Interview Transcripts

Rhonda Penders: Wild Rose Press: A New, Gentler Publisher 8/10/06

Event start time:

Thu Aug 10 18:55:28 2006

Event end time:

Thu Aug 10 20:58:18 2006



Legend:
Questions from the Audience are presented in red.
Answers by the Speaker are in black.
The Moderator's comments are in blue.

Mary Rosenblum

Hello all and welcome to our Professional Connection live interview.

 

Tonight my guest is publisher Rhonda Penders.

 

Rhonda Penders and The Wild Rose Press publish short stories (less than 5,000 words), up to and including 100,000 word novels. They offer all short stories electronically but any book over 55,000 words is available in print and electronic formats. In addition to a very active forum where writers talk to one another and our editors, they also offer a greenhouse where writers can "grow". Their stated mission is to take a new writer and help them become published. Their goal in doing this is to add to the garden of their authors by working with writers in the beginning. Rhonda says they are also thrilled to have established and, often times, already published authors with them as well, but the new writer will find they are a kinder, gentler, publishing house who wants to work with them. They don't believe in form rejection letters (isn't that refreshing!) and they keep an open mind about what type of stories they publish. All their writers, including Rhonda herself, and business partner,

 

 RJ Morris, are writers as well as editors. She tells us that they approach the business from the writer's standpoint.

 

You'll find their website: The Wild Rose Press

tory

Sounds wonderful. So glad to "meet" her and learn of The Wild Rose Press!

Rhonda Penders

Hi Tory and Mary and all. I'm so glad to be here.

Mary Rosenblum

We all are glad to meet her! Welcome, Rhonda!

Rhonda Penders

Thanks Mary, this is great.

Mary Rosenblum

Rhonda, one of the things that fascinated me about your publishing house is your focus on 'new' writers! How

 

did this come about?

Rhonda Penders

Well when we decided to do a publishing company one of the things we wanted

 

was to be different than the others. One of the biggest disappointments or

 

upsets as a writer is when you get rejected without even knowing why. So that

 

combined with wanting to be different sort of evolved into a publishing house that

 

grows writers. We even have a greenhouse with tons of articles.

Mary Rosenblum

I am ALL for a pointed rejection letter...how else will a new writer learn whether it was a craft issue or the editor had one just like this book in inventory?

Rhonda Penders

Definitely Mary, in fact

 

all our rejection letters have to be personalized and to the point. We

 

try hard to point out in as kind a way possible what is wrong and what they could do

 

to improve on it and we very often suggest if they want to revise it we will look at it again.

Mary Rosenblum

Do you offer specific revision suggestions?

Rhonda Penders

Yes.

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, cool. :-) So I'm curious...

 

I know that editor friends claim that they can't do 'personal' rejections for two reasons...one is time

 

and the other is that people 'take them wrong' and want to argue. Have you had that happen?

Rhonda Penders

The first part of your question about time is that they do take time and I think

 

that as we grow even bigger they'll take more time, but our response to that is

 

I'll put on more staff, more editors or asst editors whatever it takes.

 

The second part

 

is that we have had a few authors argue with us, but that's ok too, if they don't

 

want to listen, they don't have to, but we offered what we said we would.

Mary Rosenblum

Good for you! I gather that responding to authors is not counted as 'part of the job' in the NY publishing houses...at least not the rejections.

 

So they're extra time.

Rhonda Penders

They definitely take time, but the editors know all that going in.

 

They are all writers and know how important it is to know why your manuscript

 

isn't working or isn't accepted. We've had several letters already from rejected

 

writers praising us, actually gushing over how good we were to give them a rejection.

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, I bet! Most writers would LOVE any kind of personal rejection!

kems

Are your printed books available for sale in bookstores?

Rhonda Penders

They really are starved for this type of feedback.

 

Our books, anything over 55,000 words, are done in print and electronic format and

 

have ISBN numbers so you can walk into Barnes and Noble and ask for them

 

but you won't find them on the shelves...yet.

 

That's a tough thing, but we plan to crack that nut too.

Mary Rosenblum

That IS a tough thing, and I'd love to get your 'take' on where the proliferation of smaller publishers will take us

 

in terms of how readers find these books? The publishing world does seem to be changing.

Rhonda Penders

The publishing world is changing so fast its hard to keep up. But the important

 

thing is these ISBN numbers, you have to have those to be found anywhere --

 

Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble or wherever. We do sales through fictionwise.com

 

and also through our web site.

