Rosy Press has officially partnered with Oni Press to bring its McDuffie Award-nominated anthology series, “Fresh Romance,” to print, and founder Janelle Asselin spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about why she chose Oni, the benefits of their deal and what the publisher will bring to “Fresh Romance.”
“Having a print partner in Oni means that we can take risks that, as a small independent one-person publisher like Rosy Press, we otherwise couldn’t take,” she explained.
“Oni and I were in complete agreement that the collection should feel solid and unique,” she continued. “Rather than serialized chunks of story in six different issues, readers will get complete stories or chapters. For instance, the 20-page ‘Beauties’ [by Marguerite Bennett and Trungles] will be collected in its entirety while the 60 pages of chapter one (of three) of ‘Ruined’ [by Sarah Vaughn and Sarah Winifred Searle] will also be included. It gives a different reading experience than reading the digital issues. There are over 200 pages of comics in ‘Fresh Romance’ Vol. 1, and the general feel of the book will really embrace the physical format.”
As part of their partnership, Rosy Press has launched a Kickstarter to help fund the print edition of “Fresh Romance” Vol. 1. Asselin hopes its success will “signal to Oni that they’ve made the right investment in partnering with us and encourage them to do future editions, volumes and comics with us.”
In addition to this Kickstarter and new partnership with Oni, “Fresh February” — Rosy Press’ month-long promotion — heralds a sale on the digital editions, the debut of Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos and Amanda Scurti’s “School Spirit” comic collection and the release of the digital series’ seventh issue later this month.
“I had a lot of offers on the table, both formal and informal, but Oni was the option that felt really right,” she shared. “Their editorial staff is pretty small, but it’s one of the most diverse in comics. And the thing is that they don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk — I couldn’t possibly partner with a company that doesn’t share my ideals and treat their staff and creators right. I’ve never heard of anyone at Oni doing anything horrible. That’s kind of a key thing for me, and more rare than one would hope in comics.”
While last year’s initial Kickstarter for the digital anthology was highly successful, the monthly sales numbers just aren’t what Asselin hoped they’d be. “The initial Kickstarter was such a high point,” she said. “People banded together to support it so passionately and we raised 180% of our goal! Readers loved the first six issues and have been active in telling us so! There’s nothing quite like that feeling, but our monthly sales numbers are much lower than I’d hoped they’d be, which has been disappointing… in order to hit a wider audience, we need to be available in both print and digital. That’s the reality of today’s comics market.”
The “Fresh Romance” Kickstarter will run through Wednesday, March 16.