Interview with Inspired Quill

Sara Slack has taken Inspired Quill from a rarely- viewed blog to a registered, viable business in the space of a year and a half…so who knows what the future will bring

Inspired Quill is a unique publishing house focusing on indelible quality in upcoming publications from start to finish. We strive to showcase new writing talent and set a new standard in economically friendly, people-oriented publishing by providing a reliable platform for up-and-coming authors. Inspired Quill allows them to both publish their work and hone personal skills such as marketing and web commerce, with the added ability to gain knowledge of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ element of publishing. Inspired Quill also offers a way to achieve otherwise unobtainable work experience in the publishing sector for the next generation of editors and agents.

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Tell us a little bit about your press and how you came to be?

I opened Inspired Quill (IQ for short) as a literature review and article blog in September 2009. The domain name had been sitting around doing nothing for about a year and a half beforehand and I really wanted to do something with it. I realised after a while of getting into the ‘publishing news’ side of things, that there was a real niche in the market for people-orientated, quality driven publishing…especially after some of the horror stories I heard about other publishing houses! September 2010 ended up with me winning an entrepreneurial award for IQ from my University, which meant a series of business classes and 1-on-1 mentor help. Needless to say these things have been invaluable, and after starting to network and really get to grips with my niche, I registered IQ with Companies House as a ‘proper business’ in April of 2011

Are you open to publishing a wide variety of writing styles, or is there a specific style/voice you are looking for?

We’re really keen to discover new talent and to help new authors get their ‘foot in the door’, so to speak. Since variety is the spice of life, we not looking for any particular ‘style’, per-say. What we are looking for however, are pieces of work which can really be honed into something great – we at IQ aren’t shy of putting the effort in when we see potential…just as long as the author is willing to do the same!

How do you discover new writers? Do you take recommendations from authors or contacts you are already friendly with, or do they tend to be blind submissions?

There’s an element of both in there, really. Every now and then one of the team members will post on Twitter or a Facebook group that we’re currently open for submissions…but we have also had some people referred to us. For a publishing house that doesn’t have any titles out yet (we launch at the end of September), this is a huge testament to the whole team, and our mission statement in general. We have worked hard to build the reputation we’re currently beginning to get, and we’ll continue to do so!

What is the most common mistake that authors make when querying that, in turn, causes you to lose interest in their work? (i.e., perhaps the way they wrote the query letter, a manuscript that is less than polished, etc.)

Not following the submission guidelines. I know some publishing houses really make authors jump through hoops, but we keep things at IQ very simple. All we require is a covering (query) letter, a synopsis, and two chapters of the work. If this is done incorrectly, I simply delete the email without reading it. This may sound harsh (and I suppose it is, in a way), but I don’t have the time to look at something in the incorrect format. If a manuscript isn’t polished, although I’d still give it a chance, it’s unlikely to be accepted. It all comes back to the dedication and attitude of the author. We want to sign someone we feel we can work with, without constantly wanting to hit our heads against a brick wall because something wasn’t done right, or quality was compromised in some way.

A lot of writers submit to multiple presses at a time and are naturally anxious to hear your thoughts on their work. What is the protocol for an author to follow-up with a press about the status of their query? Is it appropriate to follow-up, or is this something that is off-putting?

Our ‘waiting’ time is 4 weeks. We’ve said on the website that people are more than welcome to chase up a query as long as this amount of time has elapsed. Sometimes mistakes do happen, and the query gets ‘LITE’ (lost in the ether), or we’re simply running behind. At the moment, we’re pretty speedy with getting back to people.

What do you take into consideration when you’re thinking of publishing an author’s book/novel/whatever? Is it the writing alone, or is it more than that?

Obviously, the writing is the primary thing, but as I’ve said before, it also depends on the attitude of the author. We want someone who is enthusiastic, yes, but also down to earth. Oh, and a sense of humour really helps, too. The other primary thing we consider is how the author and their writing can develop. A static author is all very well and good if you’re the sort who can get away with writing the same story over and over and still have it sell thousands of copies, but you don’t get brilliant quality unless there’s some constant development.

Since so many authors are going the self-publishing route, why would an author go with you?