Mary Rosenblum

Are you finding that reviews of your authors works help send readers to your books?

Rhonda Penders

Oh definitely. Anytime you can get a reader's attention through reviews or

 

through interviews or any other marketing means-for example we have a

 

forum where authors an talk to the readers and other writers right on our

 

web site and that helps get readers to pick up the books as well.

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, what a lovely idea! Tell us about that!

Rhonda Penders

The forum?

Mary Rosenblum

Yes. :-)

Rhonda Penders

Well it’s a lot like yahoo groups, hopefully most of you have heard of those.

 

Anyone is welcome, its on a tab right on our web site and you log in and away

 

you go, you can post a question of a certain author or just see what everyone is

 

talking about or even talk to the editors. It’s kind of an open door policy.

Mary Rosenblum

I love that idea.

 

Are you getting a lot of traffic from readers?

Rhonda Penders

Its very popular....actually we are open right now for submissions so most of

 

our traffic has been writers but we are planning a grand opening celebration in early

 

September for the bookstore on line and that's when we anticipate a lot of readers coming in.

 

That's not to say we don't have readers there, we do but we expect a large

 

increase in September.

Mary Rosenblum

Your Grand Opening is going to be exciting! If you'll email me the week before, I'll be sure to mention it in the website updates I do.

Rhonda Penders

Wonderful, I'll be sure to do that.

 

I'm hoping to have a bit of a cyber party if I can pull it off right.

Mary Rosenblum

Oh that will be fun! :-)

Rhonda Penders

Yeah, I’m excited.

Mary Rosenblum

Tell us about what you publish. I know people in the audience want to know.

Rhonda Penders

The main thing we publish is romance, all types of romance. We have several

 

different lines for example our white rose line is inspirational, our Scarlet Rose line is erotic romance,

 

our Black Rose line is paranormal like vampires and werewolves, and we have a line that I love --

 

It’s the Yellow Rose line and its all about cowboys!

 

We're also unique in another way.

 

We are one of the few publishers around that publish short stories

Mary Rosenblum

I know, and I was thrilled!

Rhonda Penders

yep its been very successful for that type of writing

Mary Rosenblum

Tell us about that...I have a number of students who write short romance ...and NO markets!

Rhonda Penders

I know! Terrible isn't it? The most exciting thing to tell you all first is that we are currently running a short story contest.

 

The details are all on the web site right on the home page but the deadline is August 31 so check soon.

 

Basically we publish the shortest of stories like 4 pages even

 

all the way up to 54,900 words before it becomes a full length book. Our short stories have lovely covers and are available

 

for sale on line.

Mary Rosenblum

Are they collected into print anthologies at all? Or might they be?

Rhonda Penders

Right now all the short stories are sold separate, but this contest I mentioned is going to include all the first prize

 

winners in an anthology and we plan to offer this once a year. We've talked about doing other anthologies but

 

but don't plan to do them in the next few months, but definitely at some point.

dreamergirl

Is this a real possibility for new writers?

Mary Rosenblum

It sounds as if you prefer new writers, actually. Is this so?

Rhonda Penders

To be honest, at least 75% of our writers are new writers.

 

I don't think we prefer them over published or the other way around it’s just that we are willing to take

 

a chance and we are willing to help you grow. We have tossed out the rule book of "what type of book sells" and if we

 

like it, we publish it. It doesn't matter if some other house might say it won't work.

Mary Rosenblum

What a refreshing attitude. You know, once upon a time this was how publishers felt

 

before the publishers were merged into large corporate entities and the bottom line took precedence.

 

It’s marvelous to think this might return to the business! :-)

Rhonda Penders

Here's the thing Mary and I’m being completely open and honest here.

 

My buddy and partner, RJ and I both work other jobs, we have families. We aren't doing this to make an income...we simply

 

want the business to grow and be self sufficient and to help writers get their stories out to readers. Somewhere along the way

 

publishing houses got in the way of good stories getting out there. I can't tell you we aren't interested in selling books, we are for our

 

authors and ourselves, but we want to publish good stories.

 

I have some tips from my editors if you'd like to hear them.

Mary Rosenblum

Yes, please. :-)

Rhonda Penders

Number one thing they all asked me to pass along is that everyone needs to read the submission guidelines on our

 

web site. So many things come in without following the guidelines and it’s frustrating to them..

 

Second, know what line you're writing for and submit appropriately. Some of our lines are confusing.

