Update 4: Funding for BSL Project 14-12-21 Half Way!

What Meets the Eye? The Deaf Perspective is selling steadily. If you want a copy before Christmas, please order by Friday for absolute certainty.

This has been an exciting project and we had planned to make the entire book available as BSL videos for free.

We have been uploading videos of BSL versions of the poems and stories daily, here, some are already captioned, some will have to wait for more funds, but we thought better to have them without captions for now, than not share them at all.

We will pause shortly to concentrate on our latest book, Words From the Brink, and the Solstice Shorts Festival, coming back to sharing the BSL in the new year.

What Meets the Eye?

It has proved FAR more complicated and expensive than we first thought, and our budget of £4k [provided by ACE] has proved hopelessly inadequate, despite being based on actual costs for other BSL translation work. We are doing our best to achieve what we set out to do, but it’s a hand to mouth existance, being a small independant publisher – we don’t have assets or savings or a head office to bail us out. We need help.

We told our mailing list about the problem and have been tweeting regularly, and posting here – With book sales added to to the total we have now raised £1323, just over half of what we need – there is still a LONG way to go.

[Thank you to the 42 people who have contributed donations, and everyone who has bought books direct recently, you are all stars.]

How can you help?

Buy the book buy any of our books, actually, we don’t ringfence the income from them.

Or … (and?) donate! We will do as much BSL as we get money to cover.


 And tell anyone you know who you think would support this. Retweet, share on Facebook or wherever. This started out as an important, exciting, inventive project, and we’d really like to be able to recreate the buzz that the original idea came with.

Publication day! and Update 3: Funding for BSL Project 19-11-21

Publication day for our Deaf, deaf and Hard of Hearing writers anthology, What Meets the Eye? The Deaf Perspective is here!

Congratulations to all our authors and poets.

Books should be available in bookshops from now. Our distributor has plenty and any bookshop that doesn’t have it in stock should be able to get it within 24-48 hours. Though, obviously, we’d much prefer you to buy direct.

This is an exciting project and we had planned to make the entire book available as BSL videos for free.

What Meets the Eye?

It has proved FAR more complicated and expensive than we first thought, and our budget of £4k [provided by ACE] has proved hopelessly inadequate, despite being based on actual costs for other BSL translation work. We are doing our best to achieve what we set out to do, but it’s a hand to mouth existance, being a small independant publisher – we don’t have assets or savings or a head office to bail us out. We need help urgently.

We told our mailing list about the problem last month, and have been tweeting regularly, and posting here – With book sales added to to the total we have now raised £1193.

[Thank you to the 41 people who have contributed donations, and everyone who has bought books direct recently, you are all stars.]

However we need £2,500 to get close to the ever increasing costs, so this is about half what we need.

 

 

 

 

We have started posting the videos we already have here, some are already captioned, some will have to wait for more funds, but we thought better to have them without captions for now, than not share them at all.

How can you help?

Buy the book buy any of our books, actually, we don’t ringfence the income from them.

Or … (and?) donate! We will do as much BSL as we get money to cover.


 And tell anyone you know who you think would support this. Retweet, share on Facebook or wherever. This started out as an important, exciting, inventive project, and we’d really like to be able to recreate the buzz that the original idea came with.

Update 2: Funding for BSL Project 19-11-21

Publication day for our Deaf, deaf and Hard of Hearing writers anthology, What Meets the Eye? The Deaf Perspective is next week!

This is an exciting project and we had planned to make the entire book available as BSL videos for free.

What Meets the Eye?

It has proved FAR more complicated and expensive than we first thought, and our budget of £4k [provided by ACE] has proved hopelessly inadequate, despite being based on actual costs for other BSL translation work. We are doing our best to achieve what we set out to do, but it’s a hand to mouth existance, being a small independant publisher – we don’t have assets or savings or a head office to bail us out. We need help urgently.

We told our mailing list about the problem last month, and have been tweeting regularly, and posting here – With book sales added to to the total we have now raised £1078.

[Thank you to the 40 people who have contributed donations, you are all stars.]

However we need £2,500 to get close to the ever increasing costs.

 

 

 

 

How can you help?

Buy the book buy any of our books, actually, we don’t ringfence the income from them.

Or … (and?) donate! We will do as much BSL as we get money to cover.


 And tell anyone you know who you think would support this. Retweet, share on Facebook or wherever. This started out as an important, exciting, inventive project, and we’d really like to be able to recreate the buzz that the original idea came with.

