Tag Archive | publishing

Spotlight: The Literary Nest

One thing’s clear: Pratibha‘s no ordinary draggin. In addition to writing for us all the time here at FF, last year she signed on to judge a term. When that was done, she signed on again. And when that was over, well, she up and launched her own literary magazine, The Literary Nest

You can see why we had no choice but to talk to her about it! Pratibha, you crazy, fabulous writer — welcome to Spotlight!

The Literary Nest

The Literary Nest

What motivated you to found The Literary Nest?

There are only a handful of well-known print magazines that publish unsolicited work from unknown authors.  I wanted to open up publishing opportunities for skillful and imaginative writers who languish in oblivion because of the lack of publishing opportunities.

The literary world is filled with writings from MFA graduates, but there are many capable writers who do not have resources or inclination to pursue an MFA. I love to read the works by both formally schooled and unschooled writers.

There are many styles of writing that do not exactly fit the contemporary postmodern style, but there are unschooled and intuitive writers who write insightful fiction and poetry.  I have encountered a massive number of stories, novels, and poems in my fifty years of reading fiction and poetry, and have developed eclectic tastes and a wide open mind to welcome diverse styles.

There is a lot of good online and print literature in the world today. I wanted to curate a collection of works that I like to read.

>I wanted to curate a collection of works that I like to read.<

Why me? If you have searched through The Literary Nest‘s website, you must have noticed that the magazine has a single editor who does all the work. You might say to yourself, “Why should I trust my beautiful fiction or poetry to this one person?”, and you would be right to question. After all, shouldn’t the editor be a successfully published writer with … ahem… a “Pushcart Nomination” under his or her belt?

Let me answer your question with an equally apt question. Does being a writer automatically imply that he or she is a savvy reader? While you ponder it, let me share my experiences.  I have many writer friends as well as reader friends, and I am always amazed to learn from the readers about some the finer points of the story or a poem. The details do not necessarily come from its technical merit. They come from the emotional or intellectual appeal of the story. In other words, how a story or a poem speaks to the reader is often crucial. Let me illustrate it with an analogy. I learned the Indian classical dance style, Kathak, for ten years. The word “Katha” means a story in Hindi, and “Kathak” means storyteller. When I watch a dance performance, I am intrigued by the intricate footwork, the subtle hand movements, and facial expressions, scrutinizing each detail, and wondering about my own (in)ability to convey the story. However, the general audience is simply enthralled and transfixed without worrying about the technical details. They are paying attention to the movement of the story rather than worrying about the technical details.

As a reader, I prefer this type of seamless experience, and as an editor I strive to bring this experience to the readers.

What qualifies me?  I have studied literature in two different languages. I have an MA in English Literature and have taught English Lit to high school and college students. You can find a brief sample of my literary analysis essays here. I have practiced the fine art of reading the story and to extracting the essence, for the enjoyment of the readers. Consider me as a honeybee that collects the nectar from the blossoms and turns it into honey. (Yeah, I love mixing metaphors.) 

And dear readers, over the years I have written and thrown away more stories than you will ever imagine. I do not wish such a fate upon you. I want you to keep writing and flourish. I started this magazine to encourage and guide upcoming writers. I hope to feature works of some established writers as well.

So, give up all the notions of classifying the writing into genres, and send me your best writing. The Literary Nest is an online magazine, so I would not publish gratuitous sex or violence.

Here is the official mission of the magazine.

The Literary Nest is an independent non-profit literary magazine. It is a platform for the poets and writers from all across the world. We envision this to be a warm and beloved quilt of the physical and emotional landscape woven by of the thread of diverse voices. We provide publishing opportunities to the aspiring writers alongside the established ones. 

I read every word that comes into the mailbox. I have a few literary friends and students who read for me when I need a second or third opinion. I also have the greatest poetry advisor, Annie Finch, on the board. I reach out to her often. We’ve had a fiction advisor, Maureen Fadem. In the future I plan to invite guest editors for the themed issues.

