I have got something Amazing today! It's an interview with a Publisher! but not just any publisher. MY publisher. Lynn Calvert is the founder and owner of Otherworld Publications. She is the go-to gal for the publishing house and is the bestest boss lady in the land.
And she knows all about publishing too. So I thought, who better than to bring the people (yeah, you) the answers to all of their publishing questions? She is going to give us all the inside scoop on a small publishing house.
I'm not going to keep rambling (yeah, like I usually do) because this is too good to delay!
1. You own and run Otherworld Publications, a small publishing house, what made you decide to start a publishing house?
After going through the process of trying to get published and receiving rejection letter after rejection letter, I was one of the fortunate ones. I met my publisher, Blackwyrm Fiction, through a writers group in Louisville, Kentucky. He liked what I had written and offered me a contract. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to open Otherworld to offer one more avenue in which authors had a opportunity to be published. I could help some of the fantastic authors out there in opening the door to them in this industry. I tell all of my authors that if a bigger publisher takes note of them, by all means take the opportunity! Just say nice things about us on the way.
2. What is the hardest part of running Otherworld Publications?
Paperwork! You don’t know how much paperwork is involved! Shipments, receipts, invoices, deposits, manuscripts, contracts, payments, royalty schedules, emails, emails, emails, you get the picture.
3. Besides running OWP you are also a published author! Can you tell us about your book and the publishing house it is published by?
My first book, Afterthoughts, and my second, Left in the Dark, are both published by Blackwyrm Fiction. They are waiting for me to finish writing my third, Buried Deep. They are all psychic crime thrillers that follow a Police Detective and her family in Louisville, Kentucky. These are not your usual psychic thrillers. They deal with mind manipulation, possession, and mental illness while murder is a foot. Just as a teaser, there’s a little voodoo in the mix in the third.
Note to all: More info about Lynn's books will be at the end of this post!
4. Do you plan to write another book and if you do will OWP publish it or will you find another publisher?
I do plan to write more, and I do not plan for OWP to publish any of it. I didn’t start the company to publish myself. I want to keep it separate.
5. Do you ever really have time off from work or do you eat, sleep and breathe publishing?
Time off? What’s that? haha I work A LOT. I even wake up during the night and write stuff down. Every now and then I do take a day and veg. I have to for my sanity and for my family.
6. What is the one thing you wish authors/writers understood better about the publishing process?
I wish they understood that there are no guarantees. Even though they are officially a published author, that is where the work starts. Authors have to put themselves out there and market. Most sales for unknown authors are to their friends and family. While we market for our authors too, we can’t force people to buy books. We can only provide them with the opportunity to do so while trying to entice them. Sometimes that generates huge sales, sometimes only a handful. If there were a secret recipe for success, every author would be a best seller. The market is fickle and in this economy and the changing industry its harder than ever.
7. About how long does it take for a manuscript to go through the process of being published?
That depends. We try to plan ahead for the year. I can potentially have a manuscript in hand, edited and ready to go in October of 2011 and not plan to publish it until December 2012. Or, I could have one and publish it next week. We try to space it out so that we can be more dedicated to each one as their time comes up. With all that being said, we are gearing up so that we can put more out there and get through the process faster with the personnel to back it up.
8. When you read what genre do you enjoy most?
I love Fantasy and Paranormal. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan! Every now and then, I have to fall into a great romance. Romance was my first love! Then came Mystery.
9. What can a writer do to make their manuscript more attractive when sending it out to publishers?
Have someone proof read or edit it. It really is a huge turn off to receive a query and it be full of errors. It makes publishers think that if you can’t put that much effort into something that important (your first impression), then the rest is probably not worth look at. Be polite and follow their submission guidelines. As a follow up, don’t be rude. I’ve actually had some rather mean follow up letters sent with two weeks of a query. Because of that, their submission was pulled from the possibility folder and moved to the trash.
10. About how many manuscripts do you receive for consideration a year? Do you go through them all personally or do you have a staff that helps? How many do you actually select to be published?
Oh gosh, that varies. I think I have over 100 now that I’ve not been able to touch still. I did have an Editor In Chief that was helping me but due to some family issues, she had to back out. So, right now, I’m on my own again. Be patient with me! We’ve only selected a handful to publish. There are so many talented writers. I wish I could publish them all!
11. What would your best marketing tip be for selling your book?
Truly believe in it. Help others believe in it too. Write a synopsis that proves that. Talk to people about it. If you believe in yourself, others will follow suit.
12. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
Doing this exact same thing with a bigger budget to work with and a bigger staff committed to making it happen for our authors!
13. How important is cover design when publishing a book?
Very! It’s the first impression. It should draw you in and make you want to peek inside.
14. If someone gave you a million dollars what’s the first thing you would buy?
A bottle of champagne. The rest would be given to the family first, then invested in the business second, a big fat charity donation, then retirement for when I get so old I can’t see what the heck I’m doing!
15. What is your favorite food?
Do I look like I have just one? Hehe. If I had to choose, it would be my husband’s shrimp scampi. He won me over with it on our first date. Of course, I blame it on the scampi.
16. What is at the top of your Christmas list this year?
Time to spend with my family and some of my doggies’ favorite peanut butter biscuits. To see them drool every time I reach for one for them is priceless.
17. If you could go anywhere on vacation where would you go?
Australia. I want to see a kangaroo in its natural environment.
18. How many books does OWP plan to put out within the coming year?
That’s still up in the air. Once I finish getting staffed up, I can plan better! Minimum of twelve! I want to stay on track to release at least one a month.
19. Why do you think the publishing industry is so hard to get into (for authors)?
There’s a lot of talent and not a lot of publishers. Although, the landscape is changing. Small Independent Presses are gearing up to pick up the slack. The trend is going towards genre fiction and not the cookie cutter mass printed trade books. The industry is struggling to support that model now.
20. How do you think E-books and E-readers have changed the industry? Do you think that eventually print books will become obsolete?
It’s changed the landscape for sure. I’m one that prefers to hold a book, take it to the beach or out by the river. I’d be afraid of damaging my e-reader otherwise. Do I think print books will go away? No. There will always be a place for them as long as there are people like me. Just think of how many books you can buy second hand or discounted for the cost of one e-reader.
21. Do you have any pet peeves?
Putting the toilet paper on the holder the wrong way is a huge irritation for me. Over the top guys! Make it so you can easily grab the first sheet! Of course, my husband argues the “other” point of view. :)
22. Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know.
I sometimes like to mix butter with brown sugar and eat if off the spoon. Of course, that’s very rich so I can’t eat much! But when I can’t find a sweet snack, that’s what I go for. I already know I’m weird. That’s okay. :)
23. Do you have any advice for a writer trying to find a publisher for their work?
Don’t give up. When the rejection letters start rolling in (and they will), thicken your skin, listen to any and all advice they may offer and keep plugging away.
As Lynn mentioned she is also an author (talk about a lady who understand BOTH sides of the coin!) Here are her two published books:
Here is the link to her Good Reads Author page where you can find out more information:
I suggest adding these books to your To-Read list today!
I want to thank Lynn for taking time out of her insane schedule to be here today!
Is there anything that wasn't answered that you would like to know? I plan to do more segments on publishing in the future so leave a comment if there is something you want to read about. Otherwise drop a comment about how great Lynn is!!!
Have a great day!!!!