A Special Anniversary – March 2014
2014 is a very significant year for me. Not only does it mark the 40 year anniversary of my writing partnership with Mick Sims, but it’s also seen the re-launch of Enigmatic Press, a small publishing house we created in 1997 to bring the much-missed Enigmatic Tales to the world.
From the outset Enigmatic Tales was a labour of life. Our way of giving something back to the horror genre that had been our world for over twenty years. We decided if we were going to produce a small-press magazine then it would have to be a quality product. I decided it would have to be perfect bound – the only problem being we had no money and couldn’t afford to use a commercial printer. “No problem,” I said. “I’ll produce it myself.”
The next few months saw me turn my spare bedroom into a work shop, making jigs from MDF for accurate trimming and folding, a press to clamp several hundred pages together so they could be glued and reinforced, and finally cut into magazine sized batches. Covers were printed and folded. The next week or so saw me spending my evenings in a glue-fuelled stupor gluing the magazine together, but finally the first edition was complete and, to our gratification, sold out.
By the time Issue 2 was ready to go we could afford to use a commercial printer, which was a bit of a shame as I’d quite enjoyed the glue-highs, but was probably better for my health.
Enigmatic Tales survived for another nine issues, with increases in page count and production values. Somewhere along the line we acquired Arts Council funding which allowed our survival as our bank accounts were being hammered, especially when we introduced Enigmatic Novellas, a series of eleven longer stories from some of the best writers in the genre at the time.
When political changes at the Arts Council led them to withdraw their funding, the death knell for Enigmatic Press started to toll. And quietly EP went to its grave – or so we thought.
Back in ’97 the Internet was a much more primitive beast that it is today. Now in 2014 independent publishing has grown to an unstoppable juggernaut with the world and his wife self publishing e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks and, in some cases, hardbacks.
The world has changed. Where self-publishing was sneered at ten years ago, now it’s celebrated and a number people are making money from their efforts.
The other day I took delivery of the proof copy of the first Enigmatic Press title for 2014, Let Death Begin by Maynard Sims, and what a professional looking book it is: perfect bound, tidily trimmed pages, matte-finished cover. A beauty achieved by spending a couple of hours in front of my computer: a couple of hours that allowed me to produce a paperback copy of the book and an electronic version for Kindle.
If only the technology had been available in 1997.
It made me wonder how Enigmatic Press could have flourished.
But now I have another bite of that particular cherry, so watch this space.