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des
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 08:33 am:   

After 4 issues, I feel it is the appropriate time to take stock. In many ways, always a foolhardy venture, not particularly helped by my inept distribution and often over-the-top publicity procedures. Perhaps too early to take stock regarding Nemonymous~4 as there are reviews in the pipeline etc and not everyone who wants to purchase it has indeed yet done so.

Over four years, however, I'm pleased that it has done financially better than I ever probably deserved to hope, bearing in mind the handicaps of not publishing the writer's by-line whilst the Small Press is generally a writerly project. I am pleased at some of the new ideas it has evoked (submission procedures etc) and the glowing reviews it has garnered and the significant places and people where it has created good impressions. I am proud of all the stories that it has published. I have held to all my promises: it has worked perfectly (with the help of TTA's creative interpretation of my design specifications etc). No subscriptions to honour as I never had subscriptions to offer.

I could list a number of other factors that has made Nemonymous special(and a bundle of fun, at least for me!). I only hope the provocations it has made are eventually seen as constructive ones.

I genuinely have the financial wherewithal and the desire to start work on Nemonymous~5. But I am not yet going to do so. I am not happy that enough copies of previous issues have been sold. When enough have been sold, I shall then commence work on ~5. It may be a year, it may be longer. Why? Well, because I owe it to Nemonymous. It deserves more people putting their hands in their pocket. If they don't, Nemonymous and I are simply wasting our time. I don't necessarily want the money as such but I do want the ability of Nemonymous to gather that money because that shows it is valued. I want Nemonymous to break even, for that reason.

Many writers just submit to it: they never read it. That's fair enough. But it doesn't mean that I have to publish Nemonymous in those circumstances. I love producing Nemonymous. A labour of love. But I'm willing to forgo that love. Thanks to those, in the meantime, who have supported it by buying it. Buying something means it's a valuable object.

If Nemonymous~5 never appears, I apologise to the writers of the great stories in Nemonymous~4 whose by-lines will not be crystallised in Nemonymous print. Their contracts always entailed this possibility, however. They will be denemonised on the Veils&Piques web forum during January 2005, whatever happens to the print version.

Let's hope I can produce another issue of Nemonymous.

Yours unfailingly, Des
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des
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 11:30 am:   

Just had this response from a Nemo regular customer to the Veils & Piques version of above message:

"I've just finished reading the last two stories in Nemo 4, and found them overwhelmingly good. I believe they are my favorites though I need to go back through the collection for another read-over. Vole Mountain is a masterpiece. I've nothing but praise for its execution, imagery and message. I'll now think in terms of character as vanilla or tutti fruity. "Withering" is creepy, so well written --loved the premise and the resolution (if such can be said--a *happy* ending for a tale such as this---the narrator triumphs!)

Please know that what you've done with all the Nemo's is spectacular. A work of love that shows itself in all manner of ways sensitive.When the time is right for you, let us look forward to relishing another wonderful Nemo collection."
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des
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 01:47 pm:   

Since making my 'statement' above on Friday - I'm pleased to say sales have noticeably increased. It may be a spirt, only to slow down again, however.
des
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steve r
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 03:19 pm:   

Des, you know I'll be buying one just as soon as I know who's in it! (It also helps to be in UK...)
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des
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 10:35 pm:   

So, perhaps I should do Nemo~5 with everyone knowing who is in it? Advertising author appearances and stories to entice people to buy it? Seriously.
des
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steve r
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 03:38 am:   

No , no. no. I was just joking. There ARE problems with the whole Nemonymous concept, as you know, but you've done wonders with it. I don't know, but, to cheer you up, I think that probably if you compare sales of Nemo with other small press collections, Nemo will be smiling brightly. You have the same problem as everyone else - if it isn't sitting nicely in a bookshop to entice people (I bet 10 copies a day would go in any Waterstones, for example) people have to make that special effort to purchase (as Jetze says, slightly more effort in the case of Nemo).

Your other point - the many people who submit stories and never buy: well,I guess, to take a charitable view, they should be shot. Seriously.
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des
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 04:41 am:   

Thanks, Steve. I was actually thinking of doing Nemo~5 with by-lines printed intact, but with the 'nemonymous' element remaining inasmuch as the editor would categorically accept or reject stories (as happened with Nemo~4) without knowing who wrote them.
des
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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 05:41 am:   

How about this for a sales ploy:

Say who is in issue 5 ahead of time: But don't say which stories they write.