 

We are always willing to answer an email from someone asking questions about the lines. For example.

 

We have two paranormal lines, Faery Rose and Black Rose. Faery Rose stories are all about elves and trolls and fairies and things like that

 

whereas Black Rose would be darker, vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, etc.

 

We love writers who are willing to let us help them.

Mary Rosenblum

Read the guidelines! But you ALL know that right, folks????

tory

How long has your press been publishing?

Rhonda Penders

Sigh, you'd be surprised at how many people skip the guidelines. Tory good question.

 

To be very honest here, we opened our doors on May 1 (my birthday!)

 

But here's another thing.

 

I'm not sure if anyone is familiar with Triskelion Publishing? They've only been in business two years and already

 

they are RWA recognized which is the brass ring so to speak for a romance publisher.

Mary Rosenblum

They're quite a success story. :-)

Rhonda Penders

So my point is if we do this right, we can do it too.

Mary Rosenblum

I believe you can. :-)

kems

You can talk to editors?????!!!!! Can you ask for advice?

Rhonda Penders

Thanks Mary! We hope so. It elevates us to a much bigger level. Kems...you not only can talk

 

to editors but they will talk back! They will answer your questions and help you and try to do whatever they can, within reason

 

to get your story where it needs to be. Now we won't rewrite for you, and we won't do the work but we are available through email all the time

dreamergirl

You are giving us so much good info, thank you.

Rhonda Penders

I think I said before every editor was told how this was going to be before she signed on.

writermom

Wow what a concept.

Rhonda Penders

I love helping writers.

Mary Rosenblum

It's a great concept. :-)

Rhonda Penders

Our mission is to be a kinder and gentler publishing house. Thanks.

writermom

Are you planning on expanding the types of genres you publish or will you stick with largely romance?

Rhonda Penders

I like to be honest, so while I'd love to say maybe, honestly I doubt it. We love romance, we're romance writers and it’s what we know.

 

I wouldn't have a clue how to publish a Sci Fi book.

 

But we are thinking of maybe doing a young adult line someday.

 

We even have a name for a YA line - climbing roses.

Mary Rosenblum

I think electronic format would have good YA appeal.

 

We have a generation that does read onscreen.

Rhonda Penders

I think so too Mary.

 

This next generation won't have the "e" fears we sometimes have.

Mary Rosenblum

I love your rose names for the lines, by the way.

Rhonda Penders

Thank you! We did get grief for one of them...

 

Someone objected to our Last Rose of Summer name, said we sounded like older women were half dead

 

Ha-ha.

Mary Rosenblum

Goodness!

Rhonda Penders

Can I talk about that line for a minute?

Mary Rosenblum

Please do!

Rhonda Penders

Our Last Rose of Summer line was sort of loosely modeled after Women's Fiction but we still wanted it to have romance in it...basically

 

the heroines are older, over 35 and have probably been around a while, either divorced, widowed or something like that, and yet  these are 22 year old

 

heroines. I explained it like this once. These heroines, like the last rose in summer, cling stubbornly to whatever life has dealt them.

 

They bloom and are magnificent.

Mary Rosenblum

Very cool!

 

I hope that line gets some real attention by reviewers!

Rhonda Penders

The only thing we've found lacking is there's not a lot of writers out there who "get" the concept.

R J Morris

Just want to say ditto on all my partner has said

Mary Rosenblum

Hi, RJ.

 

Welcome.

Rhonda Penders

Positive reactions from reviewers would be nice. Ha-ha look who's here!

 

How'd she get in? Didn't we lock the door?

Mary Rosenblum

You never know who'll wander in. :-)

Rhonda Penders

True.

sweett

Very great on the later in life love. Sounds just like my current work in progress!

megger

Well, speaking as a Last Rose myself, I can't wait to get started on that one! Brava.

Mary Rosenblum

Sounds like a winner! :-)

Rhonda Penders

Oh great! Send it our way. Seriously, if any of you send a query, send it in and mention you hear

 

were here I meant to say.

Mary Rosenblum

That's nice of you. :-)

Rhonda Penders

I'm excited that it’s generating some interest in here.

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, you're generating a LOT of interest!

Rhonda Penders

Awesome. I love it.

Mary Rosenblum

I knew you would. It's such a wonderful concept.

sweett

Awesome. Thank you.

Rhonda Penders

We like to think so. We're glad we were the ones to "grow" it.

gwanny

What about mainstream fiction? Do you have a spot for us?

