Who better to debut the publisher interviews than Lyrical Press. I’ll admit I’m slightly biased when I say they’re one of the best. How do I know? They’re the publishers of my second romance novel, Sleeping With Fairies. Everyone’s very professional; they do a great job with editing, and they make you feel like you’re part of a family. So here to tell you all about the company is Renee Rocco who along with her husband Frank, co-owns Lyrical Press. www.lyricalpress.com
Susan Palmquist (SP)-Tell us about Lyrical Press?
Renee Rocco (RR)-The quick and dirty answer is Lyrical Press is a growing independent commercial fiction publisher. Digging deeper, Lyrical is owned by my husband, Frank, and I. The house, although open to almost all commercial fiction genres, specializes in romance and erotica. We’ve recently promoted Piper Denna to Editor-In-Chief and are blown away by how seamlessly she’s stepped into the position. Her knowledge of the business is astounding. She shares our vision for Lyrical Press and will be right by our side as we take the company to a higher level in 2011.
SP-What made you launch a publishing business?
RR-Lyrical was formed with the goal of offering authors a safe and reliable home for their work, a house where they will be respected. We also wanted to present to readers an eclectic mix of commercial fiction written by some of today’s brightest talents. Frank and I believe we have done exactly that, and plan on continuing to improve and grow the company in the years ahead.
SP-You’ve been in the business since 2006 and already the e-book business has experienced lots of growth. Has the popularity and growth surprised you?
RR-Surprised me at its growth? I’ve always known digital books would sweep the industry. I AM shocked that it appears as if it’s happened so quickly. Although it seems as if digital books erupted last winter when Amazon began airing Kindle commercial around Christmas, those of us behind the scenes have seen e-books inching along for years.
SP-What do you think sets Lyrical Press apart from other publishers?
RR-Hands down, our authors and editing staff set Lyrical apart! We have an amazing roster of authors and our editing department, now nine strong, work tirelessly to help them succeed in this industry. Next would have to be the quality of digital books. Now that digital books have been accepted into the mainstream and no longer seen as publisher’s dirty secret, we’ve ensured our digital books are a cut above the rest. We’ve had software built especially for the formatting of our digital stock, offering readers many of the features that make for a much more satisfying digital reading experience. Plus, we support books being DRM-free and believe that digital pricing should be lower than print pricing due to the nature of the format. Everything we do, we do with readers and authors in mind. From the inner workings of the house to the books Lyrical produces, it’s all with the goal to offer the best product we can. To readers it’s our books and to authors it’s our business model.
SP-I know there are lots of exciting things ahead for Lyrical. What do you and Frank have planned for the company and its authors?
RR-We’re going to do a huge print push in 2011, offering up twice the amount of print books for the year. You’re going to see a larger Lyrical presence on the Internet. We’re also looking into some other fun stuff for our reader – things we’re keeping under wraps until we’re ready to launch them!
SP-Any particular stories that are selling better than others? Any that really are hard to sell these days?
RR-Erotica will always sell well digitally. Given our sales records, it also looks like romantic fantasy is doing rather well.
SP-Is there any type of story you’re looking for? I know steampunk has been hot. Do you ever get readers contact you saying I’d really like to see a story about so and so but can’t seem to find it?
RR-I’d love to see more BDSM and menage stories come our way. It’s what’s selling best through Lyrical, as our erotica authors can attest to. As for Steampunk, I’m personally a huge fan, so I’m glad it’s getting the attention it deserves. We’d love more Steampunk submissions as well. We actually have editors who are chomping at the bite for that genre!
SP-I’ve heard shorter books are more popular in e-book format, would you tell writers to concentrate on writing more novellas than novels if there looking for a long term career in e publishing?
RR-That’s a tough call, since Lyrical is not seeing a trend on book lengths. Rather, we’re seeing genre trends. But overall, yes, I do believe shorter works tend to sell better industry-wide, even if for us for it’s all about the genre.
SP-Any plans for anthologies or stories with a specific theme?
RR-No anthologies, but we do have Irish themed books coming in March 2010!
SP-Are you seeing any common problems with submitted manuscripts and if so what can writers do differently?
RR-Sadly, yes. Occasionally we see extremely unprofessional submissions come in. Sloppy queries filled with typos or that have a tone that clearly suggests the author reluctantly submitted to a digital-first publisher. Or we get submissions in genres or lengths we don’t consider – and that information is found right on our website. It’s almost like because we’re a smaller independent press the author seems to think they do not have to put their best foot forward when submitting. Thankfully, these are few and far between!