What sets The Literary Nest apart from other magazines on the market?

I wanted a platform where significant writing that makes an emotional impact can be featured without restricting the content to a specific genre. The only restriction is that we don’t publish writing that is sexually explicit or contains graphic violence.

It is important to me to feature writers without regard to the geographical, cultural, or political boundaries. I am interested in the new and interesting voices.

I am against reading fees or contest entry fees, and I believe that writers should be paid for their work. I am on the lookout for the publishing models that will allow that. I need associates that understand the business of publishing.

How often do you publish?

We aim to publish four quarterly issues per year.

What are some stories you especially like?

Mikey, by Judy Salz – This is a short-short. It is told through an autistic child’s POV, and the voice is innocent and adorable.

The Man Who Lives in My Shower, by Dallas Woodburn – The story is told in the first person by a young woman whose boyfriend has died a violent, untimely death. I loved the psychological tension and the gradual resolution as the young woman walks through her grief.

I would like to point to one other story published in The Missouri Review that I enjoyed recently, Balsam, by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett.

Is there a particular feel that you’re going for? Do you like modern, contemporary, structure-defying, edgy, experimental pieces; or humorous; or slice-of-life; or traditional/poetic? dark pieces?

Yes to all. 🙂

I discovered reading at an early age. As soon as I could recognize the alphabet and form words, it became an obsession with me. I would sound out words on every road sign, billboard, newspaper, magazine, and packing material, anything that displayed writing. It was akin to solving the puzzles. It didn’t take long for me to graduate to more substantial reading. It was an escape mechanism. I grew up in a chaotic environment. Reading offered the powerful guideposts for a mind in a constant state of confusion. Of course, not everything I read was age-appropriate, and most of it went over my head. The only children’s book I ever read was Shyamchi Aai (Shyam’s Mother) by reputed Marathi author Sane Guruji, but the moralistic tone of the book made me feel awful about my own shortcomings. Reading kept me out of everybody’s hair; it was a sign of good behavior; being quiet was a virtue. When I visited relatives, they stocked up on books for me. I read “thought” novels about freedom fighters, socially conscious middle class men, while explicitly avoiding more romantic novels, not by free will, but because of the influence of my extended family.  Still, the books offered me an oasis away from the chaos.

This accidental exposure to “high” literature whetted my taste buds. I was fortunate to have been exposed to three languages at an early age, so I read in all three. The ocean of books was deep and wide, and the tide kept pulling me in. I read indiscriminately without any preconceived notions of what constitutes a “literary” novel. The books that made the impact on me were the ones that didn’t conclude with “happily ever after.” They left unanswered questions. The main characters were imperfect human beings. I questioned their choices, their decisions. I agonized over the unanswered questions. Over the years, I realized that those questions had no firm answers. The real life problems or issues do not have satisfactory resolutions; the questions of life do not have black or white answers. The flaws of characters, some of their incessant obsessions and phobias, made me feel that there is place in the world for everyone as long you examine your life.

Stephen King once said, “[..] We have fiction that we call literature, which has a tendency to be about extraordinary people in ordinary circumstances, and then we have popular fiction, which is supposedly about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.” (source)

Psychologist David Comer Kidd says, “What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others, [..]” (source)

So my take is, “Do not be afraid to write what comes naturally to you. Do not worry about the audience, or the perfect ending with poetic justice. Write because you have stories, and not just because you have words.”

>Write because you have stories, and not just because you have words.<

There are many writers here in Flash! Friday who write fiction that could be considered as literary in my definition. So I hope they write longer, incisive pieces for The Literary Nest.

What should writers know before submitting?

Please do read the submission guidelines and the previous issues. Send us your very best work. Do not ever be discouraged by a rejection. Many times I would love to accept a given piece with some edits.

What contemporary authors do you especially love to read? 

I like stories, novels, or poems without regard to a particular author. I rarely like all the stories or novels by the same author. One exception is J. M. Coetzee. I liked everything by him so far.

