This week my guest on [REALITY CHECK] is Margaret Riley of Changeling Press. Margaret gives you a good insight as to what she's looking for and how/where they can be found. If you ever bump into her or one of her reps at a conference, either in person or online, be sure to say hello! Tell her you learned about her right here at [REALITY CHECK] on She Writes! :)
Hi, Zetta, thanks so much for having me. I’m delighted to be visiting at SheWrites. I’m Margaret Riley, co-founder and publisher of Changeling Press LLC, (www.ChangelingPress.com) along with my husband and business partner of 30 years, Bill Riley (The organizational half of the team).
ZB: Thank you for being my guest, Margaret! First, let's start with you telling us how long has Changeling Press been around. How did it get started?
MR: Forever. We’re older than dirt. No, seriously.
OK, OK. Actual dates. Our “Born On” date for the domain name is Feb. 13 2004. Our first release was “Kiss In The Dark,” a super short test piece under my pen name, Shelby Morgen, and it went live February 26. Our first regular release, Wolf Tales 1: Stefan by Kate Douglas released March 12. Since we like parties, we celebrate our birthday all month long.
We launched our twisted sister imprint, RazorsEdgePress.com, March 12 2011. Yet another reason to party!
ZB: Where did you come up with the name Changeling Press?
MR: Blizzard here left us without power the first half of February 2004. Pickup sticks and card games by the light of a Coleman lantern can only take you so far. By the time the power came back on we had a list of web addresses to check on and a rudimentary staff—cell phone charger on the backup generator. Changeling was at the top of the list (Bill’s suggestion).
ZB: What is Razor’s Edge?
MR: Oh, good question. Razor’s Edge is Changeling’s twisted sister. Razor is what happens when good Changelings go bad—ideas that just don’t fit. Too hot (I swear I never thought I’d say that!) too short, too—not just pushing the envelope, but ripping it all to shreds. Changeling is Erotic Romance, HEA or HFN in the case of serials required. Razor… not so much.
ZB: Tell us about yourself and your editing/publishing background.
MR: My background’s in retail/light manufacturing management, with an unrelated but useful degree in English, Teaching, and Communications—Radio and Theatre. (Can you picture me as a high school English teacher? <Grin> ) Bill’s ex-Air Force. We met at a radio station some 30 plus years ago. We ran our own business together for about twenty years, and I’d been published as Shelby Morgen for several years before we opened Changeling, so we had a good idea what we were getting into. I’d never have done this on my own—I don’t have the organizational skills. I hate paperwork—especially taxes! Bill’s the one who keeps up with the contracts and all the paperwork. Together we make a really good team.
ZB: What makes Changeling Press different from other houses that publish the genres you do?
MR: Think of Changeling as the Sci-Fi channel of Epublishing. We specialize in short, series, and serial episodic fiction, Sci-Fi, Futuristic, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, and Action Adventure/Suspense. We do both individual author series, and multi-author series, like Spaceport, Agency of Extraordinary Mates, and Protect and Serve.
ZB: What is the editing philosophy at Changeling Press?
MR: Good enough is never good enough. Nothing against self publishing, but too many books hit the ebook market sadly in need of editing, proofing, and copy editing and research. We want it clean and factually correct. And we do the best we can to make it so.
ZB: You publish ebooks, but do you ever publish in print? Why or why not?
MR: We have a limited line of print books, but with the advent of lightweight, portable, inexpensive ereaders and tablets, the market’s really disappearing. Even text books are going epub. Don’t have any plans to expand the line.
ZB: Do you notice certain similarities among the submissions you accept and reject?
MR: OK. YES! Pet peeve here. My job as an editor/publisher is to BUY books. I want to accept your submission. The main reason we reject submissions? Writers who don’t read the submission guidelines. Not like we hide them—there’s a submissions guidelines link on every Changeling page. http://changelingpress.com/submissions.php
Length: 8,000 to 28,000 words. At least one of the genres listed on the left hand column of the website. Erotic Romance. The majority of our rejections do not meet those simple guidelines. [pounds head into keyboard]
OK. Back now. Beyond that, we try to be specific. Needs more sex. Needs more plot. Sentence structure needs work. Any of those we’ll generally take a second look at if the writer addresses the issues. We can even serialize longer works if they’re erotic all the way through. But nothing’s going to convince us to publish True Confessions-style porn. Not our thing.
ZB: How can an author impress you or your editing staff during the submission stage?
MR: Follow the guidelines. We can fix formatting. We don’t really care what font you use. Make sure the book’s targeted at one of our genres, run spell check, and have FUN. If you love your book, odds are we will, too.
ZB: Do you or your representatives attend any conferences? Plan on attending any in the near future?
MR: I love online conferences. We did the Savvy Authors con in August (http://savvyauthors.com), Muse Online Writers Conference (http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com) in September, and we’re attending Coyote Con (http://coyotecon.com) —eeep! This weekend!
ZB: What resources and organizations, whether online or not, would you recommend to someone who is serious about writing and publishing?
MR: We highly recommend online organizations such as SavvyAuthors.com for online resources. Today’s writers need to be focused on the Internet. That’s where our readers find us.
ZB: If you could only give ONE piece of advice to an unpublished author, what would it be?
MR: It’d have to be two. 1) Read. Read our guidelines, read our books, read other publishers’ ebooks. Know your market. 2) -- and this one’s not changed in over 20 years -- Finish the book. We’ve published a lot of things I never expected to -- we’re Changeling. We adapt to the market. The one thing we can’t publish is the book you meant to write, but never submitted to us, because you never finished it. And once you do finish it? Start the next book. And the next. Publishers aren’t looking for authors who write one perfect book. We’re looking for writers who write books. Plural. Writers who are prepared to publish anywhere from quarterly to monthly. We can help you make it perfect. But not till you finish the book!
ZB: If you could only give ONE piece of advice to a published author, what would it be?
MR: Write another book. And another. The age where your first book hit the New York Times best seller list and you became an instant success isn’t just over—it never existed. Winning an audience takes consistent releases and promotions. It’s work. Be prepared to write a dozen books before people start reading your promo and saying, “Wow, I’ve seen that name before.” It’s like any other relationship. Love at first sight happens once in a lifetime. After that, longevity comes from hard work and dedication.
ZB: Are you currently taking submissions? If so, where are your submission guidelines located?
MR: Yes! We’re always open for submissions. And please, please, read the submission guidelines! For us, or any other publisher. We buy books for a living. We hate writing rejection letters—especially for books that went to the wrong house.
ZB: Where can we find you on the web and what are your social networking loops? Where can you or your Changeling authors be found in one place?
MR: Links! Yes, we have links!
Changeling Blog: http://changelingpress.blogspot.com
Changeling Bar and Grill: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/changelingpress
And be sure to stop by the Changeling Bar and Grill this weekend for the next Changeling Flash Fiction Weekend -- 100 word Challenge New Theme/scenario to be announced at the start of each new challenge. Loads of fun, free reads, and readers can play too!
Thanks for all the info, Margaret! Hopefully I'll get to see you at a convention in 2013! :)