Thank you very much! Mostly it came out of contract and craft discussions. Aleks and I had been talking a lot about both of those things as we bounced from publisher to publisher looking for one who could provide the best of all worlds: great covers, great marketing, great editing, and great contracts. We realized we were hunting for a unicorn, basically. Most houses do at least one of those things well, but pretty much none of them—at least none we’d found, anyway—do them all as well as we’d have hoped.
This led to sort of a lightbulb moment one day, when we were like, hey, you know? We could probably do this. We had a lot of the necessary skills between us: I edited in Manhattan houses for years, including major independents and a Big Six house. Aleks had edited for years in the business sector. We were both pretty intimately familiar with the publishing industry in general and the M/M industry in particular. Aleks had a ton of connections. I had a ton of business experience (I owned and operated a business for seven years, managing a double-handful of staff and wearing all the hats at one time or another). We knew all the ins and outs of what makes a contract good or bad. We knew the production process. And god knows we had the drive and the heart.
So I wandered off to draft up a business plan, and realized that, yes, this will work. Our success or failure does hinge entirely on a reader’s willingness to pay for a quality product—depending on length, our books may be $1 to $3 more than most other publishers in our space would sell a book for—but we firmly believe that readers are smart and are hungry for brilliantly crafted, well edited, and beautifully packaged books that don’t make them want to hurl their Kindle across the room in frustration. The reception Riptide’s been getting—from industry professionals, authors, book bloggers, and readers—seems to indicate we were right about that assumption. We seem to have hit a nerve, and it’s amazing and humbling and wonderful to see so many people so excited about what we’re doing here.
Q: Have there been challenges along the way that surprised you?
Interestingly enough, the sailing’s been generally smoother than I ever could have dreamed it would be. Everyone’s been so receptive and so eager to work with us. It’s been amazing.
The biggest challenge for me has been time. Getting fifteen books ready all at once while simultaneously launching the business side of things and also trying to get an under-deadline release of my own out has resulted in a lot of 80-hour workweeks. But it’s all so exciting and I’m so passionate about it, I hardly notice. As Aleks and I like to joke—I can sleep when I’m dead. Or, you know, sometime after October 30
Q: What is important for you, as one of the founders, to offer readers?
An unfailingly impressive reading experience. No bad plots, no unrelatable characters, no awkward prose, no ugly covers, no bad editing. We’re bringing Manhattan quality to the M/M space.
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?
In a way, yes. A reader’s much less likely to take a chance on a new author if their book is $9.99 than if their book is $.99. On the other hand, 99% of the time, you get what you pay for. When you buy a $2.99 novel, it’s a good bet you’re wasting your three bucks on a poorly-edited book you won’t terribly enjoy.
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 doesn’t make much sense to cater to trends, because by the time you see, “Oh, vampires are selling really well,” and you set about acquiring vampire books, and put in the three to six months it takes to edit and produce them, and finally get them out to the reader, the trend is over. Now you’ve got three vampire stories and suddenly everyone’s sick of them.
So what we look for is simply great storytelling. If it happens to have vampires, that’s fine—just make sure you bring something new to it. We actually do have four separate stories with vampires in our initial fifteen releases, but none of them are actually vampire stories, if that makes sense. One’s an action-packed cyberpunk thriller (A Chip in His Shoulder); one’s a hilarious, pun-filled short (Sucks & Blows); one just happens to feature a vampire amidst all kinds of other crazy (and very funny) things popping out of a hell portal in the parking lot of a Quick-Mart (Pretty Monsters: Josh of the Damned #1), and one’s a moody atmospheric piece that bounces through time (Divinity). None of them are vampire stories in the traditional sense—no tragic heroes, no woe-is-me love stories, no sparkles.
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?
That’s our line of erotic-focused short stories. We have two lines of shorts (stories under 10,000 words). The Wet Dreams are erotica—quick little bites of burning hotness. The Ripples are everything else; they may have erotic elements, but the erotica isn’t the focus.
Q: What is up and coming with Riptide Publishing?
We’re releasing fifteen stories this year amidst a gigantic three-month-long Grand Opening Celebration. We’re rolling out with some very exciting “First Wave” authors—fan favorites like Lori Witt, Kari Gregg, and Damon Suede; and absolutely stunning new talents like Peter Hansen and Rhianon Etzweiler. We’re hard at work on our lineup for 2012 and 2013—most if not all of our First Wave authors are writing new pieces for us, and you’ll also be seeing some very familiar faces joining in on our Second Wave. All in all, it’s a very exciting time, and I have to admit to doing a little fangirl squeeing at some of the authors who we’re signing on for next year. Keep an eye out!
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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.
Have you got a question to ask Rachel Haimowitz? This is your moment! Ask away in your comments ;)