Today marks the one year anniversary of Bandit Fiction being in existence – one year today the URL for the website was purchased and, as a group, we started inviting visitors into our little publishing world of short fiction. To celebrate this, Bandit’s got a few special announcements and offers coming up throughout the day (follow us on Twitter to keep abreast of those), but I wanted to do a special post looking back at the year that’s just been, and looking forward to the years ahead.
*A quick warning: if you read on, there’ll be a fair few links, not all of them to our things, and a tad of shameless self-promotion (though I’ll keep this to a minimum), but given the circumstances, I’m sure you’ll forgive us it this time*
Our First Year
It’s still, honestly, hard to believe that Bandit is a year old. I can still remember having those first conversations – do you think we should start a publishing company? – and the joyous apprehension we felt about what we were about to do.
I’d be lying if I said that our first year hasn’t been full of ups and downs. From the initial excitement of starting a publishing company and the absolute overflow of ideas we had to the reality of creating something from the ground up, of sleepless nights editing and designing issues (and learning to function inside Adobe InDesign), of making mistakes, of the sheer unknown panic when it came to releasing our first issue – is anyone going to buy it?!?! – it’s certainly been an eventful year, and one where we’ve learned a lot.
Looking back over the last year, though, I can safely say that I’m a little astounded by what we’ve been able to achieve. In just 12 months we’ve published three fantastic issues (with the release of our fourth close on the horizon), with the huge privilege of being able to publish some writers and artists for their very first time, we’ve worked with a literary award to publish their shortlisted stories (a particular delight was attending the awards ceremony and seeing the winners announced and read their work), we’ve sold over 400 (FOUR HUNDRED!!!!) issues, with our sample editions being read over 700 times online over at Issuu and our podcasts racking up almost 200 listens on SoundCloud, and (as the boring one in charge of finances, I’ve got a soft spot for this one) we’ve created a publishing company capable of sustaining itself financially.
The Year Ahead
Bandit’s biggest focus for the year ahead is to consolidate everything we’ve done so far, making improvements where we can. As a team, we all have a much better understanding of our skills and our available time, and while our aim is to consolidate what we’ve done previously, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few new things coming in 2019. (Again, to see what these might be, check out our Twitter.)
Knowing what it is we’ve got planned, I’m very excited for the year ahead. It’s a much less daunting experience now that there’s a years worth of experience in us, and it’s a year where we’l be looking to create more quality content, both in our issues and in creating a community for writers, and do more to help those that we’re lucky enough to publish. There’s a few of the authors I’ve worked with closely and whose progress I like to follow. One of those writers recently did a reading (unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend and only able to see the pictures online) and it filled me with a strange sense of pride, that even though Bandit was in no way responsible to that writer’s reading, we’d still been part of the writing journey that got them there. One of the biggest driving forces for me behind everything I do for Bandit is that desire to find out just how proud, how happy I’d feel if that reading came about directly from something we’d done.
And this, just like I’d planned it, brings me perfectly on to how I’d like to finish this post.
There’s no exaggeration at all when I say that Bandit Fiction wouldn’t be where it is now without the help, support, dedication, enthusiasm, and general creativity and awesomeness of those we’ve worked with this past year. If you’re still reading this post, please take a second to check them out (honestly, if you’re clicking one link in this post, choose to find out more about one of the artists we’ve worked with or the writers we’ve published).
So, in no particular order, thank you to:
- The volunteer editors we’ve worked with: Ben, Emma, Dan, Luke, and Rob, and Coral and Laura who have moved on to other things
- Bev and Danni who were both there with us at the start
- The incredible, incredible artists we’ve worked with: Hannah Demaine, Ellie Wilsden, Rosna Sachdev, Natalia Balza, Shahrzad Sharif, and Seb Slingsby
- The amazing writers, whose work we do our best to share with the world: Gwenda Major, Geoffrey Heptonstall, R. J. Gardham, Jason Jawando, Joe Butler, Harriet Terrill, Ruth Brandt, Nick Watson, Lynn Bushell, A. J. Kirby, David Oakley, Rhiannon Wilson, Kyle J. Durant, Matt Preston, Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon, Maria Alejandra Barrios, Jamie Redgate, Luke Newell, Andrew Murphy, Joe Williams, Sarah Dale, Bryn Chamberlain, Simon Marlowe, Robert Levett-Millett, Patience Mackarness, Alex De Cesare, Zoe Wells, Laura Muetzelfeldt, Erez Majerantz, Dot., Valentine Carter, John D. Ashton, Eamon O’Leary, Alex Hubbard
- The equally amazing writers featured in the Sunderland Short Story Award 2018. That’s: Sandra Arnold, Yvonne Battle-Felton, Pippa Gladhill, Jennifer Harvey, Jess Hector, Michael Holloway, Alexandra Scarlett Mullen, Chris Sewart, Ashley Thorpe, Iona Adams, Ebun Bello, Alissa Bonnett, Tamsyn Christie, Maria Clark, Olivia Hill, Ailsa Jones, Rowan Maddock, Grace Murray, and Grace Noakes.
- Sarah Dobbs, Steve Watts, Leah and Cassie (wondrously wonderful photographers) and the staff at Waterstones Sunderland who we worked with for the Sunderland Short Story Award
It’s been one hell of a year, and here’s the many more.