I’m probably going to get told off by my colleagues for saying this, but I actually think self-publishing is a great resource for certain people. (Shock! Horror!) The problem is that the DIY route to publication means that there is usually VERY little time for the author to do the thing they’re passionate about. Write. IQ – like other publishing houses – bears the primary burden for every other aspect of the process. What sets us apart however, is our dedication to development. We’re very passionate about teaching writers about the industry, as well as having them be there every step of the way in the creative process, from our editing style to book cover design, and even marketing strategies. In a way, it’s the best of both worlds. The author gets to be as involved as they want, whilst still having that pressure of ‘it’s all on me’ lifted. Plus, with a tagline of ‘Indelible Quality from Start to Finish’, we really do focus on the superiority of the work we publish. 

How do you feel about self-publishing and where it is headed?

I think it still has a very long way to go. The main problem is that it’s so easy to do, and a lot of phenomenally great work is being swept up into the tide of mediocrity. There are some great aspects to it of course, and for a writer who has a solid, established platform and a real quality product, it’s probably just as beneficial to them as publishing traditionally…but it also gives a lot of people false hope. Not everyone can be Amanda Hocking, and not many people realise just how much work (not writing!) she put into everything. It’s also hard to be taken seriously if you’re self published. I know a lot of people get around this by setting up their own imprints and publishing under them…but believe me; it’s obvious when that happens. So to cut short a long tirade, I shall be keeping a very close eye on how it evolves…much like the rest of the industry.

And lastly, if you could publish any author in history (dead or still alive) who would you publish and why?

Difficult question! The obvious answer would be someone like King or Rowling or Tolkien, simply because of their monetary value…but I think overall, I’d love to publish something by Margaret Attwood. Simply because of her general attitude to the industry. I was fortunate enough to see her read a story excerpt inLondonearlier this year as part of ‘World Book Night’, and she was amazing. She also does a lot for charity, and since IQ is a Social Enterprise which wants – when established – to go on to providing subsidised literature workshops in disadvantaged areas, it’d be a great fit!

IQ Information:
Website: www.inspired-quill.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/InspiredQuill
Facebook: www.facebook.com/InspiredQuill
Submissions: submissions@inspired-quill.com
General Email: sjslack@inspired-quill.com

Interview with Evolved Publishing

Tell us a little bit about your press and how you came to be?

I should first state that we’re an entirely new model for the publishing industry, born out of the eBook revolution.  For two stubborn years, during a severe economic downturn, I clung to the hope that I’d find an agent and get my book published through traditional avenues.  I kept getting agent responses that said things like, “Your piece is intriguing and well-written, but I’m afraid we already have a full stable of thriller writers.”  Or some other version of that; I had a good piece… and it didn’t matter.

As I watched the self-publishing eBook boom unfold, and read of more and more success stories, all the while hearing of horrors unfolding in the traditional publishing business, I concluded that putting my novel out as an eBook made sense.  Except that everyone else, it seemed, had reached the same conclusion.  The market was rapidly flooding with self-published authors, for whom certain time-tested stigmas remained.

So how does one rise above all that white noise?  How does one get noticed, drive sales momentum, and build a solid reputation?  How does one get to that point where he can actually make a living as a writer?  The answers to those questions led to the idea of Evolved Publishing.  I contacted a friend, author and editing client D.T. Conklin, whom I thought would find the idea intriguing.  Turns out he was of like mind, and together we took the leap.

Evolved Publishing is a publisher, yes, but not in the traditional sense.  You might say we function as an authors’ cooperative, with a bit more thrown in.  The central theme is simple: it’s all about the author.  The author and her work stand at the heart of the publishing industry, something the traditional business model never fully acknowledged.  We built our author-centric model guided by that simple truth.

Yet we’re guided by a second truth: quality matters.  Professionals will ultimately survive and thrive in a marketplace where, sadly, most will flounder as amateurs.  Although our authors may not be professionals, in the accepted sense of that word, when they come to us, we will help them to adopt and employ the proven methods for achieving that status.

Are you open to publishing a wide variety of writing styles, or is there a specific style/voice you are looking for?

This is a tough question.  The short answer would be, “Yes, we’re open to all styles.”  However, so many authors today attempt to pass-off bad writing as a stylistic choice.  We reject that notion.  The rules of writing, proven through centuries of reader testing, exist for a reason.  After all, what is language but a set of rules by which we’re able to communicate?