. . . Maybe you could offer a special prize to anyone who can match all the stories and authors together correctly.

At least the first part of this idea is a good one.

And, why not solicit some authors you like, ones who are likely to draw readers?

Since sales are a problem, why not be creative with ways to boost them.

I think the trick is to get readers - not authors - to buy the magazine. I think that is part of the reason a lot of small press ventures dont do well - is that they expect authors to support them. But authors have a hard enough time supporting themselves!

And there are millions of people out there who will buy Nemo - they just need to be steered in the right direction.

These are just my ideas - hope they are not intruding.
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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 05:48 am:   

You should also have past issues listed on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, so that when someone plugs in Rhys Hughes for instance, the issues featuring his stories will pop up.
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des
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 05:57 am:   

Thanks, Brendan, some very useful ideas there.

Also your: "I think the trick is to get readers - not authors - to buy the magazine" is indeed an aspiration. But in the Small Press, they are the same people.
des

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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 06:13 am:   

They might very well be the same people, but they shouldn't be. As a business plan, it just can't work. For instance, an art gallery cannot survive if its clients consist solely of the artists it represents.

The challenge is therefore to get readers, not just writers, intereted in the concept of Nemo.

I think part of the way you could do that would be to exploit the authors you have already published - at least the names of those who have any kind of a following. The whole nemoninity thing can be a double edged sword - it can attract as well as repel.

I think you should make use of the first issues - those where the authors are known - to sell them.

But maybe that is going against the original concept too much?

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Jamie
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 07:30 am:   

Des -- I like the idea of an issue where the authors are provided, but you don't say who wrote what. (I wouldn't change Nemo permanently along those lines, however.)

Also, perhaps you could include some sort of incentive to buy the next issue of Nemo? ie, If you buy #4, you get 10% (or something, I don't know your budgetary calculations) off of #5. It seems like that might make sense with something like Nemo, where issue #4 is 'incomplete' (ie without author names) until #5 comes out.

I, for one, am more inclined to buy #5 than to buy the #s 1 and 2, although I couldn't for certain say why.
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des
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 09:00 am:   

Brilliant ideas, Jamie. BTW, I'm trying currently to get the words nemonymity/nemonymous in the Oxford English Dictionary - with the meaning: "The use of anonymity to reveal rather than to hide, usu. in an artistic context."
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des
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 12:26 pm:   

Just received this from a regular Nemonymous customer regarding my recent Veils&Piques statement about Nemonymous:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As Nemo 4 sits on the end of my desk shimmering in that state twixt unread and read, I feel moved to once again send you a brief mail of support.

You must realise by now that the Nemonymous project is one of the most significant literary undertakings of the new Millennium: viewpoints have been shifted and lives (mine certainly) have been enriched. There's never been a kinetic reading experience like it. And as a writer - regardless of my unpublished non-Nemo status - I've felt overwhelmingly touched to be a part of it all.

All power to you on your journey, Des - whichever road you take.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Thanks! Des

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des
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 01:16 am:   

Just heard that a review of Nemonymous~4 will appear in Asimov's Jan
2005.
***********

My greatest love in fiction is the 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' core. For
me, this core should be expanded by the current vogue in genre-
crossing and genre-betweening, i.e. like a magnet, making other
literary forms conducive to the 'Horror' spirit. Indeed, I believe,
most good fiction is imbued with this spirit, anyway. This is really
what, in hindsight, I am trying to do in Nemonymous, if you ignore
its anonymity etc. aspects for a moment.
(Indeed, as a side issue, are the Anonymity aspects an unnecessary
distraction in a mag that might do even better without them?)
Those who publish genre-specific Horror outlets perhaps allow the
hard-fought beach-heads of 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' to crumble into the
sea, thus allowing particles of fiction gathered for the 'Horror/Dark
Fantasy' core to escape from that core by crystallising that core
*as* a core rather than as a magnet.
I'm still thinking this through, but I hope my 'crude' expression of
it above may be refined later.

*************
The position is still the same re the Nemonymous future and I repeat
my statement below (which is currently held on the
http://www.nemonymous.com website):


NEMONYMOUS FUTURE

After 4 issues, I feel it is the appropriate time to take stock. In
many ways, always a foolhardy venture, not particularly helped by my
inept distribution and often over-the-top publicity procedures.
Perhaps too early to take stock regarding Nemonymous~4 as there are
reviews in the pipeline etc and not everyone who wants to purchase it
has indeed yet done so.

