Join in y'all for great convo's and fantastic prizes!!!
Q: First of all I want to congratulate you, Rachel Haimowitz and Chris Hawkins with the opening of Riptide Publishing. Of course everyone wants to know; How was the journey from idea to realizing a brand new publishing house?
Thanks, Leontine, for the congrats and for having me over. I think just about every author has briefly toyed with the idea to be a publisher – whether to self-publish or not is a viable question in these times when the technology is cheap and the skills are there. So, yeah, Rachel and I were talking about self-publishing a story or two and basically all stories where the rights are returning to us. Authors need to be savvy about running their backlists, and self-publishing can be a good idea.
Once that idea was in the room, we realized we had all the skills necessary to actually be a publisher – not “just” a self-publisher. We ran the idea past some friends (like Chris Hawkins, our marketing guru) and then Rachel crunched a lot of numbers and wrote a business plan.
I guess we were a bit shocked when we realized, yes, we can do this. We have the perfect team and skill set and we actually managed to sell the idea – the whole mission statement – to author colleagues and friends. It became big pretty quickly, and by now I’m less shocked and more “Hell yeah!” about it all. I really have the feeling that this is exactly what many authors – and readers – have been waiting for: great editing, great talent, great covers.
Q: Have there been challenges along the way that surprised you?
There’s a nice German expression that says “being scared of your own courage”. Yep, I was pretty scared, I have to admit. Starting a business is huge, and we’ve seen many publishers go under or never take off, so Rachel and I (and Chris) did a lot of business analysis and planning.
Learning from other people’s mistakes and failures and successes. Above all, I was nervous about not being able to deliver for our authors – many of our authors are serious names in the industry, so what if we can’t give them a better service than they are used to? You do lie awake at night, going through everything over and over again and building emergency plans and worrying about everything. So, yeah, that was the thing that surprised me. I’m usually a doer – I make stuff happen. Being so nervous and scared of my own courage was new.
Q: What is important for you, as one of the founders, to offer readers?
Quality stories with great editing and great covers. I’m reading a lot myself, and there are so many books out there that are… less than they should be. Or could be. Basically, most of the books and stories out there that I read make me think, “Damn, this could have been good if the author had had some help from a capable editor.” There are many books in the market that are almost good. So we want to offer stories that entertain, stories with plot, attractive covers (as a reader and writer, I’m sick and tired of awful covers) and ideally typo-free reading. I recently read the sentence “he road him hard” in a release from a mid-sized romance publisher. That ruined the sex scene for me, and I know that readers really don’t like reading stories that are teeming with typos and other mistakes. At Riptide, readers can immerse themselves in the story.
Q: Do you think pricing affects the buy behavior of a reader and in extension of that, what are the prices going to be of your imprints?
I do think pricing affects reader behavior, absolutely. Some publishers are selling novels for less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks (or whichever coffee chain store you visit). We’re not one of those publishers. I do think that readers are willing to pay a little more for quality. At the shorter lengths, we are competitively priced with other publishers. Once you get to the novel-length fiction and the longer novellas, that’s where it really costs a lot of money to edit properly.
I think our FAQ says it best: Pricing is based on book length. Rather than featuring only three or four price tiers, we have ten different tiers at Riptide. This ensures that the customer never overpays for a book at the short end of a wide price tier (for instance, some houses sell all books up to 15K words for $2.99, but who wants to pay $2.99 for a 5,000 word short?), and that the author is paid fairly for books at the long end of a wide price tier (for instance, some houses sell all books over 40K words for $5.99, even though it may take the author three or four times as long to write a 100K book as a 40K book).
When deciding how to price our tiers, we took into account the time and expense that goes into producing each book at Riptide. Unlike many other e-publishers in the M/M space, we provide Manhattan-quality developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, and proofreading for each book we produce. We also provide professional layout, hand-coded file conversions to eliminate irritating artifacts and layout errors in your e-book, and gorgeous cover art. All of these things mean that Riptide’s production process is as much as fifteen times more expensive than at other e-houses, and consequently, our cover prices are a little bit higher (but not fifteen times more!). However, we’ve learned through experience that quality sells, and readers appreciate the respect we show them by not producing a sub-par product.
Our pricing tiers are as follows:
Under 5,000 words: $.99
5,000 to 9,999 words: $1.99
10,000 to 14,999 words: $2.99
15,000 to 24,999 words: $3.99
25,000 to 34,999 words: $4.99
35,000 to 44,999 words: $5.99
45,000 to 59,999 words: $6.99
60,000 to 74,999 words: $7.99
75,000 to 89,999 words: $8.99
90,000+ words: $9.99
Q: I’m always wondering if publishers and authors notice trends in the M/M subgenres. What readers buy the most and do you anticipate on that?
It’s received wisdom that contemporaries sell the most copies, so most publishers are looking very much to acquire contemporaries. Sex outsells no sex. M/m outsells mixed ménage, novels outsell novellas, and novellas outsell short stories.
At Riptide, we don’t really care. As writers, we know that people write what they are passionate about. So I’d much rather publish a gay horror story that the writer poured their heartblood into than a lukewarm contemporary. We really only care about the quality, regardless of length or genre.
The problem with trends is that they are unpredictable. Before Harry Potter, would anybody have thought that a book series about kid wizards would sell a gazillion copies? Before Gladiator, the big historical movie was dead. I think you have to do what you’re passionate about, and the readers will follow.
Q: I took a sneak peek in to your press kit and came across a cover stating it was ‘A Riptide Wet Dream’. What does this entail?
Wet Dreams are short stories whose primary focus is erotic content. Other shorts—which may contain erotic content but aren’t erotica—are called Riptide Ripples.
Q: What is up and coming with Riptide Publishing?
Well, we’ll have the big launch with a number of stories in October, then we’re partying for three months and publishing one story per week over that period.
Right now, our launch line-up looks like this (subject to change):
Opening Day: October 30, 2011
Grown Men by Damon Suede
First Watch by Peter Hansen
Master Class by Rachel Haimowitz
Sucks & Blows by Storm Grant
Dark Soul vol. 1 by Aleksandr Voinov
Romeo Club #1: Surprises by Brita Addams
Once a Marine by Cat Grant
Pretty Monsters by Andrea Speed
Divinity by Bryl Tyne
A Chip in His Shoulder by Lori Witt
Dark Soul vol 2 by Aleksandr Voinov
Collared by Kari Gregg
Romeo Club #2: Rubbed the Right Way by Brita Addams
Blacker than Black by Rhianon Etzweiler
Dark Soul vol 3 by Aleksandr Voinov
After December 19, we take a break for the holidays and begin new releases again on January 2.
If you'd like to follow us, subscribe to our newsletter on the website
website | Facebook | Twitter |
And our very active Goodreads group, with lots of fun activities for both readers and writers:
The Giveaway: From October 1 to December 31, Riptde authors and editors will set sail on a massive Grand Opening blog tour!
We're gearing up for three months of games, prizes, interviews, chats, and scavenger hunts, and we'd love to have you along! At each stop along the tour, we'll be giving away great prizes - tons of books from our authors' backlists, swag by the boatload, gift ceritficates to All Romance Ebooks, and entries into the Grand Prize drawings for a Nook, a Kindle, and an iPad.
I would say; Let your curiosity run free and ask Aleksandr Voinov a question that has been burning on your tongue and demands an answer ;)