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:
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.
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.
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:
- Middle Grade readers (young to middling teen)
- Young Adult readers
- 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:
- 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:
- Peripheral Visions (Robert Hood, 2015)
- The Grief Hole (Kaaron Warren, 2016)
- Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 1 (eds Proposch, Sequeira & Stevens, 2017)
- Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2 (eds Proposch, et al., 2018)
- Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud (eds Proposch, et al., 2018)
- The Crying Forest (Venero Armano, 2020)
- Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 3 (eds Proposch, et al., 2021)
- Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies (ed. Deborah Sheldon, 2021)
- Caped Fear: Superhuman Horror Stories (eds Proposch, et al., 2022)
- 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:
- Shadows in the Stone: A Book of Transformations (Jack Dann, 2019)
- Silent Sorrow (Russell Kirkpatrick, 2021)
- 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:
- Black Moon: Graphic Speculative Flash Fiction (Eugen Bacon, 2020)
- Tool Tales: Microfiction Inspired by Antique Tools (Kaaron Warren and Ellen Datlow, 2021)
- Stark Naked (Silvia Cantón Rondoni, poetry collection, 2021)
- Infectious Hope: Poems of Hope and Resilience From the Pandemic (ed. Silvia Cantón Rondoni, poetry anthology, 2021)
- Imagine That: a line of titles that upends familiar themes or tropes, stretching (and wowing) readers’ imaginations. The line currently comprises:
- Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not (ed Chris Sequeira, fiction anthology, 2019)
- Dracula Unfanged (ed Chris Sequeira, fiction anthology, 2022)
- 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.
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.
SQ Mag Pty Ltd
Trading as IFWG Publishing Australia, IFWG Publishing International, and IPI Comics