Here are some of the novels I read recently (in last six months.)

Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee – This is the novel that Lee wrote before To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman – This novel is like a Rubik’s Cube; you have to put the story together by matching the pieces.

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins Plot – puzzle

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The last two novels have an unreliable narrator like the narrator in The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Also, these are popular fiction novels.

Currently I subscribe to Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner Literary Journal, and Glimmer Train. Also, I am always on the lookout for online stories and poems. You could say that I am a literary stalker.

Do you accept various formats? Stories, essays, poetry? Genres? Are dragons welcome? 🙂

Dragons are welcome as long they cast some light on their humans.

We publish literary fiction, poetry, and visual art. Read my answers above to see what is considered literary for us. No non-fiction yet. I like to live in the imaginary world.

When’s your next deadline?

The next issue comes out on Oct 15. The submission deadline is Sep 30th, 2015. There is always one week’s grace period, especially for dragons.

Any last thoughts?

I have used “I/we” too indiscriminately, but please be assured that I have no intentions to refer to myself in plural. Although as I am the public face of the magazine, it is a collective effort; hence the “we” reference.

And yes, do submit.

Please send all queries to theliterarynest (at) gmail (dot) com.

All the little draggins, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Here’s our website, and here are our submission guidelines.

 

Spotlight: Aria Glazki

Aria Glazki is a familiar name ’round these here dragonlands: she served as a judge in Year Two alongside legends Betsy Streeter, Craig Anderson, Margaret Locke, and Phil Coltrane. And if that weren’t pedigree enough, she’s also a THREE-TIME winner here, twice in Flash! Friday’s very first year and another in Year Two. She’s published poetry, she’s published a novel, she keeps winning NaNoWriMo, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Tuesday than by celebrating Aria’s newest accolade: today’s launch of her latest novel, Mortal Musings. 

BE SURE TO LEAVE A COMMENT! Aria is giving away a free print copy of Mortal Musings to a randomly selected commenter. (Because what’s a party without presents?!) Drawing is Wednesday at noon, Wash DC time.

Mortal Musings Cover

Welcome to the Spotlight mic, Aria! Please start by telling us about your writing journey! 

You know those info-graphics that show the straight-line path people would like to think life takes, and then the convoluted path with a bunch of wrong turns? My writing journey has definitely been the latter. I was first published in middle school, after an English teacher insisted I submit a class assignment to a national anthology for young poets—and I’m so grateful he did! In high school, I ran our literary magazine and took creative writing as an elective. And I actually have a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing (among other majors).

That sounds relatively straightforward, but that Creative Writing degree actually ended up discouraging me from writing. I didn’t write the way they wanted me to, and I certainly didn’t look down on genre fiction the way our instructors did. After graduating, I didn’t write for a long time, doing other things with my life. In 2012, an idea for a story grabbed hold and didn’t let go; around the same time I was reminded about the phenomenon that is NaNoWriMo. That year I participated for the first time. That book became Mending Heartstrings, and suddenly I was diving into the new world of authorship, with a new blog and Twitter account—which fairly quickly actually led me to Flash! Friday. 🙂

Why romance? I believe romance as a genre allows us to genuinely delve into people’s psyches and personalities; we can get to know people from all walks of life, in all sorts of situations, who nevertheless all experience that fundamental human desire of finding love—and then we get to see them do that! Terrifying, heartbreaking, suspenseful, or comedic—whatever the person’s situation, we get to see them through the tough times and to an uplifting point in their story, which I love.

Please introduce us to Mortal Musings! Tell us about this world and the key players in it. The Muse themselves are ancient characters, of course: how did you freshen them up and put your own twist on them?

Mortal Musings is a paranormal romance, technically, though I think of it as a contemporary romance with a paranormal twist: one of the characters is a muse. She’s frustrated by the lack of appreciation of humans, and her latest charge (a blocked writer) is frustrated by the supposed absence of muses in general. Mix their irritation with a bit of magic, and suddenly she’s trapped in the mortal word with him! Now suddenly they both have to figure out how to deal with each other, and in the muse’s case, she also has to learn what it means to be human.

