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 Post subject: McSweeney's
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:10 pm 
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McSweeney's mail-out

'As you may know, it's been tough going for many independent publishers, McSweeney's included, since our distributor filed for bankruptcy last December 29. We lost about $130,000 -- actual earnings that were simply erased. Due to the intricacies of the settlement, the real hurt didn't hit right away, but it's hitting now. Like most small publishers, our business is basically a break-even proposition in the best of times, so there's really no way to absorb a loss that big.

We are committed to getting through and past this difficult time, and we're hoping you, the readers who have from the start made McSweeney's possible, will help us.

Over the next week or so, we'll be holding an inventory sell-off and rare-item auction, which we hope will make a dent in the losses we sustained. A few years ago, the indispensible comics publisher Fantagraphics, in similarly dire straits, held a similar sale, and it helped them greatly. We're hoping to do the same.

So if you've had your eye on anything we've produced, now would be a great time to take the plunge. For the next week or so, subscriptions are $5 off, new books are 30 percent off, and all backlist is 50 percent off. Please check out the store and enjoy the astounding savings, while knowing every purchase will help dig us out of a big hole.

Many of our contributors have stepped up and given us original artwork and limited editions to auction off. We've got original artwork from Chris Ware, Marcel Dzama, David Byrne, and Tony Millionaire; a limited-edition music mix from Nick Hornby; rare early issues of the quarterly, direct from Sean Wilsey's closet; and more. We're even auctioning off Dave Eggers's painting of George Bush as a double-amputee, from the cover of Issue 14.

This is the bulk of our groundbreaking business-saving plan: to continue to sell the things we've made, albeit at a greatly accelerated pace for a brief period of time. We are not business masterminds, but we are optimistic that this will work. If you've liked what we've done up to now, this is the time to ensure we'll be able to keep on doing more.

Plenty of excellent presses are in similar straits these days; two top-notch peers of ours, Soft Skull and Counterpoint, were just acquired by Winton, Shoemaker & Co. in the last few weeks. It's an unsteady time for everybody, and we know we don't have any special claim to your book-buying budget. We owe all of you a lot for everything you've allowed us to do over the last nine years, for all the time and freedom we've been given.

Once this calamity is averted, we'll get back to our bread and butter -- the now-legendary Believer music issue is already creeping into mailboxes everywhere; Issue 24 of our quarterly is in the midst of a really pretty silkscreening process; and in July the fourth issue of Wholphin, our DVD magazine, will slip over the border from Canada, bringing with it some very good footage of Maggie Gyllenhaal and a Moroccan drummer who messes up a wedding in an entertaining way. And then a couple of months after that, we'll publish a debut novel from a writer named Millard Kaufman. This book is exactly the kind of thing McSweeney's was created to do: The novel came through the mail, without an agent's imprimatur, and it was written by a first-time novelist. This first-time novelist is ninety years old. It was pulled from the submissions pile and it knocked the socks off of everyone who read it. Millard may well be the best extant epic-comedic writer of his generation, and he stands at equal height with the best of several generations since.

Whatever you can do to help in the coming days, we thank you a thousand times. We'll keep updating everybody on how this is going over the next few weeks; for now, pick up a few things for yourself, your friends, for Barack Obama. More news soon -- thanks for reading.

Yours warmly,
The folks at McSweeney's '

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:27 pm 
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Maybe not massively relevant to most
but
we like McSweeney's, right?
...


THANK YOU, THANK YOU, A THOUSAND THANK YOUS AND MORE

Well, we're overwhelmed.

In the past ten days, thousands of you have visited, shopped, bid, and bugged your friends to follow suit. From the first morning of the sale, we've been mindboggled by your response -- the enthusiasm, the encouragement, the stern commands to persevere. We've been sitting in our office all these days, emboldened and so happy, sharing with each other each kind note, each crazy order and new auction item, cheering at the end of each day when we tally up.

You've made a very real difference: because of your incredible response, McSweeney's isn't going anywhere. We're sticking around as long as you'll have us. The ship is damp but afloat, sails full, jib doing whatever the jib is supposed to do, and we're getting back to work. (For last-minute shoppers, we'll keep this sale going through the weekend, and the auction still includes pieces from Art Spiegelman, John Hodgman, David Foster Wallace, and Miranda July.)

All the support has been inspiring, and also humbling; working as we do on this remote western coast, running the internet equivalent of a highway produce stand, it's a big deal to see so many people swooping in. And we don't want to let you down -- we're very aware that we survive because of your trust in us and pretty much nothing else. Even beyond distributor bankruptcies, independent publishing is always a dicey business; just this week the great magazine Punk Planet announced that their latest issue would be their last. (That it lived for eighty issues is a testament to the dedication of Dan Sinker and everyone else involved.) No one's getting rich in this business, but your support can allow these labors of love to labor onwards.

Fortunately, we're clear of that for now; the wrathful creditor-filled waters have calmed a bit, and we're wiping our brows and returning to what we like best: actually making things we think you should see. In our last note, we mentioned Millard Kaufman, whose sterling first novel we'll be releasing this fall. We mentioned that the book is called Bowl of Cherries and that the author is ninety years old, but there are a few other noteworthy things about Millard that we didn't mention: He served with the U.S. Marine Corps on Guadalcanal and Okinawa. He is the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of the legendary Bad Day at Black Rock. He was awarded a special medal at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. And: he is the co-creator of Mr. Magoo. This is true.

Also, he's a terrific guy, a marvelous writer, and Bowl of Cherries is one of the wittiest, most unexpected books we've seen in years, like a more hormonal Invitation to a Beheading told by a fifteen-year-old trapped in Iraq. Click here for more info and a look at the first chapter; the full novel will be out by October.

We've got lots more on the way, of course, but for now we mainly want to say thanks. You saved our necks this time, and we're grateful for it.

Yours warmly,
The folks at McSweeney's

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:45 pm 
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maybe we should sell off our stuff to raise fund

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