March 18, 2016
Dear Intrepid Readers,
In last week’s editor’s letter, we told you this week’s letter would include a pretty big announcement. I’m glad that you came back to see what it is.
So there’s absolutely no way (is there?) that you could have missed the fact that we’ve migrated all of our back issues (NBR #1-7) online over the past 2 months. As a press who has been publishing exclusively on the Lithomobilus platform, the transition to online access was a pretty big jump. But it was a necessary jump that we had to make as a press—for two years, we’ve taken a lot of pride in the fact that we place the opinions of our readers and contributors at a premium. And your message was clear: we need more access to read what Zoetic Press is producing. So we created the weekly Alphanumeric series to provide fresh content every week, and we created the Rhizomatic Ideas blog to provide more weekly content, including op-eds, book reviews, and blog series that take an in-depth look at some of the subjects that are important to our readers. But the harder we’ve worked to make sure that Zoetic Press is bringing you the things you want to read in a way that you can access easily, the clearer it became to us that we needed to adapt to meet your needs, not the other way around. Hence, the migration of our issues online.
Which is where this week’s big announcement comes into play. Many of you reading this editor’s letter are contributors to Zoetic Press in some way—some through NonBinary Review, others through Unbound Octavo, a full-length Zoetic Press work, or as a guest blogger for Rhizomatic Ideas—and that is a connection for which we will always feel tremendous pride and gratitude. Many of you have already received correspondence from us, reaching out to tell you about the new beginning that Zoetic Press will be embarking upon after AWP. And today’s letter is where we extend that new beginning to everyone who has shared in the journey of Zoetic Press in the past few years. In 2013, Lise founded Zoetic Press as a “proof of concept” publisher for the Lithomobilus platform. Since founding, we have curated and released seven issues of remarkable work from artists across the globe in our literary journal NonBinary Review, producing each issue with an updated version of the Lithomobilus platform. As you know, this is how we have built up our community of authors and artists, which to date we consider our greatest achievement as editors. At the beginning of 2016, we made our greatest strides with the platform: we produced our first two Zoetic Press releases, and we launched the Litho Reader store. And then we realized that it just wasn’t working the way that we needed it to work—to serve our authors, our readers, and ourselves as a press. We could list all the reasons, but none of them is important this late in the game. The upshot of it is that Lithomobilus was a noble experiment from which we learned mightily, but one which has now come to an end.
So what does that mean, going forward?
The first thing we want to address is we’re still here. Lithomobilus is shutting up shop, but Zoetic Press will continue as a more traditional independent press, and our focus will remain on the production of primarily digital content and ebooks. And you’ll notice this year at our AWP booth (#1636), we’re expanding to make room for print works, where possible—we understand the necessity of flexibility in independent publishing, and we’re making space for that as we move into the next phase of Zoetic Press.
We plan to continue putting out NonBinary Review and Unbound Octavo, and to keep paying writers for their work. But these endeavors take money, and how we’re funded will also be changing, without the backing of Lithomobilus and Narrative Technologies. So beginning with NBR #8: The Art of War, we will be moving to a new publication model, and we hope that you’ll continue on this road with us, listening to the stories our authors tell along the way.
The first in this series of changes for our new model is that we’ve started a Patreon account. We’ve mentioned Patreon before in our blog posts about methods of funding contests and literary journals, and as we’re in transition, we’ve decided that this option equally serves our needs and our readers’ needs. So with the new Patreon account, our supporters can pledge a monthly amount, and in turn, receive Zoetic Press content. NonBinary Review will continue to be a quarterly release, and its Alphanumeric features will continue to be published online every week, completely free. Unbound Octavo will be an annual production, whose stories will be available online for a limited time as free content, and in its entirety will be included as part of our Patreon package of content. This year at AWP, we have produced really attractive (and trust us, we have seen some chapbooks, so we’re not just being biased!) saddle-stitched chapbooks of all our Alphanumeric features for issues #3-8, as well as two perfect bound collections from the first two years of NonBinary Review. If you were at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis, you might remember Mythmaking, which collected some of our favorite pieces from NBR #1-4. Our second installment, Dreamspinning, collects our award-nominated pieces from our first issue right up to our current issue. Again: saying this as the unbiased (ok, maybe a TEENSY BIT biased) opinion of an editor who’s seen a lot of anthologies, but ours are really, really pretty and the size is very cute and convenient (they fit in most pockets.) Going forward, copies of these books—as well as future projects like anthologies, podcasts, and online readings—will all be bundled into different Patreon levels for supporters, so keep an eye on our pages for more details as we figure out how to make our new model best serve our readers and our authors.
