Tag Archives: Publishing

But Critiques are Optional–Right?

How many of you write a novel or a short story, but you don’t know who to give it to? As writers, the most important thing to do during the journey of finishing your work is to hand a draft over for criticism. Especially if you’re starting out. I mean, you want your work to do well, right? I used to write fifty pages, then give it to my mom to see if it has the potential to be a good story. These days I try to actually finish the work before giving it to anyone. But sometimes it helps to know if the first few pages is an attention-grabber.

Handing out your work can be tricky and futile. For the most part, my mom is the main one to read my stories. I trust that she won’t throw my hard work around as her own. I trust that she will tell me the truth about whether or not if she thought I did well in writing it–to a point. I’ve given my first novel to a couple of friends who promised to read it and tell me how they like it. Then I ended up wishing I didn’t because they never follow through. People not doing what they promise to do, or saying they like something when they didn’t can hurt more than a million rejections from agents.

I tend to be very protective of my work, so giving my “baby” to anyone is a major deal. I’m always afraid it will fall into the wrong hands, so I prefer giving it to someone I know well. Unfortunately, even if they do follow through and read it, there’s that chance they’re afraid of hurting your feelings, so rather than saying it’s no good, or that scene is out of place, they may say “it’s not bad.”

Now that’s a great help to us who dream of being successful authors, isn’t it?

I wrote and rewrote and rewrote my first manuscript (soon to be on the market) for more than seven years. My mom was gracious enough to read it after each rewrite, and each time she’d tell me “yes, I love it except for this part.” And I’d see what I needed to do to smooth out the scene she was talking about, then she’d be upset with me because I’d always find something else I need to fix.

“It was fine the way you had it the first time,” she’d complain.

“No, Mom,” I’d say. “I have my dead guy as someone everyone hates. No one will care that he’s dead.”

Ironically, she liked each rewrite better than the last. Still, it’s one person’s opinion, and we want a few more, right? Thankfully, after I finished my final rewrite, God sent me another writer who graciously offered to read it and even edit it, if he liked the manuscript. With his guidance, I finished my first novel and actually wanted to read it again and again. Working frustratingly on a story and never being happy with the direction I was going in made me want to discard the entire project! Anyone else agree?

My good fortune continued when I was able to find a friend who did read my book, and an unbiased reader whom I didn’t know (but a friend does). I was nervous about handing it out to either person because of my history of fruitlessly searching for critiques. The good thing is that I know they were honest when they told me they thought it was a great story. And the icing on the cake was when I found they enjoyed the same scenes, wished I included more of this or that, liked this particular character flaw, etc.

This is why it’s vital to find someone to read your work before sending it off. There’s a lot of bad novels out there that were published but haven’t been “approved” in any way. But that’s the author’s right. However, critiques help. Your friends may catch grammar issues, spelling errors, etc, and you’ll want to fix them before either self-publishing or attempting to land an agent. Face it: agents aren’t going to want to give your manuscript a chance if you misspelled “the,” or if your heroine has brown hair at the beginning of the story, then blonde hair in the ending with no scene of buying hair colors.

Writer’s Digest offers plenty of excellent resources. It’s costly but worth it. I haven’t used their resources yet, but it’ll always be there should I decide I need to. Some writers attend groups where they critique each other’s work. Honestly, my trust issues won’t allow me to go that far, although, for the most part, writers want their peers to succeed. I just worry about my work, and I’m not alone…Even renowned mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark feels the same way.

If you’re a writer, I urge you to find a friend you know that enjoys reading (preferably the genre the story is in) and stress to them that they need to be as brutal and raw about their opinion as possible. Tell them to aim below the belt. You can choose to use their suggestions, or say, nay. But I bet you’ll find more often than not, their ideas are sound. After all, you know the point you were trying to make. Remember in school when teachers urged you to ask questions because chances are someone has that same question? Well, it’s often true to writing.

