I’m so excited to welcome bestselling paranormal, contemporary, and erotic romance author Laura Kaye. She’s going to be talking about her experience publishing with a small press, and on Wednesday, PJ Sharon will be over at Catie Rhodes’s blog discussing the ins and outs of self-publishing.
Here’s Laura–and please make sure to leave her some love:)
Why did you choose to go with a small press over self-publishing or the traditional route of an agent?
I didn’t so much choose my route as that’s just the way it unfolded. After I finished my first book, Forever Freed, I queried the manuscript to dozens of agents. I got a lot of requests for partials and fulls, but it has unique features (1st person from the male POV, for example), and no one signed it. Then, the first epublisher I queried bought it. I’m not considering self-publishing at all at this time (maybe when I have a larger backlist and established readership I will). To me, there doesn’t need to be any distinction at all between these options – an author can traditionally publish, go with an epublisher and self-publish a title too.
As you’ve moved further down the publishing road, what’s been the biggest benefit of being with a small press publisher?
Small presses offer lots of benefits. Some of the top ones would be quick time from contract to release, a great way to establish a fan-base, and ability to write outside the boxes traditional publishers typically consider to be marketable.
You’ve got got five books out now with different presses, and you recently announced your Hearts of the Anemoi series sparked the interest of Barnes and Noble. They’ll be putting the series on the shelf this summer in mass market format. First off, congratulations! How did you react when you heard the news? What do you think was the biggest contributing factor in B&N decision, and how much part did your publisher play in it?
I was so excited! It is definitely one of my dreams to be able to walk into a bookstore and see my books shelved there! That’s still my reaction, just complete thrill to know I’ll get to do that just a few short months from now. Certainly, Entangled Publishing played a huge role in getting my Anemoi series shelved beginning this summer—they’ve created a tremendous presence in the industry in a short time, and the incredible deals they’ve negotiated, like this one, show that. B&N was particularly attracted by the books’ genres, covers, and the social media platform of the authors. That latter was a nice bit of validation of all the time I put into social media…
Given your experience, do you believe a small press is a good way to get your foot in the door with an agent, or is it a better way to learn the business, or both?
There are many ways to get your foot in the door with an agent. Unless your book sells very well, being published with a small press is only useful to the extent it shows writing credits. It’s a great way to learn the business though, there’s no doubt about that. The best way to get an agent is to keep writing great manuscripts that ultimately hook one!
Did you work with an “editor for hire” prior to submitting to your small press? If so, why and how did you choose from the multitude of people offering editorial services?
I never did this, and probably never would. Then again, I have access to a wonderful critique group of other authors pursuing writing and publication professionally. That’s what I would recommend people use to ready their manuscripts for publication.
How much marketing assistance, including guidance and advice, not just money spent, can an author expect from a small press?
It varies a lot from publisher to publisher. I have two presses that bust their butts to help authors promote their work, and one that doesn’t do much at all. So there’s no generalizing. Prospective authors should talk to current authors if they want insights into this question specific to a certain publisher they’re considering.
With all the different social media platforms, what’s been your single best marketing tool, and how do you use it?
Hmm…I don’t think I can pick just one. Social media success, in my opinion, is about the way you integrate your brand and presence and engagement across multiple platforms. Take Twitter and Facebook, for example. I have a lot of overlap in who follows me in both, but the types of friendships I’ve made and interactions I have tend to differ on those two sites. So I value them both, greatly.
Given your success with a small press, would you still consider going with an agent and seeking out the Big 6?
100% yes. At some point, I would like to gain the greatest possible exposure for my books, and the best chance of that is with big 6 publishers.
Finally, you’re putting out quality books at a strong pace. How do you manage your writing time with social media and a family?
It’s a challenge, to be sure. Time is the single commodity I need the most and have the least of! I think that’s true for all writers. I do write fast, and that helps, and I also write clean, which means my first drafts are in pretty decent shape and don’t need rounds and rounds of revision to get ready for publication (that’s not to say they’re perfect at all!). I also have cut out other activities I used to spend a lot of time on, liking watching TV and sleeping, LOL. So, it’s a trade-off. There’s only so many hours in the day, how do you want to use them?
Thanks so much to Laura for taking the time to stop by and sharing her experiences. Don’t forget to stop by her website and check out her books!
