As a tiny publisher in a difficult industry, 2020 was looking to be a tricky year for 404 Ink, and the pandemic that we're all so familiar with did not make our work any easier. With bookshops closed and sales down across the board, we knew we had to publish something a little different. That's when the idea of Inklings appeared...
Basically, big ideas in compact books. Subjects that you might have an inkling about - maybe you're not really familiar with them, maybe you want to learn more but don't know where to start. These pocket-sized books will help you with that, tackling huge(ly important) subjects from new writers across the UK - from transphobia to reimagining higher education, deep dives into pop culture to experiences of sight loss. With our Crowdfunder we're seeking £7,000 to cover the basic production costs of the series: printing and design.
All of the covers have been designed by the fantastic Luke Bird - lukebird.co.uk. (These covers are currently work-in-progress drafts and are subject to change!)
The Inklings will be a cute 175 x 120mm size, around 100 pages, and black and white on the inside. You should literally be able to put one in your back pocket to walk around with (when we're allowed to move around again, that is).
We are publishing eight Inklings as our initial launch list. They will publish incrementally as of Summer 2021, until the end of the year.
- No Man's Land: Living Between Two Cultures by Anne East
Many individuals, especially of non-white heritage, find themselves suspended in an identity limbo. No Man's Land explores this chasm and how it is to feel one way and yet be perceived as another. Why is culture so important? And how does it feel to experience that cultural no man’s land? A book on acceptance and shining a light on the cultural vacuum that exists for so many.
- Flip The Script: How Women Came to Rule Hip Hop by Arusa Qureshi
It has taken a significant amount of time for women to get recognition in hip hop - why did we take so long in the UK? Flip The Script gets to know the women who have paved the way, the successes and experiences of those that shape the thriving scene we have today.
[Image alt text: Photos of four Inklings authors - Anne, Arusa, Casci, and Emily, alongside their respective draft book covers]
- On His Royal Badness: The Life and Legacy of Prince's Fashion by Casci Ritchie
On His Royal Badness considers how Prince’s distinctive style both on and beyond the screen disrupts hegemonic, heteronormative and Black masculinities to examine and celebrate the construction and impact of Prince upon contemporary fashion. (Please note this title is unaffiliated with the Prince Estate.)
- Love That Journey For Me: The Queer Revolution of Schitt’s Creek by Emily Garside
A fitting ode to a show that filled many a quarantined hour, Love That Journey For Me dives deep into a cultural sensation that became a watershed moment in both sitcom history, and in the portrayal of gay relationships on screen. (Please note this title is unaffiliated with Schitt's Creek.)
- The New University: Local Solutions to a Global Crisis by James Coe
Coe reimagines the University as a more civic and personal institution, believing we can get there through realigning our research to communal benefit, adopting outreach into the hardest to reach communities, using our positional power to purchase better, and using our cultural artefacts to draw people together in a society that currently feels fractured.
- The End: Surviving the World Through Fictional Disasters by Katie Goh
The End studies apocalypse fiction and its role in how we manage, manifest and imagine social, economic and political disaster and crises. What do apocalypse narratives tell us about how we imagine our place in history? Why do we fantasise about the end of the world?
[Image alt text: Photos of four Inklings authors - James, Katie, Liam, and Maud, alongside their respective draft book covers]
- The Appendix: Transmasculine Joy in a Transphobic Culture by Liam Konemann
In April 2019, Liam Konemann idly began work on what he thought of as ‘the appendix’ - a record of ongoing transphobia in the UK that he came across. But when his mental health began to spiral, he turned his attention to a different topic instead: how do we find beauty in transmasculinity? And how do we maintain it in a world stacked against us?
- Blind Spot: Exploring and Educating on Blindness by Maud Rowell
Two million people in the UK live with sight loss, many more worldwide, and yet the general population know so little about the day to day life of a blind person, their pre-existing knowledge often rooted in ignorance. Maud educates about the realities of living with sight loss, offering the knowledge people need to become better, more welcoming members of diverse communities.