So we believe in following the rules… right up to that point where it makes sense to violate them.  When an author breaks the rules, one of two things happens: it provides an effective punch, because the author has picked just the right, rare spot to employ it; or the entire piece is a mess because the author overuses those tools.

It’s probably fair to say that, given our belief in quality, proper writing, we tend toward the literary style.  However, we try not to take a cookie-cutter approach.  Every genre is different, and every author brings a unique voice to the table.  That makes it a challenge for us as editors, but hey, that’s part of the fun.

How do you discover new writers? Do you take recommendations from authors or contacts you are already friendly with, or do they tend to be blind submissions?

Our initial authors were clients of my freelance editing service; specifically, those few in whose work I saw real promise and a strong potential market.  As we’re still in the start-up phase (our first eBook releases won’t be until October of this year), we’re working to attract additional authors now.

As of August 15, 2011, we’ve only been open for business for about 7 weeks, so it’s early.  We have six authors on board, and we’re presently engaged in active discussions with four potential authors.  One of those is a referral, and the other three discovered us through our various online efforts to announce Evolved Publishing.  We’ve had several other inquiries that, unfortunately, we had to decline—they just weren’t ready with their writing, at least not at the level we’re looking for.

I suspect that over the next several months, most of our author growth will occur through blind submissions.  I also expect that many authors will take a wait-and-see approach, holding off until they see our initial releases.  We’ve heard this from several authors who are intrigued by our model, but who want to see proof of delivery, as it were.  I think they’re missing a great opportunity, but….  The fact that we now have a strong editorial team of 5 (website to be updated Tuesday night, August 16) should help attract new authors as well.

What is the most common mistake that authors make when querying that, in turn, causes you to lose interest in their work? (i.e., perhaps the way they wrote the query letter, a manuscript that is less than polished, etc.)

The most common culprits are spelling errors, terrible grammar (we make some allowances here, but there’s a limit), no real action in the first couple of pages (all description and setting, for example), mixed tense, garbled head-hopping narration or author intrusion, and dull, useless dialogue (Hi, how are you?  I’m fine, how about you?  Good, thanks, so what’s up?  Oh, nothing much. – Yeesh!  This is death to a story.).

We also shy away from authors who employ consistently weak prose: heavy reliance on SOB (state-of-being) verbs (was, were, is, are, etc.), and on other weak, inactive verbs (had, got, went, took, looked, etc.).  We like strong, action-centric verbs that evoke a clear image in the reader’s mind.  We also agree with Stephen King, who said, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”  We avoid authors who live in passive voice.  Finally, if a piece is all TELL and no SHOW, we pass.

In other words, we expect an author to have already engaged in the kind of due diligence that makes clear the he’s serious about his craft.  We expect to edit the piece, but not to rewrite the entire thing.  It’s easy to separate authors who have worked at being writers from those who haven’t.  Sadly, too many occupy the second category.

A lot of writers submit to multiple presses at a time and are naturally anxious to hear your thoughts on their work. What is the protocol for an author to follow-up with a press about the status of their query? Is it appropriate to follow-up, or is this something that is off-putting?

Traditionally, most agents and publishers have considered this off-putting; just one more way the industry is broken, in my opinion.  We take a different approach.  We respect the author’s time and aspirations, and understand that she does not exist to support us, but that we exist to support her.  I hope authors appreciate that refreshing attitude.  I think they will.

Thus, if we haven’t responded to a submission within 3 weeks, you, Dear Author, should follow-up with us.

What do you take into consideration when you’re thinking of publishing an author’s book/novel/whatever? Is it the writing alone, or is it more than that?

We want a good story, well written, with fair market potential.  That takes care of the piece.

Now, on to the author: we want someone who will devote himself to our philosophies of quality, teamwork, and tireless promotion of not just his own work, but the work of his teammates.

Since so many authors are going the self-publishing route, why would an author go with you?

Ours is a new model devoted to those who would otherwise self-publish.  You might say that we offer them the chance to self-publish at a higher level.  While it’s not technically true that they’ll “self-publish” with us, our model is closer to self-publishing than it is the old publishing model.

We offer those few extra services an author needs to maximize her chances of success, and we do so at a rate far, far below what traditional publishing houses and agents have taken.  Again, it’s all about the author.  In fact, we approach our business model not as publishers, but as fellow authors.

