In 2012, some Open University creative writing students thought it would be a good idea to put together a collection of our work – short stories and poems – and see if we could get it published.
As this journey progressed, we found ourselves putting into practice all the skills we’d learned at uni: from workshopping our writing to choosing and editing the final pieces; researching potential publishers; sending out proposals; and ultimately marketing ourselves and our book.
One member of our group knew someone who knew someone who knew…. and as a result, we managed to get Julian Fellowes – creator of Downton Abbey – to write our foreword. It was quite possibly on the strength of this that we managed to land a publisher, as unknown collectives don’t tend to get snapped up very quickly these days!
We called ourselves All Write Then, and the very obliging Pewter Rose Press took us on. We opted to support the Alzheimers Society, with its full blessing. An agreement was reached that after PRP covered its publishing costs (around £4 per book), all profits would go to Alzheimers. We rolled off the press in June 2013.
It was an incredible feeling: we had done it! We had published a book on our first attempt! PRP sold it through their website, and also sold it to us in bulk at cost price. We mugged friends, family, random passers-by… everyone carried stocks of it in their vehicles to ensure nobody escaped… and eventually we presented the Alzheimers Society with a cheque for £1,000.
Our book is still available, direct from Pewter Rose Press and also from Amazon (who take a cut, so the charity won’t receive as much).