There’s some complex number crunching going on, and we will start posting the videos we already have Tomorrow… they will be here

In the meantime we have some really tricky poems, a preface and a long short story that all our translator contacts have passed on as ‘too difficult’ so, if you are a BSL translator, please get in touch!

 

 

Update: Funding for BSL Project

Publication day for our Deaf, deaf and Hard of Hearing writers anthology, What Meets the Eye? The Deaf Perspective is approaching fast. This is an exciting project and we had planned to make the entire book available as BSL videos for free.

What Meets the Eye?

It has proved FAR more complicated and expensive than we first thought, and our budget of £4k [provided by ACE] has proved hopelessly inadequate, despite being based on actual costs for other BSL translation work. We are doing our best to achieve what we set out to do, but it’s a hand to mouth existance, being a small independant publiser – we don’t have assets or savings or a head office to bail us out. We have found a great many dead ends in search of other funding, and we need help urgently.

We told our mailing list about the problem last month, and have been tweeting regularly, and between them that has raised just over £850. However we need £2,500 to get close to the ever increasing costs. We’ve reluctantly cancelled the launch, which even on line, would have been quite expensive, with all the access requirements,  which will help a bit.

As a result of an earlier post here, today we are now at just under £1000

[Thank you to the 39 people who have contributed, you are all stars.]

 

 

 

 

How can you help?

Buy the book buy any of our books, actually, we don’t ringfence the income from them. There has been a flurry of book buying this week, which I haven’t calculated yet, but this will also help.

Or … (and?) donate! We will do as much BSL as we get money to cover.


 And tell anyone you know who you think would support this. Retweet, share on Facebook or wherever. This started out as an important, exciting, inventive project, and we’d really like to be able to recreate the buzz that the original idea came with.

There’s some complex number crunching going on, and we will start posting the videos we already have very soon…

In the meantime we have some really tricky poems, a preface and a long short story that all our translator contacts have passed on as ‘too difficult’ so, if you are a BSL translator, please get in touch!

 

 

Progress on Funding for BSL Project

Publication day for our Deaf, deaf and Hard of Hearing writers anthology, What Meets the Eye? The Deaf Perspective is approaching fast. This is an exciting project and we had planned to make the entire book available as BSL videos for free.

What Meets the Eye?

It has proved FAR more complicated and expensive than we first thought, and our budget of £4k [provided by ACE] has proved hopelessly inadequate, despite being based on actual costs for other BSL translation work. We are doing our best to achieve what we set out to do, but it’s a hand to mouth existance, being a small independant publiser – we don’t have assets or savings or a head office to bail us out. We have found a great many dead ends in search of other funding, and we need help urgently.

We told our mailing list about the problem last month, and have been tweeting regularly, and between them that has raised just over £850. [Thank you to the 37 people who have contributed, you are all stars.] However we need £2,500 to get close to the ever increasing costs. We’ve reluctantly cancelled the launch, which even on line, would have been quite expensive, with all the access requirements,  which will help a bit.

We’ve been looking (rather wanly) for a jazzy animated graphic to display progress, but to be honest, it’s hard to find much enthusiasm for making this ‘fun’, or taking time away from beating heads on brick funding walls.

Here’s what we’ve come up with so far.

As you can see, about a 1/3 of the way there.

Normally at this time of year we are crowdfunding for Solstice Shorts, and we just don’t feel able to do that this year – its too  confusing a message to be raising cash for two different projects – so this is impacting other projects as well. More on our solution to the Solstice conundrum in another post.

How can you help?

Buy the book buy any of our books, actually, we don’t ringfence the income from them.

Or … (and?) donate! We will do as much BSL as we get money to cover.


 And tell anyone you know who you think would support this. Retweet, share on Facebook or wherever. This started out as an important, exciting, inventive project, and it’s really depressing that its ended up where it has.

 

 

Love Audio Week: This Poem Here

To conclude our #LoveAudio blog series, here is an extract from the remarkable poetry collection, This Poem Here by Rob Walton.

Arachne Press Director, Cherry Potts, recently said of This Poem Here: “At the start of lockdown, Rob Walton was responding to the anxieties and absurdities of the Corona Virus crisis by writing poetry. He published a lot of these poems on social media, as real-time responses to the latest news. Watching and enjoying them from afar, I approached Rob to publish them as a book. We were in conversation about this project when Rob’s dad sadly died from Covid. The poems in the collection then took a radical turn, delving into rage, sorrow and grief. I can’t imagine a more appropriate collection to have published in this ‘you-couldn’t-make-it-up’ era.”

