This is a little late but better late than never. About 2 weeks ago I spent a week in Manchester at a lovely and small publishers called Comma Press. Hidden away in the northern quarter in an old building shared with the company Madman, is the small but dedicated publishers Comma Press.
Comma Press is a not-for-profit publishing initiative dedicated to promoting new writing, with an emphasis on the short story. It is committed to a spirit of risk-taking and challenging publishing, free of the commercial pressures on mainstream houses.
I found the publishers by using a northwest directory of publishing companies at the beginning of this year and Katie (who does the marketing Comma) told me they only had space for work experience in august. I marked the 19th august on my calendar and hoped that the opportunity would still be there at the time. Luckily it was!
What turned out to be a very expensive week travelling was completely worth it and reinforced my interest in the publishing industry. I met some really lovely people such as the editorial manager Ra Page who was happy to answer any questions I had and other people doing work experience that week. I was given the new collection of short stories called The Moss Witch by accomplished novelist Sara Maitland. It was sometimes hard to remember that I needed to proofread the book as I was getting into some of the stories and the analysis of them that was written by writers interested in the subject of that particular short story. I was told that it was important the manuscript for the collection was proofread a few times in case anything was missed. It taught me to be very thorough.
When I completed proofreading The Moss Witch, I was told to create a rough bibliography for another collection but this time it was analysis of popular short stories such as Edgar Allan Poe. It reminded me a lot of university but it made me think of all the pieces that need to be put together to create a book.
Something I have been thinking about recently is social media marketing and connecting to groups using social media and it’s something that a lot of industries are using today including publishing so it helped a lot when Katie let post events on their Facebook page about a creative writing class and also create the newsletter as well. It’s something I definitely want to look into in the future.
After a great week Ra treated Jenny (the other girl doing work experience) and I to lunch at Bakerie where we talked publishing and were treated to books that were published by Comma.
It was such a good opportunity that I’m so grateful for as these little looks into the industry help me to make decisions about what I could possibly see myself doing. Just a massive thank you to Comma for giving the time!