If you’re a reader, be true to your critiques. It doesn’t matter whether you’re critiquing something that’s already been published, or your best friend with ultra-sensitive feelings hands you a copy of their final draft. If you love the book, but not a certain scene or character, tell them. If you hated the book, tell them. They may ask why, and it’s quite possible they are willing to rework it. Nine times out of ten, they hand your their unpublished piece for a reason: to fix anything that may need to be fixed.

If we can’t take criticism, then I think we need to find another hobby or career. At the same time, if we throw out every criticism, you may as well not have asked for it in the first place. People in this world are overconfident when it comes to the things they are passionate about. Myself included. But somehow we need to realize that in order to be successful in this world, we need to work together. We need more honesty. The critiques may hurt, but if they’re genuine, it’ll only help in the end.

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To Self-Publish or Try the Publishing Option? That is the Question…

Great advice in a guest post on our very own Colleen Chesebro’s SilverThreading.com blog. A MUST for every author to read. Seriously!

The Faery Whisperer

Image Credit: Randomhousebooks.com/hydra

Last week I came across an article about Hydra, a digital-first imprint of Random House. Here is the link to read the article. Hydra is reported as presenting the next generation of science fiction, fantasy, and horror who says: “Every title is available for purchase at major e-retailers and compatible with all reading devices.”

The interesting thing was, the article opened up a dialog about the options writers have in releasing their books to the public. It then becomes all about traditional publishing and independent publishing. Trying to figure out what is best for you is sometimes hard.

I am lucky to have built up a friendship with Lyz Russo, an accomplished author and the owner of an Indy Publishing company called P’kaboo Publishers. As a novice author, writing my first novel, I wanted to hear what choices I had available to me. There are…

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Are You A Published Author? Then I Have A Question For You.

When Ronovan initially started Lit World Interviews, his idea was that it would be a place where authors could promote themselves as well as their work.  It’s also a place where authors come to seek help and advice from others.  Of course there’s the book reviews as well.

I don’t know about you, but I often find that my pride gets in the way when I want to ask for some help.  That’s where blogs like this can really help because I don’t feel as afraid to ask for advice especially as many of the readers here are published authors.  I am sure that all of them will have been in a similar situation to  where I find myself today.

As yet I have never published a book.  However, I now find myself  at the beginning of a road whose signpost says ‘Published Authors.’ The road ahead not only looks very scary but very uninviting as well. I’ve been told it’s full of pitfalls and that if I do get to the end of it, then not to expect to find the roads paved with gold.   We all fear going into the unknown and many of us will turn away and never go down that road especially if we don’t ask for advice.

The question I want to ask may be one that some readers here today will probably want to ask and I am sure is one that most published authors would have asked at some stage.  I’m sure it will generate lots of different answers and where better to store all those answers than here on Lit World Interviews.  So here’s that question I want to ask you all.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone who is at the beginning of that road, looking up at that sign-post and thinking about publishing a book?

 

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@RobertHughes05 (https://twitter.com/RobertHughes05)

Hugh Roberts Google+ (https://plus.google.com/108647661887874692677/posts)

Hugh Roberts LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/home?trk=nav_responsive_tab_home

hughsviewsandnews.com (http://hughsviewsandnews.com/about/)

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Why Free Ebooks Don’t Sell.

Why does Free not sell?

That’s a question I have seen a few times around the author blogs. Having recently, okay, not too recently signed up for BookBub.com I have been getting a lot of Free Ebooks. But then again I’ve passed on a lot as well—a whole lot. I subscribe to a broad range of genres, from kids to adults, from romance to even horror.

Why do I pass on getting a Free book?

  • First thing is the cover just doesn’t work for me. Yep, the visual hits me first.
  • But, I can move past that if the title works. But then the Title doesn’t work.
  • Then the blurb doesn’t work.
  • Then there is the pen name of the author. The name chosen doesn’t work because it’s an obvious cheese attempt to grab attention. It grabs attention but for the wrong reasons.

I think we all want to believe we can do it all ourselves and for free. Perhaps you are a great book cover artist, creative book blurb writer, and you already have a great name for an author. But for the rest of us I think we need to come to terms that if we want to stand out from the crowd and catch an eye we need to be willing to either put in the effort to really learn how to do everything professionally, which does mean some money and a lot of time, thus meaning a longer time to get that book out there, or we pay professionals to do things for us.

