By Mara Radut, Caitlin Morgan and Millie Kiel
“A soor ploom ("sour plum" in Scots) is a sharp-flavoured, round, green boiled sweet originally associated with Galashiels, Scotland” – and it is also Liane McKay, the founder of Soor Ploom Press’s, favourite sweet. Naming your publishing house after your favourite sweet is a bold move, yet it demonstrates commitment. And it invites intrigue.
With an MLitt in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, a background in music and teaching English overseas, as well as having poems published in print and online, Liane is now settled into the digital publishing industry. By starting her own press, on her own terms and devoted to her passion for the written word, McKay’s goal is to give people the opportunity to embrace and engage with creative writing in their daily lives.
A brand new Scottish independent publisher, Soor Ploom aims to champion brand new original writing from Scotland and beyond, “particularly pieces which are fun, playful, sweet, savoury, sharp, strong or sour.” For now, the main objective of the press is to keep submissions short and snappy: “short works that make you sit up and go ooh!” to be more precise. Open for pieces of fiction or creative nonfiction and poetry, Soor Ploom also plans to release writing through an online newsletter every Monday “to start the week with flavour.”
A Digital Press
Soor Ploom are clearly dedicated to doing things a little bit differently. This is what keeps indie presses exciting and what entices us every single time – the act of difference, of diverting from the norm, of shaking up the status quo a little bit. What has been done before does not necessarily need to be done again for the sake of it. Thus, looking at Soor Ploom shows us a glimpse of the future of publishing. Not only are they a publishing house based in rural Scotland – in an industry that, as has been mentioned in previous articles, does have an issue with regional diversity – but they’re also bringing the digital aspect to the forefront, something which many publishing houses are only just starting to latch on to.
A “digital-first press” in McKay’s words, the objective of the press right now is to produce content that can be scrolled through and digested instead of, for example, scrolling through social media platforms. McKay recognises that little can be done to combat the ever-present usage of mobile phones and tablets, so adjusting to this culture as an indie press is an inventive move, further showing that this is undeniably a 21st century press.
Wholeheartedly harnessing digital and audio formats is also a move that only increases the accessibility of great writing, opening the door to new readers and inspiring a wider audience of people.
This is also a press which cares about people, community, and the idea of giving something back. Alongside the weekly newsletter, Soor Ploom will also publish an edited collection in print twice a year – once in the summer and once in winter. As well as supporting the press itself to continue its work, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this edition will go to the Shannon Trust. This is a charity with words and literature at its core, and funds are put towards programmes in prisons across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to train prisoners who can read to help those who can’t learn.
Through this initiative, as well as the greater focus on digital and audio formats, it is clear that Soor Ploom Press are setting themselves up to be at the forefront of opening up the world of publishing and literature – championing great writing both in terms of increasing accessibility and equipping readers with the skills to make the most of it. An inspiring and worthy undertaking!
Promising to “satisfy your craving for the very best in new writing,” it is evident from the moves Soor Ploom are making that, while championing accessibility through its digital online presence, the quality of the writing that it publishes will never waiver.
Soor Ploom Press has got exciting times ahead: their first collection of short poems and prose is set to be released sometime in the summer of 2022, in print, digital and audio formats. We are keeping our eyes and ears peeled for it and we cannot wait to watch Soor Ploom grow and develop its flavours.