Next: I’m eager to know about MM’s journey! 

Well, remember what I said about that info-graphic? 😉 My senior year of high school, I took an independent study creative writing course. The idea was that I’d write a novel that year. A ways in, I had to turn something in, and I had nothing written, so I was sitting in the school library staring at the blinking cursor, and my mind started wandering to the idea of muses and inspiration, so I decided to have my main character wonder the same thing. All I knew at that point was that it’d be a romance (I’d been reading them for something like 4 years at that point, and I already loved the genre)—no idea where I was going, no plan, nothing. My poor teacher suffered through reading that mostly unedited draft, but I never got past about sixty pages. At university, my instructors hated this story, so it got shelved.

After I finished Mending Heartstrings, I looked back at what I had written for this, and it was kind of a disaster! But I still liked the idea and some of the plot I’d developed in writing worked, and the characters were lovely, so I started fresh with the barebones and finally this book was drafted. So from the first word, to the finished draft, to publication now, it’s been an incredibly long journey, but that’s how it goes sometimes.  

Did writing Mortal Musings require any research? What was that like, and how did you go about it? Did you consult your own Muse (and did you have to request permission from the Muse Board to write this, hmmm, or have Muse Lawyers sent you Cease & Desist letters???)? 🙂

Short answer: not really. I looked at some geography to make sure my fake town near Denver made sense, and a little bit about what wait-staff actually have to do, but otherwise this world is so focused on these people, on a simple life in a small town, that there wasn’t much research required. (And if my muse has tried to communicated with me, it seems like s/he’s learned from Alexandra’s mistake, so s/he isn’t forcing the issue! 😉 )

Lots of scenes take place in a diner or in a kitchen, and you’ve got some marvelous descriptions of various meals (mmm, hollandaise…). What makes those places so central to your story? Why did you choose those places as opposed to others? Do you think there’s a connection between food and writing? (mmm, chocolate…) I’d also love you to talk about Allie’s connection with nature.

They do, don’t they? I love food, no joke, but also consider how important sharing meals is in just about every culture. It’s how we get to know each other, it’s how we grow to trust each other (or, y’know, not, if people are poisoned…), and it’s everything from welcoming to intimate. A small-town diner was a great temporary option for a muse with no work experience, which would also allow her to spend time around all those struggling artist regulars and still get to know more about life in this realm. Plus, what’s more human and mortal than needing nourishment/food?

When it comes to nature, I was really thinking about the creation of the world (chaos or planned, either way, it’s a beautiful system), and about how often we writers lock ourselves away in a tiny bedroom or office. Alexandra as a mythical being is tied intimately to that same impetus that created the world, so for her, nature and creativity and inspiration are all mixed in together. Being outside, experiencing the world, it’s not only reinvigorating but it also provides material to draw from, and therefore inspiration, so that’s something she really pushes in the book.

The Muse at one point says, “Reading brings distraction and comfort to many. It allows for a profound form of escape even without a physical parallel. For those in desperate situations, books can save lives, by providing hope, companionship, or simply an outlet. Of all forms of creativity, literature is the most transformative for and embracing of its audience.” Was the Muse borrowing your voice there? Do you think something similar might be said about writing?

I definitely agree with her in many ways, but as a musician, I may have to disagree a bit as well. Those are Alexandra’s words, not mine. 😉 I think writing, composing music, creating a sculpture, painting—the general creation of art—is very different from what she’s describing here, which is all about the audience’s experience of the finished product. While we as creators may go on an incredible journey with the creation, Alexandra is making the point that that journey remains in many ways invisible to the audience.

You quite boldly tell your story from TWO points of view, Brett’s and Alexandra’s. What was it like writing two points of view? what challenged you about it? What made you decide to go that route?