Really, it all depends on what our idea of success is.

  • Do we want to be a million-seller?
  • Do we want to sell enough to do okay living?
  • Do we want to simply have people read and enjoy our work?
  • Do we want the sense of accomplishment that we wrote a book?

If you want to test out what you’ve done, you could put a selection of book covers on your site, without author names and titles, and see which ones work. Use books already out there and mix yours in. That doesn’t mean to actually use their book cover as your own if people like it better. Then do book titles. Then go for book blurbs. Test out what people like. Look at Amazon and see what those top selling people, that aren’t perhaps big names, doing. Big names can almost put out a blank cover with their name on it and people will buy it knowing what to expect inside. Test, test, test.

Much Respect

Ronovan

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How to Get Published: Five Tips No One Ever Told You by @MLaSarre

How to Get Published: Five Tips No One Ever Told You

Every year, thousands upon thousands of books are submitted to agents and publishers by writers who would give their eye teeth to call themselves authors. Every year, by some reports, less than 0.03 percent of all submitted manuscripts are selected for publication. That’s about three out of every 10,000
manuscripts. Of those lucky books to find publishers, big brick-and-mortar stores like Barnes and Noble only stock 1 out of every 10, relinquishing the rest to fight for readers in on-line markets.

In 2014, I conceptualized and wrote my first novel; I submitted it to agents and publishers with what I thought was a fairly targeted, concerted approach; I had my fair share of “thanks, but no thanks,” and then, the right publisher and I found one another. By October of that same year, my novel was published and in the hands of readers and, a month later, I learned my book was selected to be stocked on the shelves of brick-and-mortar giant Barnes and Noble. It has been a whirlwind year. My synopsis of the whirlwind here is not to brag. Not at all. In fact, my book is undoubtedly a statistical miracle. And I know that.

So, how does a first-time writer become a published author with a traditional publisher all in the same
year? Well, my friend Ronovan asked me to break down my experience into some lessons learned. His
question was basically, what advice do I have for aspiring authors given my experience? As I thought
about the answer, I recognized the brilliance in the question. You see, I don’t have traditional advice for
you. What I have to share here is the stuff no one tells you, the advice that worked for me and that I
found through trial and error, and the advice I’d never read anywhere else.

I promise not to duplicate anything you’ve read on any other blog or website offering tips for getting
published. I wouldn’t do that to you. I also don’t promise that following my advice will work for you,
unfortunately. But it will give you food for thought and it will set you apart from the sea of millions
attempting to get published every year.

Without further ado…

1. Trust Your Gut, Give Your Book the Care it Deserves:
I nearly fell into the trap of thinking, “It’s my first book, I don’t expect a lot in terms of publishing. I’ll take the first bite I get from a publisher no matter what the terms, or I’ll self-publish if I get antsy and tired of waiting 3-4 months for a publisher to reply.” The thing is, when you’re feeling like a newbie as an author, it’s easy to pacify your angst by setting low expectations for your book. And sure enough, I had a publisher bite on my book lure 24 hours after I submitted my query, and I read the fine print and had a sinking feeling in my gut that this publisher was a shark and would barely leave me any scraps. Not only that, this publisher wanted me to sign over all rights and opinions to my book’s cover design. I entertained the offer for a few days, letting myself get comfortable “settling” for something that was publishing, but not terms I liked. A small voice jolted me out of my “newbie” thinking; it was the voice of my main character, Jasper Penzey. He said, “Aren’t I worth more to you than someone who doesn’t care about my story, someone who doesn’t care about the cover art that will grace the front of my book?” Jasper was right. As a character, he meant more to me than a second-rate publisher who didn’t care about an awesome cover; he meant more to me than opting to self-publish rather than wait out the traditional publishing game. So, I declined the publisher and hunkered down for the long haul, ready to play the long game. What is the value of your book to you? Ask yourself this question and give your book the time, patience and care it deserves while you look for just the right publisher. Good things take time.