What can you do for them that they might not be able to do for themselves?

1) Provide quality editing.  That’s a biggie.  We function as a gatekeeper, one readers will come to depend on.

2) Provide professional cover art.

3) Provide beta-readers to help them iron out any problems with plot, characterization or setting.

4) Facilitate eBook file creation and upload.

5) Assure readers of high quality, professional work through the power and reputation of the Evolved Publishing name.

6) Provide a team of dedicated, like-minded individuals to increase their online footprint, to market their work, and to sell, sell, sell.

How do you feel about self-publishing and where it is headed?

It’s here to stay.  The new paradigm shift puts control where it belonged all along—in the hands of the author.  It will offer tremendous challenges, however.  Self-publishing has languished under a hideous reputation for a long time, and—let’s just be honest about this—for good reason.  Most self-published material has been… err… not very good.

For authors to rise above that stigma, they must act as professionals.  Yes, you need quality editing and review.  Yes, you need quality cover art.  Yes, you need the help of others to market your book and gain the widest possible audience.  Yes, you need an imprint that is synonymous with quality.  (Note the focus on quality.)

That’s my opinion.  I know many disagree, or perhaps they agree but think they can slip by on their own, whether out of concern for money or time.  I fear they doom themselves to failure.  The eBook markets are a jumbled, crowded mess.  If you attempt to prosper in that hurricane as a single raindrop, you’re in for a tough slog.

And lastly, if you could publish any author in history (dead or still alive) who would you publish and why?

Mark Twain.  The man offered an extraordinary mix of genius and wit.  He could take you from horror and tears to hope and laughter in a flash.  A rare bird.

~Learn more & connect~

Want to learn more about Evolved and it’s authors? Click on the links below and also check out my book review of FORBIDDEN MIND, written by Kimberly Kinrade, an Author with Evolved Publishing.

BIO:
http://lanediamond.com/about-me/

Company Site:
http://www.evolvedpub.com/

Social Media:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/?lang=en&logged_out=1#!/Lane_Diamond and http://twitter.com/?lang=en&logged_out=1#!/EvolvedPub

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lane.diamond and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Evolved-Publishing/231681676864562

Interview with Dog Horn Publishing

Tell us a little bit about your press and how you came to be?

Dog Horn Publishing started a while back. In 2003 Ellis France decided there weren’t enough presses publishing writing with risk. She was interested in discovering new writers with bold voices and cutting edge stories. So she worked with our very first author, RL Royle, to bring out her first two books and really work one-on-one to get them just right.

By 2007, Ellis France was ready to move on, and thought it best to pass the reins to someone who would be as dedicated as she was, but who would look to open the press to more authors.

By January 2008, I was in charge, and Dog Horn 2.0 was born. The concept was still the same at heart, but it had to change, naturally. So I decided at first to focus on a new literary magazine, Polluto. That would be our calling card: it would reveal what our new direction would be and it would help draw new writers to us. After two issues of Polluto, I had already identified a number of writers who were perfect for us. That allowed us to begin publishing novels and short story collections from a range of new and exciting names—including debut authors like Deb Hoag and Dave Migman, local writers such as Wes Brown, and established small press favourites like Steve Redwood and Rhys Hughes.

Are you open to publishing a wide variety of writing styles, or is there a specific style/voice you are looking for?

We definitely have a style—or a brand. We’re known for work that is quite challenging, that blurs genre boundaries, that strives to be sharp and colourful and defiantly original.

A lot of what we publish is speculative fiction: science fiction and fantasy, or some hybrid thereof. But we’re also interested in dark literature and gritty realism. From ghost stories to the haunted lives of war veterans, we like something which explores the very worst elements of human life. Occasionally, however, you will see books that are simply fun, and are risky in an entirely different way—by satirising popular culture and turning generic conventions upside down.

How do you discover new writers? Do you take recommendations from authors or contacts you are already friendly with, or do they tend to be blind submissions?

We’re now closed to unsolicited submissions. Most of the writers we work with are recommended by current writers or come to us through our open submissions to Polluto. That lets us strike the right balance between finding new talent and taking the time to develop and work with existing writers.

What is the most common mistake that authors make when querying that, in turn, causes you to lose interest in their work? (i.e., perhaps the way they wrote the query letter, a manuscript that is less than polished, etc.)

