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TODAY: Vote for South End Press to receive a $20K publishing grant

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July 31st, 2008

By Guest Blogger Asha Tall

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably part of feminist media, or supportive of it. And either way, you’ve probably been involved in seeking funding at some point or other. Especially if you’re working in independent media (which you probably are, because most corporate media is anything but feminist).

Thank you! Thank you for your efforts at advancing feminist media and feminist causes.

I’m writing now, as a guest blogger for WIMN’s Voices (a generous show of solidarity on Jennifer Pozner’s part!), because one (another) of our feminist media outlets is in jeopardy, and needs your vital support. That outlet is South End Press. Without you, without all of us, South End Press and all its sisters in the print, online, television, and radio worlds would not have been possible. Long ago the nation’s only unapologetically radical, feminist, mission-driven, and majority women of color publishing collective would have disappeared were it not for unapologetically feminist women like you.

So, we’re asking for help again. There are a number of ways, but right now, if you have time for just one, relatively simple one, please help us win $20,000 by voting for us at ideablob. We found out about this program when we voted for No Sweat Apparel;an organization actively helping to stop the exploitation of women, and helped them to continue their mission. And it only took a minute. But the voting ends today at midnight, so to count, your vote has to be made soon!

It isn’t easy being independent, maybe now more than ever. Even as we produce exciting new titles, our financial position is such that we’re up late at night very worried about our ability to carry on. Several factors contribute to the situation–the expense of producing books, transportation costs, the state of independent bookselling, the economy. We could go deeper if you are interested.

This year, the financial woes of Borders bookstores have hit South End Press especially hard. As a way to deal with its own troubles, Borders returned massive amounts of books. This means fewer copies of classics by South End authors like bell hooks and Vandana Shiva on the shelf for book browsers to happen upon. And as Borders returns came at the same time as end-of- semester returns it also means that for several months South End Press will receive no payments from our trade distributor–our main source of income. It hurts living paycheck to paycheck, especially when the checks don’t come.

Our worry about how to deal with the immediate cash crisis saps time that we would otherwise spend on publishing and promoting new books, and on trying to do our part in building a better world. For more than 30 years, we have found ways to carry on. We are committed to surviving this crisis, but we need your help to ensure that we can keep publishing new titles. The Right has strategically funded its own presses and media; the left must do the same.

This is why we’re trying to spread the CSP Movement: we can’t afford to confuse independence with isolated individual efforts. South End has remained independent only because of the success of our community interdependence. The ideablob competition is one way for us to further this movement. Your ideas around how to financially sustain independent media will be another.

The ability of South End Press to sustain democratic movements advancing social and economic justice pivots on a community-based model. So does the fact that we manage our own labor collectively, that we work daily to invert the pernicious hierarchies of the publishing industry, that we try to create the change we hope to see in the broader world. So does the fact that we don’t answer to a corporate marketing and sales department, that while we too are struggling to survive in a capitalist system our mission remains the same: to publish books we believe in, books that bring critical, radical perspectives to bear on issues that matter. None of this would be possible without the support of an entire community of readers, activists, ruminators, and dreamers.

But community starts with people. With you. And with me. Consider this: it costs roughly $30,000 just to produce one new book, even with a lot of donated labor. That’s a big number for most of us, maybe even feels impossible to visualize. But that’s where the power of us, and Community Supported Publishing Movement, comes in. We are building toward a goal of 1000 enrolled members by the end of the year. That means that we could produce at least 8 books like the recent groundbreaker The Revolution Will Not Be Funded. And if South End Press were no more, who would be willing to publish the next Exile and Pride: Queerness, Disability and Liberation; Ain’t I a Woman; or Outsiders
Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption
? Censorship takes many forms.

It takes more than dedication and passion to put a new book into the world. We have finished manuscripts waiting to be produced, but we might not have the money to print and promote them. South End Press has always relied on the support of our community. We need your support today! Help us win $20,000 by voting
for us at ideablob
. VOTING ENDS TODAY AT MIDNIGHT (central time).

Guest Blogger Asha Tall is editor and publisher at South End Press.

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