buy Salt


Wondering what to read this summer? There’s a 20% discount at the Salt shop… and the selection above, while I can vouch for most of it personally, is but a drop in the ocean. I haven’t even given you the ones with differently-formatted pictures! That includes Don Share, Philip Nikolayev, Valeria Melchioretto, John Wilkinson, Robert Archambeau, Giles Goodland… to name but a few. I’ll vouch for them, too. (And for Me and the Dead.)

This recession is scary. In case you hadn’t noticed. Salt Publishing supremo Chris Hamilton-Emery left a note on the Poets on Fire message board this morning, saying:

As many of you will know, we’ve been struggling to keep Salt moving since June last year when the economic downturn began to affect the press. Our three year funding ends this year: we’ve £4,000 due from ACE in a final payment, but cannot apply through Grants for the Arts for further funding for Salt’s operations. Spring sales were down nearly 80% on the previous year, and despite April’s much improved trading the past twelve months has left us with a budget deficit of over £55,000. It’s proving to be a very big hole and we’re having to take some drastic measures to save the business. We’re cancelling all UK publications for the remainder of this year. A truly awful decision to have to make, with so many books, almost all of them, at final proofs. I’ll be leaving Salt over the next few months.

We’ve not gone bankrupt, and will still be trading on our backlist and our substantial new list. We’ve published over 200 ISBNs in the past twelve months, and the front list of new titles and debuts is the strongest we’ve seen for some time. Salt will probably become a much smaller business from this point. We’re keeping our offices and Jen will continue to run the press.

It’s been a remarkable journey. Nine years of my life, and I’ve come into contact with thousands of writers almost all of whom have provided support, advice and friendship. It’s with great sadness that I write this note. I thought I could establish a sustainable non-funded literary press, but I’ve failed to pull that off, the economy has finally beaten all our efforts. If I had to guess, I think we were little more than a year away from financial stability. Really very close. Though we’d have probably needed support to grow and develop for at least another five years. Our genre is a tough one.

I’d like to thank everyone here, and all the hidden readers, as this board has considerable outreach, you all have my admiration for your commitment to the art. I’ll write something more formal about the business in the coming weeks; I’m a little too emotionally drained right now and still trying to contact some authors. There are still a few opportunities to find some financial support, but I rather think my time has now run out.

I’ll restate the point that the press is still afloat, and still needs your support to stay afloat. That means buying books, and I’m sure you’ll forgive the plug in this context. If you want Salt to survive in any form, go and buy some summer reading. There are some truly wonderful books just out. I hope you enjoy them.

Now, it is impossible to quantify the impact Salt has had on the poetry landscape in the UK. First of all, they have simply published great numbers of people who would not otherwise have stood a chance in the existing climate of shrinking lists. By the same token, they have expanded the idea of the main stream – which is another way of saying they have made lots of poetry, accessible interesting lively poetry, available to you, the readers, no matter what your tastes. One author (whose book I hope will still come out) wrote to me earlier today: “What Salt have done is take poetry and sell it like there’s no reason it shouldn’t be up there with decent literary fiction. Salt don’t treat readers like children, or weirdos. And, frankly, they are the most important element (outside writers themselves) behind the shift in direction in poetry over the last 10 yrs towards a more open-field approach, where you can like Armitage and Prynne at the same time, and not get shafted by either camp.” And that’s before you even address Salt’s fearless marketing strategies and their amazing technological fearlessness… Salt is all about the future. Let’s keep it that way.

Good news is coming through that some of the forthcoming titles can possibly still be published. We, that is the poor huddled authors and their friends, are waiting for details. I don’t believe all is lost. As Chris says, there is a hefty list to trade on here; and as Scarlett O’Hara says, tomorrow is another day!

I’m not just saying all this because they’re my publisher. They are my publisher precisely because I was so excited about what they were doing. I never sent a manuscript anywhere else. In the meantime I will leave you with our doughty but exhausted publisher’s closing words:

Please buy just one book, right now. We don’t mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you’ll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store and help us keep going.

UK and International


Aw, gwaaan… There’s free postage over £30. And you can get a sturdy burlap Salt tote bag to put them all in. And you have me to show you the ones I like! |(Editing in: in fact, see my other post where I’m offering personal shop assistant services.)

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