Industry Interview: Lyrical Press & a Contest!!!

Here’s another interview from the small press/digital world. This one is from my other publisher, Lyrical Press. This is one heck of a good group, and I’m so proud to be one of their authors. The interview is of Renee Rocco, publisher, author and cover-art genius. Seriously. I wanted to be published by Lyrical just so I could get her to do a cover and luckily, I did. Isn’t it great? It releases on February 20, 2012.

I loved this insight into Renee. And believe me, she’s everything she says she is. My editor, Carin Brumal has been wonderful and they truly take good care of their authors. And they are growing. They’ve just added two new acquiring editors, Abby Rose and Ann-Marie Smith. Check out their wishes on the site – www.lyricalpress.com.

I hope you enjoy this look into this wonderful publisher. Oh, and make sure to read to the bottom. Lyrical is hosting a contest where the winners receive a contract! Yep, you heard me right. A contract and even better, an advance! Have I whet your appetite? Good. Read, enjoy and check out the details on the contest below. Readers of this blog get first peek as the contest won’t be officially open until after Christmas. Keep your eye on Lyrical’s blog and my tweets for developing information.

Without further ado (I’ve always wanted to say that), here’s the interview.

What made you decide to become a publisher?

I’ve always loved books. Always. I’ve had my nose in a book for as long as I could remember – or more recently, in a digital reader. My dream had been to join the ranks of the authors I’d been reading for decades. So, with the support of my husband, I wrote and submitted four books, which were all published. Once my toe was in the door, so to speak, I realized there was this whole other world of publishing that I found fascinating – the behind the scenes stuff that authors rarely think about. I saw some things happening behind those scenes that, as an author, I didn’t like – and of course, things that I loved and excited me about this industry. Because I’m the sort of person who is never content with not knowing something, I decided I had to learn as much about publishing as possible. First, I studied cover art until I had a fairly good idea of what worked and what a made a cover look…not good. From there, I moved on to editing. I researched digital formatting and took note of what readers – and authors – wanted. Frank and I talked at length about pressing on to the next level of this industry, which for us, was publishing. We launched Lyrical in December 2007. Our goal has always been to give authors a safe house where they could publish their work and be treated with the respect they deserve. I know every Lyrical author by name and know every book they have published (or will publish) through the house. I know that’s a big deal to our authors, since they know, with me, they aren’t just a book. They’re a person on the other side of that computer, and while I might have to make unpopular business decisions for the good of the house as a whole, they’re confident that every choice I make, I make with each of them as an individual, in mind.    

Tell us about your name/logo. Where did you come up with it? What’s the significance?

I love words, and just thought Lyrical looked – and sounded – pretty. As for the logo, an artist allowed Frank and I to use her amazing design of the intertwined dragons, which to us, are representations of Frank and I.

Could you please tell us specifically what types of books Lyrical Press publishes?

Currently, we’re only accepting erotica, romance and some urban fantasy.

If you could get your hands on more stories in a certain genre – or with certain characters – what would it be?

Anything erotica. BDSM is a Lyrical fan favorite. We’ve also put out a call for dystopian erotica, something I haven’t seen much of but would love to get my hands on.

What are you absolutely not looking for?

Inspirational. Our readers seem to come to us for the more hardcore erotica – and we’re just fine with that! (smile)

Will you be doing both e-books and print books? Where can you find Lyrical Press books?

I’m proud to say our readers come to us for our digital books, which is an awesome thing. As to where you can find Lyrical’s books, they’re everywhere! You can find us on Amazon, Sony, Fictionwise, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks, OmniLit, BooksOnBoard, just to name a few major retailers. We distribute our digital books through both Lightning Source and OverDrive.

Most new writers have visions of agents and New York publishing houses dancing in their heads. Can you tell us some of the advantages of signing with a digital/small press publisher over a New York publisher?

With a small press, you have a better chance of getting a personal touch. You have a small-town feel, so to speak…a more intimate house with a hands-on publisher. To me, that’s important. When I was actively writing, the last thing I wanted to feel like was just a commodity. Yes, publishing is a business and everyone should want to be paid for their work, but the bottom line is, I wanted to be a person to my publisher. With a smaller press, you’re not merely a dollar sign. You’re a vital gear in the company’s machine, and to some authors (like me!), that’s very important – and it was one of the guiding factors in the establishment of Lyrical Press.

What do you look for in a prospective writer?

Without a doubt, we’re always looking for writers who embrace the fact that being an author is a business. We love authors who take an active role in their career. They understand their words – and their books – are tools for a successful career. They know how to cultivate a readership. They know how to utilize social networking. They appreciate the work of the publisher and editor to help move their career forward and take an active hand in polishing their manuscript so that when it’s presented to the public, it’s in the best condition possible – and that includes editing, cover art, formatting and marketing. Reputable publishers do their part, and I look for authors who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty for the sake of giving their readers their very best. 

After you receive a query/synopsis – approximately how long does it take you to reply to the author?

Lyrical has a fairly good turnaround time. It usually takes about 2 – 4 weeks to evaluate and reply to a submission.