Rhonda Penders

Does it have romance in it?

Mary Rosenblum

So the romance doesn't have to be the overwhelming central theme?

gwanny

But of course dahlin...don't they all?

Mary Rosenblum

J

Rhonda Penders

That's getting into a grey area, I mean it has to have romance in it. Yes, but we aren't afraid of the bigger book.

 

If that's sort of what your asking. The best thing to do is send us a query and tell us about it.

R J Morris

About chatting with editors, cover design is two way too

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, how lovely.

Rhonda Penders

All our covers are created personally by RJ, right now.

 

She does awesome work.

Mary Rosenblum

The ones I saw on your website were quite nice. Lovely work, RJ.

Rhonda Penders

As we grow she'll have a staff working for her.

pthib

So you are open to things that don't necessarily fit a particular niche?

Rhonda Penders

Definitely, again I can't stress enough, there has to be romance and try hard to find the right line for your work and then

 

query that editor.

 

That leads me to submission timelines too

 

If I may?

Mary Rosenblum

Please do.

Rhonda Penders

Right now if you send in a query to an editor, you should get a fairly quick response, sometimes within a couple days, but definitely not later than two weeks ..for a query anyway.

 

Once the editor has requested a partial as they usually do...it shouldn't take more than, and this is a stretch but more than 60 days to hear back. Generally right now

 

it’s a whole lot less before you're asked to send the full or you get a rejection.

 

And everything, most everything is done via email.

Mary Rosenblum

That's a very prompt response, considering you're giving feedback and not just a form rejection.

Rhonda Penders

We have been the writers, remember, sitting around waiting sometimes over a year for responses from publishers...we aren't going

 

to do that to our writers.

Mary Rosenblum

For those of you who have asked me to repeat the website link: The Wild Rose Press

 

There it is.

R J Morris

ALWAYS query regardless of length and to THAT line editor.

dreamergirl

Will I find all of this information on your site?

Rhonda Penders

Everything and if you can't both our emails are there too just look under about us

 

feel free to email either of us at anytime.

Mary Rosenblum

That kind of accessibility is wonderful. :-)

Rhonda Penders

I also tell any writers groups I talk to that if you find our "service" at The Wild Rose Press to not be what we've said, RJ and I want to know.

writermom

Do you think you can maintain that attitude as the business grows?

Rhonda Penders

Weeds will be plucked. hee hee

 

I intend to. I've said often that if our editors can't do what we need them to do because of too many manuscripts or whatever, we'll put on more editors.

pthib

Are there any taboos in your lines...for example can a "contemporary" novel have faith in it?

Rhonda Penders

I have no problem having several good editors on each line. There are some taboos and to be honest with you

 

each editor for each line is the expert on her line. For example I know that our White Rose Editor, Ruth, has certain

 

restrictions for the inspirationals. I can't tell you what those are, but you are encouraged to email her and ask her directly.

pthib

Is the Last Rose line modeled after HQ's Next line?

Rhonda Penders

Very good! Give that writer a prize.

 

Yes they are.

 

I don't want to come out and say that on the web site but that's what they are.

pthib

If you get a submission for one line and it would fit better in another, will you pass it to that editor?

Rhonda Penders

Always. Without any hesitation.

 

We work very very close together.

bud

Do you need a query for short stories or just the manuscript?

Rhonda Penders

Tough call there, because of so many computer virus you hate to open anything you haven't requested as an attachment.

 

However, I don't have a problem with someone sending me an email and a brief query and then attaching it. RJ probably cringes at that.

 

I guess the best response would be to always query first.

 

Just to be safe and keep us virus free.

Mary Rosenblum

The virus issue IS a real one. But I've found that reformatting from an email submission is a PAIN in the backside.

Rhonda Penders

Definitely. That's why I say if you send an email with a brief query, the editor will usually then ask for the full and she'll know who you are.

kems

What rights do you buy? All rights, first rights? How does that work with e-publishing? Is the story always there for readers to purchase or is there a "shelf" life for e-books?

Mary Rosenblum

Good question. How are you handling rights?

Rhonda Penders

The author retains all her rights.

 

With us you can pull your work back at any time, even after its published and up on our web site. You retain your own rights.

 

As for shelf life, we don't have one at this time, I don't anticipate having one for a while but I suppose fifteen years from now

 

we probably should pull off some of our first stories if they are no longer selling.

 

Another way we're different or so I've been told - as far as rights go.

