Tag Archives: tangled up in words

Author Persepective ~ Small Press Publishing

Jennifer Walkup, author of  Second Verse coming from Luminis Books October 2013!

Jennifer was recently interviewed on Tangled Up In Words for Small Press 411. Here’s what she had to say about working with Luminis Books. Thanks Jennifer! We love working with you, too!

When Jennifer Walkup isn’t writing or reading, she’s spending time with her husband and young sons, listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and coming up with costume ideas for Halloween. She’s obsessed with good coffee and new recipes and likes broccoli on her pizza, flowers in her hair, flip-flops on her feet, and the number 13. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also serves as fiction editor for The Meadowland Review and teaches creative writing at The Writers Circle. Second Verse is her first novel. You can find Jennifer on twitter @JennWalkup.

Before you signed with Luminis Books, did you have any ideas or notions about what small press publishing would be like? Has that proven to be true or false? What made you submit to your Luminis Books?

Over the years I’ve watched friends publish in all sorts of ways: big 6, independent, mid-sized and self-published. I knew there was no one universal publishing experience and was both anxious and excited to throw my hat, er, book, into the ring.

I had been working on my young adult thriller, Second Verse, for a few years. I was in a unique position because I had just parted ways with my agent around the time Second Verse was really ready for editors. I had to decide – did I want to query agents again or did I want to query editors at independent presses directly? After some soul searching and research, I decided on the latter. And I’m glad I did!

I didn’t know exactly what to expect as I’ve heard all sorts of publishing stories, but I did my homework before querying and made sure to choose publishers that had a professional standing and vibe and ones I’d heard good things about. I bought books put out by the publishers I considered, taking care to check out the style and quality of design and editing. Deciding to go small pub was something I considered for a while before actually taking the plunge.

What has been the most surprising with Luminis Books?

Most surprising would probably be the marketing plan. Luminis has given me a publicist to work with and now that we’re getting close to ARCs being ready (squee!) we’re starting to work on the marketing plan for Second Verse. We’re talking about all sorts of exciting things – reviewers, blog tours, book tours, trade shows, various press opportunities, school and bookstore visits, libraries, giveaways. Plus, it’s all very collaborative and cooperative. Lots of creative ideas getting bounced around.

There have been a lot of other great things about working with Luminis, too. My editor and the rest of the team are extremely professional. I love being able to banter back and forth on email or by phone to work out a plot point. And being able to ask any question and get a prompt and knowledgeable answer is fantastic.

Of course I have no basis for comparison as this is my debut novel, but the idea of small presses doing no marketing or no editing has not proved true for me at all thus far!

How would you rate your overall experience?

So far, so good! I’ve been thrilled and blessed to work with an editor that has a hawk’s eye for detail, is patient, responsive, incredibly thorough and really nice to boot. So far, it’s been a dream!

What would you say to writers considering small press publishing?

Consider all your options. There are so many paths to choose from and it really is such a personal decision. Different things work for different writers and different books. For me, a small press has been really great thus far. So I guess my advice would be to take your time and figure out what works best for you before deciding, but most definitely do not dismiss the small press option!

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Small Presses ~ Pros and Cons

Tangled Up in Words, a blog of seven writers (one published author) is featuring a Small Press 411 for the month of February. Agents, authors and publishers discuss the pros and cons of working with a small, independent publisher. Luminis Books will be featured on Friday, February 15th.

We encourage you to visit Tangled Up in Words to see what others have to say about small presses and getting published in general. And don’t forget to visit the Luminis Submission page for submission guidelines!

Here’s what we have to say.

  1. Why does your press exist? Luminis Books was launched because we saw a growing gap in what the big publishers provide to new authors. It’s an underserved segment of the market. Larger publishers focus on the blockbuster model which doesn’t serve the ‘emerging voice’ of the new author. Also, we simply love books and publish what we love – literary fiction and YA and middle grade fiction.
  2. What’s your process of deciding to take on a project? First it has to fit into our publishing model – Meaningful Books That Entertain. Then we determine if we like the concept and story. If it meets those criteria, we evaluate the writing.
  3. What do you think is the biggest misconception surrounding small presses? Often authors think that getting a contract with a small publisher means they won’t get the same kind of exposure as with a big house when in fact, at Luminis Books, we consider our authors part of our ‘family’ and work that much harder to get exposure. Luminis Books is our business, not just our employer, and it is important to us to continue to support our backlist titles and new releases.
  4. What are the benefits of publishing with a small press? What are the disadvantages? Authors get more personalized attention with small presses and the life-span of their book is much longer. At Luminis Books we continually look for opportunities to showcase our backlist. A disadvantage could be name recognition of the publisher at reviewers and trade shows or with librarians, but this improves the longer the imprint has been in business.
  5. What’s the biggest obstacle a small press author has to face? The biggest obstacle for any author is finding the audience for your book and getting the attention of readers and librarians and independent bookstores.
  6. What role does the small press fill other than being a stepping-stone to the “big 6/5/4”? Small presses take risks on new authors and types of books that larger houses may not take. We are more nimble and able to adapt to market and get books to press much faster. Just as many independent bookstores are thriving while the big box stores fail, independent publishers are also thriving.
  7. What’s the biggest advantage between signing with (your small press) and self-publishing? What about signing with your press and a big/medium sized house? Self-publishing is ‘pay-to-play.’ Legitimate independent publishers pay the author royalties and pay all up-front costs of public relations, marketing, reviews, trade shows, book printing, etc. Self-published authors are published, but do their books sell or get noticed?
  8. Do you think there will still be sales in print books? Or are sales more prominent in e-book? Just as on-line shopping didn’t spell the demise of the mall and shopping in person, there will always be people who want a printed book. Some avid readers have the same book in print, audio and eReader!
  9. How much marketing do small presses do for their authors? We submit  our books to all the major reviewers, print reviewers, bloggers, radio, etc. We arrange book tours and attend trade shows. We contact key librarians, independent bookstores and school libraries. In many ways we do far more for our books than the big houses because each book is more important to us.
  10. Is there much editing at a small press? Yes, but the amount of editing is dependent on the book!
  11. What is your ratio of print books to eBooks? Every book we publish is both print and eBook.
  12. Do you want your authors to do their own marketing? Anything and everything that the author can do to promote the book will help with sales. We consider it a partnership and work together with the author and publicist on the marketing campaign.
  13. How do your authors get noticed? Reviews, speaking engagements, blog tours, book tours, on-line presence in social media, marketing to libraries and bookstores and direct to consumers.
  14. What sort of marketing and publicity initiatives does your press generally offer? See previous answers.
  15. Does signing with a small press inhibit you signing with a bigger press later? What about an agent? We work with both agented  and un-agented authors. I would think it would help in both cases, but might not be in the author’s best interest to switch to a big house!
  16. In your view, does signing with a small press inhibit someone from signing with a bigger house later? See previous answer
  17. Anything else you would like to add? We hear from many agents that working with larger houses is so much more difficult than working with Luminis Books. Larger houses do not devote marketing or publicity budgets to less important books and your title is just one of many. Authors often have the misguided notion that they need to be on the shelves of a big box store and with a big publishing name, but they don’t realize that being on the shelves of a bookstore doesn’t mean that your book will sell. It is far better to be on the shelves of a bookseller who will hand sell your book or at a library who will not return the book. Librarians and independent booksellers also network and talk about great new books and support small, independent publishers. We see our authors as partners in our business. When their book does really well, we all win.

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