“I wrote for twelve years and collected 250 rejection slips before getting any fiction published, so I guess outside reinforcement isn’t all that important to me.” – Lisa Alther
This week I’m starting my recaps of the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Atlanta in July. Of course, I’ll also include other market news and is comes across my desk, so stay tuned!
First up — Coliloquy. Coliloquy is a new digital-first publisher that is already publishing some big names — think Ridley Pearson and the members of the literary rock band, the Rock Bottom Remainders.
Lisa Rutherford, CEO and Co-founder of Coliloquy, presented this workshop. Coliloquy was founded in January 2012 with the slogan, “Reading and Writing — Reimagined.” The company uses technology to enhance their books and create different kinds of stories. They’ve done interactive, “choose your own ending” stories; stories that allow readers to customize by choosing their own preferences for the types of characters and situations; and multi-media stories, such as a new release by the writers of the Rock Bottom Remainders that mixes prose and music.
Coliloquy started with five authors. Their books are available on all e-reader platforms and they now have 30 authors. They now have a staff of 18 and produce about 12 books a year.
In the romance genre they publish from middle grade to erotica and everything in between. To date, they have mostly done contemporary settings. They’ve also done mystery and suspense and comedy.
They have a content management system that allows them to publish books not as something static, but as active applications. When someone opens a Coliloquy book, they are running an application, like Microsoft Word or an application on the internet. “It looks like a book to anyone who’s reading it ,” Rutherford said. This allows them to add extra features and even to unlock and change content to enhance the story. An example is a YA with magic spells that appear and disappear in the book. Or a story about memory loss in which the story changes.
They gather a ton of information on their readers, but the information is anonymous and aggregated. They used the information to change the plots of sequels, based on what readers have reacted to most strongly in first books. They have also used the information for marketing — to place brands in books based on sponsorships, to pre-sell books, and to offer discounts on titles.
Rutherford listed several reasons authors should pick Coliloquy over other publishers:
Their use of technology is unlike any other publisher.
They come from a Silicon Valley culture — the principals of the company are very open and available 24/7. They give weekly sales reports and updates.
“We have a start-up mentality” They’re focused on esting and measuring things and learning. If a book doesn’t sell well initially, they will regroup and try another approach and continue trying to find the market for that story.
They have experienced editors who come from traditional publishing — “top talent.”
They invest heavily in cover art, PR and marketing.
50/50 revenue share. They release funds within 30 days of receipt by the company.
They normally only take agented submissions, but will accept submissions during open calls. Rutherford prefers short query letters with a one-line hook. Attach a manuscript to the email. Their normal turn-around time is two weeks.
Coliloquy is open to all kinds of stories but wants strong story-telling, crisp, simple writing. They want writers and stories that fit their culture — modern technology, appeals to the audience that’s reading twitter and interacting online. They must see a market for the book.
Rutherford mentioned some things she would be interested in seeing: contemporary fiction, ensemble cast in a college setting, romantic suspense (legal thriller?). Interracial YA or New Adult, personal disaster and recovery stories (personal dystopian story). A claustrophobia story!
Their strongest sellers right now are Young Adult, New Adult and light women’s fiction.
Rutherford also loves multi-author books. She’d love a story where each author wrote a different POV.
They like authors who have a strong, existing fan base with which to engage.
Mad Scientist Magazine is looking for first person mad scientist stories. Think scientific papers as if written by a mad scientist. They’re open to all genres: humor, paranormal romance, horror, urban fantasy, pulp fiction, etc. They accept flash fiction, from 500 -2000 words; short stories from 2,000 to 8,000 words; and serial fiction with each installment from 2,000 to 8,000 words. Payment is $10 for flash fiction and $20 for short stories — up to $100 for seriels. In addition to these payments, you’ll receive royalties from the quarterly ebooks Mad Scientist produces. Check out all their guidelines here.
Ellora’s Cave has issued some new calls for submissions for themed collections:
Hot Pink — celebrating lesbian love. 20K to 45K. Deadlines for Submissions is Nov. 1, 2013.
VaVa Boomers — Over-50 heroines, 10K – 70K, Deadline Feb. 1, 2014.
Merry Menage — winter holiday themed erotica, 20K – 45K, Deadline April 15, 2014.
Get all the details here.
As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Reprint, repost and pass it on. All I ask is that you give me credit as the source, and include a link to the blog. Thanks! Cindi