Independent publisher Galley Beggar has launched a crowdfunder to raise £10,000 by the end of spring to help fund an expansion.
Founded in 2012, the Norwich-based indie says following early success, with 80% of its titles receiving award nominations, it is now faced with two options - “expanding a lot and going for broke” or staying small. After deciding to expand, co-founders Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar are now hoping to rase £10,000.
Jordison told The Bookseller: “We were lucky enough to have quite a bit of success early on and had to make some tricky decisions about how to stay sustainable. We had the choice of either expanding a lot and going for broke - or trying to minimise potential losses by staying small. We opted for the latter and it's worked well for the past five years - but we've got to a point where we have to expand in order to fulfil our two biggest goals of supporting our current writers, who we love, and discovering new talent.”
The indie, which currently operates from Jordison’s and Millar's house and counts Desmond Elliott Prize-winning Preti Taneja among its authors, already runs a subscription service and is hoping its loyal customers will help them reach their target.
“As our writers' careers develop, they block out slots in our publishing schedule - which is great! But we also have to make space for new voices. So we wanted to find a way to increase our output without endangering the company we've worked so hard to build up. Fortunately, we knew we had fantastic readers and we thought if we could get enough of them to come on board as subscribers, we'd have the bolster we need,” said Jordison. “Plus, it seemed like a win-win, because it would also mean that there were more guaranteed readers for our authors. And then, with the rise in printing costs and fear and uncertainty around Brexit we thought we better go for it early this year and get as prepared as we can be.”
Jordison said he hopes the money will help print more books and provide some security against Brexit. “The money is mainly going to be used to print books. And also, if possible, to give us a bit of a cushion against the nightmare of Brexit. Although when you're being dropped over a cliff, there's only so much a cushion can do.,” said Jordison. “In a way, we've already boosted the selling of books because lots of the money has been raised through subscriptions. But having a reserve to print enables us to do bigger runs, and hopefully reach more people through the shops too.”
The expansion will not mark a change to production or the genre Galley Beggar, which focuses on “daring, innovative fiction and narrative non-fiction” publishes.
Jordison said: “I know people tend to think of us as publishers of 'literary fiction', but we like to tell ourselves that we aren't constrained by genre. We just want to publish good books. I'd hope that we'd even have had the sense to publish Harry Potter if it had crossed our desk. And we've actually got an extraordinary fantasy novel on the way in December - Mordew by Alex Pheby. We just want to do more of the same.”
Find out more about the fundraiser here.