The following is an FAQ for those members of the public who wish to apply for the Malta Book Fund.
For the sake of those who have never applied for funds before and have no experience of such procedures, we will first of all point out the importance of paperwork, proper documentation and presentation. It is true that the application will be assessed mainly on the merits of the project but applications that are handed in without the proper documents, or that have omitted required information will never make it to the stage were they will be assessed for their content.
As stated on our Book Fund page, every application must include the following:
- Applicant’s copy of ID card (front and back).
- Application form (specify Grant).
- Budget Breakdown (including copies of Quotes).
- Bibliographic references of applicant and/or author’s proposed project.
- Other relevant bibliographic references.
- Additional references made by third parties supporting the project or application (only for Publishing Grants).
- Copies of related press cuttings
- List of past public funding opportunities (where applicable)
It should also be clear that the documents and requested information should be presented as neatly as possible and be limited to the requirements above. It is not necessary for applicants to send copies of the texts they aim to publish. The initial stage of the application process is mainly administrative, meaning that the application will be evaluated in terms of documents and other information related to the project, not the text itself.
What type of grants does the Fund offer?
There are two types of grants – publication grants and education grants. Appendix A on our Book Fund page offers an updated list of courses and seminars that can be applied for but this is only a suggestion. Interested applicants can apply for courses not listed in Appendix A as long as they can prove it will fulfill the aims of the education grant, that is, to fund the further education, research and development of authors and publishers.
There is a minimum of eight grants, totaling €40,000, to be distributed among publishing and education funds, each grant carrying a maximum of €5,000.
Who can apply?
Our Book Fund page lists all the individuals eligible for the fund together with very precise definitions of the professions these individuals should have in order to qualify as applicants. These are writers and publishers. A writer is defined as someone who has published, or has had published at least one story in book form or an article or a story in a published book. The definition of publisher, on the other hand, requires that the person owns a publishing house that has already published a minimum of one book by one author.
This has the obvious implication that those authors that have as yet not published any work cannot apply in their own name. However, they can still present their work if they find a publisher willing to be present their work.
Is there a deadline for the completion of the project?
The short answer is no, there is no specified deadline. However, the applicants who pass the initial stage will eventually have to present time frames for their project.
Can applicants present work that has already appeared in print?
No. As stated on our Book Fund page, the fund aims to support the publication of material that has no commercial viability despite its high cultural value. If a work has already appeared in print, whether self-published or not, it means that some means of publication has been found so there is no need for funds.
Can applicants present work which they intend to self-publish?
Technically yes but it is not advisable. Ideally, all projects would be eventually published with a local publisher. Publishers have the experience and expertise in editorial work, book layout and proof-reading which can hardly be matched by any one individual. This means that work submitted for publication with a publisher will make the best possible use of the funding and ensure high quality in terms of book production.
What kind of publication projects are eligible?
Eligibility criteria are open-ended so as to cater for as many different initiatives as possible, giving a chance to all projects that prove to be of cultural value according to the opinion of the Board of Adjudication. Having said that, our Book Fund page makes it clear that projects involving the publication of coffee-table books, musical scores and books based solely on imagery or photography are excluded from the scheme. Translation of local manuscripts and books from Maltese to other languages is also excluded from the Malta Book Fund since such a scheme already exists within the Malta Arts Fund, which is run by the Arts Council. Applications for translations of foreign-language books into Maltese are allowed.
We hope that this article will serve as a useful guide to all those wishing to apply for the fund. Please do take the time to study our Book Fund page in order to assess, first of all, the eligibility of your project and, secondly, in order to ensure you hand in the application properly and duly filled in.