Monday, December 27, 2010

Publisher Interview: Stephanie Taylor, co-owner of Astraea Press

I had the honor of interviewing the co-owner of Astraea Press, Stephanie Taylor. As a newly published writer who doesn't write erotica or erotic romance, I was really excited to learn about this publisher and then to be offered the position of cover artist shortly after. Stephanie agreed to an interview on my blog and I'm super excited to have her here.

Welcome Stephanie! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and interviewing. Tell us a little about yourself –

Yikes, let’s see…I turned the big 3-0 this year, I guess that makes me an official adult? I have three kiddos, 4, 3 and 2 (and I’m so done), and I’ve been writing since I was six. I have two published books under my pen name Stephanie Taylor: Doubting Thomas and Tinseltown. I work at five different companies as editor, Breathless Press, Decadent Publishing, Vinspire Publishing, Purple Sword Publications and Evernight Publishing.

You’re the co-owner of Astraea Press, tell us a little about your company –

Astraea Press was founded on the belief that there’s got to be people out there who don’t read erotica. I’m not saying it’s a horrible thing or that I don’t enjoy a good sex scene occasionally, but I definitely see a hole in the market for sweetER romances. While Astraea doesn’t strive to be solely inspirational, you won’t find erotica, gay or ménage on our site.

How did you decide who would work for your company? Were they difficult decisions to make? How do you plan to decide in the future about who's involved?

When I decided to open Astraea, I had a friend who loves to read and write who also wanted to be a part of it. We’re both Christians and agreed on the path we’d like to see Astraea take. My marketing director is also a good friend, but she’s REALLY good at what she does. I asked her to be involved and she said yes. Lucky for us! My cover artist? Well, I’d seen her work before and I was determined to have her. ‘Nuff said. I have a friend I made online who helped me with my own work during the publishing process for Doubting Thomas who agreed to proofread for me at Astraea, just because she loves to read. So far, not a difficult decision to make! In the future, I’m hoping to have exclusive testing for editors and proofreaders that I don’t know. As I’ve learned from working at other houses, one bad apple ruins the whole bunch!

There are many hurdles in your way as a sweet/mainstream publisher. How do you plan on combating them?

Marketing is a huge tool and I have one of the best marketing directors I could have ever hoped for. And I’m a firm believer of things coming full circle. Erotica is still a new concept for most. There are a lot of people who have already emailed me and thanked me for starting this venture. It’s hard for non-erotic writers to compete with erotic writers and I hope Astraea will offer a place for those people. I, myself, have found difficulty finding a place where my work gets the proper “shine” because it’s a low heat level. I know there are others out there like me!

How do you feel about the negativity and nay-sayers concerning new e-publishers? Do you feel you people's concerns are justified when it comes to feeling this way about Astraea?

For every successful e-publisher, I’m sure there are 10 unsuccessful ones and I’m sure there are plenty of reasons for people to be doubtful. I would be too! I can tell you that at Astraea, we’re not looking to make a quick buck and we’re not looking to take advantage of our authors. This is a genuine venture that I want our authors to feel comfortable with. I’m new at this, I admit it, but I have the determination and I’m working with people who have been in the industry for years and are successful at what they do. I’ve been blessed with these people I now call friends who, not only want me to succeed, they’re HELPING me to.

I have been amazed at the community support Astraea has already received, are you?

Uh, yes! I constantly get messages on Facebook about how thankful people are that I’m starting Astraea. I expected to have only a few submissions, but I’ve gotten many more than that and I’m amazed by all the talent. It only proves to me that there are authors out there like me who don’t have a home for their non-erotic novels. And I’d like to thank all of YOU for being so supportive!

What are you most excited about right now?

I’m having so much fun reading these submissions and I’m most excited to see these deserving authors sharing their books and seeing their dream come true!

What's the best advice you could give to authors seeking publication with you?

Edit the fool out of your manuscript, but even with that, editing is the “icing” on the cake since a good book starts with a good story. Right now, submitting is important because our acceptance rate is higher. We’re just starting out and have a back list to fill! Currently, we’re looking for short stories over 15K, and novels under 100K. All genres accepted.

You hosted a pitch contest at the beginning of the month, when can writers expect another contest?

I’ll be hosting another pitch contest in January with the Yahoo loop called Sweeter Romantic Notions. I’ll most likely be hosting a Twitter pitch in March.

Do you plan on holding contests for readers?

Absolutely. Everyone loves to get something for free!

Is there anything else we should know?

Did I mention we’re actively seeking submissions? ;o)

Thank you so much! This has been neat. J Where can we find out more about you and more about the press?;;;

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