Bisexuals inhabit a liminal space between cultures, often misunderstood and criticised by both the straight community and the LGBTQ+ alike. We’re called fence-sitters, greedy, promiscuous, incapable of decisions or monogamy, or simply dismissed as non-existent like a stubborn urban legend. Bisexuals suffer both the abuse incurred for existence and the erasure that claims nonexistence: a half-life, a state of being and not being, simultaneously too gay and not gay enough.
Because of this and many other factors, the statistics for bisexual wellbeing are bleak – we are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, more likely to be closeted, at higher risk of domestic abuse and assault from partners, and even at higher risk of conditions like heart disease and addiction. It is time to dig into these issues and step out of the liminal space – into a full life where our voices and stories can be heard, and our identities declared valid.
So was born 2017’s The Bi-ble, a collection of original essays and personal narratives giving platform to the thoughts and experiences relevant to bisexuals today. We crowdfunded for the original anthology print run having no idea it was so in demand, and the subsequent cost of reprinting small batches throughout the year badly damaged our press financially. We now know the market need for this and how to reach those who want it. We also know there are more stories than one (or a hundred) anthologies of this kind could ever tell. So we’re not just bringing The Bi-ble back with a fresh new look, but this time also publishing its little sibling Volume Two: New Testimonials, which is packed full of never-before-published essays.
Our books are not just for bisexuals, though we hope they will unite and inspire those of us who identify as such. Its writers identify as many things that fall under the bi+ umbrella. These anthologies are also an invitation to sharing and understanding – open books, so to speak, extending a discussion to other communities in the hope of learning more about each other and the beautiful, multifaceted, endlessly complex and individual world of sexuality.
Part of our goals include facilitating the donation of copies to libraries or places that will help make the books accessible to those who can’t afford them. We also plan to have three book launches across the UK which we intend to make as accessible, cheap/free and inclusive as possible, and the funds from this Kickstarter will be particularly helpful for that as large scale events and speaker fees are usually well beyond our means. Events build community through celebration of a shared cause and that means a lot to us, to contributors and to readers, so we’re making it a priority.
[Visual description: an image of two books, both with a minimalist design. One has a white background and one has a pink background. Both have a purple, pink and navy swatch effect on the centre of the cover and titles, which is a slight nod to the bi flag].
Cover design is by Hannah Killoh.
Who is Monstrous Regiment?
Monstrous Regiment Publishing Ltd is a micropress based in a wee flat in Leith, Edinburgh, founded by two MSc Publishing graduates while still at uni in 2017. The co-directors do this voluntarily, around their other commitments, because they really believe in it. Their passion for publishing working class writers, as well as topics of intersectional feminism and sexuality led them on a mission to curate bold and fresh content; the stuff they felt was often missing from bookshelves. In 2018 Monstrous expanded to include one contracted in-house designer and two student assistant interns (paid in stipends). This Kickstarter will allow the team to fund the newly designed edition of The Bi-ble and – for the first time – Volume Two: New Testimonials. Having this funded will be a gamechanger for the wee press and will allow it to survive and keep growing for another year (though we don’t know just yet where in the wee flat we’ll manage to store all the books)! The costs for indie press survival are increasingly terrifying, and 2019 will be a make or break year for Monstrous Regiment depending on this Kickstarter.
Across the two volumes you will find writing by such people as….
Sandra Alland,writer, filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist
Kemah Bob,comedian and founder of FOCITUP
Laura Clay, UNESCO Emerging Writer
Codi Coday, writer, speaker, activist, and community organiser
Sharan Dhaliwal, Writer, Editor-in-Chief of Burnt Roti Magazine and The Dots' LGBTQ+ Trailblazer
Simon Eilbeck, Hot Mess DJ
Lisa-Marie Ferla, writer and arts/lifestyle blogger
Joseph Guthrie,writer, photographer, musician and self-declared jack of all trades
Lauren James,YA author
Vaneet Mehta,London Gaymers member, blogger, documentary producer and all-round nerd
Robert O'Sullivan, freelance journalist and former editor at UCC Express
Chitra Ramaswamy,award-winning journalist and author of Expecting
Mel Reeve, writer, archivist and founder of Bi History
Jayna Tavarez, academic and activist
And many, many more! There are almost 40 queer people involved with this project in total.
How Will We Use the Money?
Making a physical book is expensive, and in this case we are publishing two volumes. From buying ISBNs to getting copies off the presses into your hands – even things like envelopes are costly – things really start to add up. The largest portion of funds will go to printing and distribution and author fees. Since we are doing our own distribution, this cost includes packaging and shipping to international locations.
Importantly, we will also pay our contributors, interns, speakers and designer. Everyone whose work features in this anthology receives compensation except for the co-directors, and we firmly believe this is a standard that should be upheld industry-wide. We also need to make sure we can pull our events off well, in a way that means the most people possible can attend them. This makes our total costs higher, but for a worthy and essential reason.
The founders of Monstrous Regiment themselves are not collecting personal profit from the initial goal; this is strictly to cover operational costs and does not go into our pockets.
If you’re a bookshop looking to preorder at trade discount please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work out a specialised pledge for your order.
Thank you to Josie Deacon for making our video and to all who have been so encouraging while we were anxious about trying to pull this off! You can keep up to date with us on Twitter @MonstrousRgmt to follow our progress.
Risks and challenges
Editing, producing and launching a book is quite a hefty undertaking: beyond the initial planning and commissioning for the concept, there is designing, copyediting, typesetting, proofreading, printing, admin and marketing to be done. The primary challenge here is to meet our funding goal so we can pay contributors and set the print run in action. If we earn above goal and the book sells well, we may be able to put money toward additional print runs, bigger launch events and stretch goals for contributor compensation.
Outside of the funding challenge, risks are low. Editorial and typesetting will be done in-house by Monstrous Regiment, as will distribution. We have chosen a highly qualified, tried and true book printer, so the physical product will be manufactured to the professional standard you would find at bookshops. Indeed, you can find all our other publications in bookshops across the UK, Ireland and dotted around Europe.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)