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Barrelhouse is proud to announce that we’re once again partnering with Submittable on the Barrelhouse Amplifier, a $1,500 award for emerging literary organizations. Applications for the 2018 Amplifier will open on January 1 and close at the end of the month on January 31. 

There is one important difference in the Amplifier this year: last year, as indicated above, the award was for “emerging literary organizations.” This year the award will be limited to independent literary magazines/websites and small presses. More context about this is below. 

Here’s everything we think you’ll need to figure out if your group is a good candidate for the Amplifier, how to apply, and what to expect. A link to the application is included at the bottom, in the What's Next section. 
 

WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS?

$1,500 from Barrelhouse and our partner Submittable.

A free Submittable account.

Also, advice and counseling and mentoring and connection-making in any way we can provide it. Don’t worry: we’re not going to micro-manage every step of your organization’s development. We don’t want to sit in on your meetings. But we want to offer help when you need it, and advice when you want it. We don’t pretend to be the smartest people in any room, but over the past 13 years we’ve learned some things about navigating the literary world (mostly by trial and error) and we’re happy to pass on whatever acquired wisdom we can.

 

WHO IS ELIGIBLE? 

This year we’re looking for independent literary magazines and small presses. 

“Magazine” or “press” can mean print or digital. 

If you're not in the U.S., that's fine. We're in the U.S. and that's the landscape we know best, so you might have to work a little harder to explain to us where you fit and what your audience is, but we're open to international applicants. 

No university-affiliated magazines or presses. We know you have struggles of your own and they are real, but we’re looking to support an independent organization. 

Repeat applicants are fine: if you applied last year and you meet these eligibility requirements, by all means feel free to apply again. 

This is tricky, but: no organizations with which Barrelhouse or its editors have a working business relationship. This does not include organizations that have participated in our conference. It does include presses that have published our (individual) books or organizations with which Barrelhouse has active business relationships. If you’re not sure if you fit in this category, get in touch and we’ll figure it out. We’re going to be careful here, so if you have to ask, probably you’re ineligible. Also, hi! Looking forward to seeing you at AWP! 

We are looking for existing organizations. If you have an idea but you haven’t actually started up yet, this isn’t the right place to find your funding. We want to support a  young, “emerging” magazine or press that could use the support. 

Our position on submission fees is well documented (spoiler alert: we’re against them). We know that it is hard out there for an independent lit mag/small press, so it’s not a total non-starter if you are charging or have charged submission fees, but we’d probably need to know why you made that choice and how you see the future of that situation if we’re really going to consider giving you money. 

We love the fact that there are so many people doing work that might push the definition of a magazine or a press, so if you’re not sure whether your group might be a fit, or if you have any other questions about eligibility, get in touch and ask us some questions at yobarrelhouse at gmail dot com.  We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 


HOW WILL WE DECIDE?

There is a simple application process where we want to know who you are, what you do, why you could use the help, and what you might do with the money. 

We care much more about your mission and how our assistance can help you turn it into a sustainable positive force than we do about your tax returns.

This is going to sound overly simple and it actually turns out to be really complicated: we’ll choose the group we like the best, and that will be based on what you do, how you approach what you do, and the chances the $1,500 could help you turn what you do into a sustainable venture. 

Just a quick aside that that’s two times in a row we’ve used the word “sustainable.” Hint. 

Like evaluating submissions for a literary magazine or small press, this a completely subjective process, and a very difficult one, and we’ll all just have to be cool with that.

We’ve kept the application short, so you’re not wasting a ton of time filling out paperwork, but we may ask you some follow-up questions, or for more information or materials, as we work toward a decision. 


A FEW THINGS WE’RE INTO:

Positivity: the world is pretty dark and crazy right now. We would love to support an organization that can help turn the lights back on.

Inclusivity: we are committed to supporting organizations that seek to create and maintain spaces for marginalized voices.

Community: we want to support organizations that in turn support communities of readers and writers, and foster those communities, whether that’s through readings and events or workshops or just getting necessary writing out into the world and into the hands of people who need it.

Sustainability: we will definitely give priority to organizations who would use this one-time support to make or enhance something that organically supports itself over time. 

Serving writers: this is what we like to do.

Serving readers: this is what writers like to do.

A few laughs every now and then: we are still Barrelhouse, after all. We believe we can help make things better without taking ourselves super duper seriously.

 

NEXT STEPS:

If this sounds like a thing you want  to apply for, roll on over to the application on Submittable.

If you have questions about this, feel free to email yobarrelhouse at gmail dot com. 

The application will be open from now through January 31, 2018. 

We’ll announce a decision at the AWP meeting in March. 
 

 

MORE INFORMATION AND CONTEXT IF YOU’D LIKE IT: 


PREVIOUS WINNER: GIRLS WRITE PITTSBURGH: 

Last year we awarded the inaugural Amplifier to a fantastic group called Girls Write Pittsburgh, which serves self identified teen girls in the Pittsburgh region through the craft of creative writing. We are really proud that we were able to help such an important and emerging organization at a time when our support could really make a difference. We strongly encourage you to check them out and support their work! 

 

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH LIMITING TO MAGAZINES AND SMALL PRESSES IN 2018? 

Last year, in the process of evaluating applications from service organizations like Girls Write Pittsburgh and many others, alongside those from literary magazines and small presses, it became clear pretty quickly that the work being done by service organizations was always going to seem more essential than the work being done by the magazines and presses. We didn’t expect this and perhaps should have seen it coming, but among the many takeaways from the first year, this was probably the most significant. 

As a result, and because we obviously continue to support magazines and websites and presses that are doing the work of getting new writing out into the world, this year we’re  limiting the applicant pool to magazines and presses. In the future, we plan to alternate between service organizations and lit mags/presses. Next year's award will be limited exclusively to community organizations.


WHY DID YOU START THIS? 

 These are difficult times. Here at Barrelhouse, the things that have always helped us get through dark periods in the past are literature and the literary community. What is writing and reading if not a call and response: Am I alone? No, you're not alone. I hear you. I feel these things, too. As writers and editors, we hope some of what we do is important. That in its own small, literary way, it reaches people, affirms them, and reassures them that they are not alone.

We remember very well the times -- the years -- after we launched when we were unsure whether or not we could financially sustain ourselves long enough to do everything we wanted to do or even to put out another issue. We’re mostly through those times and we want to help other organizations get through them as well, and that’s why we launched this award to provide what emerging organizations need most -- actual cash money, in the form of $1,500 -- in addition to advice, support, mentoring, and any other non-financial resources we can provide.
 

 

 

BARRELHOUSE is a registered 501(c)3