footing to expand the team beyond one person (see right-hand column). To find out what happens next, you'll have to watch this space...
Jamie started Valley Press as a hobby in 2008, and has run it as a business since January 2011. (You can read the full story of how that happened in the left-hand column.) Jamie's particular skills are in the area of text/cover design, but his enthusiasm for new literature and willingness to learn has seen him through the first five years of VP relatively unscathed.
Laura swapped teaching for publishing at the end of 2015, and is now running the 'east coast office' (in Scarborough). Using her skills in organisation and communication, she keeps a handle on the daily madness of emails, phone calls and the calendar. She's also Jamie's wife, which certainly helped when it came to the job interview.
Rosa first came to Valley Press as an intern in 2013, and joined the team officially in late 2015. Working out of our 'west coast office' (in Liverpool), she uses her two literature degrees, awesome design skills and social-media mastery to advance the VP cause. She is also a poet, and working towards a first collection.
Be part of our story. Join the Valley Press newsletter.