Who we are
Arachne Press has been publishing short stories and poetry for just over four years, supported and enlivened by our LIVE events, The Story Sessions and The Solstice Shorts Festival.
Why we are asking
We recently got funding from Arts Council England, to support the publication of four new books, take them on tour (we really wanted to get out of London a bit) and revitalise both our live event strands, by being able to pay expenses to our writers and to pay for professional actors where for whatever reason the author can't read their own work. This included British Sign Language interpretation of our big event, The Solstice Shorts Festival. Part of the deal with Arts Council England is that we raise some of the funds ourselves, which means an absolute minimum of £1000. We are aiming at £1500 to cover costs of production of rewards and Kickstarter fees, and a couple of other projects we have on the go that could use some help.We couldn't wait to get started because we are committed to many dates, so some of this has already happened or is in train now....
What we will spend the money on
In the main this will be utterly prosaic and pay train fares and the occasional overnight stay for writers/actors for the tour, and the same for Tom Dingley''s Oucome exhibition, plus some incidental printing costs for replacement photographs as they get worn out or damaged being carted about the place. We have just about enough in the bank to pay for the remaining book printing costs for these projects, but promoting them through (for example) putting them on Netgalley, and attending book fairs is currently not covered. I know, boring isn't it! But it's the notty gritty of getting the show on the road.
Why would you support this?
Most importantly, although it's lovely for the audience, these books and events are about supporting emerging writers, and really supporting them - not just shoving a book out and hoping it sells. This tranche of books is our way of finding new writers (the anthologies and The Story Sessions) and showing faith in people we've already published (Jennifer A McGowan and Liam Hogan) by giving them a chance of a solo outing.
We run workshops for writers on what it takes to make it - marketing, giving interviews, reading in public, and give them opportunities for their work and them to shine.
It is incredibly hard work, and costs a fair bit of money, and we couldn't do it at all without the Arts Council and we can't finish doing it without your help - it takes 6 months for trade book sales to reach our bank balance, so there is a major cash flow issue in that we are spending money with nothing coming in - We know there's around £1000 for sales so far of Liberty Tales and Shortest Day, Longest Night, but we won't see that until June, and of course, the Arts Council hold on to a proportion of their funds until after the project ends.
Liberty Tales Stories and Poems inspired by Magna Carta an Anthology
(Published, and touring)
Shortest Day, Longest Night Stories and Poems from the Solstice Shorts Festival 2015 & 2016
(Published, just! Touring...)
With Paper for Feet by Jennifer A McGowan poems inspired by myth legend and folklore.
(Due end of February 2017)
Foraging by Joy Howard (not part of the Arts Council funding - a separate project entirely)
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed by Liam Hogan 'Deliciously Twisted', sometimes dark, fantasies.
(Due April 2017)
The simplest way you can help is, of course, to buy the books! You can do that here, without getting involved in the crowd fund at all.
Much to our delight our modest tour of 4 dates for each of the 4 books has grown massively and we now have up to 9 dates for each book, which of course means more costs than we had bargained for, so the more money we can raise the better.
Tour dates include London - South, West and North; and Oxford, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Bradford-on-Avon, Cheltenham, and various Essex libraries. Not every book is going to every venue, but a complete list is available here - do come along if we are going to be near you.
In addition, Outcome, our LGBT portrait book has (at least) two more exhibitions set up - in Horsham and in Lancaster from mid January to mid February, and more in the offing, so there are costs involved there too, so if you are more of a visual person, you might like to support us to get that off the ground.
We ran out of time to get this crowd fund live before the festival (Oh, how we tried, but organising the festival had to take priority) Still it shows we mean business, doesn't it? go to the blog on our website for videos of what happened, we are posting one a day until the middle of February.
Solstice Shorts is a time themed festival marrying short stories and poems with music, on the shortest day of the year, (short story day) on the Prime Meridian in Greenwich London. Now in its third year, our theme was Shortest Day, so we had flash fiction of 1000 words or less, and poetry, and this year we integrated the music element more, so instead of curating songs against stories, we had a second round where writers and musicians inspired each other and to some extent collaborated to produce new work, so we had some original songs being performed too.
The festival was on 21st December 2016, from 6pm to midnight.
Starting with poetry and music at Made in Greenwich Gallery, a wassail procession led by Vocal Chords Choir then took the audience round to West Greenwich Library for the main story and song event, hosted by Sophie Aldred. Then from 10pm-12 midnight there was a facilitated event for writers, Write through the Night, with poet Ruth Steadman.
Performances were free and performed by professional actors: Katy Darby, Ray Newe and Patsy Prince, hosted by Sophie Aldred and BSL interpreted by Paul Michaels and Martin Fox-Roberts.
The Story Sessions is the live lit event that thinks it's a folk club. Held in a Deli in Brockley, SE London, it is where we try things out, and get the audience involved. Invited headliners read themed stories and poems, we have a resident actor/ singer, Annalie Wilson, and we have both a 'test bed session' where writers can try out a new piece and get feedback, and the Flash From the Floor session where audience members get up and read 100 words on theme: written specially, happening to fit, or scribbled in the interval. Organised mayhem often ensues, but it's a lot of fun. We have found really good writers as a result who have been invited back to read in the more civilised slots.
The first date was in November, and the recordings are up on the website.
We have 3 further dates booked
Wednesday 18/01/2017 WINTER Tales
Wednesday 15/03/2017 RETELLING Tales (esp Myths/legends) Wednesday 17/05/2017 Fantastic tales
- and if we raise enough money we can continue on and on..!
What's in it for you?
Here's what we have to offer as rewards (see the full list to the right):
Books! (Well, we are a publisher)
Pictures by our cover artist Kevin Threlfall (With Paper for Feet, Weird Lies, Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed) :
Our photographic portraits book Outcome, £25 + Postage (ONE signed copy also available)
Become an arachne friend - get a badge, and your name in our next published book, & a copy of that book all for £100
limited number of CDs from our Solstice Shorts Collaboarators, Zachary Gvirtzman and Vocal Chords
Book and Badge Making workshop with Poet/author Jeremy Dixon
Or specialy for writers, critiques/ editing from Arachne Press editors Katy Darby and Cherry Potts.
We hope to add other rewards later in the crowdfund period, so if there's nothing here that grabs you, keep coming back to check.
Risks and challenges
We've been doing this a while, so we are fairly comfortable we know what we are up to. We have an excellent relationship with our printers, who have already provided the first two of our Arts Council funded books and are printing the third as I write.
Our SECOND biggest risk has already materialised in that we have more tour dates than we catered for, if we raise enough money that ceases to be a problem.
Our next biggest risk is an author getting ill and not being able to fulfill a tour date - this is why we have the actors involved, on one level as a just-in-case full back position, but also to provide a more polished event with a variety of voices.
The other risk that always makes us sweat, is - No one comes! It's never actually happened, and in fact, as last year, Solstice Shorts was over subscribed, but it would be very demoralising to ship writers to a venue and have no one show up!
- (30 days)