Last year was a year of learning how not to run a tiny press like Grimdark Magazine. One of the many valuable business lessons I did learn is recognising when I’ve overreached my small business’ and my own financial capabilities.
The short of it
As of the end of March 2018, Grimdark Magazine will no longer have its books distributed by Small Press United (SPU), and will revert to its previous setup using Ingram Spark and other commonly used publishing tools to distribute its books and ezine issues. GdM’s current customer subscriptions through Patreon will not be impacted.
I pitched GdM to SPU thinking we could do really well out of it with the resources available to us. When we were accepted, I was over the moon. Cohesion Press and Ragnarok Publications seemed to be killing it through their association with SPU, so perhaps GdM could jump up a few rungs to their level through this agreement—and the bookstores! We would be in actual bookstores in the US and Canada.
However, almost a year in, and the reality is very different to the dream. I pushed our flagship product Evil is a Matter of Perspective though SPU’s services and our own marketing efforts, but could not get us in to profit through them. Every sale that came in across our whole range went to paying print-on-demand costs, fees, returns, etc. In short, every cent that came in since joining SPU has gone into paying for services. Our subscriptions through Patreon and the online sales of special editions is what has kept GdM afloat since then.
Unfortunately this is not going to get any better with more print releases, and so I’ve had to pull the pin on the arrangement. We just do not have the economy of scale or cash reserves to make this work.
To be 100% clear, SPU have been nothing but helpful. They’ve talked marketing strategies, numbers, problems and solutions, come up with out-of-left field solutions to problems to try and accommodate GdM. I was just last week speaking to one of their executives in emails as long as novellas while we discussed how we could make the arrangement viable. In the end, I read the agreement before signing up, thought I knew what I was getting in to, but just didn’t understand at the level that I understand it now. My fault, not theirs.
So what happens next?
All of our titles will come down at the end of the month from every platform, except Patreon and the GdM webstore. We will work with our new platforms to get the books back up and consolidate the reviews as soon as possible. It’ll take time, but we’ll back to normal in the eyes of our customers soon.
How do I get GdM issues, then?
If you purchase GdM on a consistent basis from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, etc, and want next issue on time (1 April is the release date for #15), your best bet is subscribing to GdM through our Patreon subscription service.
If you prefer to purchase a PDF version, you can still get these through our online catalogue.
If you want an ebook issue (mobi or ePub) but don’t want to subscribe to Patreon, email me at adrian (at) grimdarkmagazine.com and I will sort you out with a PayPal invoice.
If you’d like a print copy of Evil is a Matter of Perspective, email me at adrian (at) grimdarkmagazine.com and I will sort you out with a PayPal invoice.
What if I’m already subscribed through Patreon?
You won’t have a problem. GdM#15 will drop on the 1st of April as planned and will be sent to you as normal. It will be business as usual for you guys – no worries.
What about the Knee-Deep in Grit release?
It’s taken a little bit of a back seat while I’ve been sorting through this split (and organising my wedding). The book is 99% finished. Shawn is just waiting on me to confirm my TOC ordering – which will be done this week when I stop faffing about with the order – and then he can finish up and send me the files. One of the benefits of this split from SPU is that we’ll now be releasing Knee-Deep in Grit in hardcover, as well as paperback and ebook.
My estimate is it will drop end of April, now.
That’s all for this update folks. Rocky times ahead, but plenty of sunshine on the horizon.
Thanks for sticking with us.