2. Believe In Your Book
An all-time, most-favorited tweet of mine (@MLaSarre): “1st requirement for a query letter: believe in your book. If you don’t, no one else will either. The rest is just semantics.” There are a million on-line resources instructing us on how to write a winning query letter. Read them to get the semantics, formatting and structure right. But then, red line your query letter an infinite number of times until it captures your heart, until it convinces a reader of how passionately you feel about your book. If you don’t believe in your story, if you don’t believe deeply that the world needs to read your book (be sure to answer the “why” of that in your query!), there will be no feeling conveyed in your query letter. Nothing about your query will stand out to any publisher or agent reading it. Infuse your query letter with the passion you feel for your story; add a generous dousing of positive energy and complete belief in your book to the words you write. The reader – an agent or publisher – will feel the difference.

3. Be Honest, Require Honesty
Sharing our pre-pubbed work is an exercise in nerve-wracking, jittery, edge-of-our-seats angst. It’s hard to share our work with others. What if they don’t like it? What if they say we really aren’t as good a writer as we think we are? What if they blow the lid off of our entire set of dreams and aspirations to be a great author? Stop. Tell those thoughts to go stand in the corner and stay there. Your pre-publication time is the best time to collect the feedback of beta readers. Before you submit to publishers, collect a handful of readers you know will be honest with you (your mother will not be honest – she thinks everything you do is awesome). Find readers who represent the audience you hope your book will attract. Ask the hard question: “Tell me what you like about my book and then also, tell me what I can improve on.” Swallow your pride and fear, collect those responses, use them to develop an even better manuscript, and use some of the positives in your query letters, like I did. From a query letter: “Beta readers concur, this is a ‘Dan Brown’ thriller for kids!” Even better, ask the opinion of someone in the publishing industry. Here’s a Fiverr gig I’ve used that has incredible value:  https://www.fiverr.com/kbickford . The seller is a publisher, the owner of a publishing company. She will review your manuscript with the eyes of a publisher and give you feedback. This is astoundingly valuable feedback. Asking for and accepting feedback is hard. You must do it. You must do the hard thing. You do not want a publisher to be the first person to ever have read your manuscript.

4. Manage Expectations
Finding a publisher is going to take a lot of your time. Like, it’s nearly a full-time job for awhile. Don’t expect that it will be easy and don’t get frustrated. Keep the goal in view. I bought the current year’s version of the Writer’s Market, the exhaustive list of publishers open for business that year. Here’s what I worked on every day, for at least two months:

  • Highlight every publisher who will accept manuscript queries, who publishes in a genre that relates to your work (if you don’t have an agent, exclude those publishers who only accept submissions via agents). The book is as big as the Bible. All that highlighting of fine print will keep you busy for at least two days.
  • Make a spreadsheet of every publisher you highlighted. Include their name, genre, contact information, and why they stuck out to you as a good fit.
  • Open the website of every publisher on that list and differentiate them using a spreadsheet column according to whether they accept submissions via email or only via snail mail. I was low-budget in my publishing search so I thought it prudent to contact the “email accepted” list first (FREE!), knowing I’d contact the snail mail publishers later if it came to that (despite the added expense of printing and shipping and gas to get to the post office).
  • Every single day, tackle 4-5 publishers on that list. Follow their submissions requirements to the letter and be sure to customize each query according to what the publisher has already printed that makes you think your book is a good fit for them. No form letters. No generic letters.

I worked my list every day, for months. I kept notes of who I’d queried, who’d I heard back from, who I was still waiting to hear from and how long the publisher expected to take in returning a reply. I didn’t give up and I tenaciously tackled that dreaded list daily, all the time thinking, “How cool is this? Somewhere on this list is my publisher! I just have to find them!”

