Independent publishers have been hard-pressed these past four months. Closed bookstores, little media attention, a distracted public, Amazon’s new hostility to book orders — it’s a perfect storm. But they’re adapting and surviving. As we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown, we contacted indie presses to find out what state they’re in and their plans moving forward. This is Part 4 in our series. Read about how other small presses are doing here.
Conundrum Press began in 1996 in Quebec aiming to provide an outlet for local writers and cartoonists. Since then, the company ha s created genre-defying works with a focus on graphic novels. Not limited to the Canadian market, the press has an international imprint that brings worldwide talent to the North American literary scene. Publisher Andy Brown, spoke to us recently about the future of Conundrum.
BP: How has COVID affected your company artistically?
No effect really. I am looking at submissions for the next five years, doing research for projects, and discovering new artists that I would normally not have time for.
How are you adapting financially?
I expect a lot of returns (almost all), which hasn’t fully hit yet since there is a backlog. I am prepared to have extremely, extremely reduced sales for the rest of the year. With the events like TCAF cancelled that is a lot of sales gone. Though I guess some money saved in travel.
Have you found new ways to respond to the challenges?
I am pushing pause on a number of marketing plans for the Spring books. Certainly launches.
Have you found any new opportunities amidst all this?
My marketing manager has been great at adapting to digital platforms, launching books through Instagram and hosting events online. TCAF has been extremely supportive with this as well. #TCAF2020.
Have you received any support from the government or arts groups or councils?
The arts funding I recieve has been fast tracked. This is money I would get anyway, It’s just been released right away. The federal government is providing wage subsidies and loans but I don’t have employees and am trying to avoid debt. Canadian Heritage and Sports received emergency funding which represents a percentage of my core grant.
You can find Conundrum Press’ upcoming graphic novels here.
Take a look at Broken Pencil’s celebration of Conundrum Press’ 20th anniversary as well as two titles that made our Indie Book Picks: “Dakwäkãda Warriors” (Winter 2020) and “Aurora Borealice” (Spring 2019).
Here are reviews of some recent titles from Conundrum Press: