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£331 pledged of £2,900 goal
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By Remy Dean
£331 pledged of £2,900 goal
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About this project

Independent Authors of Wales Network  

IAWN

(Ysgrifenwyr Annibynnol Rhwydwaith Cymru? IAWN Y ARC!)

A database of independent creative writers and storytellers in Wales.  

Today, much emphasis is placed upon promotion. It is now much easier to get published, but much harder to get noticed.   

IAWN will raise the profile of indie authors and story-tellers, promote their published work, inform them of professional writerly opportunities and provide a community hub for interaction. We will also strive to make mutually beneficial links with the wider expressive arts.  

The core of IAWN will be the Database, a list of writers that companies, educational establishments, clubs, societies and events organisers can search to find someone to suit the requirements of their organisation. 

IAWN will: 

  • help raise the profile of authors and their works 
  • provide a dedicated web-page for each member to post a profile, writer CV, list of works and links to their own websites, amazon pages, social media, etc. (Preview this feature - here)
  • provide a point of contact for potential clients that will help to diversify the outlets for the writerly skills and talents of members 
  • publish reviews, interviews and offer opportunities to contribute articles on the associated weblog (a 'beta' version is already up-and-running - here)
  • organise a members’ review scheme, where members can exchange books and review them on the blog – providing reviews that can then be used in promotions and quoted on book jackets. (Opting-in to the reviews scheme would mean that for each book you submit for review, you would be expected to write a review of another member’s book. Books submitted for review will be circulated randomly among IAWN members in the scheme. There will be further guidelines, terms and conditions.) 
  • send e-mail bulletins with relevant news, such as alerts to competitions and publishing opportunities (our inaugural IAWN writing competition has now been announced here)
  • organise an annual IAWN festival (the form and magnitude of this event will depend on the number of members) 
  • provide representation at other festivals and conventions 
  • provide on-going social media support though twitter, helping to publicise your works, appearances, book launches, etc. and doing plenty of RTs for members (we now have a presence on twitter - you may join-in and follow IAWN here)
  • provide a portfolio of on-line resources for writers 
  • hold an annual members’ conference (probably coinciding with a festival) 
  • build a community hub for interaction and sharing 
  • send members a lovely enamel badge!

That is a lot for the comparatively modest subscription rates.

Iawn Diolch! (that's Welsh for 'Thanks very much!')

Why Wales?

The literary heritage of Wales is something to nurture and champion!

The nation has historically produced more than its share of authors who have already achieved world renown. Just a few examples: Robert Vaughan, Arthur Machen, John Cowper Powys, Bertrand Russell, Hedd Wyn, Dylan Thomas, R S Thomas, Dick Francis, Raymond Garlick, Roald Dahl, Bernice Rubens, Terry Nation, Dorothy Simpson, Ken Follett, Mererid Hopwood, Russell T Davies! 

What if the next talented and passionate writers in this line are being overlooked right now? IAWN will be there to support them and do its best to spread their words. To do this effectively, we need friends and members to help each other, simply by becoming friends or members of IAWN themselves – think of it as a cooperative model.

One of the big hurdles for independent authors is garnering reviews for their work – IAWN will introduce a peer review scheme. Another is generating a significant profile using social media – IAWN will provide a coordinated platform in the form of the Database and continued social media support to help connect with clients, commissions and other opportunities. IAWN will be proactive at festivals, conventions and other public events. 

Shall we get started and see how far we can take this? Please carefully consider our rewards and see which one suits you best…

Now for a little bit of analysis:

There are many other ways for authors to supplement their income apart from writing. For example, I have been a member of the Helfa Gelf Arts Trail for over two years and, although it is not a network for authors, it has brought me two Writing Residencies, paid freelance writing commissions and I have been hired as a storyteller and public speaker.

Also, I used to be listed in the Writers of Wales Database at Literature Wales. Though this has now been scrapped, it was of benefit in raising my public profile, as you can see from this snapshot of my blog traffic from a while ago.

snapshot showing traffic sources for my personal blog
snapshot showing traffic sources for my personal blog

 

The Writers of Wales Database had criteria (you had to be a traditionally published author, of at least one work of fiction that had been recognised as having literary merit), the criteria helped the Database be taken seriously, which is one reason why IAWN does have criteria for Full Membership – so there is kudos in being a member and can be quoted with confidence on a writer’s CV. 

So, looking at these two models, IAWN is expected be the ‘go-to’ Database for interested readers, fellow authors and for organisations looking for authors and storytellers to make appearances, host workshops, etc.

Nothing else like it exists!

The Independent Authors of Wales need a network.

The Scrawl

This is my first time using Kickstarter, so I am unable to show you examples of past projects, but let me tell you this...  

In the year 2000, we received a small grant of £500, from the  Arts Council of Wales, to launch a literary journal called, 'The Scrawl'. With help from my partner, we produced two print editions and then transferred to e-publishing. We received no further funding, yet 'The Scrawl' is still going and, in 2016, was recognised by the National Library of Wales as having important heritage value.

You can check-out 'The Scrawl' here:

The Scrawl, since the year 2000...
The Scrawl, since the year 2000...

