I feel a special connection to today’s publisher interviewee. The Wild Rose Press published my first book back in 2008 and I consider them the publishers who gave me my first big break. Here is editor in chief, Rhonda Penders to tell us about the company and what’s ahead for them in 2011. http://www.thewildrosepress.com/ and www.wilderroses.com
Susan Palmquist (SP)-The Wild Rose Press is probably now considered one of the older, established electronic publishers, what do you think about the changes that have taken place in the industry since you first opened your doors?
Rhonda Penders (RP)- It’s strange to know we are now one of the “older established” publishers. For so very long we were definitely the new kid on the block. It feels good to be past that hurdle.It would have been impossible five years ago to even imagine the explosion that electronic publishing has had on the world. The fact that people are reading books on their phones is something that never would have occurred to me. The eReaders that are so small and portable and popular never would have occurred to me. At the time we opened our doors, I think we were thinking more of folks who were going to read books on their computers. The explosion of technology has taken it to a level few could have imagined.
SP-I know this is a tough question but what do you think the future holds for electronic publishing? Any trends you can predict?
RP-I don’t think anyone can predict trends, at least not accurately, and honestly we’ve never sold into the whole trend marketing. For example when vampires were hot, we had some vampire stories but we never stopped contracting other stories as well as we knew it was a passing fad and something else would come along and we wanted to be ready. As for the future, I see eReaders eventually dropping to $99 or less, much the same as iPods over the years have come way down in price, eReaders will continue to drop. Once they go below $100 you will see even more every day people buying them. There needs to be a price point where folks decide its worth the outlay of cash. That will happen.
SP-You publish just about every sub genre of romance from historical to erotic. Is there any line that’s under-represented…some sub genre that gets fewer submissions and you’d actually like to see more?
RP-Underrepresented would be the sweeter romance. Our Sweetheart Rose line doesn’t have a lot of submissions at all. This line is the romance without the sex so to speak. The couples may or may not have sex before marriage or in the book but the reader is never in the bedroom. The kisses are probably PG13 rated and it’s for the reader who doesn’t want to have all that sexual content in the book. The other lines that need submissions or don’t receive enough good submissions would be the Vintage Rose and American Rose Lines. These are two historical lines. While I hear constantly that readers enjoy a good historical romance, we don’t see that in our submissions. We get a great deal of Regencys which fall into our English Tea Rose Line but the others fall short.
SP-What line gets the most submissions?
RP-It’s really three strong lines – Champagne Rose which is our contemporary romance line, Crimson Rose which is our romantic suspense line and of course Scarlet. Scarlet is our erotic romance line and is definitely the power hitter in the company. As most folks know erotic romance has gone to an entirely new level with electronic publishing.
SP-You’ve been asking for shorter stories, can you tell us what you’re looking for, the word count and is this for all lines?
RP-Yes it’s for all lines, although we do have a great deal in Scarlet already but the other lines would like stories coming in under 55,000 words. The shorter stories work very nice on the eReaders and the IPhones. Customers will pick up 2 or 3 shorts and buy them to put on their eReaders for when they have a few minutes to read.
SP-What about longer stories, are you getting more selective with them? And if so, what can make an editor sit up and take notice?
RP-We are always selective with everything we contract. With 12 lines in the company we can’t afford to contract very much or our release dates get pushed out past our comfort zone which is between 6 and 9 months from final galley. A full story, over 65,000 also goes to print, so we make absolute certain it is worthy of a contract.
SP-You hold a writer’s retreat, can you tell us what they’re about and information about next year’s get together?
RP-We started last year and we were on a ranch in Bandera, Texas which is near San Antonio. We had roughly 50 authors and some staff and we had a blast! In 2011 we will be in Asheville, NC (retreat info is on our website) from May 12-15. Basically, this is a combination mini conference/writers retreat. We block out time for private writing, but we also offer a few workshops for anyone interested. Several TWRP staff members will be there all weekend and it’s a great time to brainstorm, mingle and simply block out the world. Some folks will bring their families and turn it into a mini vacation as well. We will be going to the famed Biltmore Estate this year as a little side trip. In 2012, we plan to be back on the ranch in Texas.
SP-In your Scarlet line you have three series, Cougar Club, Destination Pleasure and Cowboy Kink. Are these ongoing series or will submissions close any time soon? What type of stories do you look for?
RP-Right now they are ongoing. We do close series from time to time if we find that we have way too many stories or if we find interest has faded. For now these series are doing fine and we don’t have any intention of closing any of them. Although to be honest, Destination Pleasure has been up for several years and this might be the year to wrap it up.
SP-I hear you’ll have some new series beginning in 2011, can we have the inside scoop?
RP-We are rolling out a series in Crimson Rose which will be holiday short stories featuring santa claus as the main character. The suspect or the hero or even heroine will be dressed up as Santa and involved in the story in some way. Details should be on our website right after Thanksgiving. We are also considering a new series in Yellow Rose which will feature a honky tonk as the backdrop. We had huge success with WayBack Texas as a series in that line and hope to do the same. There are some rumblings of a series to do with love letters through time over in Historical. Another holiday series Champagne is starting to work on would be something about a hero or heroine who can’t make it home for the holidays. Our holiday deadline for 2011 will be early March so we need to get stories in quickly to fill those slots for next year.
SP-What’s the submission process like, walk us though how long it’s usually takes to get a yes or no?
RP-The submission process begins when the writer sends a query to firstname.lastname@example.org. The writer must indicate which line she/he is querying, the length of the story and then a brief query note about the manuscript and the author. In the same email – we do not take attachments – so this would be embedded in the email – a synopsis of any length that tells us the important facts about the story, beginning, middle, conflict, end, etc.