Announcement by IFWG Publishing

STATEMENT RELEASE DATE: 6 March 2022

My name is Gerry Huntman and I’m the Managing Director of SQ Mag Pty Ltd, a book publishing company that trades as IFWG Publishing Australia and IFWG Publishing International. We often refer to ourselves as simply ‘IFWG’ or ‘IFWG Publishing’.

Gerry Huntman, Managing Director
SQ Mag Pty Ltd

IFWG has exciting news to share with you, that covers our administration, structure and content. Some of it is predictable for those who follow us closely, while for others this information will be new and exciting.

IFWG began publishing books back around 2010—it was a steep learning curve for us all. We persevered and built our small, traditional business into a sustainable operation, with fairly clear branding. We have global reach with our titles, through our distributor partners IPG (USA/Canada), Gazelle (UK/Europe) and Novella (Australia, and making inroads into NZ). We are only a few months away from publishing our first Spanish language title. Later in this announcement we will talk about our expansion, including our comic/graphic novel line of business.

We initially formed our company for a singular purpose: to help bridge the gap between the quantum of amazing creative work being produced by talented people, and the number of quality publishers that can actually publish them. Very soon after we created our company we also saw ourselves as one of the many champion publishers in the world today who actively mix high-sale titles with books that have less chance of good turnover—often balancing less-represented formats, themes, or authors. This has, for some years, been an integral part of our branding.

Having carefully workshopped our evolution to date, we have consolidated what we are best at, and made tweaks to several aspects of our operations. This has resulted in the following notifications:

Administrative

Perhaps the most important announcement of all, we are stoked to announce the appointment of Christopher ‘Chris’ Sequeira as a Director to SQ Mag Pty Ltd. 

Chris has had a long association with IFWG, beginning with exercising senior editing responsibilities for a number of milestone anthologies, often working with the very capable Steven Proposch and Bryce Stevens. As a consummate professional in the writing field, and holding sound connections with other professionals in Australia and overseas, he has lifted the quality of our product range and has helped establish critical networks with writers, literary agents and other publishers around the world. As we will outline in detail below, he has also strong industry experience in the comic and graphic novel fields, and with this arsenal of abilities, he supports IFWG entering this exciting, growing publishing space.

Chris will continue to work as Senior Editor in Anthologies and is Editor-In-Chief of our IPI Comics business line, and his value-add to IFWG will extend well beyond these two roles.

Chris Sequeira, Director,
SQ Mag Pty Ltd

As of today, SQ Mag Pty Ltd has three Director positions:

  • Gerry Huntman (Managing Director, and owner)
  • Chris Sequeira (Director, Senior Editor Anthologies, EiC for IPI Comics)
  • And a non-operational, silent Director.

Structure

Fairly early in SQ Mag’s company life the ownership of IFWG Publishing (as it was then called) was transferred to Gerry Huntman, including a change of structure:

  • The legal transfer from a US-based business to a business name under SQ Mag Pty Ltd in Australia. 
  • SQ Mag Pty Ltd was created and based in Melbourne, Australia, and last year relocated to Gold Coast, Australia.
  • IFWG Publishing was split into two business entities: ‘IFWG Publishing Australia’ focused on selling books to UK, Australia and New Zealand, and ‘IFWG Publishing International’ focused on selling books to USA, Canada, and Latin America, in particular.
  • As it has turned out, North American titles are normally confined to our North American distribution, through IFWG Publishing International’s distributor (Chicago-based IPG), while IFWG Publishing Australia’s titles are normally co-published by both business lines and distributed globally.
  • In 2022 SQ Mag Pty Ltd has commenced a new business: IPI Comics, which is global in reach but is mainly focused on the US Market and utilises US-based comics distributors. Graphic novels which are collections of comic-book series will normally pass to our two IFWG imprints via IPI Comics, following releases of said series, in a manner no different to what giants like Marvel and DC do. This is a business line that is rapidly formulating as I write this announcement, and more information about the structure will be forthcoming when it has completely settled. The first creatives, however, have been approached and contracts are in train.
SQ Mag Pty Ltd Organisation Structure and Geographic Scope

Content

Part of IFWG’s maturing process was to ensure its branding was clear to the reading and publishing public. The starting point was to ensure that with very few exceptions, IFWG published speculative fiction. While at first IFWG was willing to publish titles for all age groups, experience had taught us that we had to stick with what we did best—the result of this evolutionary process is as follows:

IFWG Publishing (and IPI Comics) publishes speculative content for:

  1. Middle Grade readers (young to middling teen)
  2. Young Adult readers
  3. Adult readers

Additionally, while it is important for us to publish stories that span across the speculative fiction super-genre (i.e. Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, as well as the myriad of sub-genres and hybrids that exist today), it is recognised that IFWG’s strength does lie in a number of distinct points in this immense spectrum: horror and dark fantasy, middle grade and adult, and anthologies. Comics and graphic novels will soon add to this focused list.

