Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Red Rook Press empowers students to gain real world experience in publishing

Courtesy of Red Rook Press

Editor’s note (09/24/23): This story was updated to accurately state that Maureen Edwards is majoring in accounting.

A local publishing house is empowering future generations of writers by giving them an inside look at what the publishing process is like.  

Red Rook Press was created last year to provide opportunities for student authors and future publishers. The organization publishes two books, one poetry and one prose, per academic year and collects submissions from students in a variety of majors.  

Last year, Red Rook published “The Blood, the Love and the Uninterpretable” by Abby Armstrong as the poetry manuscript and “When the Flowers Breathe” by Maureen Edwards, who writes under the pseudonym Attalea Rose.  

Maya Mungo, a sophomore majoring in marketing and a liaison for the promotions team, said being a part of Red Rook Press gives students an opportunity to gain valuable experience in possible future careers. 

Mungo said she enjoys her position because of the valuable experience she’s gained in social media marketing. She’s been able to practice differentiating what graphic design elements look good on Instagram compared with flyers. Additionally, she’s been able to learn how to discern what’s trending currently and capitalize on it through TikTok. 

Anna Kate Moorer, a senior majoring in English and the acquisitions liaison for Red Rook Press, said that she has gained valuable editorial experience through her work at Red Rook Press. 

In her time at Red Rook, Moorer has sorted through manuscript submission, evaluated writing based on marketability, and edited manuscripts while keeping student authors’ true intentions intact.  

“That’s the great thing about Red Rook Press,” Moorer said. “You get to learn all these different facets of publishing instead of just being tied down to one role.” 

Additionally, Moorer said that she enjoys publishing because she loves helping authors craft their work and realize their potential. When sorting through work, Moorer said she focuses more on whether the author has a true vision for their writing rather than how well written a piece is.  

She looks for an author who’s comfortable with what they’re writing and has a clear direction for what they want it to look like.  

“I think for me, when I read through, I try to determine if an author has a specific vision for the work, or if it seems like they’re still trying to find their true purpose in writing that specific piece,” Moorer said. “I know I look for something that’s going to be a little more direct for our editing team to work with. Also, it just depends not on necessarily how long it is or how well it’s written, but majorly just the author seeming comfortable with what they’re writing.” 

Anna Kate Baxter, a senior majoring in English and serving as a prose editorial liaison for Red Rook Press, described the process of polishing a manuscript into a final product as rewarding.  

“When we see their book, we see ourselves as more official,” Baxter said. “It’s not a New York Times bestseller, but it’s somewhere being sold, and people are reading. And it’s really cool.” 

Armstrong, a senior majoring in English, wrote the poetry manuscript chosen for publication last year, “The Blood, the Love and the Uninterpretable.” Armstrong described the process of working with Red Rook Press as enjoyable. 

“It’s super easy and wonderful,” Armstrong said.  “It’s nice to know that if I have any questions about anything, I can just send an email.”  

Armstrong said the experience of having her writing published and out in the world was surreal.  

“I don’t think I fully have realized that, like, yeah, I have an actual book that’s out there,” Armstrong said. “It’s also really exciting. … It’s one thing just typing on a laptop, but being able to hold an actual book. It’s … such a good feeling.” 

Armstrong’s piece of advice to people thinking about submitting is to have friends look over your work and encourage people to try.  

“Having another pair of eyes on your work is always great,” Armstrong said. “I think that starting is the hardest part. Especially for me, that was just literally clicking on the website and clicking ‘Yes, I’m going to submit this.’” 

Maureen Edwards is a junior majoring in accounting and wrote the prose manuscript that was chosen last year. Edwards said that she’s excited for students to read the fun Easter eggs in her book that nod toward Tuscaloosa. 

“I think, for me, personally, the point of my writing is to share the storylines with other people,” Edwards said. “I mean, the reason is so the story doesn’t just exist in my head. It goes on paper and then it goes out to the world. So, I’m not in it to be a famous published author. … But writing is connecting with other people through written language.” 

Whether a student thinks they’re ready or not, Edwards encourages all students to at least try. 

“I encourage people to submit even if you don’t think you could get it, because I did it on a whim and they picked me,” Edwards said. “So don’t count yourself out.”  

Students interested in joining Red Rook Press can apply here. 

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