Mary Rosenblum

Well, an electronic inventory, at least, doesn't take up a lot of shelf space.

kems

Wow! That is generous.

Mary Rosenblum

You are very generous.

Rhonda Penders

We're trying.

 

We're trying to be different and better.

Mary Rosenblum

How is author payment worked out? Royalties?

Rhonda Penders

Yes royalties, unfortunately no advances.

Mary Rosenblum

Who gives advances in small press?

Rhonda Penders

But authors get royalties on all their sales, editors get a small piece of that too.

 

No one I know of, but I always feel bad we can't cut some big fat checks along with the contracts.

Mary Rosenblum

So how does your contract work? The author retains all rights, but agrees to let you publish the work until she/he withdraws it?

 

No minimum time?

Rhonda Penders

I think too with shelf life as Mary said, there's no limit really to what books we can keep up there on the site for the future....The contract says

 

that the author gives us the publishing rights...and I'd have to get the specifics...but I think we have one year

 

to publish her/his work...they can withdraw at anytime but if there's been substantial edits done, she may owe a small fee to the editor for their work.

 

But yep she/he can withdraw at any point in the project.

Mary Rosenblum

That's good protection for you...so that you don't end up a 'free' editing service for a book published elsewhere

 

and more than fair.

Rhonda Penders

Yes.

Mary Rosenblum

I have to say, that one of the appeals of small press to authors like myself with a NY publishing track record is that small press publishers

 

keep books that go out of print from NY houses in print.

 

I LOVE that.

Rhonda Penders

You’re saying that they won't go out of print right?

Mary Rosenblum

In small press, usually they don't.

Rhonda Penders

We also will print books that have been published before and are out of print, but the author has the rights back.

Mary Rosenblum

The NY publishers only keep them in print for a couple of years, usually.

Rhonda Penders

Oh I see, yes we'll keep them in print indefinitely.

 

I can't imagine why we'd need to take them out to be honest.

Mary Rosenblum

I suspect you'll attract your share of well published authors with an out of print inventory. :-)

Rhonda Penders

We have two right now, to be honest, we rejected one of them.

 

Her story was just too, well 80's maybe.

kems

Would you consider a book set in 1993 dated? It isn't based on anything significant that occurred in that year. It's just the year I choose because that is when I was in the university setting, but I would have a better opportunity to get published if I set it in 2006.

Rhonda Penders

But the other is fabulous and we're publishing it and the rejected author is sending us something new.

R J Morris

You could say shelf life is 2 years - that's the contract

Rhonda Penders

Question about the year.

 

Yes I would consider that, unless you thought changing the year would make the story stronger.

 

The editor might ask if you’re willing to do that.

 

RJ can you explain further on that?

 

I think we could definitely keep books longer than two years.

Mary Rosenblum

Is the contract for two years and then open after that?

R J Morris

Yes - the contract is automatically renewed unless asked otherwise.

Mary Rosenblum

Ah, thanks.

Rhonda Penders

Whew, thanks RJ.

 

I wasn't positive and didn't want to say something inaccurate.

Mary Rosenblum

I'm sorry,RJ, I don't have the means to invite you onto the stage as well, here.

Rhonda Penders

That’s ok, most of the time I can answer everything but she knows those contracts like her own name.

dreamergirl

Do we submit queries by mail or just e-mail?

Rhonda Penders

We much prefer email, it’s cheaper for the writer and its quicker. But we certainly will take regular mail too.

Mary Rosenblum

RJ has a bit more information on the contract.

R J Morris

No problem - it renews for 1 year continuously after the first 2years.

Mary Rosenblum

So if you're happy, your book will simply stay with Wild Rose and in print there.

Rhonda Penders

Yep.

Mary Rosenblum

Nice contract. Very fair to the writer. :-)

Rhonda Penders

What else can I share with you? How about what we have on our shelves right now that I'm excited about?

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, yes, let's hear about that!

 

You seem to have quite a few lined up.

Rhonda Penders

One of the best books, in my opinion, coming out this fall is in our Champagne Rose Line...its called Thin Ice

 

and its the story of a professional hockey player and a woman doctor. She's escaped an abusive marriage, her husband was a sports fanatic.

 

Already you see the conflict....she has a young son who is crazy about hockey and she considers it to be way too violent.

 

The conflict between the hero hockey player and the doctor is fantastic as we watch the story unfold.

 

Her son meets the hockey player during a career day thing at school and of course hero worships him. I won’t say more but it’s a fabulous read.

