It has been a busy year here at Sofawolf Press. It never ISN’T a busy year, but somehow this year managed to turn “Busy” up to 11.
The biggest story was of course the Digger Omnibus Kickstarter. We started talking about this in September 2012 when Digger won the Hugo for Graphic Story, but 2013 was the year the project really got in gear. The first half of the year was spent in planning, budgeting, and writing and filming the creative assets for the project; we launched it in early June and it ended 30 days later with a hefty $142,000 total.
The second half of the year saw us spending pretty much every free moment trying not to be overwhelmed by the data, logistics, and production requirements for such a massive project. A variety of production delays pushed the final fulfillment of the rewards out into late November and through to just before Christmas (and beyond, for some items). Even with the help of a great many wonderful folks, we only managed to get it all shipped so quickly by spending numerous vacation days saved up from our regular jobs on it (at least three weeks' worth, combined), as well as many late nights and every weekend.
The big question, of course, is: Was it worth it? For the aspect of celebrating Digger and Ursula’s accomplishments and producing an event that fans would remember for years to come, yes. Despite every bit of risk and hard work, it was everything we hoped it would be, and we are proud to have been a part of making it happen.
Financially... That is a story that will continue to be written well into 2014 and beyond. While $142,000 sounds like a lot of money (indeed a terrifyingly lot of money to be responsible for), it was well short of the liquid assets required for a print run of the size we ended up doing, plus all the buttons, stickers, pins, posters, packing material and shipping required to fulfill everyone's pledge. The profit, for both us and Ursula, lies in the pallets of books still in our warehouse. Our hope is that Digger will continue to sell through our website, at conventions, and through our various distribution channels.
While the Kickstarter was the biggest story, however, it was not the only one. We released four new titles in 2013:
- Divisions — The third book in the Forester Universe series by Kyell Gold, also including Out of Position and Isolation Play. As usual, Kyell and his fleet of editors did a great job pulling the book together, and the resulting story speaks for itself.
- Hot Dish, Volume One — The first of a hopefully ongoing series of anthologies that collect erotic novella-length stories too long for inclusion in our regular mixed-media anthology Heat. We got a lot of help on this project by editor-supreme and Sofawolf colleague Dark End. His assistance in getting the raw stories into their final form was invaluable in getting this project to print.
- Heat #10 — The latest volume of the aforementioned anthology, this year wonderfully managed and designed by Teagan Gavet. She picked up the reigns of art direction and design from Alopex so that he could work on the Kickstarter, and I doubt the issue would have happened without her skill and dedication to it.
- God of Clay — An exciting new entry in our catalog by Ryan Campbell, this is the first of a trilogy of novels set in a mythical version of sub-Saharan Africa. Animal and Elemental Gods and humans come together in a clash of old wounds and old alliances in a story that is both epic and deeply personal. We have a lot of faith in this being a real breakout title for both us and the author as the story unfolds over the next few years.
On the operations side, we moved out of the basement of Jeff and Dale’s house in Saint Paul, MN and into a warehouse space in West Saint Paul. On top of providing space for storage and more efficient order processing, it has direct access to loading docks and a welcome lack of stairs. Both of which have made preparing for conventions and shipping books out to them a less physically straining affair.
Looking forward to 2014, our main goal is to focus on promoting the great works we have in our catalog to a wider audience. More people need to know about the skilled writers and artists we are so lucky to have in our midst.
However, we also keenly feel the significant impact that running the Kickstarter had on our activities within the Furry community this past year. So we hope to make 2014 a year of looking inward and re-engaging with the fandom that inspired us to get started in this venture in the first place. We want to know more about what you want from us and to see how we can provide it.
Naturally we have a full production schedule of new titles to bring to completion as well:
- Red Devil (January) — The sequel to Kyell’s supernatural un-romance “Green Fairy”.
- The Art of Henrieke (January) — We return to our popular Artistic Visions series with a book full of the wonderfully cartoony sketchings of Henrieke Voorhuis.
- Peachy Keen Book Two: Exodus (January) — Continues the story of Logianne and Clover in mid-1950s America.
We also have a new Forrester novel from Kyell Gold, the sequel to MCA Hogarth’s “Godkin Griffin”, the much-anticipated release of Spain Fisher’s “Caterwall”, Heat #11, a new “New Fables”, and some other great things we aren’t ready to talk about yet.
Finally, we’d like to take some time to thank everyone who made this year possible:
- All our creators, who provide not only the foundation for everything we do, but also the inspiration to keep us doing it.
- Our staff, both principals and associates, who do the doing. Special thanks to those creators, editors and project managers who took time out of their own pursuits to lend us a hand, like Dark End, Teagan Gavet, Tempe O’Kun, Spain Fisher and the New Fables editing crew.
- Our huskies, who despite getting way less attention than they deserved, managed to keep from destroying most of their immediate surroundings this past year. Mostly...