Change is difficult and scary, and we’re grateful for the support of the readers and authors who we’ve built ties with along the way. We know that you are the core of everything we do, and every change that we’re making is to best serve the stories: the writers who bring them to life in the telling, and the readers who keep them breathing by sharing in the experience. Patreon is a way for us to crowd-source the means of keeping the stories and the storytellers…well, in the business of telling stories. So it goes without saying that we’d love it if you could come on over to our Patreon page and support us. Every pledge counts, and we’re making sure that we can accommodate even the budget of a poet (and trust us, we KNOW what that budget feels like.) But whether or not you choose to pledge, we hope that you will help us out by letting your networks know that their support of Zoetic Press allows us to support hundreds of authors, and artists, both new and established. Through Patreon, we hope to continue to produce the best quarterly literary magazine possible, and to continue assigning value to art by paying contributors for their work. We hope that you will be able to help us in that endeavor, and thank you for whatever support you can give—we appreciate all of it.
So let’s raise a glass to our beloved Lithomobilus – an exercise in being avant-garde that we’ll always look back on and feel the pride of trying something wholly new. And let’s raise another glass and toast to the new incarnation of Zoetic Press. We look forward to a long and productive life with our beautiful authors. Then let’s just keep raising glasses, because we’re all artists, dammit, and drinking is what we DO. We’re good at it.
Our sign-off this time is going to be a little different than usual, because in the coming days we’re going to be streamlining our social media pages to reflect the changes: pages will be consolidated, re-named, revamped, and we’re launching a Tumblr page to give you an even easier way to get fresh content from us—to paraphrase Boy George, “We’ll Tumbl 4 Ya.”
We’d love for you to become part of our House of Medici and support us through Patreon, where your pledges directly fund artists and the production of literary work. Just think, you’d be contributing to the care and feeding of starving artists!
We’ll be re-vamping our Pinterest page and adding new boards to reflect some of the changes in the press, but it’ll still be a fun, relaxing, low-pressure way for you to engage with Zoetic Press, so pop over and enjoy some of the writing prompts, writer memes, and dream libraries that we’ve pinned for you. On Facebook, you’ll be able to connect with us at our Zoetic Press page or for a more personal connection, engage with your favorite NonBinary Review authors in the Zoetic Press Facebook group, or if 140 characters is your scene, Tweet us. We will still be bringing you a new Alphanumeric feature every Tuesday, and those will remain free for everyone to enjoy—we’ll be cross posting to Tumblr, too, so if that’s how you prefer to read, you’ll definitely be excited to subscribe and see what’s new. As ever, we encourage you to connect with our editors and staff to give us feedback about the transition, suggestions for Patreon perks you’d like to see, or just to let us know how we’re doing, because editors need love and reassurance sometimes, too. Our YouTube channel will be getting a face-lift and will be updated to include book trailers, Patreon exclusives, as well as our storytellers entertaining you by reading their work to you in their own voice. Our blog Rhizomatic Ideas will also be changing to adapt to the new Zoetic Press model, so we’re always open for book reviews, blog pitches, and guest voices—we would love to hear your ideas, so send us a pitch! And remember, even though we’re transitioning, we’re still committed to bringing you NonBinary Review and more Zoetic Press releases, and our submissions remain open, even as we change modes.
Until next week,