Announcement by IFWG Publishing

Featured

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’.

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.

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 ORG STRUCTURE

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.

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

Cover Reveal: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in America by Louis K. Lowy

IFWG is very pleased to reveal the cover of Louis K. Low’s upcoming novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in America – a story that immediately follows the events of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic horror novel. This is the first of our Dark Iconica series of titles.

The artwork is by Sydney-based Jan Sherpenhuizen, and the design is by English artist/designer Catherine Archer-Smith.

It can now be revealed that the evil and violent Mr Edward Hyde – alter ego of London’s physician Doctor Henry Jekyll – did not die at the conclusion of the classic, Victorian-era case documented by Robert Louis Stevenson. Instead, this malignant criminal not only continued to plague Britons, but soon after set his ambitions for mayhem for other nations; and so headed for the United States.

Follow this story, from bustling New York City to the balmy realms of Florida, where the goodly Jekyll feels the curse of his other persona more than ever before. Witness the tale of Hyde’s influence and monstrous acts increasing and Jekyll soon realising that if he cannot find a way to resolve his bizarre duality he will be forever lost, and the suffering and bloodshed he will have been responsible for having loosed on the new, bright world of America will be a horror unparalleled. For Hyde is a man who can never be caught by authorities as he hides within the form of his maker, and holds that maker’s life to ransom.

Cover Reveal: Heads, You Lose by Shaun Meeks

Heads You Lose Front Cover

IFWG is pleased to reveal the cover for Shaun Meeks‘ upcoming novel, Heads, You Lose, the 4th book in his Dillon the Monster Dick series.

The cover art and design is by the amazing Steve Santiago, who has illustrated the entire series with amazing images and color.

The Dillon the Monster Dick series is one that has fans longing for the next instalment. It is a wonderful mix of horror, humor, detective noire, and mythos fiction. It is something we in IFWG always look forward to as well.

Heads, You Lose will be released in North America on May 2, 2022.

The hunters have become the hunted, and heads are going to roll.

There is a killer in the city, and men are being found in a state of undress, with their heads missing. Detective Garcia knows the only person who can help him with the bizarre circumstances of the case is his old friend, Dillon the Monster Dick. The only problem is, after a run in with Don Parks, a fellow hunter, Dillon and Rouge are doing their best to lay low and keep off the radar. As more bodies pop up around the city, Dillon realizes he can’t hide forever and agrees to help Garcia solve the murders. The three of them take to the street in search of answers. They check every shadowy place, look under every rock and eventually find the answers they want, and so much more.

From sex dolls, to demons, to wigs that are alive, Head’s, You Lose will take you on a strange ride through the world of a monster hunter.

In Memorium: Biola Olatunde

One of the most difficult tasks of a publisher is to announce the passing of one its authors. Believe me, it’s even hard to just simply process. Biola Olatunde, a prolific and much loved author, has died of a sudden illness, aged 70 years.

To add to this tragedy, she passed in July 2021 and I, and everyone I know on social media, were totally unaware of this tragic event until today. This morning I followed up on some administrative matters, including an unanswered set of email sent to Biola. My intuition kicked in and I searched the Internet for any news about her. This resulted in many Nigerian online news sites that announced her death. It was a total shock to me.

Biola was one of IFWG’s earliest authors, who wrote in a wonderful English form that beautifully reflected the way English was spoken in her homeland, Nigeria, and she consistently and effectively critiqued her society: the magic as well as the darker side.

Her first novel with us was Blood Contract, a non-speculative adventure set in the Niger Delta, where a successful man returns to his village and is torn by the contrast of cultures and also his personal, haunted history. Her next three books, comprising the  Numen Yeye series, were special to us, as they again looked inward to Nigerian society, but through the eyes of a reincarnated goddess. We also published Biola’s poems and short fiction. Not an insubstantial body of work, and we are very aware that she had spent many years in the broadcasting business as a scriptwriter.

While gaining regional success, we feel that Biola Olatunde did not gain the recognition she deserved abroad. Many reasons contributed to this, but certainly the tyranny of distance played the largest part.

I really wish I could have met her face to face, as I often referred to her as ‘my African sister’. She loved that phrase. She was a delight to work with.

This isn’t just an obituary by Biola’s publisher. It is also a way for us to show the world, one final time, that we published a significant writer and poet, and we should all rejoice in her accomplishments, and grieve that she left us all too soon.

