We are very happy to officially announce that Influx Press is now Arts Council funded. From the outside, funding can often look mysterious and you never really find out where exactly the money has been allocated. We like to be open about what we do here so I’ve decided to write a short post detailing what we’ve received and where we are going to spend the money. For me, it’s a bit like taxes – if I knew what percentage of my income tax went on the NHS and what went on defence spending I’d be much happier/angrier about the tax system!
Gary and I applied to the Grant for the Arts programme to fund our next three titles. We have applied to the Arts Council before but haven’t made the grade. Looking back on our previous applications we can see why. They went a bit like this:
Give us some money to print some books.
We’ll do some engagement and a book launch.
Give us some more money.
This time round we met with two lovely people at the Arts Council London offices to discuss a real business development plan. We worked out how to curtail our ambitions, how to make the money stretch as far as possible and where to focus our efforts. In a huge Orwellian ministry of culture building we sat under a ceiling fan in the highest ceiling you could imagine and sweated nerves of molten steel.
The application was arduous. That’s not to say it wasn’t worth it, but for two people like us – a punk and a golden era hip hop junkie – grant applications have never entered our lives. It took us about ten full days to complete. We argued over every word (each section has a 250 word limit) and at times felt we were just churning out shit soundbites on an endless loop. Luckily, as editors, we knew when our writing was awful. By then end we thought we had something good, so we transferred £30 from the lowly Influx account to Gary’s card and went to the pub for some beers. The pub being in neo-Hackney, this meant about a round and a half before it ran dry.
The Arts Council, after rejecting the initial application because we’d put £500 in the wrong place, agreed to everything we asked and we went ape shit in the office for about thirty minutes.
The main thrust of the application was ‘business development’ over six months and our next three titles. Influx Press has existed by the skin of its teeth since we started. Gary and I haven’t taken a penny (apart from that aforementioned booze money) out of the business since our first book, Acquired for Development By came out in 2012. Until the grant was accepted we have only been able to pay our solo collection writers royalties from net sales. Some of the grant money is to pay Gary and me a small wage for the work we will be doing over the next six months: editing, publicity, typesetting, hobnobbing – that sort of thing.
The main part of the grant is the bit we’re most proud of. We will be able to pay the authors of our next three titles an advance fee. It’s not a life-changing amount, but for us – as a tiny independent press - the ability to pay writers for their work is fantastic. We so dearly want them to be valued for their outstanding talents and I’ve felt really good being able to write a contract for them stating that they will get paid in advance of the book being printed! (plus payment of royalties will continue at 20% of course).
The rest of the money has gone on a few other things. Our office rent for six months, an accountant to teach us how to run the company books properly (payments to authors, tax returns etc) and an intern for six months. Up until this point we have had many requests from young people for internships with us. We steadfastly refuse to employ anyone for free so we haven’t been able to take anyone on. Now we have this grant money we will be employing someone for one day a week, well above the London living wage. We want this person to gain experience in the book industry that they may not have access to otherwise (due to circumstances financial or class etc). We will be teaming up with our good friends at Arts Emergency to find the right candidate and hopefully help them as much as they help us. Lastly, the rest of the money will go to our designer Chris for his wonderful work and also any artists that work with us on book covers or art inside our books.
We feel so lucky to have been given this money we are determined to spend it wisely. We realise that opportunities like this don’t happen to everyone, so we’re going to try our best to help our authors and other contributors to further their careers as well as make Influx Press a sustainable small press in the future.
Thank you for all your support so far with our literary experiment, without the success of books like Life in Transit, Acquired for Development By and Marshland, we certainly wouldn’t have got the funding we did.
We raise a toast the future of independent publishing!
Here is a great animation that uses Sam Berkson's poem, If You Suspect It, Report It from Life in Transit. [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/53433932 w=500&h=400]
Directed by Lily O'Kelly
Words by Sam Berkson
The Quietus have published a piece by Sam Berkson to celebrate the release of Life in Transit called 'A poet's guide to public transport'.
The last in our 5 part series on Resonance FM. In this show Kit talks to David Dawkins (A Hackney Triptych) and Natalie Hardwick (Alevism in Hackney) about arriving in Hackney and London, the formation of instant communities and how the other half live (you know, the posh rich half)
We look at Hackney through the eyes of three different generations. 1970s, 1980s and the 2000s. Stories and anecdotes from three of our writers, Eithne Nightingale, Georgia Myers and Isaura Barbe Brown. Hosted by Kit Caless and Gary Budden.