5. Be Grateful
I sent a query letter to a publisher I felt was so in sync with me as an author, a company that had ties to my life in more than one way, who valued the same aspects of good books as I did. I felt so positive about this publisher, that they were just the right one for me. And then they rejected me. I was crushed! I had envisioned a different outcome so clearly that my heart literally broke when I got the rejection letter. In fact, I stopped querying altogether after that. For weeks I stomped around and was furious at this publisher; I even waited for days thinking I’d receive another message from them saying, “On second thought…we actually really love your book!”  It never came. And then, in another area of my life, I received a strong reminder that we must,  must, must be grateful for all things, including the good and the bad. My first thought was  how ugly my thoughts had been about this publisher. Sometimes, not being grateful stalls our  success forward, literally keeping doors in front of us shut tight. I broke a cardinal rule of writing  then. I emailed that publisher back (you aren’t supposed to reply to rejection letters, or so I’ve  heard). I wrote back and said quite simply, “I just wanted to express my gratitude for the time  you took to review my submission. I wish your publishing house all the best and every success.”
And I meant it! The next day, my publisher and I found one another, quite accidentally. And the rest is history.

I’ll end this blog by saying I hope you have every success in your writing career. I hope you will take the
time to be patient, to keep your heart wide open as you nurse your manuscript into the book format you
can finally share with the world. I hope you will be open to critique from beta readers and allow yourself
to humbly revise your manuscript as many times as needed for it to become what others will enjoy reading (remember, writing books is not just for your enjoyment and self-expression, it’s for others to enjoy reading!). And most of all, I hope you will make being grateful a part of your daily existence, so that the doors of the path you are meant to walk will stay wide open for you. Lastly, if I can be of any assistance as a cheerleader, beta reader, or helper in any way through the publishing journey, I hope
you’ll reach out to me.

Monica_LaSarre_Author.jpgAbout the Author: Monica LaSarre is a ghostwriter and the author of Jasper Penzey: International BoyJasper Penzey Book 1
Detective, an 8-book mystery/detective chapter book series for 8-12 year olds. Read more about her on
her website, www.monicalasarre.com. She can be reached via email at monicalasarre@gmail.com.
Amazon Link: Jasper Penzey International Boy Detective: The Ruby Brooch of Atlantis.

Ravenswood Publishing’s Kitty Honeycutt Q&A @RAVENSWOODPUB

Today I have one of those people as a guest. The mythical thing all authors call . . . Publisher. Do you need an agent? In today’s Lit World and even in the Lit World for years you haven’t HAD to have an agent. Today’s publisher though has nearly 100 authors and not a single agent to be found. The roster is filled with Indie Authors. Discover how the little girl born of the red clay of the state I live in came to be a publisher. Meet . . .

 Publisher&Author

Kitty Honeycutt

Ravenswood Publishing Kitty Honeycutt

RW: Well Kitty, let’s start off with where you are from and where are you now because I am sure there are people that have no idea where the state of red clay is.

KITTY: First of all I’d like to say that I’m very pleased you asked me for this interview it’s exciting and I always love to tell everyone about my path to writing and how it all started. I am currently living in North Carolina, though I was born in LaGrange, Georgia. I’m a country girl at heart, raised in rural Sampson County. I attended Midway High, in Dunn, NC and now live in Raeford.

RW: It’s probably rare for someone to start out as a publisher so how did the pub bug first bite you?

KITTY: I began reviewing books for larger companies in 2011 and first started reviewing Indie writer’s books soon after. One of the first books I reviewed from an Indie author was “Dirty Little Angels” by Chris Tusa, and then moved on to “The Cursed Man” by Keith Rommel. I fell in love with both these stories and a passion for Indie writing began. I sought out other Indie authors and found that a lot of the stories I read were worthy of being published by larger companies though I had no idea why they had not been snapped up long before. I began to be an entrepreneur of the Independent’s and launched a blog dedicated not only to reviewing but hosting interviews and guest posts. I soon gained valuable notoriety in this area and had authors actively seeking my reviews.

RW: And thus Kitty Honeycutt the publisher was born?

KITTY: I began to wonder if I could publish books for a living. I’m a writer as well though I have nothing out yet, my passion took over as an entrepreneur for these authors and I simply haven’t had the time. But, I do intend to soon. I have a book currently in the works. Though, my reason for becoming a publisher was to help put a name behind these wonderful authors in an effort to get them the notoriety they deserved. It has been a wonderful experience and I have helped quite a few. One of my biggest was Brian D. Anderson of “The Godling Chronicles” fame. He came to me with a book barely selling 5 copies a month with his old publisher. After changing his cover art and reworking the editing he began selling hundreds and eventually thousands. With my guidance he became a best seller in no time and remains so still.