The following is her biography, taken and modified from our records:

With more than 30 years experience as a scriptwriter and producer, Biola had written more than 200 stories for both radio and television, as well as poetry anthologies, an adventure novel, Blood Contract, a contemporary African fantasy novel series Numen Yeye (Numen Yeye, Rose of Numen, and Numen!), and an e-chapbook collection of haunting short stories, Sunset Tales.

She was an alumnus of the Dramatic Arts department Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

A professionally trained newscaster, she went independent nearly thirty years ago. She was involved in intervention drama to help change attitudes within society and so created a series for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on teenage reproductive health, “I NEED TO KNOW”. It was so successful that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) became involved and had it adapted into radio, in two of the major Nigerian languages. It was shown on national, state and private television and radio in the country as well as on satellite television.

Biola was always interested in bringing social issues to public attention using drama and fiction, including writing for USAID on maternal health, Democracy and Governance, Women’s issues, and HIV/AIDS.

She was given a distinguished alumni award from the Dramatic Arts Department of her alma mater O.A.U Ife, in recognition of her contributions to the growth of the legacy of Dramatic Art.

Vale, Biola Olatunde.

New Acquisition: Iconic Jekyll/Hyde Novel Set In America by Louis K. Lowy

Photograph by Felix Docobo

IFWG Publishing is thrilled to have acquired long-standing IFWG author, Louis K. Lowy’s as-yet untitled novel featuring Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the US. “Lowy is an incredibly versatile author,” said Gerry Huntman, Managing Director of IFWG, “best represented by his four novels we have published to date – an historical science fiction with strong humour and dark undertones, a futuristic hard science fiction, a dark fantasy, and an inspirational literary piece. We are now adding a Victorian-era horror novel to the mix.”

Lowy will be joined by senior editor Christopher Sequiera, who has significant expertise in Victorian-era speculative fiction (noteworthy is his Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not anthology, as well as several other works slated for IFWG).

This novel continues the tale of Dr. Jekyll, who stepped into the unknown and emerged as Mr. Hyde. It is unique in that it is the only novel to carry on from where the original 1890 story concluded.

The narrative picks up days later, when Hyde reawakens and transforms back to Jekyll. Fearful he’ll be punished for Hyde’s crimes, Jekyll flees London for New York City and then mosquito-infested West Palm, Florida, where he resumes his experiments in the hopes that they’ll end Hyde’s existence forever. Unfortunately, the potion produces results far worse than he could have imagined.

Louis K. Lowy is a former firefighter with the City of Hialeah, Florida. He is the award-winning author of four novels. Die Laughing, a humorously dark sci-fi adventure set in the 1950s, Pedal, an inspirational story of a laid off forty-nine-year-old music teacher fighting to reclaim her life back through bicycle racing, To Dream: Anatomy of a Humachine 1, the tale of an A.I. struggling to find his humanity, and The Second Life of Eddie Coyne, a fantasy which asks the question, what happens when a dying gambler hits rock bottom and places one last bet to save his soul?

Lowy is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship and an alumnus of Florida International University’s creative writing program. He lives in South Florida with his wife, Carol, and their rambunctious Yorkie, KC. Their son and daughter reside on the west coast.

More information on this upcoming title will be posted soon. It will be released world-wide in September 2022. 

Landmark Sales: The Smoking Mirror by David Bowles

IFWG is very pleased to announce that as of October 2021, David Bowles’ middle grade fantasy, The Smoking Mirror (Book 1 of his Garza Twins Series) has exceeded 30,000 print sales in North America. This is on top of winning an American Library Association Honor (Belpre), and being picked up as elective text for a significant number of elementary schools. IFWG is also proud of publishing a series that has Hispanic teens as the central protagonists, with strong Aztec ancestry.

Congratulations, David, for this amazing achievement!

PRESS RELEASE: IFWG’s New Comics and Graphic Novel Division

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Speculative Fiction House IFWG Publishing 
International Set to Open Comic-Book Arm in 2021: “IPI Comics, with Christopher Sequeira as Editor-In-Chief”

16 DECEMBER 2020: Successful independent fantasy, horror and science fiction house IFWG Publishing International (including IFWG Publishing Australia) will open a comic-book and graphic novel division in 2021, it was announced today by publisher Gerry Huntman.

Huntman also announced he has selected conceptualist, writer, and editor Christopher Sequeira to be IPI Comics’ Editor-In-Chief.