We discuss psychogeography, its past, present and future.
Difficulties of terminology and the mainstream acceptance of certain forms of psychogeographic writing.
Featuring Stewart Home, Brendan Pickett, Gary Budden and Tim Burrows. Hosted by Kit Caless
Gary wrote a piece about the formation of Influx Press for the Occupied Times.
Read it here: http://theoccupiedtimes.co.uk/?p=4818
Our second Resonance FM show based on Acquired For… This one is all about poetry, protest and the East End.
Featuring Tim Wells and Sam Berkson
Here is a recording of the Resonance FM 104.4 show we did on the 9th June.
Featuring readings and debate with Nell Frizzell, Gary Budden, Daniel Kramb and Tim Burrows. Hosted and presented by Kit Caless
On Saturday 9th June and for the next five Saturdays at 3:30pm we are broadcasting live on Resonance FM 104.4
Each show will feature three writers from Acquired for Development By discussing some of the issues and talking points raised in the Anthology. There will be readings, some music and lots of interesting chat.
Here are some audio recordings from our Stoke Newington Literary Festival event on Saturday 2nd June. Readers were: Kit Caless, Ashlee Christoffersen, Gavin James Bower, Ania Ostrowska and Siddhartha Bose. There is also a recording of the Q&A session Gary and Kit did with the authors and the audience.
An in depth review, name checking many of the pieces in Acquired for Development By, from Sabotage Reviews:
This Saturday (2nd June), 2pm at the Mascara Bar, we are holding an event as part of the excellent Stoke Newington Literary Festival.
Featuring readings from Lee Rourke, Gavin James Bower, Siddhartha Bose, Ashlee Christoffersen and Ania Ostrowska. Gary and Kit will hold a Q&A session after the readings.
It’s free so please come along.
The Londonist love Acquired for Development By…
A great review!
Last Thursday we had a few readings and drinks at Pages of Hackney to celebrate the release of Acquired for Development By.
All photos (c) Elinor Jones - elinorjones.co.uk
Sam Berkson reading ‘Hackney Numbers’
Siddartha Bose reading ‘Wick Love’
Eithne Nightingale reading Foucault over the Garden Fence. Gary lurking in the background.
Brendan Pickett reading ‘Neo-Noir Hackney Haikus’
Daniel Kramb reading ‘Dalston Lane’
Gary and Kit saying hello. Kit didn’t bother to shave. Gary didn’t bother to look in the mirror
On Saturday and Sunday we are selling Acquired for for Development By at the Alterntive Press Fair.
Camden Crawl is hosting the Alternative Press Fair at St Mark’s Church (next to the Sainsbury’s on Camden Road).
Come and find us and buy the book for a special reduced Alt Press Fair price of a nice clean £10
Kit was invited on to talk to Robert Elms about Acquired for Development By and Hackney’s changes a few weeks back.
It was a very interesting discussion and brought up some fascinating questions.
There are only 16 days left to listen to the podcast – but you can download it within those 16 days to your computer to put aside if you don’t have time.
Kit comes on at around 1 hour 6 minutes, but the whole show is very interesting and Hackney focused, so it’s well worth listening to it all.
Kit was invited to write a piece about Acquired for and the culture of dissent in Hackney.
So it’s finally here.
You can either order it online with us, from our online shop – or check our ‘stockists’ section on this website to find out which bookshops are currently selling.
We are very excited.
But that’s understandable right?
On Thursday, Kit was asked to come on Robert Elms’ show to talk about the gentrification of Hackney and Acquired for Development By…
Most of Robert’s show was talking about Hackney so it’s well worth listening to the first hour before the interview starts (there are a few non-related sections you can skip through should you wish).
You can listen to the show on the BBC iPlayer here:
The section with Kit starts at around 1 hour 7 mins.
Don’t forget, you can pre-order a copy of the Acquired For Development By from our online shop: http://influxpress.com/online-shop/
Kit will be on the Robert Elms show at 1pm today talking about Acquired for Development By.
If you can’t catch the show live we will post a link to the iPlayer episode when it’s up.
Here is a ‘trailer’ for our new book, “Acquired for Development By…” – short excerpts of our writers reading out their work in various parts of Hackney.
Order a copy of the book from our online shop today.
[vimeo 36765754 w=500 h=400]