Guest Post: “Small Business Thoughts for the Strange” with Haley Jenkins from Selcouth Station

Meet Haley Jenkins.

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Haley Jenkins holds a Creative Writing Master’s Degree from The University of Surrey and a Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Roehampton.

In 2016, Haley was awarded First Prize in the Elmbridge Literary Competition for her short story ‘Talisman’ and in 2014 won 3rd Prize in the Hopkins Poetry Prize. She has been published in two anthologies by Fincham Press – The Trouble with Parallel Universes (2014) and Screams & Silences (2015), as well as publications such as, Guttural MagazineTears in the Fencepainted spoken and The Journal of British & Irish Innovative Poetry. Her work has also appeared in online zines such as datableedzine, Rag Queen Periodical, epizootics and ez.Pzine (Pyre Publishing)Haley’s first poetry chapbook was published by Veer Books (August 2017). She runs Selcouth Station Press (https://www.selcouthstation.com/), which she founded in April 2017. You can follow Selcouth Station on Facebook, Twitter (@SelcouthStation) and Instagram!

 

 

The Guest Post.

Small Business Thoughts for the Strange   

I’ve given myself more labels than I have been labelled. This is the price paid by all of us who think inwardly a little too much. I’ve called myself fat, useless, mad, bad, fucked-up and a few words in made-up colours and languages Google can’t translate. But somewhere along the line between sitting in college corridors alone and shying away from any social engagement where I might have to talk to someone, I became proud of my strangeness. I didn’t fit the mould, I never would, so why not celebrate that?

 

Selcouth Station Press arrived out of a desire to meet people like me, who wanted to write but for whom the Big Five, agents and contracts route was too scary, too demanding and let’s face it: too pressuring. I wanted to hear new voices, strange voices, engage with people who wanted to be seen and not just looked at or sold. There is a difference. It wasn’t easy – what did I know about running a press? I had volunteered with Veer Books, so I knew a lot about creating the physical books and editing. But how much did a small business cost? How do you find printers? How do you find writers? How do you use Twitter? The answers are: not as much as you might think if you’re smart about it, search engines, social media and Tweeting for a business is about consistency and sharing.

 

An important element of running a small business online is sharing and not just on Twitter. It is about not just asking for help but being the one to give it and giving it as freely as you can. I’ve built up a wonderful network of people by celebrating and promoting each other’s work, sending long emails about life and just being there. Ask for advice, email the writer whose work you loved in that zine, message a podcast you’d like to be on. The worst they can do is say no. I once emailed a famous photographer for a college project and got a very snooty response, asking why I even bothered emailing him when the Internet held everything I needed to know. I still printed off that email and stuck it in my portfolio: it was proof I had been brave enough to try. Being brave isn’t about not feeling scared, socially awkward or a fake, it is about doing it anyway. And you know what is brilliant about it? You don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to.

 

Currently, Selcouth Station Press has three chapbooks to its name and we’re open for submissions on the theme of ‘Love’. After the next round of chapbooks, we’ll be looking into publishing solo collections. We regularly publish work online, including art work, interviews, guest blogs, fiction, poetry, flash fiction and reviews! We have two volunteer editors who joined me in the Spring, Sandra Partanen and Lorna Dicken, and we are open to collaborating with others. I am always happy to give insights and advice, you can message me at contact@selcouthstation.com.

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