Sequeira stated: “I am thrilled to be helping establish IPI for Gerry as a comics and graphic novel publisher. The ambit is very simple—just a few projects at a time to start with, then slowly and carefully grow with an emphasis on series that become trade paperback collections. However, as with everything IFWG’s prose line has accomplished thus far, this is going to be about quality before quantity. If there’s an ethos for my setting up projects, it’s that no IPI Comic will be a ‘bad read’, or rushed through production to hit a meaningless release date. So, we’ll solicit when things are at an appropriate stage of readiness. We want to give customers a basis for a high degree of confidence. As far as genres go, we’ll do all my faves; superheroes, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and maybe some stuff just on the periphery, if we are sure we can reach the right readers. 

“I have a few really talented creators I’ve reached out to who are readying some material, and if we get momentum we might open submissions up in late 2021. There’s even a couple of properties we’ve talked about licensing if we can bring the right approach to them, but I have to say, when I think licences I think of some pretty quirky stuff, rather than stuff that’s done to death; we want to get people a little off guard. And in the spirit of comics EiC/bosses from Stan Lee to Carmine Infantino to the present day, if there’s a series I’m writing that might make sense to be at IFWG, I’ll bring it to Gerry Huntman for consideration.”

Sequeira conceptualises, edits and writes for IFWG’s prose ‘sub-imprint’ ‘Imagine That…’ with the well received alternate reality anthology titles SHERLOCK HOLMES AND DOCTOR WAS NOT, and the forthcoming DRACULA UNFANGED. Also, with editors-in-arms Steve Proposch and Bryce Stevens, he also co-produces the CTHULHU DEEP DOWN UNDER (three volumes, third release first half 2021) and CTHULHU LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD prose collections, and these Editors Three are excited that their landmark CAPED FEAR: Horror Stories of Superhumans will be appearing from IFWG in mid-2021 with a bevy of internationally acclaimed writers. 

Sequeira has written for Black House Comics, Frew Publications, Marvel, DC, Dynamite, Boom Studios, Caliber Entertainment, and even edited and published Australia-wide under his own Sequence comics brand. For a joint publishing venture between Black House and IFWG he conceptualised, edited and wrote for the initial SUPERAUSTRALIANS graphic novel chapter-novel, which gets international release in 2021 in an expanded edition.


NOTE TO EDITOR: refer to IPI Comics’ web-site for more information (it is now being fully fleshed out): https://ipicomics.com.

SQ Mag Pty Ltd
trading as IFWG Publishing International & IFWG Publishing Australia

Cover Reveal: Wings Above the Burning Earth by David Bowles

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IFWG is pleased to reveal the cover for David Bowles‘ fourth instalment in his Garza Twins 5-part middle grade series, Wings Above the Burning Earth. Yet again, wonderful work by artist and designer, Charlene Bowles, following the pattern of using a dominant colour to represent the setting and themes in each book.

Bowles recently wrote an excellent article describing the genesis (and journey) of the Garza Twins series. It is fascinating reading.

For those who are not familiar with this series, think about acquiring the award-winning and best selling first novel, The Smoking Mirror.

NEWS: IFWG Statement About COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

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Over the past few days, with increasing virus activity throughout the world, and the knock-on effects on people’s livelihoods and the world economy, IFWG has decided on a number of changes to our production, distribution and marketing arrangements for as long as this crisis exists.

When facing something as serious as COVID-19, we can choose to panic, capitulate, exclusively react to events as they play out, or MANAGE our business as logically and proactively as possible. We choose to control our destiny, and work within a manageable business model, and at the same time, do everything we can to support our authors, artists and staff.

Consequently, with effect immediately, the following changes have taken place:

1. We will delay release of every upcoming new title until the marketplace is healthy again, and people are able to purchase our books.

2. However, we intend to work on getting our books print ready as if there was no delay in release. We want to carry on producing these wonderful books and have them waiting in queue for release when the crisis is over. We will announce the completion of each print-ready title as per normal.

3. We were planning on a short story call-out in May, along with a supplementary crowd-funding exercise—the book was scheduled for February 2021. We will still make the callout, and pay authors soon after, but we will move the crowd funding (for enhanced illustrations only) until after the crisis is over.

For those of you who have preordered Silent Sorrow by Russell Kirkpatrick, we will honour the offer and supply the book to you before 1 June 2020.

We know many of you will be disappointed, but we hope, on reflection, you recognise that this move is the best way forward. We refuse to be paralysed at this time… we will manage this through.