Did you know Cygnus has been around for 21 years this year? Well, we couldn’t have done it without support from all of you! Cygnus really is a team effort, and we’d like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your interest, enthusiasm and support for what we are doing.
As the 21st century continues to unfold, with all its endless opportunities for growth, transformation and evolution, we believe Cygnus can continue to be useful to you as a guide and companion on your path. To be able to carry on being of service to you, however, we have come to the conclusion that we need to change the way we operate slightly. To do that, we need your help. So we’ve been through our whole mailing list, and selected the readers who are most likely to want to assist us, and that’s why we’re sending this letter to you.
Time to free ourselves from past mistakes and obstacles
We realise that we’ve made one or two tactical errors over the past decade as we sleepwalked into the internet age without real awareness of the changes wrought by Amazon and the supermarket chains on people’s book buying habits. There is much more we could do to make our website an accessible, joyous to use esoteric information and community hub. And much more we could do to improve the content of our magazine.
I have also seen my focus torn away from the day-to-day care of Cygnus since 2008 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Things became particularly taxing in early 2010 when I was admitted to hospital and placed on the palliative care pathway. But a combination of modern pharmaceuticals and integrative medicine, not to mention the love, prayers and positivity of my family and all of you, has allowed me to roll the illness back to a large extent, and rescue my body from the jaws of unpleasantness so that I am once again able to live a full and active life. This has released a lot of energy in our family as you can imagine, and, just as we feel renewed in our own lives, so we want to express that impetus for renewal in our work for Cygnus. Which brings us to our plans for ensuring its survival in the long term:
Planning a stronger future
Until now, the production, printing and postage of the Cygnus Review has been paid for mainly through bookselling, supplemented by advertising sales and the voluntary subscriptions contributed so kindly by Cygnus Supporters. Currently, one in ten of you is a Cygnus Supporter, but for the future it seems wiser to encourage the majority of you to become Cygnus Supporters, paying a small subscription of just £1 per month in return for regular monthly copies of the Cygnus Review, plus a range of other benefits (see here).
This will ensure – for less than the price of a bottle of milk or a Sunday paper – that Cygnus can plan for the future in a measured way. We will invest the funds in expanding the content of the Cygnus Review and improving our website. It will also enable us to continue sending the magazine to people who for whatever reason cannot necessarily afford to pay for it. Almost as an afterthought it’s worth mentioning that this investment in moving to a more stable business model will enable us to adapt to the seismic changes ongoing in the book trade, not to mention what some are describing as ‘the second industrial revolution’ in synchrony with global economic upheaval. We hope you will help us to continue to help you with all the inspiration and guidance we provide through our network of authors, thinkers and supporters.
What we’d like you to do
So if you’re not yet a Cygnus Supporter, or your Supportership has lapsed, this is what we’d like you to do, today if possible:
Just complete the form overleaf and send it back to us with your Cygnus Supporter subscription (or you can subscribe online). The suggested amount is £12 (UK) or £15 (overseas) per year, but that’s only a suggestion. In actual fact we would be happy to accept even the smallest amount – £1 per year if that’s all you can manage.
Have we been ‘too generous’?
If you’re already a Cygnus Supporter, we’d like to talk to you about the free postage we have offered you (if you live in the UK), until now. Over the years, many of you have contacted us to say that you think we are being too generous! And that, because you signed up to be a Supporter because you wanted to help us, you’d actually rather pay postage. Finally, we’ve come to the conclusion that you are right. So from now on, free postage for UK Cygnus Supporters will be optional. If you’re happy to pay postage, please tell us when you place your order, and we will charge you the appropriate amount. (If you’re ordering online, just select the standard postage option.)
Back next month with more news
Next month, we’ll write you another newsletter, letting you know how the response to this one went, and including further news about how we are getting on with improving the services we offer. We have plans to improve the range of benefits offered to Cygnus Supporters, so we’ll let you know how we’re progressing with that, too.
Our heartfelt thanks to you for taking the time to read this, and our warmest good wishes for a fruitful September!
With our love,
Ann, Geoff and the Cygnus Team