Taking the above observations into account, we have decided to more formally badge the titles that are particularly important to our branding, and make it easier for fans to focus on what we offer. We started this already with a few lines of titles, but the following list formalises them, and also comprehensively outlines all:

GENERAL

  1. Dark Phases: a line of titles that began in 2015 and includes the very best of our horror and dark fantasy fiction, authored by internationally recognised writers. The line currently comprises:
  2. Fantasy Masters: a similar line to Dark Phases but focused on fantasy fiction, and again, only the best work by the best writers. The line currently comprises:
  3. Chapbook Title Series: for many years IFWG had been publishing short titles, beginning with novellas or small clusters of short fiction in ebook format. A few years ago we realised that this concept could be transformed to publish work in print format that is more akin to the ‘chapbook’ we all know and love, and enable us to publish high quality short work, usually niche in nature (i.e. difficult to get guernseys for). We see this as our experimental line in the main, but also where we can publish poetry and microfiction of high value. The line currently comprises: 
  4. Imagine That: a line of titles that upends familiar themes or tropes, stretching (and wowing) readers’ imaginations. The line currently comprises:
  5. Dark Iconica: Innovative science fiction writer Louis K. Lowy recently offered us a thrilling dark fantasy novel using the Jekyll and Hyde characters (‘Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde in America’) and we realised we knew of another couple of works in that vein needing homes that could become the nucleus of a new line; and there is a dedicated, enthusiastic audience for this sort of thing done well, and executed with freshness. This line will be our Dark Iconica imprint. 

We aren’t resting just with these sets of title series lines. We may add more, but we believe they do best represent our branding. It is important to note that all our other titles are as worthy as those listed in these imprints as they represent our core and critical stream of quality titles.

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

As mentioned above, we have embarked on a new business line in the field of graphic novels and comics. We can’t overstate how excited we are by this, as we all have a love of the medium, and we have at our disposal a plethora of talent (artistic as well as literary) who we can turn to. Chris Sequeira’s leadership is critical here. A key reason why we are so excited by this new endeavour is that as we are based in Australia, and we have the opportunity to introduce to the world the amazing talent in the Antipodes, while at the same time tap into the international field of professionals in our network.

Because our structure is still being settled, and we are still negotiating contracts, we can’t divulge yet what we have in store for the comic-reading public. We can say that it is very likely that over the next twenty months (and it will start quicker than you may anticipate), we will be releasing four comic series, one a notable Australian reprint, and the remaining three original series, covering amazing talent from Australia, UK and the US. 

IPI Comics Logo

This is a long announcement but we had a lot to say, and we certainly wanted to share with you the priorities we have in coming years. We have quite a few titles releasing in 2022 (mainly due to the down-stream effects of COVID-19)—some of which will fall into the specialist series lines we outlined above, but it is ultimately a reflection of our love of speculative storytelling and our commitment to our principles.

The Directors of SQ Mag Pty Ltd, including our new member, Chris Sequeira, wish you all a safe, healthy and prosperous year, and we sincerely hope you consider reading our new offerings. As COVID-19 restrictions relax we will be attempting to travel again to pop culture conventions, writers festivals, and media events (both within Australia and without), and would dearly like to chat with those of you who are enjoying our publications.

Gerry Huntman
Managing Director
SQ Mag Pty Ltd
Trading as IFWG Publishing Australia, IFWG Publishing International, and IPI Comics

IFWG Print Shop News

IFWG Publishing Australia is nearing completion of its full transition to its Australian distributor. The direct result, as foreshadowed, is the scaling down of our direct sales business, which has always been a significant overhead to us. This has always been part of our plan.

As of today, we will only be direct selling a very limited number of titles – mostly preorders, from time to time, and a few specialist books that are better to sell direct than go through distributors.

