Today I was expecting to be writing a post asking you to help a friend out. Instead I’m writing one congratulating book lovers for being wonderful people. Given how awful things are in the UK right now, this is a very welcome piece of good news.
Some of you may remember Sam Jordison as the author of a bunch of book reviews in Salon Futura back in the days when it was a semi-prozine. He’s probably better known for running the Not the Booker contest in The Guardian. But these days he should be best known as one of the people behind a small press called Galley Beggar.
While that name might not be immediately familiar, you have probably heard of a book called Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, which has been winning various prizes over here and was on the short list for the actual Booker. Now being up for a major prize is a potentially complicated thing for a small press. Because Juliet was up for a British Fantasy Award this year I took myself off to Glasgow for a few days. Wizard’s Tower can’t really afford to send me to conventions, but I could afford this myself.
Being a finalist for the Booker is a whole different ballgame. People want your book. In Galley Beggar’s case that included an order from a company called Book People for 8,000 hardback copies of the book. That was an order worth just over £40,000. Yesterday Book People declared bankruptcy with many outstanding debts unpaid, including the invoice from Galley Beggar.
I have no idea how much money Sam and his partner take from the company, but £40,000 is round twice my annual income, and that’s from three jobs of which Wizard’s Tower is the least profitable. I’m sure you can imagine what sort of a hole that would make in the finances of a small press.
So this morning Sam’s partner, Eloise Millar, launched a crowdfunding campaign so see if the great book-loving public could help them plug that gap in their finances.
It fully funded earlier this evening.
That’s incredible, people. Well done. I am so happy that a great little publishing company has been saved.
If only we could channel that sort of sentiment to save the country.