Mary Rosenblum

Sounds like fun.

Rhonda Penders

Another really neat one I'm told..

 

although I haven't read it yet, is a White Rose - the Inspirational Line---about a woman who lives with a traveling circus. I've been told

 

by Ruth that it is laugh out loud funny.

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, what a great milieu

 

Good circus details, I hope!

Rhonda Penders

Yes lots of circus details I'm told. We also have several books by multi-published Jo Barrett, she writes all sorts of stories from cowboys to ghosts to contemporaries.

Mary Rosenblum

Tell us what's coming out in your cowboy line. That fascinates me.

Rhonda Penders

Ohhh I sense a fellow cowboy lover.

Mary Rosenblum

I'd certainly have the most fun writing those!

Rhonda Penders

The yellow rose line is all cowboys. These are contemporary stories not old west that's our Cactus Rose Lines.

 

But this line has ranchers and cowboys and cowgirls and we have a series called the Double B coming this fall

 

by Roni Adams. Her first one To Tame A Cowgirl should be out around mid October.

Mary Rosenblum

Nice that you have both contemporary and old West.

Rhonda Penders

Our Historical line is broken into three sections...

 

American which is basically the Civil War stuff, and the period right after that. English Tea Rose which is Regency, and then

 

Cactus Rose which is Westerns.

Mary Rosenblum

You are covering the sub genres VERY thoroughly.

Rhonda Penders

We try. We've been told by historical writers that there are no "homes" for them so we wanted them to come to us and they wanted

 

separate lines. We aim to please.

Mary Rosenblum

Are you going to make an appearance at the big RWA conventions? Publicize yourselves there?

Rhonda Penders

We just got back from Atlanta!

 

We had a ball.

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, I bet you generated a TON of interest.

Rhonda Penders

We had a publisher’s reception on one night, we gave out lovely handmade book thongs, and we had tee-shirts made.

 

We also gave away little seed packets with our web site on them. Everyone was very welcoming and interested.

Mary Rosenblum

Good PR. :-) Book thongs??? I have to ask.

Rhonda Penders

They're the latest thing, they're crocheted and they have beads on either end and you hang them in your book like a book marker and their called book thongs. I'll send you one Mary!

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, do, thanks! :-)

speckledorf

Do you do much promotion, such as ARCs and getting of reviews?

Mary Rosenblum

How much do you expect the writer to cover there?

Rhonda Penders

Most of our promotion to date has been through word of mouth, internet loops, our authors and writers sending out the word...in fact the internet is so

 

powerful that within 24 hours of opening for submissions on May 1 we had already received hits from Alaska, the UK and Australia! It’s amazing.

Rhonda Penders

But yes we are going to ramp up the promotion work this fall with our grand opening.

Mary Rosenblum

The internet IS the power tool of PR, but it's hard to 'make' it happen. Are you planning special events for the opening?

Rhonda Penders

We've got some ideas we're working on such as national press releases, we'll do our best to do an online cyber party where we'll give away prizes...

 

I'm going to see if I can get the local media interested and do a story on us and of course we'll hit all the writers and readers sites

 

we can possibly get to. Chats like this increase our visibility and get folks coming to the site too. But yep I'm the marketing gal

 

so I'll be spinning the wheels in the next week or so.

Mary Rosenblum

A write up in the RWA newsletter?

Rhonda Penders

We can't unfortunately. Most of the stuff with RWA is through RWA recognized publishers. From what I understand. We got our hands slapped

 

when we ended up being posted on the RWA President's loop a few weeks back.

 

If you aren't recognized by RWA, it’s tough to do much through them.

 

I don't know if everyone knows what that means exactly?

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, that's too bad. Well, hopefully you'll be recognized before too long.

Rhonda Penders

We hope to do it within 5 years or less. It’s based on sales volumes and some other criteria that we're confident we can meet.

Mary Rosenblum

Are you doing POD print runs for your paper books?

 

Print on Demand for those of you who don't recognize the acronym...small print runs.

Rhonda Penders

Yes, most definitely. No need to stock a warehouse full of books.

Mary Rosenblum

Well, I think everybody is making use of POD technology these days. But the reprint time is very short, isn't it?

Rhonda Penders

Yes it’s very short, in fact if you order a book on line today from our web site it generally ships in only a day or so.

pthib

How long from acceptance to print and in the bookstores?