Full of tears, laughter, biting political satire and Geordie grammar, these are poems that are meant to be read aloud. Here is ‘And in Lockdown’:

You can also watch Rob Walton reading some of the collection in the video from the online launch of This Poem Here: https://youtu.be/sNijjLH4zB0  (be warned, he made many of us cry!).

#LoveAudio is the Publisher’s Association annual week-long digital celebration of audiobooks is designed to showcase the accessibility, innovation, and creativity of the format. Follow the hashtag on twitter.

Love Audio Week: Inclusive Publishing

What are you reading this weekend? Or should we say, listening to?

For our Saturday #LoveAudio post, here’s a recent article by Arachne Press Director, Cherry Potts: ‘Published, accessible, authentic: how audiobooks can be inclusive’, as well as a bonus excerpt from our very first audiobook – The Don’t Touch Garden by Kate Foley. Kate read the audiobook herself (beautifully) when we first experimented with audio production.

Read more about this process, and Arachne’s approach to audiobooks and inclusive publishing, in Cherry’s article:

https://www.bookbrunch.co.uk/page/free-article/inclusive-publishing-and-audiobooks/

#LoveAudio is the Publisher’s Association annual week-long digital celebration of audiobooks is designed to showcase the accessibility, innovation, and creativity of the format. Follow the hashtag on twitter.

Behind the Scenes at Arachne Towers: Lockdown Audiobook Production


The Corona Virus crisis meant a moment for reflection, strategising and funding applications at Arachne Press. When we got Arts Council England funding for nine audiobooks, we had to approach the challenge of creating them remotely, while we couldn’t get into the studio due to lockdown. Continuing our #LoveAudio celebrations, here’s a behind the scenes look at how we approached this. Cherry Potts talks to poet Jeremy Dixon, audiobook narrator Nigel Pilkington and Jessica Stone, audiobook producer at Listening Books.

Cherry Potts, Director

Having worked with Listening Books in the studio, I thought I had a rough idea how difficult it would be to record remotely – I knew what was possible, and what wasn’t, I knew that the pickups that were dealt with in seconds in the studio would be more complicated to deal with. I knew background noise would be a problem, and that with our anthologies, we needed the actors to be recording to the same standards. So I thought I knew what we were getting in to.

Having to be a director at one remove, though, not being on the ‘set’ as it were, was a real challenge; every problem was magnified by the repetitions that were necessary – and all those actors with neighbours who decide now is the perfect time to drill into the party wall! Jessica and I really bonded over the problems, admitting to occasionally shrieking as some slip happened again and again. But also, I found myself laughing out loud listening to actors apologising for burps or shrieking in their own frustration at some word that would.not.come.out.right; or sighing happily at the perfect rendition of a particular phrase.

I have to be honest; I wouldn’t choose to do it like this. I now know not to rely on an audition recording, and to audition over Zoom. Compared to being in the studio, remote recording is time consuming and frustrating, but needs must in lockdown, and when it goes well, it is a joy.

The absolute best experience has been recording A Voice Coming From Then by Jeremy Dixon. Because of the sensitive material, I asked Jeremy who he wanted to read. We agreed that the reader must be a queer man, and of roughly the same age as Jeremy. Shared understanding of what it was like growing up ‘then’ was really important. I put a call out to actors I knew and to the narrators we were already working with as the people most likely to know someone; and Sophie Aldred, who has narrated two novels for us, immediately suggested Nigel Pilkington. Initially I had in my mind that we were trying to replicate Jeremy’s approach, if not actual voice, as a 15 year old and as an adult, but in the course of auditioning, with Jeremy listening in, we discovered that what was needed was a voice that was, in essence, the reader, reading for the first time – which gave a very necessary steer for what the listening experience would be – this is a book wreathed in content warnings, the tone had to be exactly right.

Nigel read some of the poems  for us on the spot, and it was an emphatic yes, and the resulting files sent off to Jessica for technical approval. Short delay while Jeremy reformatted his carefully laid out and largely unpunctuated poems, so that they could be read aloud without faltering.

Nigel asked if we wanted to listen in via zoom while he recorded. I hadn’t expected that, and it was brilliant, almost like being in the studio, immediate feedback, live performance, and very moving. We just had to remember to mute when we’d finished saying how wonderful every take was! We had, of course, chosen the hottest day of the year, and Nigel was expiring in his recording cupboard, but five hours later we had a complete book.

Jeremy Dixon, Author

My first full poetry collection A VOICE COMING FROM THEN (published by Arachne Press) starts with my teenage suicide attempt and expands to encompass themes of bullying, queerphobia, acceptance and support. In one of those unplanned cosmic coincidences that you just couldn’t make up, we actually recorded the audiobook on the 42nd anniversary of that suicide attempt. So, for me, lockdown recording was very emotional before we even started and then the beautiful and varied ways in which Nige was able to read my work only added to making this one of the most memorable events of my writing career.

