|Considering this week's topic on our publishing progress, I thought it only fitting our guest be a publisher. So, today and tomorrow we will be talking to Gaynor Stenson of Vamplit Publishing. Here in part one, I asked her questions about her company. In part two, she'll provide valuable information for writers seeking publication, as well as provide her opinions on the future of publishing.|
I met Gaynor early last year on one of the popular online writer's communities. In the beginning, I only knew her as a talented dark poet. As I got to know her online, I was intrigued when I found out she was venturing into the publishing industry. It was fun hearing about her progress throughout the year and being around for the launch of her business. I also enjoyed getting to know some of her authors and reading a few of the books she's published. I have to say, she has a keen eye for talented writers, one of which, Nicole Hadaway, author of Release, you'll meet next week as a guest blogger.
We are also giving away two of Vamplit Publishing's eBooks (your choice) next Wednesday. Leave a comment to enter the drawing in today and/or tomorrow's post. A comment on both days doubles your chances to win. Only one eBook per winner though. I will randomly draw two winner and announce them in my post next Wednesday.
Website & Submitions
www.ebookundead.com & Smashwords
vamplitpublishing.ning.com & vamplit.com
And now, without further ado...
You are a new publisher, Gaynor, releasing books for less than a year so far, how hard was it for you to start your company?
To start was actually easy. I placed my name and website address on a number of writers’ sites and ran a competition, it was that simple. I began to receive submissions almost immediately. That is really an oversimplification, as I spent the two years before researching and working on a business plan and have been proofreading and editing for years, but starting isn’t that difficult. Our vision for Vamplit Publishing is for quality, rather than quantity which we thought was more important in the beginning. I did start out with a couple of other editors prepared to come on board, but unfortunately they didn’t understand the genre and thought that copy editing was sufficient for our market. I have a passion for vampires and the fantasy genre and this is what drives our company.
How do you feel your publishing company stands up against the competition?
I think we stand up okay, on balance we are so very new that it is hard to make a comparison. We are interested in publishing more literary novels, Nicole Hadaway coined the phrase Literary Paranormal, and I like to think that will make us standout from the competition in the long run.
What is the best thing so far about having your own publishing company?
The writers are the best thing about having a publishing company; reading a manuscript and getting a tingle. Reading and editing it is a big responsibility and one we take very seriously. It doesn’t matter how many novels we have waiting to be edited, the manuscript we are working on at the time is the only thing that matters. I’m editing a novel at the moment and its turning out to be a longer project than anticipated, but at the end of the day we won’t drop our standards just because of time constraints.
What genre(s) do you publish and what made you decide to publish them?
Ours is a broad church as far as genre, we started out listing Gothic, horror, fantasy, vampire, sci-fi and crime. Now, thanks to Nicole who coined the phrase on Marrisa Farrar’s blog, we are going with Literary Paranormal. Really this answers another of your questions as well, because if I like a novel it doesn’t matter too much it doesn’t fit into a box. The best bit about being a publisher is that I can be flexible. Dear Diary, The Daily Thoughts of a Serial Killer by Raven Usher will be published later this year and I can’t say it fits into any particular category. If you imagine Hannibal Lecter and Bridget Jones having a love child, I think you get a fair picture of this novel. I absolutely loved this manuscript and when I read it, it gave me shivers.
Why I publish in this genre has nothing to do with the current boom. I discovered my love of the vampire as a literary icon at University ten years ago, when it was fairly unfashionable to be obsessed with vampire fiction and I can’t seem to let it go. I find it fascinating that we can chart changes in society from Bram Stoker’s Victorian morality to the heady days of 1970’s pre AIDS sexual freedoms and Anne Rice’s beautiful young male vampires. The title of my dissertation was The Vampire as Polymorphic Metaphor: A study of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century vampire fiction. Catchy isn’t it?
What would you say are your greatest challenges and frustrations as a small and new publishing company?
Challenges: working to very tight deadlines and the fact that what I do has a fluidity to it that can catch me unawares. When things change I have to make sure I change with them. Frustrations: well not the writers, they are the high point. I think the fact that I know where we are going and want to be there already may be the hardest thing. The next five years are going to be long and hard, and the vision I have for Vamplit Publishing makes me impatient.
How many books have you published so far and how many more books will you publish in 2010? How many are new authors and how many repeat authors?
Last year we published eight novels and this year we have eight scheduled for the first half of the year. I’d closed our submissions before Christmas when my reading pile went over 50 manuscripts. The only limit we have is on editing and we refuse to drop our standards on that point. Two people work on every single manuscript. I have the final say on which novels we publish and I do all the substantive editing. When I’ve finished and the author has worked through all the edits, another pair of eyes proofreads before publishing. We have decided on quality not quantity. Realistically I think this year we will probably publish ten to fifteen new authors, four sequels and two or three second novels from authors we have or are publishing. I’m personally looking forward to publishing Return by Nicole Hadaway and Timothy C. Hobbs is working on a really great project, but I can’t really say anything about that yet as its still in the planning stage. Jevron Mc Crory is working on a second vampire novel for us and as his style is very gritty and British, I have every expectation it will be as powerful as Swan Song. I’ve read the prologue to the new novel and without giving away too much it is very different to his first vampire novel, much darker, but with more humour.
What has been the proudest moment of your writing or publishing career so far?
When we finished editing The Pumpkin Seed and Tim sent through the dedication and thanked me and my partner for all our hard work. I loved The Pumpkin Seed from my first read through and the fact that Tim had put it away and almost forgotten he’d written it gave me a personal sense achievement. Andy Boylan on Tailsen Meets the Vampire reviewed it and loved it, he saw in the novel exactly what I did, Tim’s writing is amazing.
Tell us about some of your successes and the successes of your authors.
We are starting to get some really great reviews from independent reviewers. Our success has been to actually start this business and we are working hard to make it a smoother process. Finding a print model, that we believe will work, has been the highlight, so far, of 2010. We are at the moment preparing our first manuscript for paperback publication and Release by Nicole Hadaway and Dance on Fire will be available this summer from, ironically, ebookundead.com. Although I am totally committed to ebook publishing, I know many authors want to see their novel in print and also for readers who haven’t made the leap of faith into ebooks yet. To fit with our green ethos, we will be using print on demand. I read an article in which they said that one of the materials used in road making is unsold, shredded paperbacks. The world’s mad really.
Nicole Hadaway, author of Release, had her blog highlighted on Anne Rice’s Facebook page, on February 27, 1010, and we both got a buzz out of that as we are both fans of Ms.Rice. Sales continue to grow, but as we only started selling in September of last year, we know and so do our authors that we have a long way to go before we all buy villas in Italy or the South of France.
What is the future vision of your publishing company as in where do you see your company in the next 5 to 10 years?
The six million dollar question! I have a dream and it’s probably the same as all publishers. I want to make Vamplit Publishing known for our quality of content. I have a vision where our sales ensure our writers get a fair deal and that we never change how we deal with those writers. I don’t see us growing so large that I can’t be reached by email and I hope that we keep the standards high and aren’t seduced by the darker side of publishing. I want to be able to believe in the novels we publish.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of setting up their own publishing company?
Only do it if you like twenty hour working days. Before Christmas last year we worked all night through from the 23rd to the 24th because we knew the writer had Christmas week off from his day job and we wanted to give him as much time with the edits as we could. I think like writers, publishers need to love what they do and if you think this is a way to make a quick buck, forget it.
Thanks to Gaynor for taking the time for today's interview questions. Don't forget to drop by tomorrow for the continuation of the interview and to comment to win a free eBook.