Founded in 2011, initially as a digital-only press, Dead Ink saw an opportunity to do things a new way and, in the process, publish the books that they felt weren’t getting published.
In 2015, they launched Publishing the Underground, an experiment in participatory publishing, reversing the traditional publishing model and bringing readers closer to authors. The project was established as a pilot study to assess the feasibility of the model prior to expansion in 2016.
Supported by Arts Council England, Dead Ink combined crowdfunding, subscription and membership to redefine the way that we think of publishing and ensure the future of challenging new literary fiction. As part of their agreement with Arts Council England, they raised £3,000 for print costs to publish three books by new and emerging authors over the course of six months.
Success so far?
Dead Ink’s books have three times made the shortlist for The Saboteur Awards, the longlists for both The Guardian’s First Book Award and Not the Booker Prize, and the longlist for the Edge Hill Short Story Award.
In July this year, Dead Ink became part of the Northern Fiction Alliance formed by Manchester-based Comma Press alongside And Other Stories and Peepal Tree Press. The alliance received a significant grant from Arts Council England’s International Showcasing Programme.
With Comma Press leading the Northern Fiction Alliance to four international book fairs in Frankfurt, New York, Beijing, and Buenos Aires, they will showcase and sell the work of several exciting and diverse authors to help build the cultural identity of strong British writing as well as British publishing based in the North.
The grant will enable Dead Ink to ambitiously expand their Publishing the Underground project and undergo a complete branding overhaul accompanied by a new website with a bespoke crowdfunding platform.
As part of the activity they will be hosting a special authors’ boot camp aimed at providing new authors with invaluable training, guidance and practical skills to assist them in establishing their emerging careers.
As well as debut authors, the project will publish SJ Bradley’s second novel, Guest, after her debut, Brick Mother, was published by Dead Ink in 2014. Dead Ink will also be publishing Harry Gallon’s second novel, Every Fox is a Rabid Fox, after his debut, The Shapes of Dogs’ Eyes, was published during the first Publishing the Underground pilot.
For more information, take a look at Dead Ink’s website here.