As small businesses around the country await funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES ) Act, indie publishers and booksellers are having mixed experiences trying to secure this financial lifeline. “Some seem to have sailed through the application process, but many are finding it difficult to interpret as the application requirements seemed to shift in real-time over the first few days of availability,” said Angela Bole, the CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association which is based in California.

Red Hen Press was one of those indie publishers who struggled with the process. “I don’t know anyone in the arts world who has got this CARES funding,” said cofounder Kate Gale, stressing how important these funds are for the future of the 25 year old press. “The biggest expenses for any publisher are payroll and printing, and we need our staff to keep their jobs if we can keep publishing,” she said.