Independent publishers Jacaranda Books and Knights Of have partnered with writing charity Spread the Word to launch a crowdfunder for inclusive, diversity-led UK indies.
The campaign, #InclusiveIndies, seeks to raise £100,000 for the two independents, with a percentage of additional funds being shared across independent publishers in the UK, administered by Spread the Word.
The crowdfunder comes this week as a survey launched by The Bookseller and Spread the Word finds a significant proportion of independent UK presses are at risk because of the economic pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Aimée Felone, children's book publisher at Knights Of, (pictured), said of the campaign: "Independent publishers have been at the heart of inclusive stories for decades, driving and pushing for commercial representation in an industry that has too often meant our stories are overlooked. The #InclusiveIndies fund is vital to ensuring that our shared work can survive this crisis and come out strong and together at the other end."
Speaking to The Bookseller, she added: "Yes, we have to be positive in these times and shine a light on all the good that is happening, but also be realistic and talk about money. We rarely talk about the costs behind getting a book on the shelf and hiring a team. We're looking to not only help ourselves but other indies who are in the same boat."
"We are very aware that talks around diversity and inclusion have taken a back seat at the moment, and that a lot of independents work towards creating a better, more inclusive industry when they themselves are at risk."
The inspiration for the crowdfunder came soon after the most recent census by the ALCS (Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society) and CLPE (Centre For Literacy In Primary Education) which revealed that only 5% of published authors in the UK were people of colour and less than 4% of children’s books in the UK feature a protagonist of colour.
Valerie Brandes, founder and publisher at Jacaranda Books, told The Bookseller: "We spent the best part of two years planning for this year, and literally everything, all of our events, our deal with audible, author events—gone, completely gone. We know so many indies who are in a similar situation, and there are so many reasons we need this support.
"I would love to see this fund become a vehicle for small presses to properly educate themselves on operating efficiently, particularly if they, like Jacaranda, have ambition grow. "
The crowdfunder can be accessed at on the inclusive indies webpage.