As the deadline for the Malta Book Fund is approaching, the NBC would like to remind all interested applicants that it is offering help with the application, in particular for those who are not applying through a publisher. While it is recommended that applicants identify publishers who have expressed an interest in taking on the project, the regulations allow authors to present the application themselves as authors. For those who either choose or have no choice but to do so, it is recommended that they contact the NBC staff (see details below) in order to ensure that the application is handed in with all the appropriate information and documentation.
Two common areas of difficulty for most applicant authors are the references and the budget. References can be of two types – bibliographic or third party. By bibliographic it is meant that the reference, with respect to the author or to the proposed project, is sourced from published material – books, articles in journals or the internet. Bibliographic references with respect to the themes, topics or areas of inquiry related to the project should also be presented with the application. To concreticise the foregoing, references to a literary review of the author’s previous work, a newspaper article reporting on research related to the proposed project that mentions the author as a key researcher, or references to chapters in specialised books or journals that deal with relevant aspects of the main subject of the proposal are all valid bibliographic references.
Third party references are references written by professionals commending the proposal. These references are usually written for the express purpose of supporting the application. Third party references that commend and focus on the author, rather than the proposal, will also be taken into consideration by the board of adjudication.
The budget breakdown is the most technical aspect of the application. The regulations require proofs of the quotes. That is to say, if the proposal is for the publication of a book, then the author is expected to present official quotes from printers, book distributors, proof-readers, editors, etc covering every aspect of the publication process. In case of authors who are presenting their application with a publisher, this can be handled quite easily by the publisher. For those authors who have not as yet identified a publisher, either because they would like to self-publish the book or because they have not made up their mind yet which publisher to entrust with the project, they have to contact individual companies or professionals for a quote with respect to each part of the publication process. This is a complicated process, which is why it is recommended that authors identify a publisher before handing in their application.
Having said that, the NBC staff are available to help all applicants with all aspects of the application, including finding contacts of professional proofreaders, editors, and printers for the purpose of procuring quotes. Queries should be sent to John Grech at [email protected] It is also possible to request an appointment in order to discuss certain details at length.