Over four years, however, I'm pleased that it has done financially
better than I ever probably deserved to hope, bearing in mind the
handicaps of not publishing the writer's by-line whilst the Small
Press is generally a writerly project where readers are writers. I am
pleased at some of the new ideas it has evoked (submission procedures
etc) and the glowing reviews it has garnered and the significant
places and people where it has created good impressions. I am proud
of all the stories that it has published. I have held to all my
promises: it has worked perfectly (with the help of TTA's creative
interpretation of my design specifications etc). No subscriptions to
honour as I never had subscriptions to offer.

I could list a number of other factors that has made Nemonymous
special(and a bundle of fun, at least for me!). I only hope the
provocations it has made are eventually seen as constructive ones.

I genuinely have the financial wherewithal and the desire to start
work on Nemonymous~5. But I am not yet going to do so. I am not happy
that enough copies of previous issues have been sold. When enough
have been sold, I shall then commence work on ~5. It may be a year,
it may be longer. Why? Well, because I owe it to Nemonymous. If
people don't value Nemonymous enough to buy it, Nemonymous and I are
simply wasting our time. I don't necessarily want the money as such
but I do want the ability of Nemonymous to gather that money because
that shows it is valued. I want Nemonymous to break even, for that
reason.

Many writers just submit to it: they never read it. That's fair
enough. But it doesn't mean that I have to publish Nemonymous in
those circumstances. I love producing Nemonymous. A labour of love.
But I'm willing to forgo that love. Thanks to those, in the meantime,
who have supported it by buying it. Buying something means it's a
valuable object.

If Nemonymous~5 never appears, I apologise to the writers of the
great stories in Nemonymous~4 whose by-lines will not be crystallised
in Nemonymous print. Their contracts always entailed this
possibility, however. They will be denemonised on the Veils&Piques
web forum during January 2005, whatever happens to the print version.

Let's hope I can produce another issue of Nemonymous.
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des
Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 08:54 am:   

Just had the unsolicited comment below from one of the new customers who recently bought all four Nemonymous editions in one go:


"I'm almost finished with Nemonymous one! It's wonderful -- honestly, one of the best collections of fiction I read in years. I guessed the Jeff Vandermeer story, and Rhys Hughes -- sort of. Everyone else was a mystery, and I did not peek at the author while reading (although it is nice to have all four, so I can look up the authors of the best stuff.)"

That last bit is very telling. Perhaps I should include all by-lines in the issue in which the stories are printed?! (A bit radical that!)
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des
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 08:36 am:   

`Regarding my recent Nemonymous Future statement, I received below from a Nemonymous customer yesterday:


I have only just seen the message that ends "Let's hope I can produce another issue of Nemonymous." ....

I must admit it came as a shock to me. Nemonymous has never received anything but praise and is such an important literary experiment that it took quite a while to sink in. The megazanthus is something that has sustained me through a very difficult period of my life. ....

All the short story writers that I admire - Borges, Dylan Thomas, Calvino, Angela Carter, Cornell Woolrich - are all gone now and will write nothing new. Nemonymous is the one place I have found that has kept alive the same spirit of the fantastic, the daring, the unpredictable and the honest in a world of crass commercialised crap. I am convinced that many of the writers that I love would never be published today because they wouldn't be "commercial" enough. But I am equally convinced that they would have all found a welcome home in Nemonymous.

There is a small part of me that is a writer - one that hasn't yet found a place in Nemonymous - but there is a much bigger part of me that is a reader. That part of me desperately wants Nemonymous to continue.....

We all love to run our finger down a contents page and flick straight to a tale by one of our favourite authors, but Nemonymous gives us something else - we needn't bother to put our finger to the trouble; they might all be by someone who becomes our favourite author. It will be very sad if that special quality disappears. It really will.

"Let's hope I can produce another issue of Nemonymous." Yes, let's hope that.

***************

Also, regarding my Nemonymous Future Statement, Im beginning to receive enquiries as to bulk purchase of the past issues of Nemonymous so that they can be sold on to friends etc.

Nemonymouses 1, 2, 3 & 4 together *in one fell swoop* are now 20 (inclusive of postage). For bigger purchases please contact me at:
bfitzworth@yahoo.co.uk

Des

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