Most authors seem to feel it’s the publisher’s responsibility to do the marketing – that all an author should do is write. In your opinion, how important is marketing and what’s the writer’s responsibility in this area?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, sitting back and just writing might have been the norm. Not in today’s publishing world. It doesn’t work that way with small publishers, and it’s not how the big publishers are doing things either anymore – unless, of course, you’re a ‘name’. Yes, publisher must do their part in marketing, but so too, does the author. Most publishers promote the house as a whole, while authors push their book individually. The problem some authors run into, however, are publishers who do nothing by way of promotional work. That’s a problem. Publishers and authors, these days, must work side by side to get the books out in front of readers. I mean, just look how flooded the current market is. Both parties must work in unison to achieve maximum success.

Across the Internet, the most common expressed concern is the perceived lack of quality control in eBooks. Would you like to comment on where Lyrical Press is with respect to performance in this area?

Lyrical is extremely selective with who we hire to edit for our authors. The last thing we want is to be the house with books riddled with errors. Do some slip through the cracks? Yes, as much as we hate to admit it. No one here is a machine. We’re all human, and human error can be an ugly thing when it comes to literary errors. I love when Lyrical’s books are reviewed and the reader comments on how well the book is edited – which we get quite often, actually.

As a publisher, what is the best advice you can offer a writer on how to be successful in the business?

Here are some random bits of advice…Learn your craft. Understand publishing is a business. Your books are not your babies; they are the tools you use to gain success with your career. It’s an editor’s job to help you make your book the best it can possibly be, so don’t look at him/her as the enemy who wants to rip your work to shreds. You aren’t a victim if you sign a contract you haven’t read or fail to fully understand – it’s your job to know what you’re signing before you sign it because your contract is a legally binding agreement and you will be held to every word of it. Be the author your publisher fights for, not the one they can’t wait to be rid of. Don’t be a diva.

Please tell us in one sentence – why we should read Lyrical Press books/authors.

Because Lyrical’s books rock!

Anything else you’d like to say?

I really need to thank our readers, who have all been so very supportive over the years. We work harder than you can imagine ensuring we give you enjoyable books, written by amazing authors. Keep an eye out…2012 s going to be an awesome year!

Renee, thanks so much for joining us on See Jane Publish! What a great look into Lyrical Press. I wish you much success! And not only because you are my fantastic publisher. 😀

Now, for the contest!!!

Lyrical is ringing in the new year with a contest! Beginning January 15, Lyrical is accepting submissions (synopsis and full manuscript – following usual submissions criteria found on the website). The editorial department will review the entrants and choose the winners. Entries accepted until February 5 and winners announced around March 12.

Prizes are:

 1st prize—a contract and $200 advance (100 payable on contract and 100 payable upon publication)

 2nd prize—contract and $100 advance (50 payable on contract and 50 upon publication)

 3rd prize – likely multiple – critiques of partial manuscript and synopsis by Lyrical editors.

Categories:  Contemporary Romance; Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Romance, Historical Romance, Steampunk with Romantic Elements and Erotica (all genres). They are looking for all heat levels and romance with the exception of Steampunk (romantic elements) and Erotica.

Entries should be sent to contests@lyricalpress.com

There is NO entry fee!!! It does mean that Lyrical can choose not to read/judge an entry based on whether it fits Lyrical’s lines and level of writing. Obviously, you want to check out what Lyrical acquires and make sure you submit the perfect manuscript.

Got questions? Post here, and I’ll get them answered for you. Hope you enjoyed the interview and are excited about this amazing opportunity!

Happy Holidays!

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Posted on December 21, 2011, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hi everyone…

    Stephanie, Melisse, you guys are so awesome. Lyrical – and I – are extremely lucky to have you with us.

    And Kim…do I even really need to say how much you rock??

    Cathryn, thank you. It means so much to me when folks learn about lyrical, and like what we’ve worked so hard to establish.

    Like

  2. Cassiel, and Renee,

    Great interview. I feel I know a lot more about Lyrical Press, and like what I heard.

    I am confused, though, by this passage about your contest, and suspect others may be.

    . “Categories: Contemporary Romance; Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Romance, Historical Romance, Steampunk with Romantic Elements and Erotica (all genres). They are looking for all heat levels and romance with the exception of Steampunk (romantic elements) and Erotica.”

    First you say you want Erotica (all genres) and then at the end, ‘with the exception of … Erotica’. Can you clarify that?

    Thanks,
    Cathryn

    Like

    • Oops! That’s my bad! Thanks for asking about this, Cathryn. What they mean is that they want romance primarily except for Steampunk and Erotica can be romantic elements. They are working on a press release that I will post after the holidays. Hope this clarifies things. Oh, and I’ve had someone ask me about romantic suspense. I’m checking on that.

      Like

  3. I’m a new Lyrical author, just finished editing with Carin for my April release. Lyrical has been such a positive experience. Author friendly. I’ll be letting my writing friends know about this contest!

    Like

  4. GREAT interview!! Renee and Frank are the BEST!!! I was lucky enough to meet them last year and they seriously made me feel as if I had known them for years..like we were old pals!!

    Like

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