This year has been one of great transition. While it is still not over, it will remain a year that has resulted in a series of significant changes that I felt were necessary to take if Flesk Publications, Spectrum Fantastic Art and myself were to continue to grow in a robust fashion.
In the summer of 2013, while everyone was congratulating me on taking over the reins of Spectrum and on the recent Flesk books successes–most notably with The Art of Brom–I knew how quickly success could become something of the past when it should instead be viewed as a stepping stone. I’m not a pessimist by any means, but instead one who can fully grasp reality and situations for what they are at the moment. I playfully told people that summer that in 2014 I would either be bankrupt or three times stronger. I was actually being serious. I’ve seen many companies reach a certain point of growth, achieve a series of successes and then make a series of detrimental decisions and disintegrate in a matter of months as they have no idea how to handle their new found growth. It was the end of that summer of 2013 that I began to focus heavily on revisiting the infrastructure of the business. It’s always best to be in a position to take this step when things are going well, rather than when they are going poorly.
The first thing that I did was to set aside all Flesk titles for nearly a year. I instead poured much of my energies into upgrading every process revolving around Spectrum. I then critically reviewed every process in the Flesk offices. I did both by asking myself the question, “How would I run these two brands if I just walked in the door today.” I treated each as if I had never been involved with them. I made a series of big decisions and took action to rebuild every function. I then took the time needed to enact each change. The result is a robust new Flesk and Spectrum. I feel confident that I am far better equipped for success than ever before.
One of the most significant changes for 2014 was the move to Publisher’s Group West (PGW) for our book trade distribution. PGW is one of the largest distributors in the country and their reach goes worldwide. PGW has a massive sales team and superior fulfilment facility. The result is greater penetration into the marketplace which means we will be reaching more stores and new audiences.
Another big change was moving into a new space in Santa Cruz, California. We now have a proper facility for handling a far wider assortment of opportunities. For instance, even when receiving twenty-two pallets of books and having six people working on fulfillment at the same time we had plenty of elbow room.
Additional changes involved gathering a hardworking, friendly and dedicated crew to help with the increased workload. I am very fortunate to have a great team.
Now, as we are primed for 2015 I have been gearing back up on Flesk books.
The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija is almost complete. We will be taking pre-orders through Kickstarter beginning on December 1st and sending the book to the printer in early January.
The artwork and writing is complete for Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz. We are designing the book now.
The Nexus Chronicles by Steve Rude is well into the designing phase. This book will be wrapped up in a matter of a few months.
The Art of Elfquest by Wendy Pini is roughly laid out and will be another title coming out in 2015.
Harvey Dunn: Where Your Heart Is… by Robert Karolevitz, a revised and expanded edition of the 1970 definitive biography on Dunn is slated for the printer on February 1st. This book I am honored to be packaging for the South Dakota Art Museum.
The Tribes of Kai by Daren Bader and Lance HaunRogue, a stunning new graphic novel will also be available in 2015 as it is now nearing completion with the designs starting shortly.
The World of Payne by Frank Cho and Tom Sniegoski is written with Frank working on the artwork now.
Spectrum 22: The Best on Contemporary Fantastic Art will round out the year!
These are just some of the examples of the over thirty titles that we have in development!
Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.