We can work with a less than polished manuscript, so long as it has guts. But we don’t have the time to teach people how to write from scratch.

Usually, most stories can be rejected right away. Either the writer hasn’t read our guidelines or taken the time to look at what we publish, or their idea just isn’t as original as they think it is. We’re resolutely not interested in writing that could be classified as ‘mainstream’ or ‘commercial’.

A lot of writers submit to multiple presses at a time and are naturally anxious to hear your thoughts on their work. What is the protocol for an author to follow-up with a press about the status of their query? Is it appropriate to follow-up, or is this something that is off-putting?

Following up keeps me on track, so I don’t mind. So long as it isn’t every day. My rule of thumb is that it’s okay to follow up around the three-month mark. At that stage, I should have looked at it, at least in passing. So if you drop me an email I can either tell you we’re definitely not interested or tell you how much longer we need. But if you check every week when I’ve said give me a month, it will get irritating. Ultimately, though, the decision is made on your work, not on how much you piss me off.

I’m not really keen on simultaneous submissions. The one thing that gets my hackles up is when someone forwards a submission to a bunch of publishers all at the same time (and they usually leave us all in the ‘CC’ field, so we can tell) and clearly hasn’t taken the time to get to know what any of those publishers are about. I get that at least a couple of times a year.

What do you take into consideration when you’re thinking of publishing an author’s book/novel/whatever? Is it the writing alone, or is it more than that?

My modus operandi is to invest in writers not books. That might sound strange for a publisher, but let me explain.

A book speaks volumes about the type of writer I’m dealing with. I’d also prefer to build a relationship with a writer than just publish one book and never speak to them again. We’re in this journey together, and a writer who stays in touch with their publisher tends to sell more, because we work well together and will team up for promotion. Some writers just want to dump their book on a publisher, have it in paperback form, and then never do anything else. That doesn’t sell books in the small press world.

So I want to see that the writer is professional and friendly, and that they have some understanding of the role we each will play in getting their book out there. We have to work as partners in this process, so it’s important we get off on the right foot.

Since so many authors are going the self-publishing route, why would an author go with you? What can you do for them that they might not be able to do for themselves?

Self-publishing, rightly or wrongly, still has a stigma attached to it. I think the problem is that so many self-published writers are self-publishing for the wrong reasons and they’re not going about it in the right way.

Many self-published writers simply aren’t ready yet. You can’t rush publication, and if you do, it often shows. So a lot of self-published writers have books that aren’t as good as they could be, which is why they’ve been rejected, and the writers have become frustrated with the processes that are actually there to improve writers or to send them back to the drawing board. Many of them don’t want to workshop their work or have it edited. So they rush themselves to publication and may end up regretting it later on.

It’s also worth noting that publishing is a very different skillset to writing. There’s editing, copyediting, proofing. But there’s also typesetting and cover design. These are all skills many writers don’t have the time or inclination to learn. So you see a lot of unprofessional self-published books. The quality really can vary quite a bit.

For those reasons, many book reviewers and many book buyers ignore self-published books outright.

But there’s more that a publisher can offer, besides. A good publisher will edit your work. They will work with you to get it into the best shape it can be. They will suggest changes and argue with you if they disagree, or encourage you when you feel disheartened. That is the invaluable benefit of working with a publisher.

They will also work with you to promote your book and offer some sort of distribution. Publishers can also absorb the financial risk in a book and offer expertise in getting the right cover and in typesetting a clean, readable text. Writers who get into self-publishing often don’t realise how many different hats they have to wear: publicist, typesetter, proofreader, editor, distributor. If they’re not outsourcing those things to someone else (which is very costly), they have to do it all themselves, and that can be a big distraction from the task of writing itself.

A publisher can offer their experience in editing and writer development.

How do you feel about self-publishing and where it is headed?

Self-publishing can be very empowering. But it can also be detrimental to a writer’s career, because it means they might be putting work out there that isn’t their best. They might not be producing professional products, which might hamper their reputation in the long run.

Sometimes a fantastic book is overlooked because it is too experimental, or doesn’t sit easily within genre boundaries, and for that reason self-publishing might be a viable option. Although I’d also say there are now plenty of small presses that will cater to that niche (such as mine), so that too is less of a problem today than it was in the past.