Romance is most often told in two perspectives because of the simple fact that there are two people, each going on a journey, growing, changing, and we’re interested in experiencing how each one moves from their own starting point to being ready and able to love this other person. The challenging thing is making sure that they continue to travel a distinct path from each other—so they don’t end up seeming to have one mind—while still bringing them to that same point of happiness and love.

Let’s talk about publishing. You’re no newcomer: you’ve previously released a collection of poetry as well as the 2014 novel Mending Heartstrings. MH was published by Swoon Romance; MM is indie. What made you go with Swoon Romance for MH and a different direction this time? Have you ever considered the “traditional” approach, i.e. querying agents? what has been positive about the methods you’ve chosen? what’s challenged you? How would you advise writers who are ready to think about publication?

Poetry is a different world, and it’s basically impossible to sell. I put the collection out so the pieces weren’t languishing in an old notebook, but traditional just wasn’t the right path there.

For novels, I lean instinctively to the traditional path*, and I have queried agents with no luck so far, though I often hear variations of: “This is great, but it’s just not for me to represent.” For Mending Heartstrings, while participating in an online pitch event (#AdPit), I got some bites from publishers. I wasn’t expecting it but decided to see where it led, which was publication! While in general I would love an agent and I know a good one will be an asset long-term, I also knew I could handle things like legalese and contract negotiations. And, I’ve noticed many publishers and agents seeming out-of-sync on what they want to acquire, so for better or worse I didn’t hold off on a publishing offer for lack of an agent.

Mortal Musings went a bit differently, because I kept seeing agents comment that paranormal romance wasn’t selling and they weren’t acquiring it. So, I queried publishers and received 3 offers. Contract negotiations take ages, but they also tell you so much about the people you’ll be working with, and in all three cases there were glaring problems I was unable to overlook. One publisher became downright rude, one tried to strong-arm me (likely because I don’t have an agent, which is a disappointing approach), one flat-out refused to negotiate despite some very non-standard clauses. I did my research, I spoke to authors who worked with these publishers, and I tried to negotiate in good faith, but it just wasn’t working out. Plus, *I believe hybrid authors have it right in today’s publishing climate. So I decided to put my faith in myself and publish independently for this book.

My advice for anyone pursuing publication would be to do the research so you know what you’re getting into, and absolutely never sign a contract because of promises made that aren’t actually in the contract. The only thing that ultimately counts is what that legal document says, and hoping for the best because the person negotiating with you makes a bunch of promises or “seems nice” may end up locking you into bad situations, harming your career, and possibly leaving you financially indebted in the process. The other big tip would be never to sign a contract you don’t understand thoroughly, even if you have an agent—have the agent explain pieces you don’t understand! (And if you need some help, you can check out my Publishing Contracts series.)

Marketing is crucial, clearly, and we’re excited to be at the front of that effort with you, celebrating your launch right here at FF. What have you got in the works? How’s that going? what are your expectations? Are you excited? scared? confident? nervous? bouncing off the walls?

Thank you so much for helping me with the launch of this book!! As I mentioned before, Flash! Friday was one of the first communities I found online when I recommenced writing, and despite my recent absence, I’m so grateful to have your support!

I have many plans in the works, including a Facebook release party (Thursday, 4pm-7pm Pacific time) for which I hope you will all join me! I also put the book up on NetGalley, to get some reviews right out of the gate and hopefully build buzz. Otherwise, since I’ve already said so much here, you can check out my detailed post on everything going on this week.

I’m excited but terrified—marketing really isn’t my thing, and I’m nervous every time I hear someone new is reading my book (because what if you hate it?!?), but that’s all part of the package nowadays, whatever the publishing path.

What’s next for you?

I have another romance finished, a follow-up in the world of Mending Heartstrings, so we’ll see where that book finds its way. Otherwise, next is just writing more. My current WIP is actually not a romance, believe it or not, but I also have a few more ideas for romances kicking around. Whichever types of stories I go on to, I hope I’ll have a chance to write all these ideas and truly do them all justice.