I currently work with almost 100 authors on the path to creating more bestsellers. That is my current goal.

RW: What do you see as the role of a publisher for an author who is represented by an agent and one who is not represented by an agent?

KITTY: None of my authors are represented by agents so I have to do most of what an agent would do for them. I work mostly on Internet promotions as a lot of my authors do not have the time to do it all themselves. I give them the ability of having a name behind them as well as a person backing them up and cheering them on. I work hard for all of my authors, sometimes working as much as 24 to 72 hours in a stretch.

A lot of people don’t know what promotion entails, it’s much more than just getting your book to sell, it’s about selling the author as well. Agents have the role of soliciting authors to other publishing companies. This is what gets them in the door. However, with my business, I allow authors to send unsolicited manuscripts. A publisher does more than just soliciting, a publisher is responsible for every aspect of the process. This includes putting the book together, formatting, cover art and getting it out in the public eye. Then the process of promotion begins. A lot of agents don’t delve into the promotions as much as they do the simple soliciting of a book to publishers.

RW: How do you determine attention given to an author, such as if one is suddenly receiving great attention and showing promising sales or publicity, do you have anything in place to notice this and perhaps push that person over the top?

KITTY: As a publisher, having as many authors as I do, I try hard to delegate my time and effort fairly. I can say that if an author is doing well, and especially if they work hard for themselves, I will back them to the greatest extent possible. I do actively push my authors to do well, and to help themselves as much as I try to help them. It’s a partnership, not a one-sided business. My drive is the fact that if I don’t get their books to sell then I’m not only doing them a disservice but myself a disservice as well. The only money I make are from royalties just as they do. This makes it beneficial to us both. I’ll be honest and say that if an author comes to me and they do not show much interest and expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter and done for them, then they are in for a surprise. You must work together as a team, I can’t make you a bestseller and I’ll never lead them to believe that I can. It takes dedication and a lot of hard work on both parts.

RW: What can an Author expect from you when they sign a contract?

KITTY: They can expect that I will work hard for them and do everything in my power to make sure their book is as close to perfect as it can possibly be. I am more interested in quality than quantity and I do not take on every author that submits a manuscript. I only take on, promote and work hard for those I genuinely believe deserve it, the ones that I know will work hard for themselves and are serious about their writing and creative achievement.

RW: I notice that for now you deal with print through Createspace rather than a print distributor is there a business practice philosophy there?

KITTY: We do currently deal with Createspace. The reasons of course are as follows. Firstly, I am a small business, my business is run out of my own home so therefore I do not have a warehouse to store print books for purchase. Also, the fees for a distribution service can be extremely costly. I do not have the financial backing in place to afford those fees, nor do I expect my authors to pay for them. I am not a vanity press, so I do not charge my authors any fees to publish with my company. Right now print-on-demand is our best option as it allows us the benefit of having print books without any overhead cost. I still pay for custom ISBN’s for my authors but at a much more minimal fee than what it costs with a lot of distributor printers, also Createspace now offers expanded distribution for free, so our books go into the very same catalogs that they would go into with Lightning Source or any of the other companies that are distributor based and there is no additional charge. The only downfall to POD printing is the no return policy. We hope in the future this will change in some regard.

RW: Are you the only person that ‘handles’ your author?

Kitty: I most certainly am. I work alone. I do it all, the cover art, the formatting, the promotions, the whole nine yards. I do not have anyone else that works for my authors or for myself. I’m a one woman show and so far, I’ve been told that I do it well and in some cases far better than a lot of larger publishing companies! I’d love to have help, but of course it’s a matter of being able to afford to pay employees and since I’m more an entrepreneur and wish to keep my authors from paying exorbitant fees for everything I do, I’d rather work 24 to 72 hours at a time. I also grew up in a family that has always been go-getters and believed that ‘if you want something done right, it’s better to do it yourself.’ Not to mention if you want something done in a timely manner.