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About Laura Kaye
Voted Breakout Author of the Year in the 2011 GraveTells Readers’ Choice Awards, Laura is the bestselling and award-winning author of a half-dozen books. Hearts in Darkness is a finalist for the EPIC eBook Award for Best Novella, Forever Freed won the NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011, and North of Need, the first book in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, was named GraveTells’ Best Book of 2011 and won their 5-STAR Gold Heart Award, and won Sizzling Hot Read of the Year at Sizzling Hot Books. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Great interview! Congrats to Laura on her book success!
Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for stoping by!
Anne E. Johnson
Thanks for this great interview. I could relate to a lot of your experiences, although I’m just starting out. I have three books coming out from three small presses, and the three companies could not be more different from each other. Laura, I admire your tenacity, and will think of you as a model for the direction I’d like my career to go!
Wow, congrats, Anne! That’s awesome news. Are your books in different genres, then? I think that’s one of the wonderful things about small presses – the flexibility. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Laura and Stacy! What a fantastic interview! Big congrats to Laura for her well deserved success – her books rock!
Hi there, so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, Laura’s books are great, and she’s been a big help to me throughout my querying/signing process. Thanks!
This is a really good interview from both the interviewer and the interviewee. The message which struck me with this is that hard work pays off. Thank you for that. I enjoyed reading it.
Thanks so much. I wanted to show everyone there are great choices out there other than just self publishing and agent/traditional. Laura is a perfect example of what hard work and talent gets you. Glad you enjoyed.
I did enjoy it and you certainly achieved what you set out to do.
Thanks for all the wonderful comments everyone! And thanks to Stacy for hosting me! Write on! 🙂
You’re very welcome. Thanks for such a great interview, and for all the help you’ve been:)
Congrats, Laura–your books in B&N? *Squee*! I really enjoyed reading about your experience with a small press. 🙂 I’ve loved the experience with mine to be sure. Entangled is definitely a name to watch!
Entangled is a great press, and they’re doing some awesome things for their authors. Thanks for commenting, Adriana!
Laura, nice to e-meet you (though internally I’m groaning – more great books to be added to my TBR list? More? Really? Yes, really.)
Thanks for sharing your experiences, it’s very helpful to us still working on this publishing thing, and best of luck to you.
LOL, Beverly. I think you’ll really like Laura’s books. She’s great, especially with the heat:)
Thanks for a great interview Stacy and Laura! I was interested to read that you would definitely consider an agent and a Big 6 even though you’ve had wonderful success with a smaller press. I guess it is all about exposure, but it was nice to build your fan base and get a running start. Lots of food for thought! Thanks you two!
Exactly, Annie. To me, it’s not either/or. And, also, a writing career is a marathon, not a race, so it’s not necessary to achieve every major milestone all at once. I’m very happy with where I am so far, but of course I hope for even bigger and better things! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
Annie, I was interested to find that out, too. I’m thrilled to start out with a small press, but we’re so lucky to have so many avenues now to build our careers. No matter how much NY is changing, I’d still like to see my book in their hands some days, and starting out small is a great way to learn. Laura’s a perfect example of that.
I loved this interview – its speaks to the very nature of the business all around us. We can find success in many avenues – and who is to say that the avenue we’re on might not change? Its a very hopeful time to be an author. I do love Laura’s covers and titles! Dreamy and draws you in. Success to you, Laura!
So glad you liked it, Donna. You’re right, it’s a very hopeful time to be an author. And yes, Laura’s got amazing covers. Thanks for stopping by:)
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Tiffany A White
GREAT interview, Stacy! So much wonderful information…I love what you and Catie have done. Congrats on your success, Laura, and I agree with Donna — very nice cover!!
Hi, Tiffany, and thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yes, Catie and I really wanted to explore the two different pub routes with experienced authors:)
Great interview. It sounds like you have a good handle on everything and are positioned well to take advantage of all types of publishing. Congrats on your successes!
Thanks, Angela! So glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for the encouragement. It was a hard decision to make, but I do feel I made the best one for me.
This was a great interview. I love hearing the thoughts of someone who went with a small press. We all have so much to learn from each other, don’t we?
Thanks, Catie. Laura gave a lot of great answers and has accomplished a lot in the past years. Yes, we do!
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Such an honest and insightful interview. Thanks both of you!
You’re very welcome. Glad you enjoyed, and thanks for stopping by!