Bonus question! Now it’s totally time to namedrop. Who are your biggest supporters? Who inspires you? Who would you like to thank for helping you get where you are? How can we as a writing community support you?

Ack! I’m terrible at namedropping! I’m so grateful to my family, some incredibly supportive friends, and to the lovely people (like Rebekah and you all!) whom I’ve met online, but in many cases there’s nowhere to link, and I’d be mortified if I forgot someone specific. So, I hope these people know who they are, and I definitely try to express my gratitude to each one every chance I get. (Thank you!)

As for advice, I think my top 3 tips would be:

  • Don’t listen blindly to everyone’s advice or opinions, no matter how established they are in the industry, or how encouraging/discouraging they are.
  • Absolutely never skip the editing & revising parts of the process.
  • When you have a project that matters to you and in which you’re confident, don’t look at only one publishing path to the exclusion of others; research and consider them all, since each project may need to find its own way.

And my top 3 tips for supporting authors are:

  • Read the book
  • Spread the word (books make great gifts!)
  • Leave reviews!

As for supporting me, if you’ve read this far, you’re already amazing! There are some giveaways happening via Twitter today (details here), and I’d truly love to celebrate with you at my release party on Thursday!

YOUR TURN, writers!! Have any questions for Aria? Comments? Leave a note below AND earn a chance at a free copy of Mortal MusingsCongratulations again, dear Aria. Thanks for dishing about this amazing accomplishment!

Spotlight: Crosshair Press

It’s with great delight we welcome the team at Crosshair Press to the mic. I (Rebekah) had the privilege of meeting two of their team members, Katie Morford and Amy Williams, at the Realm Makers’ writers conference in 2014. I’m also pleased to point out that Katie is part of the Flash! Friday family (she posts as K.L. Morford). In fact this very week she came away with the first runner up prize (woot!); her story “Hope Rising” won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Flashversary contest.

I’ve grown to respect this team a great deal. After reading this interview, you’ll doubtless understand why. 

Welcome, CP!

Crosshair press large logo

 

Let’s start with the basics. Who/what is Crosshair Press? Why does the world need another publisher? And what’s up with the A-Team obsession? 

Crosshair Press is a small indie press dedicated to developing authors and publishing books where adventure and biblical truths intersect. After years of seeking a publisher that embraced books that could include speculative elements, action/adventure, and biblical truths (though NOT necessarily a “Christian” book), we finally decided we’d have to start our own press!

L-R. Amy, Katie, Amy, Carrie.

L-R. Carrie Lemke, Katie Morford, Amy Davis, Amy Williams

The four founding ladies of Crosshair Press had been in a writing critique group together for several years, so it was a natural step to embark on this new adventure together. As for the A-Team references, we truly have a fun, united team spirit amongst the four of us. We noticed early-on that we each fit one of the roles of the A-Team characters (Amy Williams, planner and idea person; Katie Morford, the “face” of the operation; Amy Davis, the fun and quirky one who finds the unexpected solution; Carrie Lemke, the quiet one with the most BA characters of any of us).

We believe in quality and professionalism, but there’s also no reason why we can’t have fun doing it!

L-R Amy Williams & Katie Morford

L-R Amy Williams & Katie Morford

You’re two months into your second year (congratulations!) and already have two books under your belt. What’s the experience been like so far? What’s surprised you the most? What about publishing might surprise other writers? 

As you say, so far we’ve released two books. One, entitled Nameless, is a space opera adventure novel with elements of humor and romance. The other is a romantic comedy, Finding Fireflies, telling the story of a 30-something single church secretary who befriends a prostitute and has to team up with her childhood crush to save her new friend. 

We’ve been blown away by the tremendous response and support from people from many different walks, from little old ladies at church to high-level executives and publishing industry professionals.

We love the opportunity to be involved in every step of the creative process, from writing, content editing and working with beta readers, to staging book cover photo shoots, cover design, production, and promotion. It definitely requires a lot of time, hard work, and Starbursts (brain food), but seeing the books come together and people being entertained and touched by the stories is worth it. 

