Opening day, Friday 9th March, the Aye Write! Festival in Glasgow began with an opening discussion from Mark Buckland, Cargo Publishing, Adrian Searle, Freight Books and Sam Best, Octavius Magazine discussing how to be a small publisher in Scotland. The main points discussed were funding and the abundance of emerging new talent coming from Scotland.
Sam discussed how Octavius was set up on a shoestring, primarily creating the magazine in an electronic form with a view to expanding into a physical format when their funding becomes more established. Octavius consists of four volunteers managing submissions from around the world. Sam explained how he was surprised and happy at the amount of writing talent that came from Scotland for the submissions, which has now had to close due to the innumerable amounts of new material they have received. Their first online magazine will launch in spring this year.
Mark also discussed the beginnings of his business, as a University graduate with a keen interest in books. His interest in publishing stems from his love of literature and interest in making the complete form. Mark discussed how he was a gardener with £800 in his pocket when he began Cargo, and made it into what it is today. In the present day, Cargo are linked with the Dundee International Book Prize and have recently announced their judge’s panel – Stephen Fry, Alan Bissett, Jenny Brown and Philip Pullman, with the winner of the prize being announced in October.
Mark candidly spoke of the industry and the realistic ways in which publishing needs to change. Cargo have begun the process by updating POD systems, which have now been taken on by the big publishing houses and the introduction of the Margins Book and Music Festival, to showcase new talent both in the publishing world and the music industry.
The day became an opportunity to talk to other publishers and listen to the seminars provided by Aye Write! Many writers were also keen to see if they could get their manuscripts read by companies while also acquiring a few free sweets at the same time.
– Sara Gardiner