There are also books with a very small audience. Books that are intensely personal, or that deal with a local or regional topic, where it wouldn’t be financially viable for a publisher to invest the time or money to produce the book, but where a writer would have reasonable success using print-on-demand or shut-run digital printing to produce it instead.

But sometimes, if your book keeps getting rejected, rather than blaming publishers, you have to ask if there’s a problem instead with your manuscript. Publishers don’t needlessly reject books for the fun of it. If it’s getting rejected, it’s either because you’re submitting to the wrong markets or because there are problems with the book. Occasionally it helps to sit back and try to be objective about why your book might not be ready yet.

It’s these books, which are being rejected because they don’t work, which most certainly shouldn’t be self-published. And it’s these books which perpetuate the stigma that comes with self-publishing. The only way to avoid that is to produce the most professional book you can.

And lastly, if you could publish any author in history (dead or still alive) who would you publish and why?

That’s a hard one. I’d quite like to have published Joyce. I’d also have published Jeanette Winterson’s first few novels, or the works of Kathy Acker. But most of all, I wish I’d published Jeff Noon. I discovered his novel Vurt by accident, and I think his writing style is perfect for what we publish. He’s also been a terrific influence on my own writing and my passion for cross-genre and experimental work. I love how he isn’t scared to write books or plays, and that he is constantly open to trying new things. I also think he’s been a bit neglected recently. So, Jeff, if you’re reading this, send me something, yeah?

About The Publisher

Adam Lowe is a writer and publisher from Leeds. In 2009 he received four Lambda Award nominations and three British Fantasy Award nominations. In 2008, his magazine, Polluto, was awarded the Spectrum Fantastic Art Silver Editorial Award. Currently he is shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Award in Best New Writing.

He is particularly involved in the intersections between literature and other artforms, including art, graphic design, multimedia and performance. For example, he is currently writing a poem to be adapted into a ‘jazz lieder’ performance for Leeds’ classical music festival, Leeds Lieder+, which will combine jazz sensibilities, classical composition, spoken word and performance poetry into a five-minute ‘epic’.
Adam enjoys bringing the everyday world to life through words. He was one of the 2010 young writers in residence at the I Love West Leeds Arts Festival, where his poetry tour of Armley was a crowd-favourite that took in Alan Bennett, prehistoric fish, wild cherry picking by the roadside, tea with Mr Tumnus the Narnian faun, and a local cruising ground for doggers. He also writes for Bent,where he writes a column as his semi-fictitious alter ego Beyonce Holes, and does promotions and marketing for Peepal Tree Press.
Adam is a graduate of Street Voices 2, which saw him work with the Bush’s Josie Rourke, and an active member of Young Inscribe. In the past he has been a part of Critters.org and Orson Scott Card’s Hatrack River Writers’ Workshop. Adam regularly delivers workshops for young people and adults, and runs an annual writer development programme for new writers who specialise in ‘weird’ and cross-genre writing. Because of this, he was made a Youth Ambassador for the Cultural Olympiad in Yorkshire. In 2009 his short play ‘Boys’ was produced at Theatre-in-the-Mill, Bradford, and previous theatre work was showcased in 2008′s New Stages Festival at the University of Leeds.
He has appeared in print and online in such anthologies and magazines as Word Riot, Unlikely Stories, The Cadaverine, Chimeraworld, Leeds Guide, WAMACK, Saucytooth’s, Kaleidotrope, PoetCasting.co.uk, and Ex Plus Ultra, with work forthcoming in Trespass. Adam’s academic writing has appeared at eSharp and is forthcoming Queering the Fantastic. Last year his debut novella, Troglodyte Rose, was also released in limited edition hardback by Cadaverine Publications. An expanded novel-length paperback is due out in 2012 fromUS publisher Lethe Press.

Currently he is attached to a young writers’ group at West Yorkshire Playhouse, and his BBC-commissioned short play ‘Deep Blue Skin’ was showcased there in March. The black comedy/musical follow-up, Nero High School Slaughterhouse, is currently in development. It can only be described as Glee meets Carrie.

He is also writer in residence at Zion Arts Centre in Hulme, Manchester. Elsewhere he has been commissioned to lead an Olympics-funded youth writing project for Barnsley museums, which will culminate in written, filmic and audio responses to the collections at WentworthCastleand Cannon Hall.
Check out a video of him reading here.

