What is Community Action?
Quite simply we wouldn't exist without the solidarity and kindness of our poets, writers, and fellow publishers; and the work we put out into the world is an expression of that. We believe it's vital to amplify voices speaking out against oppression, to call out injustice ourselves as often and as loudly as we can, and to provide financial and pastoral support as often as we are able.
Broken Sleep takes its community engagement seriously and we offer one free monthly subscription to a different low-income writer every month. Good readers become good writers and financial hardship should not be a barrier to accessing new books.
We also send a copy of every book we release, every month, to Books Beyond Bars, a collective of volunteers who send books and other educational materials, free of charge, to incarcerated LGBTQIA+ people across the United Kingdom.
In addition to this we also offer free mentoring for three low-income individuals every year for publishing, to help expand the range of diverse voices within the publishing industry. The poetry industry is stronger for the diversity of its poets and we aim to play our part in correcting the balance that favours middle class white males and the poetry they create.
As part of our commitment to pastoral support we were also responsible for delivering 12 separate care packages to low income writers who were struggling during the self-isolation imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown.
We also offer free PDFs to anybody who asks - this ensures the accessibility of our books, regardless of economic, social, or physical barriers to accessing books as physical objects.
We have organised two major fundraising initiatives in recent years in order to combat structural inequality and to care for individuals in our community. In 2020 over five thousand pounds (£5000) was raised for Black Lives Matter, who are working for a world where black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise. The regular assassination of black lives by the police are repeated reminders of the constant systemic violence against black people, whether Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum.
In late 2019 we began taking submissions for an anthology of poetry by immigrants. We used the money raised as donations for submissions to cover the citizenship costs of a European migrant to the UK who had lived in the country for decades. He was unable to afford the extravagant costs of citizenship, so we fundraised these costs on his behalf.
We also run a regular fundraiser selling misprinted or damaged books. When we receive our books and they aren't up to standard, we hold them back and then run a silent auction on Twitter - every penny raised from these silent auctions go straight to a charitable initiative. The first silent auction raised £140 in funds for The International Rescue Committee in their efforts to counter the humanitarian crises in places such as Yemen and Syria. The second misprint bundle sale raised £100 for Refuge.
We have started a new imprint, Secret Sleep Books, which has a main purpose of raising money through a portion of sales for a charitable purpose, for each release. So far we have used secret Sleep Books to raise money for AGE UK, Medics without Borders (Yemen), Shelter UK, and Freedom4girls.
We also believe community extends to the world around us, to nature in all its glory. As a publishing press our books, obviously, require paper which involves trees being chopped down. To neutralise this impact we calculate how many trees have been used to make our books over every 6 month period, and then pay to have those trees planted. But, we don't stop there, we always pay for more trees than we use, so the idea is to leave with a more positive impact than we used. We also planted an additional 610 trees as a result of fundraising with an ecopoetry anthology.
In just over 2 years we have raised over £10k for a variety of causes.
If you have something you want us to get involved with, or you want to help, or any press enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org