First Blog: While it seems a downer...
Updated: Sep 18
While it seems a downer to commence with bad news, I take the view that from here, the only way is up.
The bad news was that my application to the Arts Council for England (ACE) for funding to support the Gog-Magog project has been turned down. (See the Novels section for more about the project, or better still go to the Gog-Magog website.)
The reasons for rejection were threefold, but I have to say that only two of the folds were clear to me. Firstly, it wasn't necessarily a bad bid, but it was judged not as good, fundable, exciting, or something, compared with other applications. We know ACE is highly oversubscribed, and less than 20% of applications are successful. Secondly, it would have been stronger with more engagement to ensure a wider readership (actually, they used the word "audience", which does make you wonder). They were especially interested in - let me just check the wording - "lower socio-economic and other diverse backgrounds". And thirdly, the application would have benefited from "additional professional publishing support and oversight."
Now there's nothing I can do about the competition, and it may just be that there will always be better projects than Gog-Magog. There is something I can do about the engagement thing, and I'm very happy to set up readings in libraries and schools, run workshops and the like, and target places such as, I dunno, Hackney.
But as for the professional publishing support, I'm at a loss. I have an editor on board, and a designer, and I'll get a proofreader. Thing is, the book isn't due to be "published" in any conventional way - it won't go through bookshops or be self-published on Amazon. It will be produced as an art project in a very limited edition, for sale mainly via the dedicated website. I'm not sure what else I can do, apart from bring in a pro online marketing guru. But if ACE wanted that, why not say so?
I'm not here to have a moan. But it is a low point. I remind myself that low points are where you start before you come to those sunlit uplands.