Usually the author would not be present in the studio during recording but one of unexpected benefits of lockdown was that it enabled me to be involved via the wonders of Zoom. My editor Cherry was also there, and we could both give small directions in pacing, emphasis, and pronunciation although Nige didn’t really need very much of this, his readings were so fantastic that I kept thinking, ‘I would love this poem if somebody else had written it’. We recorded the audiobook on what was the hottest day of the year so far and so had many breaks for water and food etc, but I was still surprised that it took nearly five hours to record everything from introduction to poems to acknowledgements.

For a writer and poet, it was an invaluable insight into the processes involved in creating an audiobook and I feel very grateful that lockdown enabled me to be a part of it.

Nigel Pilkington, Actor

Being a voice actor during lockdown?  The myth of the Hydra springs to mind! – we’ve needed to grow many more heads for the many more hats that have rained down on us.  When you record a book in an external studio, your entire focus can be on your performance.  But when recording from home, you’re also tasked with the jobs of engineer, sound editor, and sometimes director, and it’s easy to let the performance be pushed to the back of the queue.

Not so when recording A Voice Coming From Then by Jeremy Dixon, published by Arachne Press, as we took our time, allowing Jeremy’s poignant and careful words to be intoned with sensitivity.  After each poem, I’d break to label the files, and this actually afforded me a natural gear change between pieces, so that each one could be approached on its merits, rather than rattling through the entire script in one pass.

So, as much as recording in lockdown has been vexing, it did actually work to our advantage in this case… and I managed NOT to lose my head…!

Jessica Stone, Producer

I have both sympathy and admiration for voice actors who’ve been forced to transition from professional studio to recording at home. Not everyone has access to quiet, non-reverberant spaces, and it can be a steep learning curve to work well with the technical equipment and recording software. This means that the raw recordings I receive from actors can vary significantly in how much interference they need from me! In this case, however, Nigel made my job as easy as it gets, with the happy result that I was free to enjoy Jeremy’s text and Nigel’s performance as I worked. I am especially fond of ‘I’m learning to shout “Oi!”’ 

#LoveAudio is the Publisher’s Association annual week-long digital celebration of audiobooks is designed to showcase the accessibility, innovation, and creativity of the format. Follow the hashtag on twitter.

A Voice Coming from Then will be published by Arachne Press in August 2021. It is available for pre-order now, from our webshop.

Love Audio Week: Accidental Flowers

“A fascinating and imaginative vision of the future, built on the foundations of our current climate crisis. You get to follow the overall story from multiple view points which allows multiple other issues to be delicately explored through a variety of characters.

A really pleasant surprise from a book I hadn’t heard of! I would recommend it to anyone wanting an interesting, entertaining and thought provoking read.” Audible Review

Our #LoveAudio post today is an extract from the audiobook of Accidental Flowers, a novel in short stories by Lily Peters.

This title was another multi-voiced audiobook. The clip above is narrated by Beth Frieden and we also got to work with several other fantastic voice actors and narrators, including Tigger Blaize. Tigger said:

I loved playing Robin [in Accidental Flowers]! With each role like this, we get closer to having a trans cannon of stories and characters. It’s a brilliant book with a real mix of voices.”

#LoveAudio is the Publisher’s Association annual week-long digital celebration of audiobooks is designed to showcase the accessibility, innovation, and creativity of the format. Follow the hashtag on twitter.

Love Audio Week: 100neHundred

One of the most interesting things about publishing our titles as audio books is when we are working with anthologies and collections that need a multi-voice approach. This creates the challenge of finding authentic, representative voices for each story or poem within the collection – without having to recruit a cast of thousands! 

Today for #LoveAudio week we are sharing an audio excerpt from one of the most multifariously voiced books we have ever published: 100neHundred by Laura Besley is a collection of 100 stories, each of exactly 100 words. We’re delighted to share two stories from this brilliant book, one read by Cornelia Colman and one by Shubhita Chaturvedi:

The book gives the reader the feeling of voyeurism as if we are taking a glimpse behind the curtain of lives unraveling, of decisions being made behind closed doors, of peeking at the most intimate of moments. It’s melancholic, heartrending, hard hitting and joyous all in one!” Ross Jeffrey

#LoveAudio is the Publisher’s Association annual week-long digital celebration of audiobooks is designed to showcase the accessibility, innovation, and creativity of the format. Follow the hashtag on twitter.