Rhonda Penders

It’s tough to answer exactly because from acceptance could mean there's revisions to be made and that of course depends entirely on how quickly the editor and writer

 

get those changes done. So let's say how quick from the time the book is ready until you see it for sale. I'd say less than 30 days.

 

Right now, we might have to push that out to 90 days down the road but we don't want it to lag much beyond that. Our contract says we have a year but we have no intention of taking that long.

Mary Rosenblum

That's very quick, but as you say, the sticky part is the editorial process. :-)

 

So let's talk about craft here for a moment...what makes it a 'good book' for you? What are you looking for?

Rhonda Penders

Ok here's where I pull out something I learned in Atlanta.

 

Susan Elizabeth Phillips said...keep the reader in the story.

 

That's it in a nutshell. If you can keep me or the editor into the story and we like it...we want it. Of course it has to be well written, or if it isn't well

 

written it has to be workable. We will work hard to make a good story publishable, but it has to have something there to work with.

 

One of my editors usually says to me, "it’s got a good plot, I can help her with the rest."

Mary Rosenblum

Keep the reader in the story. :-) Good advice. And you want strong characters, yes?

Rhonda Penders

How about memorable, some characters aren't strong necessarily but they are good characters just the same.

writermom

So if I have a fantasy novel with a love triangle that starts the whole conflict of the story is that something you would consider even if the love triangle is not the center of the story?

Rhonda Penders

Is a romance between two of the characters part of the story later? I don't have a problem with a love triangle but I need to see

 

at least two of them get together or if the triangle ends have them meet someone else and have a romance.

 

There has to be romance, I can't tell you how much or how little, it’s hard to say and every book is different. Again, if you query the editor with the question

 

she’ll will be glad to "discuss" it with you.

Mary Rosenblum

You're really offering writers...and READERS...a wide banquet of romance here. :-) There's really something for everyone.

Rhonda Penders

We aim to please :)

Mary Rosenblum

So tell me about the cyber party for your opening. I'm intrigued. How will you make that happen?

 

You don’t have live chat on your site, do you?

Rhonda Penders

Good question. No we don't and RJ, who is also our web mistress, tells me that's kind of an important item.. hahaha.

 

It’s an idea I came up with and said, how can we make this happen? I don't have a good answer for that Mary except to say I'm going to

 

see what we can do. But I did tell her I wanted to see something like champagne bottles popping on the web site or balloons drifting over the home page.

Rhonda Penders

Something different for a few days as the grand opening commences.

Mary Rosenblum

That sounds like fun. And should keep RJ busy with code for awhile. LOL

Rhonda Penders

I really wanted a cyber party where all the editors could be together and chat with whoever dropped by.  Poor RJ.

 

I'm always coming up with "neat ideas" and she has to figure them out.

 

The web site is a bit different than most too.

 

We have a greenhouse as I mentioned earlier. It has articles from all different writers on everything from POV to procrastination.

 

The opening page of the Greenhouse is generally a weekly article by me and always contains at least one quote for the week....oh here's something we're doing that's kind of neat.

 

In the Greenhouse two of our editors, Amy from Faery Rose and Roseann from Champagne Rose are creating a writer's toolbox.

 

They are putting up articles every week on things like grammar, and punctuation. When it’s all done, a writer could either print them all out and put them in a binder to have as a reference tool

 

or she can pay a set fee and get them all downloaded in eformat at one time. We're pretty excited about this reference tool.

 

Another section of the web site is called "In the Garden With..." and every month features either a published author or one of our editors or some other interview with

Rhonda Penders

Wild Rose Press folks. This month it’s all about the differences between the Sweetheart Rose Line and the Champagne Rose Line.

 

And in September we'll feature an interview with our Faery Rose and Black Rose editors.

Mary Rosenblum

So your Greenhouse section is mostly articles and tips?

Rhonda Penders

Yes, I call them "clippings of information"

 

Are there more questions? I feel like I've talked about so much tonight.

Mary Rosenblum

So let's see...you have your Greenhouse, with information...

Rhonda Penders

How about erotic romance? Is that too hot to talk about?

Mary Rosenblum

And your section where people can ask questions, right?

 

Oh, we do have writers in that genre.

Rhonda Penders

Forums, yes, definitely join the forum and jump in.

 

We really thought when we opened our doors that we'd be flooded with erotic romance queries, since that field is so hot right now.

Mary Rosenblum

In many respects. :-)

Rhonda Penders

But for some reason, our poor Diana, is sitting twiddling her thumbs. She's received very view. Yes Mary :)

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, I'm surprised.