We have removed all relevant print shop pages for the majority of our titles, and links to them will be removed over coming days.

We are grateful to patrons who have purchased books through us in the past, and hope you all can encourage retailers and libraries to pick up our products through our distributors.

News: Major Milestone for IFWG Publishing Australia

Without a doubt the most important milestone of IFWG Publishing Australia has just been achieved. We have just signed a distribution deal with a notable independent Australian distributor (Dennis Jones and Associates), that will enable our print books to be distributed effectively to retailers, libraries and other outlets, including online, as well as our ebooks to be distributed globally. Additionally, there are strong synergies with UK and New Zealand, which will mature in coming weeks – and we will keep you posted on that.

Most small, independent publishers understand that this step is the biggest that can be made, and it can’t happen unless the product is proven to be of excellent quality (the stuff will sell) and long-term, sound business practices are maintained (there is a strong financial commitment to working with distributors). We are now joining a small subset of Australian independent publishers who have taken this step, and we look forward to expanding this over the next year to global reach with other distribution partnerships.

Our new and best selling titles will be quite rapidly transitioned to the distributor, and our remaining back catalogue will move across in regular waves over the next 9 months or so. There will be some minor disruption at times, so please have patience with us if you are effected. Most of our print titles will rise in price, to match what is currently the norm in the retail world – and which we have little choice on the matter to make this a financially viable concern.

We are overjoyed and ecstatic at this achievement, and we look very much forward to increase our readership and contribute to the speculative fiction publishing industry in the geographies affected.

New Roles in IFWG Publishing

We have recently created a number of new roles in our company and it is timely to give everybody an idea of who’s who.

Firstly, in terms of structure, IFWG Publishing is divided into two geographic imprints:

  1. IFWG Publishing Australia (Australian, UK and New Zealand reach)
  2. IFWG Publishing (International) (North America and other countries not previously covered)

IFWG Publishing Australia is also the publisher of SQ Mag, our international, free speculative ezine, and also is the publisher of the elite Dark Phases sub-imprint.

The following roles are at play in IFWG Publishing (both imprints):

  • Managing Director and Chief Editor: Gerry Huntman (Australia)
  • Marketing Director: Stephen McCracken (Australia)
  • Publicist: Grace Chan (Canada – new position)
  • Submissions and Content Editors (content editing roles are new):
    • Esme Carpenter (UK – soon, USA)
    • Warren Goodwin (USA)
  • Copy Editors:
    • Sophie Yorkston (Australia)
    • Louise Zedda-Sampson (Australia)
  • SQ Mag Editor in Chief: Sophie Yorkston (Australia)

We also have proofreaders, SQ Mag slush readers, designers and artists, and regular contributors to SQ Mag – all of whom we are grateful for their work.

We are also currently in the process of acquiring an international distributor to handle international print and ebook distribution for select titles, with the view to better outlet penetration (online, library, academic institution,  and bricks and mortar retailers). More on this in coming months.

Appointment of Marketing Director

It is with pleasure that I announce the appointment of Stephen McCracken as IFWG Publishing’s Marketing Director.

He will take up his role in October/November 2014, however, he will be having an extended vacation in Canada/US/and possibly beyond in August/September, and is hoping to visit some of our authors on his journey.

He is based in Australia (soon, Melbourne, Victoria), and will also have an opportunity to meet the authors in this region of the globe.

IFWG Publishing has been in dire need of a marketer/publicist for its North American/International/Australian/UK operations, as well as SQ Mag, for a long time, and this appointment represents yet another tangible sign of our growth and maturity.

An early welcome to Steve! More details about him will appear in coming months.

Gerry Huntman
Managing Director,
IFWG Publishing/IFWG Publishing Australia
Publisher, SQ Mag

News: IFWG Publishing Change of Directorship

It is with some sadness that we announce the resignation of R.A. Knowlton from his Managing Director position with IFWG Publishing. The reasons are cited as personal. Randy was the drive behind the formation of the company and the bulwark for its developmental years. We would not exist without him, and we would not be here now if it wasn’t for his enthusiasm and courage.

Gerry Huntman, Chief Editor of IFWG Publishing, and Managing Director of the Australian operations, will now take on the Managing Director role. He will retain existing roles alongside this new challenge. No doubt there will be further changes in the future, and we will keep you abreast of them, as they occur.

We wish Randy, and his family, all the best, and no doubt we will hear more from him in the future.