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A year of Kickstarting Publishing in the UK

Kickstarter has spear-headed the disruption movement like no one else. Crashing through industry upon industry, they have seen projects funded involving everything from popsicles to bus stops, and they have championed publishing in more ways than we can count. This month marks Kickstarter’s one year anniversary in the UK and to mark the date its publishing project specialist Niina Pollari has written up eight of the best crowd-funded publishing projects.

1. WITHIN – Howard Tangye

Edited by the design studio Stinsensqueeze, Within is the first comprehensive collection of portraits by Howard Tangye, fashion instructor and mentor at Central Saint Martins. Tangye’s work is intimate and expressive, and ranges from line drawings to colorful paintings depicting the close relationship between artist and sitter.

2. No Experiences

Inspired by the enigmatic @Horse_ebooks Twitter feed, Erin Watson wrote the poems that became No Experiences. The resulting book is a hilarious, internetty little poetry volume with surprisingly serious, modern twists. Read the poems and see the book here.

3. Robert Montgomery: Echoes of Voices in the High Towers 

Mono.kultur sought to publish the work of installation artist Robert Montgomery, whose large-scale light- and text-based pieces read like poems. By offering offbeat rewards like “we will whisper your name,” they reached their goal and were able to print the artist’s catalogue on oversized yet ephemeral newsprint.

4. The People’s E-Book

Hol Art Books wanted everyone to be able to make ebooks, so they set out to make a visually engaging, open, and free ebook publishing platform. The platform is now in beta testing, thanks to 920 backers.

5. Finding Arun

The Finding Arun project is about a lot more than the novel it sought to fund, the story of 19-year-old Aaron’s self-discovery in the face of a dark family secret. It’s also about how author Marisha Pink of London took the plunge and quit her corporate job to self-publish, inviting backers along for the journey.

6. Kindergarde

Kindergarde, from Black Radish Books, is an anthology of experimental poems, plays, and songs for children. It features a long list of contributors ranging from kids themselves to established writers like Anne Waldman and Eileen Myles, and reminds readers that children, who are already pretty avant-garde, should not be intellectually underestimated.

7. Manor House Quarterly 

Manor House Quarterly is a stellar example of an art and literary magazine project on Kickstarter, full of content that cross-pollinates across genre and medium. Although the magazine itself is on paper, the editors used media-rich project updates to connect with their backers (and shared an entire back issue electronically).

8. Waverton Writes

An early favourite from the UK, Waverton Writes is the first collection from a writers’ group based in a small Cheshire village. Editors Gwen Goodhew and Wendy Smedley put the anthology out this spring.

Niina Pollari is the publishing project specialist at Kickstarter. She ran a pretty great project herself once upon a time.

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