404 Ink is the award-winning alternative publisher of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, founded in 2016 by publishing freelancers Heather McDaid and Laura Jones with a view that publishing could be a little louder and a little more fun.
404 rose to national prominence through their feminist essay anthology Nasty Women in 2017 – praised as ‘essential’ by Margaret Atwood, and having ‘vital spirit’ by Ali Smith – which was the bestselling title of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. They went on to publish Chris McQueer’s hilarious short story collections Hings and HWFG, the former being adapted for BBC.
From there they have published critically acclaimed short stories by Helen McClory, stunning poetry from Nadine Aisha Jassat, raw prose by Elle Nash, queer anthology We Were Always Here, sensitive narrative non-fiction from Jemma Neville, co-published New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds with Knights Of, collated advice from successful Scots with Euan Lownie, and explored the intersections of mental health and video games with Joe Donnelly, focus of a BBC documentary.
They launched their new Inklings series – ‘big ideas to carry in your pocket’ – in 2021, with topics ranging from fictional apocalypses, transmasculine joy, exploring the world of sight loss, to a celebration of Schitt’s Creek.
Their authors and books have won awards including the Saltire Society First Book of the Year, Outstanding Literature Award at the Scottish Culture Awards, and have appeared in multiple International Literature Showcases. They have also featured in Huffington Post, Elle, Alternative Press, New York Magazine, Oprah.com, Bustle, Kerrang!, The Guardian, and more locally, nationally and internationally.
404 Ink seeks to publish stories in all forms, and support new and emerging writers’ careers. They seek the weird and wonderful, the edgy and alternative, and have a focus on quality over quantity, all while aiming for commercial recognition for their authors.
“Without platforms like 404 Ink promoting underrepresented and silenced voices, there would be little light left in the future of the media.” – Refinery29
Publications: 8 per year average
Types of books published: Contemporary literature, political and social commentary anthologies and non-fiction, memoir, LGBTQ+ books, short story collections, humour, poetry and more.
Submission details: Submissions currently closed but please see 404ink.com/submissions for the most up to date information. (Please no postal submissions at any time.) Sign up to the submissions mailing list.
404 Ink highlights
Checkpoint by Joe Donnelly
Constitution Street by Jemma Neville
Jemma Neville’s debut exploration of hope in an age of anxiety in Constitution Street, chosen by Kathleen Jamie as one of her books of 2019 in the New Statesman. A copy of the book was buried in the new time capsule in Leith.