 

Risks and challenges

Hopefully the little 'Scrawl' story above will help to illustrate that we have passion, dedication and staying power.

The only obvious obstacle to delivering IAWN would be the continuation of services for a small membership base. (Being a family man, I would need to prioritise my time with a view to earning enough to support my family.) I have arrived at the funding target by allowing one half-day per week for the first 6 months admin and social media management, plus enough to cover design and set-up fees for a functioning website, modest marketing costs and, of course, making the enamel badges.

I have been a teacher for 17 years, though my hours will be significantly cut after June 2017. Being a full-time Creative Arts Lecturer, then part-time teacher of Creative Media Production, may have hindered my career as a writer and artist, but it did not stop me. I made time to write, and managed to run 'The Scrawl', in my ‘spare time’. From June, I will have much more time to devote to personal projects and in doing what I love to do.

Before I was a teacher, I worked as a qualified Press and Publicity Officer, a professional journalist, magazine editor, photographer and novelist. These jobs, and all the extra skills I have acquired through teaching, have equipped me with a powerful skill-set that I can bring to bear in organising and running IAWN to make it an effective organisation to benefit my fellow authors in Wales.

IAWN will not be run for profit. After covering basic running costs, social media management and website maintenance, subscription fees will be ploughed back into bigger and better festivals and services. So long as there are a modest number of members and renewals each year (realistically, that would be upward of 70), it will not take money out of my pocket, so I will be obliged to continue running IAWN - it is something I want to do! Fewer members will mean basic services, and more members will allow us to offer 'STRETCH GOALS' of even bigger and better festivals, conventions, marketing, etc. So, every Author who joins or supports IAWN, is not only benefiting themselves, but will be helping every other member - a Network for all the Independent Authors of Wales.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $6

    Friend

    Friends are: Any interested party who wishes to support the Independent Authors of Wales.

    You get: iawn (lower-case) enamel badge and a very big 'Thank You' / 'Iawn Diolch'

    Benefits for Friends include:

    Name listed as a friend and supporter of IAWN on website and associated literature (optional, of course) for a minimum 12 month period

    Priority tickets for IAWN events such as Festivals, Workshops and Courses

    Monthly E-mail bulletins including news, reviews, special offers and more…

    On-line access to all public areas of the network

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $24

    Associate

    Associate Members are:

    New, Aspiring and Debut Authors of creative fiction, storytellers and poets (including text-art practitioners).

    The ideal subscription for Students and those at the beginning of their writing career.

    Others eligible for Associate Membership include anyone who loves to write - bloggers, journalists, academic essayists and so on. Authors writing in either English and/or Welsh are eligible.

    You do not need a proven track record to become an Associate, but should be based (mainly) in Wales, or have strong Welsh cultural connections.

    You get: iawn (lower-case) enamel badge and Associate Membership Card

    Associate Member Benefits include:

    E-mail alerts to new opportunities and relevant events

    Eligibility for IAWN literary competitions

    Opportunities to contribute articles for the IAWN weblog (help to build your portfolio of published work)

    Priority tickets for IAWN events such as Festivals, Workshops and Courses

    Invitation to IAWN members’ conference

    On-going support on social media, such as twitter, to help spread the word about your events, book launches, appearances, etc.

    On-line access to all public areas of the network

    Name included in list of Associates on IAWN website, with link-through to your personal website/blog

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $49

    Member

    Membership is open to published writers of creative fiction, experienced storytellers and poets (including text-art practitioners), based (mainly) in Wales, or with strong Welsh cultural connections. Authors writing in either English and/or Welsh are eligible.

    Proven track record will be required to validate full membership (list of published works and CV).

    As a special Big Thanks / Iawn Diolch, the first 50 members via Kickstarter will be gifted automatic renewal for a second year.

    You get: IAWN (upper-case) enamel badge and Membership Card, plus your own Profile Page on The IAWN Database.

    Member Benefits include:

    Listing in the IAWN database

    Dedicated IAWN webpage, for duration of subscription

    Opportunity to participate in at least one annual festival and free inclusion in promotional brochure, if doing so. (We do not want to overstretch in the first year, but when we have enough subscribers we plan to hold three festivals through each year, one for South Wales, one for North Wales and one beyond Wales, to spread the word.)

    Free access to any ticketed IAWN events such as Festivals, Workshops and Courses

    Invitation to IAWN members’ conference

    E-mail alerts to new opportunities and relevant events

    Eligibility for IAWN literary competitions

    Eligibility to participate in the IAWN Members' Review Scheme

    Coverage on IAWN weblog including interview, book announcements and opportunities to contribute articles.

    On-going, pro-active support on social media, such as twitter, to help spread the word about your events, book launches, appearances, etc.

    On-line access to all public areas of the network

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £360 or more About $438

    Mega-Member for Life

    Wow! Your support would be greatly appreciated!

    You would enjoy full Membership benefits as listed above...

    PLUS life-time Membership for as long as IAWN exists!

    If you are not eligible for Full Membership, you would be granted Honorary Membership in gratitude for such valuable support in establishing the Independent Authors of Wales Network and for your generous support of literature, the creative arts and culture in Wales.

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Funding period

- (60 days)