Sunday, February 01, 2009

Surprise Guest Week

My Surprise Guest this month is Lee Emory, publisher and owner of Treble Heart Books. She is a professional woman who is also a published writer and avid reader. I am happy to introduce her on my blog so let's start by asking Lee how she came about to establish her company. Did you always want to be a publisher?

I always wanted to be a writer. However, after failing to get my foot in the door of NY publishing houses after twenty-seven years of hard perseverance, I decided when I retired from my day job I’d open up my own company to give other authors like me a chance where the doors were always slammed in their faces. I set about learning all I could about the publishing industry and spent years of learning before I opened up my company

It must have taken quite a bit of work to organize and establish your company. In short how would a person go about doing that?

There is no quick way to learn the business. It takes a lot of time, energy and money to attend every industry class, conference and workshop you can. It’s not an easy job, quite the opposite, and no one should ever go into publishing blindly. As I said, I took years to learn the industry and how it worked before I jumped into the pool.

I see by your website, your submission guidelines are posted. You only accept submissions for the first two weeks of the month. Is this to keep your the slush pile down?

Absolutely. It has worked out to be the best thing I ever did. One, it took the slush pile down from 350 to 400 manuscripts (mss)/queries every thirty days to four or five queries and maybe two submissions. Sometimes less. People have stars in their eyes and are impatient to get published, and many of them will not wait those two weeks. Remember it took me twenty-seven years. As a result, I’m getting more professional mss from folks who have done their homework and learned that nothing moves quickly in this industry if it’s to have good quality.

How long is the waiting time for an author to get a reply from the time the manuscript is submitted to getting an acceptance or rejection?

Ninety days (exclusive).

What is your procedure once you receive a submittal?

1. The ms goes to a first reader who sends me an in-depth book report on the findings.
2. If the report is positive, the author is offered a contract and the ms waits in the queue until an editor is available. There is a waiting line in all publishing houses.
3. The ms is them assigned to an editor who works directly with the author until the ms is publishable. I am the senior editor here and as such have the final say if I see something further that needs fixing before publication.
4. The final edited copy of the ms waits in a queue until I can do the layout to make it into book (galley form).
5. Once in galley form, it is sent to the author for proof reading. Any errors or typos not found during this process will be printed and it’s too late to change it.
6. The ms is now printed and released in book form and in electronic form, in most cases. The author is expected to assertively market their book and try to sell it as many ways as possible. The Internet marketing is absolutely vital as well has hands-on selling.

Do you have anything in particular storyline that you are looking for at this particular time?

I am actively seeking good non-fiction and I’m fairly open to other subjects. I am also seeking good Westerns, good historicals and good mysteries, science fiction, action adventure. Also looking for thoughtful, non-preachy Christian works in both fiction and non-fiction.

Of course we accept romances, but right now the market is dim for anything other than erotica, which we do not publish. It’s easier to say what we will not publish. Here are some examples.

Small children’s books
Erotica (soft porn)
Alternative lifestyle books
Politically subversive works

The best way to find out what we like is to buy and read some of our books. It’s part of your homework.

I understand that you require a marketing plan with the manuscript submittal. What do you think is the most important step a writer can do to market his/her book?

Find the proper niche for your book and market heavily to that audience. Festivals and craft fairs are good places (where thousands of people attend). Trying to market through most bookstores is one of the least effective marketing tools for any author these days unless you have a really big name.

Do you have any advice for new writers to do before they submit to you?

Follow our guidelines carefully. If you haven’t, I’ll know it instantly when I receive your query or ms. I haven’t the time to keep resending requests to you to do it the way we ask. The way to impress me is to do you homework. Find out who we are, who I am, how I want ms presented, because that shows me how serious you are about making your writing a business. It is a business, not merely a creative effort. It takes enormous work and dedication to get your name out there and keep it out there. Make it grow the recognition that in five years may even earn you a little money. Last but not least, ground yourself in reality about this business. It’s very, very tough and requires a great deal from the authors.

Let's take a step into your writing world. How many books have you written/published?

Over the years I’ve written hundreds of books and short stories. Of that, I’ve had about ten or eleven published.

I know that your cover of 'Perdition' was nominated for the Quasar award. How do you feel about that?

PERDITION’S cover has won the Arianna, and is now a finalist for the Quasars. I’ve got my fingers crossed and of course I’m thrilled. My other book that came out in July last year NIGHT FREEZE (thriller) has been getting rave reviews and I’m doubly “thrilled” about that.

As an author, what is next for you? Do you have another book in the wings?

I am writing a sequel to PERDITION, which is called ANCIENT FIRE. I am also writing a non-fiction book on Spiritual Deprivation.

I want to take this moment and thank Lee Emory for being with us. We look forward to seeing her next book published. For those of you who wish to submit your manuscript to Ms. Emory, click on Treble Heart Books and check out the guidelines first. To purchase either of Lee’s books, click Night Freeze or Perdition .


Anonymous said...

Good interview! I am proud to be a THB author, and I have found Lee to an excellent, professional publisher to work with.

Cowgirl Dreams

Loretta said...

Great interview. Ms. Emory gave some excellent insights into the publishing industry and how tough it is for debut authors to get their foot in the door.


Robin Bayne said...

Another proud THB author here! The interview is very interesting, and I have to also say I really enjoyed Lee's book "Perdition."

Mary E. Trimble said...

This is a great interview, Gwyn. I'm looking forward to seeing my book, Tenderfoot, listed among Treble Heart Books.

Mary Trimble