RW: How do you ‘search for talent’ as is mentioned on your site?

KITTY: To be quite honest, Ron, I don’t search at all. All of my authors to this day, have come to me. I have yet to go and actively search for any authors. I don’t believe in going out and soliciting. I feel that if they truly like what they read, and they meet me and like me as a person and they feel they can trust me, they will come aboard and we’ll do a lot of great business together.

RW: So when I finish one of my novels will you sign me up?

KITTY: Of course! Just kidding 😉 But seriously, you’d have to go through the same rigorous trials as all the rest. One thing I try not to do, is take on an author because they are a friend of someone else’s or my own. I won’t take on anything or any work that I don’t truly believe in. But, in all sincerity, something tells me you just may be a talent to be reckoned with! We’ll have to wait and see. J

RW: How many submissions do you get and what happens once that submission hits the email or submission box?

KITTY: I get somewhere between 12 to sometimes 20 submissions a day. The process for submitting is, the author must send a full synopsis or outline of their story. Since I don’t have time to read the entire book before making a decision I like to know what is going to happen to the fullest. I also like for the author to send me at least 3 to 5 chapters of their actual manuscript so I can get a feel for their writing. I do have a lovely woman by the name of Lisanne Cooper that helps with my submissions. She does this out of the kindness of her heart and I trust her implicitly as to her knowledge of what is good and what is not. Lisanne is an editor with Ravenswood as well, and she is amazing. She has edited almost every book we have out and she is very capable of pulling off her ‘specific genre likes’ hat in order to make viable decisions on manuscript selection for publication. I do read the submissions as well and between the two of us we make the right choices for what we feel is best for Ravenswood.

RW: How many do you accept, percentage wise and what makes a good submission to you? (Taking notes.)

KITTY: The amount is hard to say. It really depends on what we find that we feel is worth our time and effort. I have had months that I have not accepted a single submission and some where I’ve accepted 10 or more. Submissions are almost always open, and one thing that I do not do is put deadlines on my authors or myself. With the way I work, I try and get the books out in a timely manner and so far it seems I’m doing well. But I never make promises. It’s just not feasible to do so. I can say that I haven’t let my author’s down yet in regards to release dates. At least I think I haven’t… What makes a good submission first and foremost is if the author can follow directions for submission. What we ask for on the site is exactly what we want. If we get a submission where the author has just typed up a generic query and tossed it at us, forgot to attach the manuscript chapters or synopsis, then we have and usually will pass them by. We don’t like submissions where author’s brag too much. Not to say that they may not be right when they claim to be our next bestseller, but to us boasting is just not necessary. Mainly, we like for you to be professional, and be honest with yourself and us. Send your submissions as asked and you’ll have a fighting chance. J

RW: I notice you have a varied roster of authors and genres, is there something you are looking for, like a wish list of a book subject matter?

KITTY: Horror! I really would love to get more horror this year. I love the genre myself but I don’t have a lot of it at Ravenswood. My favorite horror is the macabre H.P. Lovecraft and Poe. But I would love to get any kind of horror for our Dark Feed Press imprint! I would also love more non-fiction and what I’m really interested in right now is more like the kind of non-fiction that Llewellyn Press puts out. I would love to get some Pagan non-fiction.

RW: Are there genres or subjects you see as perhaps fading in popularity?

KITTY: I feel sometimes that Non-fiction is fading a bit, I also think that Paranormal may be fading some. It seems that fantasy has become more popular lately and as you can see Mythos is one of our largest selections. I’m really hoping to see a comeback for a lot of genres this year, including Science Fiction.

RW: Where do you see the future of publishing headed?

KITTY: With the rise of Independents I honestly think that the larger publishers may have some competition. We are in an age where anyone can publish, and a lot of authors choose to go their own way. Though we do have a well of small presses, including my own and I honestly hope to see them rise more. I feel that there is a vast untapped potential out there and at times I truly feel that the larger publishers either pass them by or simply don’t see the majority of the ‘diamond’s in the ruff’ out there. I’m determined, however, not to pass them up!

