What is Dodo Ink?
Dodo Ink is a new indie publishing company which aims to publish 3 to 4 books a year. These novels will be bold, daring, risky but accessible literary novels. The sort of books big publishers used to take a risk on but don’t any more.
Who We Are
So far our Dodo Ink team consists of 3. Thom Cuell is a passionate book reviewer and book blogger who has been championing literary fiction for several years. You can visit his much-loved book blog The Workshy Fop here. He is also the reviews editor for the literary magazine The Cadaverine and has written for The Weeklings and The Literateur. Sam Mills is an award-winning novelist published by Faber and Corsair/Little Brown. Her latest novel, The Quiddity of Will Self, was published in 2012 to fine reviews in The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She has been a freelance editor for the last 4 years and has written over a hundred editorial reports for agencies such as Writer’s Workshop and The Literary Consultancy. She will be editing the books we buy. Alex Spears has plenty of experience in the book industry, having worked in digital and marketing roles at various independent presses, including Constable & Robinson, Pluto Press and Elliott & Thompson. He currently works for the digital publishing start-up, Papertrell.
We’re all passionate about publishing the type of books we’d love to curl up with ourselves. Our favourite reads include The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall, F by Daniel Kehlmann and Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt. We hope to publish books as daring and inventive and interesting as these.
The Books We Plan to Publish
Dodo Ink plans to publish 3 to 4 literary novels a year. We’re fundraising for our first 3 publications of 2016. These are Dodge and Burn by Seraphina Madsen, Wood Green by Sean Rabin, and The Eleventh Letter by Tom Tomaszewski. You can download the first chapters of their novels on our website: www.dodoink.com
Dodge and Burn will be our first novel. We discovered Seraphina after reading her brilliant short story for The White Review, which you can take a look at here. Her novel is a wild, psychedelic tale about two girls growing up in South America, after their mother is killed by a bee attack. The surreal imagination of her work is rendered in beautifully crafted prose. There aren’t many female novelists who cite their main influences as Hunter S Thompson, Carlos Castaneda and William Burroughs.
Wood Green centres on a young would-be novelist called Michael who takes up the job as secretary to Lucian Clarke, an internationally renowned author. Clarke had once travelled the world living a life like Hemingway but now lives as a recluse in his hometown of Wood Green, Tasmania. Both men, the young apprentice and the aging master, have hidden agendas of their own; as their relationship evolves and their true aims are revealed, the novel builds to a surprising and surreal climax. This is a captivating story of literary obsession, reminiscent of Twin Peaks in its depiction of small-town life.
The Eleventh Letter by Tom Tomaszewski is a literary ghost story. Think Susan Hill crossed with David Lynch. It centres on a psychotherapist who is looking back to a murder case he dealt with 20 years earlier in Italy. Tom himself is a Harley Street psychotherapist, so he is writing from experience; he has also reviewed and written for The Independent on Sunday, where he interviewed various writers including Christine Brook-Rose.
Why We Need Funding
We’re an indie press but we want to give each book the big treatment. In recent, recession-averse times bigger publishers have been known to put out a dozen titles in a month, wait to see what starts to take off and then back it. We don’t want to adopt this sort of strategy. We want to give each book full support before it takes off, because we’re proud to publish our authors and want them to be read as widely as possible. Therefore, much of our Kickstarter will go on printing proof copies for review, getting the book into the hands of booksellers, journalists, book bloggers and anyone passionate about books (i.e. YOU), marketing and digital marketing campaigns, as well as getting some sumptuous covers designed.
We've all been working unpaid on Dodo Ink for nearly a year, supporting ourselves with other work. We're all doing this for the love of it. So every penny of this kickstarter will go on our authors and their books; we'll take nothing for ourselves.
Why Dodo Ink?
The 3 of us can’t make this project happen by ourselves. Over the past few years, indie presses have been the ones putting out the most exciting books, and often those which end up winning prizes – some fine examples include A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride, by Galley Beggar Press; Remainder by Tom McCarthy, which was published by a small French arts press after being rejected by all the big publishers in the UK; the Booker shortlisted title The Garden Of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng; The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth, which was crowdsourced and published by Unbound and longlisted for the Booker and shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize (all rejected by all the main UK publishers).
The samples above illustrate that many authors who are writing anything just a little bit different or risky aren’t be picked up by the mainstream anymore. Indeed, in a recent article for The Daily Telegraph, Jonathan Cape’s editorial director declared that publishers simply can’t risk putting out these type of books anymore – leaving it to small presses to take the risk.
However, this is slightly depressing news for the future of publishing, and we’re convinced that there are numerous readers out there who don’t want to just read a thriller or a reading group book that is like everything else out there. We’d therefore like you to join us in creating a company that will take those risks and get those exciting books into your hands.
We’d like to offer you a range of special gifts, from ebooks to signed first editions, to bottles of Dodo ink and Dodo feather quills, invites to our launch parties and the chance to meet us and our authors. We’d like to join us in creating a literary community where we can celebrate and champion brilliant literary books. We hope that Dodo Ink can grow and expand in the years to come, and if we can achieve this, we’ll eternally be grateful for your support at the outset. Finally, in a pledge of his own, our MD Thom Cuell has promised that when we reach our target, he will have the Dodo Ink logo tattooed onto his arm. There might even be a vlog, if he doesn't pass out halfway through.
Risks and challenges
All publishing ventures have an element of risk, and Dodo Ink is no different. Over 200,000 books are published in the UK each year, and all are competing for space on bookshop shelves, in newspaper review sections, and ultimately in readers' homes. To give our novels the best chance of succeeding, we will work with experts in PR, sales and distribution, as well as connecting with booksellers, bloggers and the reading public through every means available to us. This means making sure that our writers appear at festivals and in bookstores, and that we ourselves are active in building up relationships with booksellers and readers, in person, at events and through our Dodo Ink app, which is currently being developed.
We believe that despite the challenges facing us, this is a great time to be an independent publisher. Quality authors are being passed over by the mainstream, giving us the chance to work with the next Deborah Levy or Eimear McBride. With your help, Dodo Ink can become part of a thriving independent publishing scene, and we look forward to sharing some tremendous novels with you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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