Find out more about the authors themselves here.
After a tough 2020 for everyone, we felt that running our pre-orders via crowdfunding was the best option to ensure that our fantastic writers and their work reach the most readers possible.
Running our pre-orders this way means that we can launch the series from a stronger position, in a year where lockdowns, Brexit, and who knows what else leaves independent companies like ours balancing on a knife edge financially and in terms of stability.
This project is also part of the Creative Scotland Crowdmatch initiative which offers us a rare opportunity - for which we're very grateful - to have certain levels of your pledges match funded so your pledge goes even further for us! As it's a limited pot of funding, the quicker we can raise funds and get pre-orders, the higher the chance 404 can receive match funding. In a time where more people are turning to small businesses, it can't be overstated how important an opportunity this can be for a small publisher like us!
404 Ink is an award-winning, alternative independent publisher run by two publishing freelancers, Heather McDaid & Laura Jones, from their living rooms/ bedrooms/ wherever there's room.
We launched in late 2016 with the first issue of our magazine as a way to discover, spotlight and support new writers from across the UK, and the world - now we’re ready to launch our new series to continue our work of finding and publishing thought-provoking writing, and being able to dive into subjects a little deeper.
[Image alt text: 404 Ink founders Laura and Heather at a convention table selling books.]
You might already know us from our feminist anthology Nasty Women, hilarious breakthrough Chris McQueer, poetry wonder Nadine Aisha Jassat, queer words anthology We Were Always Here, or otherwise - either way, you can learn more at 404ink.com and @404ink.
404 Ink books and authors have featured on outlets including:
[Image alt text: logos for BBC, Huffington Post, ELLE, Huck, iNews, The Guardian, Diva, gal-dem, Bustle, Alternative Press, Refinery29, The Cut / New York Magazine, Kerrang! and CNN]
"Without platforms like 404 Ink promoting underrepresented and silenced voices, there would be little light left in the future of the media." - Refinery29
The project is budgeted around production costs. Our goal is essentially to raise the funds upfront to make these books - this includes design and printing fees, and an added contingency for any unexpected costs, as well as Crowdfunder's fees. Everything else (editing, typesetting, project management) will be done in-house by us on our own time.
[Image alt text: Pie chart shows four segments: 52% of money will go to printing, 31% towards brand & cover design, 12% towards a contingency fund and 5% towards Crowdfunder's fees]
All money raised goes towards making high quality, great looking books, so they visually match the talent inside. Be assured that our authors are getting paid - every pre-order counts as a sale so they'll be getting their full agreed royalties. We have a few additional plans and ideas for the series; if nothing goes wrong in the process (fingers crossed!) the contingency can go towards these extras.
The more sales we make, the more books being read, the more money that subsequently goes to our Inklings authors, and the more money that covers the costs to allow 404 to continue publishing brilliant writers and extending the series into 2022 and beyond.
The goal of the Crowdfunder is to have readers from across the world take a deep dive into a variety of topics, some you may have a curiosity for, some you may have never considered, all of which will provoke thought and interest, so you’ll be able to get…
- Ebook and print versions of Inklings. Postage is included in all print tiers - there are both UK and International options.
- A full set of our launch collection of Inklings (8 titles), at a discounted bundle price. All print copies will come bundled with the digital version.
Note: The full set [UK ONLY] version is our featured tier and can be found at the top of the page.
- Bigger bundles - buy multiple sets. If you are interested in buying a larger quantity than is currently listed, please get in touch directly.
Please note that we will be publishing these titles across 2021. As such, the fulfilment date is set for the end of December as a catch-all, though these books will be publishing incrementally as of Summer 2021.
We can only continue to publish writers and work we believe in due to your support - those who purchase books, support our authors and spread the word. As we return after a relatively quiet 2020, we want to take another moment to thank you for following us this far, and helping us continue!
If you have any queries, please get in touch with us via the 404 Ink contact form.