RW: What do you say when people mention something to you about how publishers aren’t really necessary in today’s world of books?

KITTY: I’m the first to say that they are wrong. The reason why is clear. It’s easy to publish a book on your own as an author, but it’s not easy to find someone that will back you up, push you to do your best, and genuinely fight for you when you’re being ostracized and getting those reviews that we know often bring you down. I’m that kind of person, and publisher. I will fight for my authors and I treat them like family. If they are being harassed unnecessarily, if they are feeling bad over a bad review, I’m there for them, and I show them how much I care. I work hard for them and I take on the workload they can’t take on themselves because of outside jobs or family life. Of course, family and friends will be there for you too, but a publisher, especially one like me, we know the business, we know how it works, we’re going to help you and put our name and strength behind you, I’m not going to leave you floating on a raft in the middle of the ocean alone. That’s why we’re needed.

RW: How do you handle Authors that might think they should be your star?

KITTY: The same way I’d handle my own kids. That may sound odd to some people but at times you have to remind them that they aren’t the only ones. I have close to 100 authors, and they all get a fair shake from me. I don’t put up with attitudes and I don’t put up with ideas of grandeur. We are all stars, we are all worthy, and no one should take precedence over another no matter how much money they may be bringing in, or how great their books are. We are all a team, we all help one another and that’s just the way it has to be. I’m honest to a fault and I have let authors of mine know before when I think their egos are getting the best of them. I’ll be the first to bring them back down. Just call me the gravity boot!

RW: I know you are an Author as well as publisher, what genres do you write in?

KITTY: Right now, I’m writing a fantasy for young adults and middle graders. But I also write paranormal/supernatural, I have an erotica in the works, I have several historical fiction novels in the works, and I have a few other fantasy novels in mind. My ideas go all over the board.

RW: What is your background in writing?

KITTY: My background in writing is like a lot of my authors. I have never studied writing in school or taken any classes other than those in my business class. I know the difference however, between creative writing and thesis writing and as much as some would like to believe they are… they are NOT the same. I have been writing almost since I was old enough to read. I was making up stories in my mind even before then, trust me, when I was a kid, my parents likely thought I needed to be put in an asylum or I had one of the most creative imaginations ever. I was that kid, when I’d been outside playing in the woods, and I’d come in after being out all day for dinner, they’d ask me where I’d been and my response was something as follows: “I was out riding Bess! We jumped the creek, she walked for a bit and ate some clover then we headed back. My pants are wet because I fell off on the way back over the creek and landed in the water. We had to go on the other side because she lost her horn over there the last time. We got it back though so she’s whole again now.” See… Bess was my unicorn, and we had adventures all the time, the thing was, at that time we didn’t even have a horse, so you can see what I mean about the imagination part. 😉

RW: What are you reading now, both in your own company and outside?

KITTY: Right now I’m finishing Carrie F. Shepherd’s book “Fall from Grace: The Scribing of Ishitar” I’m going to start on “Buan: The Perfect Mortals” by Reece Bridger next, both my authors of course. I do have one book that I intend to start on soon from another author, one of my personal favorites, Lloyd Alexander. I love fantasy!

RW: What’s your favorite word and why?

KITTY: Knight! And not even the reason you’d think! It’s a rather long story but I’ll shorten it as best I can. I pronounce it niggit, and the reason why is my daughter and I were watching Game of Thrones a while back and the Lord Stannis’ daughter was teaching the Onion Knight, how to read. He saw the word ‘knight’ and pronounced it niggit and ever since then I have used it for everything. When I feel I’m about to say a bad word, I say niggit instead. Our cat, Merlin loves to play with my scrunchies and I have started calling them niggits and now I can actually tell him to bring me one and he will… no joke. But he also likes for us to launch them like a rubber band and he’ll fetch them and bring them back. Yes… we have some very strange animals in our house.

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I want to thank Kitty for joining us today and giving us a little insight into what makes this particular publisher tick. Check out the books by her authors and as always, remember . . .

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