By way of introduction, I'm Simon Berman, owner and operator of Strix Publishing. Strix is the natural product of my career after nearly a decade of work in traditional games publishing. Over the past years I've had the pleasure of collaborating with countless talented writers, artists, and editors. These creators come from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, but they all possess unique visions, compelling voices, and formidable expertise. Strix is a platform to share their work in ways that truly do them justice.
The first offering from Strix will be The Book of Starry Wisdom. This book was successfully crowd-funded in 2015, is currently available for pre-order, and will be available for general purchase summer of 2016. ’Starry Wisdom arose from my desire to see the works of H.P. Lovecraft in a print edition that would provide the reader with the experience of perusing a tome of forgotten lore, accompanied by maps, illustrations, and essays that abrade the lines between fictional story and factual history. Bound in faux-leather, this volume will be immersive and worthy of being shelved alongside the Necronomicon itself.
The success of The Book of Starry Wisdom made it clear there is a readership hungry for the physical experience of holding a book, even in the face of the conveniences of digital editions. While Strix publications will typically be accompanied by e-books they are not the primary focus. Book-as-artifact, worthy of display and space on a bookshelf is the imperative.
While Strix is in many ways a traditional publishing house in that it produces physical books, I am applying lessons learned over the past years to a somewhat unusual business model. Traditionally, small press publishers have struggled to pay their bills, let alone their contributors. Small presses who have persevered in these difficult conditions – to not only produce high quality works but to pay their contributors worthwhile fees – have earned my utmost respect. Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Innsmouth Free Press has been a source of inspiration to me, as have her well-run Indiegogo campaigns in support of IFP's books.
Beginning in May, Strix will orchestrate four Kickstarter campaigns for upcoming books. Anyone familiar with Kickstarter and crowdfunding will no doubt consider this an aggressive schedule, and they are quite right. Kickstarters are time-consuming marketing campaigns in and of themselves, to say nothing of the work of actually producing the books! That said, it is precisely the nature of Kickstarter that makes this a viable strategy. Were I to seek funds through traditional investment methods, Strix would be beholden to a much lengthier process and, likely, not be able to fairly compensate my trusted editors, graphic designers, and illustrators. While I'm the only staff member of Strix, a crew of extraordinarily talented freelancers assist me. This also means that even as The Book of Starry Wisdom prepares to go to press the next three books are deep into pre-press production and should be able to go to press themselves in short order.
As well, crowdfunding allows a publisher the flexibility to get creative. Things like art prints, alternate covers, ribbon bookmarks, and numerous other luxury enhancements can be quoted and then applied to a print run if a funding goal is exceeded. In some cases, the upcoming books from Strix are natural candidates to be accompanied by peripheral items like sculptures or other physical objects that relate directly to their content. Kickstarter allows Strix to not just produce books, but entire immersive experiences.
Not all Strix publications will be crowdfunded. In time, I hope to have the debt-free capital necessary to produce some books in more traditional ways, as well as offering some fiction free to anyone who wishes to visit the site.
With that out of the way, I'm pleased to announce the first books of the Strix Publishing 2016 schedule.