Thank you – again, again.
It’s been an incredible day. The generosity we’ve seen has been overwhelming. And thanks to that generosity, we’re saved.
So, the important thing we have to say in this update is that our emergency is over. As I write this, we’re at a point where we’ve raised almost as much as we were expecting from The Book People. (Even after Gofundme’s fees are deducted.)
Thank you. Your support has quite literally allowed us to keep going.
We’re now left with the question of what happens while this fundraiser is still open.
I can’t pretend that we wouldn’t still be grateful to any other supports who choose to donate. Yesterday came as quite a shock, and we’ll be able to put anything we get over that £40,000 goal into a reserve account. It will help protect us and our authors from future shocks and hopefully help us keep on putting out the good books long into the future.
But! At this point I also want to emphasise that we’re okay for now. Better than that. It feels like we’ve been granted a miracle and we don’t want to abuse that. We’re also very aware that there are other presses out there, other small companies, and plenty of individuals who still have pressing needs. On this very website, there’s a fundraiser going for The Trussell Trust set up by our friends at Influx Press - and they are still working towards an important goal. It’s a very good cause.
In terms of our own future sustainability, I hope you might occasionally visit www.galleybeggar.co.uk, have a look at our books and read about our wonderful authors there. We’ve got a lot of good stuff on the way - and I can’t tell you how happy I am that we’re still going to get a chance to publish books like Mordew and Insignificance, our two barnstorming titles for next year.
Anyway, we had no idea when we set up this morning in a panic (and didn’t really know what we were doing or what would happen) that we’d be secure at the end of the day. It’s quite a feeling - and we're safe because of you. Thank you.
Sam (and Elly)
We're so sorry to ask you so close to Christmas - but we urgently need your help.
You may have read that the Book People has gone into Administration.
It’s a terrible thing to happen to a company at this time of year and our heart goes out to all the people there whose jobs are under threat.
There are also going to be painful knock-on effects of this sad situation throughout the book industry. One of them, I’m sorry to tell you, is that it has put Galley Beggar Press under threat. The Book People owe us over £40,000 – and that is make-or-break for a small company like us.
One of the painful things about this is that we would never normally take the risk of having someone owe us £40k. We entered into a partnership with the Book People as part of our involvement with the Booker Prize this year and Ducks, Newburyport's shortlisting.
The Book People offer hardback versions of the shortlist to their readers, and as soon as we learned that we were longlisted, we were put in touch with the Book People and made to understand that everyone on the shortlist would need to supply an edition.
They wanted 8000 books, and would pay just over £40,000.
It was a sizeable undertaking. It’s the sort of money that we never normally play with, but it was part of the schedule and the competition and when Ducks Newburyport made the shortlist, we did it.
It also involved designing a whole new edition (which we put together in four days, working around the clock), complicated negotiations with printers, and generally, an awful lot of work. But it should have been a good thing. If the money had arrived. We were actually due to be paid right after Christmas – and it would have allowed us to pay the many print bills that the Booker has involved, shore up against trade returns (inevitable, when a novel soars in popularity), and set us straight for the New Year.
But, we've been on the phone to the Book People this morning. They will not be paying us the money in the immediate future.*
Which leaves us with a £40,000+ black hole. … And has turned what should have been the best year of our little company's life into its worst – and something that might kill it. So we need your help. We hate to ask for charity. Especially when so many people have already been so generous to us in the past and done so much to support our project and our writers. But at this point, we can’t see a way around. So if our work has touched you even a little over the past seven years – if you've loved one or more of our books and authors – we’re hoping you might want to see us continue.
If you can spare anything, it will make a big difference. Even small donations of £1 or £2 have the potential to add up. And if you're out of funds yourself (god knows we know the feeling!) some zealous sharing on social media will also really help.
It does feel like make or break, and we need the readers who have supported us every step of the way.
Finally, I’m afraid: politics. Let’s not pretend. The Book People have been undone by Amazon and Brexit. There’s clearly a reason the Book People’s funders should have pulled the plug right now.
We’ve warned long and warned hard about the pain these two evils are inflicting on our industry and our writers. But we’re also determined not to be a victim of either.
I’m afraid that you will probably see more calls for solidarity like this one from other small companies like ours over the coming months and years. Brexit is going to continue to hit us hard and we are going to have to find new ways to protect not just ourselves, but the writers we serve and the culture we value. As a community who values art and truth, we are going to need to rally together as never before. We can still be a light in the darkness – but we will all need help tending the flame.
We hope to be there with you, continuing to do good work and hopefully also spread a little joy. But right now, we need help. Anything you can do will be very gratefully received.
- Christopher MacLehose
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