 

I’ll send a couple of talented students your way!

Rhonda Penders

She'd love it!

 

Oh I was going to mention Vintage Rose.

dreamergirl

Would define erotic as you see it?

Rhonda Penders

The Vintage Rose is a line for stories out of the 50's and 60's maybe even war stories from WWI and II....define erotic...ok...

 

Erotic Romance is like the Harlequin Blaze line, its like the Secrets stories, are you following me? We don't do "eeew", meaning we don't do anything that's

 

weird. But we do want to publish the hotter stuff and Diana has no problem with reading it and

 

telling the writer if it works or not so if you have something, its always good to query her. I know I didn't explain that very well did I?

Mary Rosenblum

You did fine. It's hard to clearly define erotica.

Rhonda Penders

The sex has to have romance in it. There it is.

Mary Rosenblum

It’s more a 'try it and see if the editor likes it' genre.

Rhonda Penders

I don't want books with sex just for sex.

 

Exactly.

Mary Rosenblum

Generally, I define it just that way...it's romance with sex, not just sex.

Rhonda Penders

I would always always check with the editor if you're wondering, the very worse you'll get is a rejection and a reason why.

Mary Rosenblum

How many submissions are you getting for your lines right now? How deep is the slush pile?

Rhonda Penders

It really depends on the line...Mary, some lines are busy such as the Sweetheart Rose line, and Champagne and others like Scarlet Rose (the erotic romance), and the cactus rose have very few submissions.

 

So far its manageable and everyone is hearing back well within a month or so.

Mary Rosenblum

(If I had any spare time right now, I'd be tempted to try something for the Cactus line. :-))

 

What are the most common problems you see with your new authors? In terms of craft issues?

Rhonda Penders

Definitely! I know our Crimson Rose Editor - the Mystery and Mayhem section has been busy too.

 

I think what I’m seeing as editor for the Last Rose of Summer and Yellow Rose is a lot of back story dumps.

 

A lot of telling not showing is a huge one too.

 

I know its hard when you write not to tell the reader everything but honestly, less is more...let the reader find out what happens as she reads the story, not just tell them

 

in the first chapter, what does she have to turn the pages for if your telling her everything already.

 

That's my biggest thing I'm seeing.

Rh

Not so much problems with grammar, commas, typos, etc. the biggest is that.

Mary Rosenblum

By backstory dumps, do you mean big expository lumps? Paragraphs of backstory all at once?

Rhonda Penders

Yes. Exactly. It’s always best to let the reader find out the backstory slowly, either through some dialogue or maybe a few well written sentences, or something like that.

 

I'm trying hard to give an example but my brain is tired.

 

Also…

 

Open your story in the middle of the story, or in the middle of action is always good. You need to hook the reader and pull them in and not let them leave. Remember keep the reader in the story.

Mary Rosenblum

And you all will find lots of articles on the LR website about exactly those issues...they're in Writing Craft.

Rhonda Penders

Here's one and I hope the writer isn't in this chat....or she'll recognize her story...

 

this one writer had a heroine going back home to her family's ranch after having been away for ten years...in the whole first few pages the writer tells me why the girl left

 

why she’s coming home, how much she hates her father and all about the guy who broke her heart and is named John...then she pulls

 

up to the family home and out comes John. Now I already know the whole story...I'm bored already.

 

Whereas if she had opened up with John meeting her car in the driveway or something and the two of them instantly at each other's throats

 

I would want to know why? Who is John? Why does he make her feel nervous? What is going on here? Why is she coming to this ranch? How long has she been gone?

 

I'm turning pages, you see?

Mary Rosenblum

Nice example, Rhonda!

Rhonda Penders

Thank you (bowing)

Mary Rosenblum

You have been a wonderful guest and we've had a LOT of energy here tonight.

Rhonda Penders

It’s been so much fun!

dwkav

Yes, thank you Rhonda and RJ. This has been great.

Mary Rosenblum

RJ I'm sorry you were stuck in the audience.

Rhonda Penders

You're very welcome and remember if you query mention you were here.

Mary Rosenblum

Thanks for your contributions.

Rhonda Penders

I'm sure she's saying you're welcome.

pthib

Thanks Rhonda & RJ! Thanks to you, too, Mary

kems

Very inspiring. Thank you.

Rhonda Penders

Good night everyone and happy writing!

Mary Rosenblum

And good night to both of you!

 

Thanks for coming all! And good night.

 

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