Blogs

The Politics of Publishing...
As a publisher, I feel it’s important to remain politically neutral when selecting books for publication. A well-written manuscript on any topic is still a well-written manuscript, regardless of my views on the topic. The essays in Repeat Offenders, by Bill Bonvie, definitely lean far more to the left than I do – the book also contains many clever and funny essays I thought deserved publication. Invisible Society Fables, by Phil Canalin, is a book of “fables” dealing with homelessness, which I feel is an important topic to discuss regardless of one’s political leanings. Finally, Improbable Cause, by Brandon and Sharia Mayfield, is about Brandon’s wrongful arrest after the 2004 Madrid train bombing. It’s a story that reminds us that taking liberties with civil liberties, even in the name of public safety, can have lasting consequences, and it was a story I felt needed to be told.

So why won’t I consider the many manuscripts I’ve received about the last election?
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Lesbian Vampires and the NSA...
For NaNoWriMo in 2014, I wanted to write a spoof on young adult paranormal romance books with hunky-blue-eyed-servants-of-the-underworld and angsty teenage girls that fall in love with them. The result was Misunderstood. My favorite line, written at 3 a.m. while trying to make my word count for the day, was delivered by one of the female vampires after a vampire hunter hits on her: “I prefer my men dead, but thank you for the compliment.”
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Hacking My Keurig 2.0...
For Christmas last year we purchased a Keurig 2.0 coffee maker. People who know me will tell you I drink a lot of coffee (usually with cognac in it when I’m reading queries). I took it out of the box, put in my favorite ‘Donut Shop Coffee’ k-cup, and was floored when I saw the “Oops, this package wasn’t designed for this brewer” message. The cup worked fine in my previous Keurig brewer...
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Profit and Loss Statements...
People who visit our website know that we do not publish children’s books, yet every now and then we get one submitted. Recently, we received one my middle grade reviewer (and 11-year-old daughter) really liked. But calculating the production costs made it clear that we were not the right publisher because we could not produce the book at a profit. In publishing, this type of analysis is called creating a profit and loss statement. I want to walk everyone through this analysis, in that whether you are a publisher or about to self-publish your first book this is a useful tool. I will use a children’s book as my example...
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Do What's Best...
It’s all right if you see other publishers. In fact, I encourage it.

That comment is in response to a question recently asked by an author we have under contract. The question was whether it was considered proper etiquette to submit his new book to us for consideration before submitting it to other publishers and agents. My advice is very simple:

Do what’s best for your book...
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Being Less Serious...
It seems lately that a lot of my blogs have been very serious – discussions of our policies, blogs about how technology is changing publishing, advice for authors, rants about some of the less-than-charitable emails we get in reply to rejections, and tips for creating a brand if you’re an author. So this week I decided a little levity was in order.

The word “Divertir” is French for “to amuse and entertain,” and I’ve long believed that not only should our books accomplish this, but so should our work environment. The fact that we have fun doing what it is we do (even when it’s being a “Tool of the Publishing Elite”) should be evident both to our authors and readers. And if some of the things we do aren’t fun, maybe it’s time to change that (this is a subtle hint to the staff to speak up). Life is too short…
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