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Writer and Artyness columnist on kickstarting creative projects

By Barbara Henderson

The media is full of financial woe at the moment. But I’m not watching – I have just spent a less than enjoyable morning doing battle with yet another funding application.

Barbara Henderson.
Barbara Henderson.

It may come as a surprise to you that a good chunk of any creative professional’s time is taken up with things like this. Paid events are great if you can get them, but the people who truly succeed in the creative industries are the proactive go-getters who, as far as possible, make their own luck. I am determined to be one of them.

Today, at least! Tomorrow, I may roll myself up into a lazy ball by the fire and read…

Some months ago, I attended a Society of Authors webinar about being a writer in residence. One of the speakers was the inspirational Merryn Glover of Kincraig who honestly described the process – yes, writers who expect to be paid for their work often have to propose activities and yes, source the funding for these too. Thank goodness for the Scottish Book Trust who fund Live Literature events, and thank goodness for other creative industry support too, if you can find it. It is wise to keep an eye out for these things by signing up to the Creative Scotland newsletter, for example.

But I am not the only one beavering away at my desk in the hope that the gold coins may rain on me from above. The whole industry is looking for innovative new ways to survive and thrive.

Volker Kutscher. Picture: Monika Sandel
Volker Kutscher. Picture: Monika Sandel

Take Sandstone Press, the internationally renowned, prize-winning Inverness Publisher. Sandstone Press is launching a Kickstarter campaign to bring the grit and glamour of Lunapark, Volker Kutscher’s hotly anticipated sixth Gereon Rath mystery, to English language readers Kutscher’s historical noir novels are international bestsellers and inspired the hit TV series Babylon Berlin. However, following two years of sales disrupted by the pandemic, with costs rising, publishing long books in translation is becoming increasingly difficult. Sandstone aims to crowdfund £10,000 in 30 days on Kickstarter to ensure they can publish Lunapark. Due to Kickstarter’s ‘all or nothing’ approach, that target must be met by the end of the crowdfunding window. Sandstone’s managing director, Robert Davidson, says: “This series just keeps getting better, a feeling I am delighted to share with Kutscher’s vast international fanbase. Though the cost of production is prohibitive, we are excited about Kickstarter as an opportunity to continue publishing these gripping, politically astute novels.”

The campaign launched on October 11, ahead of Babylon Berlin season four, under way on Sky Atlantic.

Confession: I have a double reason to get behind this effort. Not only are the lovely team at Sandstone Press local, but Volker Kutscher’s birthplace, Lindlar in Germany, is a mere stone’s throw from where I was born.

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