You’re novelists and short story writers yourselves. What’s it like sitting on the other side of the desk? How has donning publisher hats changed you as novelists and the way you approach your own writing? 

Well, we’re not fancy gentlemen in very fine hats, but I think participating in the publishing process has helped us tremendously as authors, because now we’re always thinking big picture when we’re writing. Who is my audience? How would I describe the theme or plot of this story to someone? How do I want people to respond? Has this story been told before? How can I make the setting/plot/characters unique? Previously, these are questions we wouldn’t have considered until the book was complete.

Plus, doing content edits for others helps us identify problems in our own work sooner because we’ve trained ourselves to look for them. 

We’re pleased to note that the first contest you held was a flash fiction contest. What’s your take on flash—is it here to stay?—and how do you think a writer’s flash skills might help when it’s time to write a novel? 

With seemingly greater demands our time than ever before, many readers are turning to flash fiction for bite-sized portions of their fiction addiction. We also think learning to convey emotion and story in very concise fashion, as required by flash fiction, is invaluable when it comes time to write a novel. A novel, after all, is nothing more than a connected collection of “flash fiction” scenes designed to tell a larger story.

We love how you also offer critiques and mentoring for writers. What inspired you to add that service? In these days of so many writers going indie and small house, what other traditionally IRL writing services/relationships do you foresee going the online route? 

We’ve had so many talented, experienced authors come alongside us in our own journey, it was natural to want to help other writers learn to tell their stories more effectively. In our discussions with up-and-coming authors, the most common problem we noticed is many writers are submitting manuscripts with intriguing concepts but flawed execution.

To be ready for publication, these stories need improvements to plot, story, character, setting, etc. visible only to another trained eye. We want to empower these writers to tell great stories, without being discouraged by repeated rejection from publishers simply for lack of an experienced editor to journey with them. 

Futurecast for us: in 2025, paper books: yes or no? And will the world have lost or gained by this? 

One of the biggest surprises for us has been the enduring demand for hard copies of our titles. While ebooks are definitely a convenient avenue for distribution, there’s nothing like the smell of a new book in your hands. We predict that hard copies of books, though they may become more of luxury item or double as display pieces, will still hold their place on our shelves for many years to come. And we certainly hope they do. 

What’s 2015 look like for Crosshair Press? Are the rumors correct in saying you’re opening your doors to submissions this year? 

We’re off and running in 2015 and it’s shaping up to be an exciting year! Our romantic comedy released in February, our political thriller with a hearty dose of humor comes out Memorial Day (that’s 25 May for our international readers), and Namesake, the sequel to our sci-fi release, Nameless, will be coming out at the end of the year. We’re also looking at a YA epic urban fantasy option for late this year or early next.

Combined with our day jobs as full-time nurse, mommy, freelancer and globe-trotting missionary, we have our plates full. But we’re still hoping to be able to open up to submissions this year. So keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page for any announcements!

When you do open your doors, what sort of novels will you be looking for? What advice would you give writers who’d like to submit to you? Will the writers need to be agented?

Agents aren’t required, but make sure to read our writer’s guidelines as our process is a bit different than conventional publishing. We also suggest reading our blog and previous titles to get a feel for what kind of stories we like!

Generally, we love character-based adventure stories with strong themes and funny dialogue. Extra points for creative and unique concepts or storytelling methods.

What advice/encouragement or special messages would you like to leave with the Flash! Friday community? And just how much do you adore dragons?

It’s great to see such an encouraging and engaged community of writers! I (Katie) have recently wet my feet in flash fiction and y’all were so welcoming and affirming. Thank you! We’d love to talk, so stop by our social media pages or website and say hi. We might even introduce you to our resident dragon mascot, who is so incredible that we can’t tell you about him for fear Rebekah will steal him away. {Editor’s note: What if he wants to go, hmmm?}

THANK YOU SO MUCH, CP, for taking the time to chat with us today. Best wishes for a successful 2015 and beyond!

Crosshair press small logo