Awards

Eric Hoffer Award/Best New Fiction (shortlisted) (results TBA)
Lambda Literary Award/Transgender (shortlisted) (2009)
Lambda Literary Award/Gay Fiction (longlisted) (2009)
Lambda Literary Award/Poetry (longlisted) (2009)
Lambda Literary Award/Bisexual (longlisted) (2009)
British Fantasy Award/Best Novel (longlisted) (2009)
British Fantasy Award/Best Collection (longlisted) (2009)
British Fantasy Award/Best Magazine (longlisted) (2009)
Spectrum Fantastic Arts/Editorial (Silver Award, won) (2008)

Bibliography

Troglodyte Rose (Lethe Press, 2012) (novel)
Shiny Black Thing (Punk Ass Kids Productions, 2010) (anthology)
Troglodyte Rose (Cadaverine Publications, 2009) (novella/chapbook)
lavenderblack (Fruit Bruise Press, 2009) (poetry)
Clutching at Seashells (Fruit Bruise Press, 2009) (poetry pamphlet)
Borrowed Time (Fruit Bruise Press, 2009) (poetry pamphlet)
Killing Bob Marley (Punk Ass Kids Productions, 2009) (anthology)
Chimeraworld 5 (Chimericana Books, 2008) (anthology)

Commissions/Residencies

Composers & Poets Forum,LeedsLieder+ (2011)
Writer in Residence/A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon promenade, Zion Arts Centre (2011)
Artist in Residence/Seeds of Change, part of Precious Cargo, 2012 Olympics (2010-11)
Writer in Residence/Reflections Series,West YorkshirePlayhouse & BBC Writersroom (2010-11)
Writer in Residence, I LoveWest LeedsArts Festival (2010)
Street Voices 2, Freedom Studios (2009)
Light Night,West YorkshirePlayhouse (2009)

Education

MA Writing for Performance & Publication (Universityof Leeds)
BA English Langugae & Literature (Class I) (University of Leeds)

Related Links

http://www.troglodyterose.com
http://www.adam-lowe.com
http://www.polluto.com
http://www.doghornpublishing.com
http://www.beyonceholes.com
http://www.ilovewestleeds.co.uk/adam_lowe.html
http://www.poetcasting.co.uk/?p=198

Contact Information

adam@adam-lowe.com

Interview with Endaxi Press

Tell us a little bit about your press and how you came to be.

Endaxi Press is a very, very, very small press.  We started up in 2009 after Michele Brenton (our commissioning editor) decided to publish a series of seven poetry books.  It made sense to start a press because the minimum number of ISBN numbers purchasable at that time was ten and a hundred hardly cost any more.  We had seen a couple of novels we felt we might like to publish and so we decided to start Endaxi Press and learn the process of publishing using Michele’s poetry as practise pieces.   We were also working on the theory that if we could sell poetry we would be in with a fighting chance with fiction.

Are you open to publishing a wide variety of writing styles, or is there a specific style/voice you are looking for?

We still only have a very tiny inventory but we are trying to be open to any book as long as it is well written and likely to have a paying readership.

How do you discover new writers? Do you take recommendations from authors or contacts you are already friendly with, or do they tend to be blind submissions?

So far we have chosen our writers from contacts and from authonomy – a peer review website run by Harper Collins.  We are very different from most publishers in that we seek out prospective future members of the Endaxi family of writers, online.  We don’t accept submissions.  We are a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” outfit.

What is the most common mistake that authors make when querying that, in turn, causes you to lose interest in their work? (i.e., perhaps the way they wrote the query letter, a manuscript that is less than polished, etc.)

We don’t take submissions so we don’t know what common mistakes are.  But a poorly written query letter would put us off.  Manuscripts which are less than polished are not necessarily a deal-breaker if the novel has that special ‘something’; but an attitude from a writer which suggests they would be less than co-operative during the editing process would send us running for the hills.  We are small and so we need to work as a team to do the best we can for our books.  If the writer doesn’t trust our vision then they shouldn’t be with us in the first place.

A lot of writers submit to multiple presses at a time and are naturally anxious to hear your thoughts on their work. What is the protocol for an author to follow-up with a press about the status of their query? Is it appropriate to follow-up, or is this something that is off-putting?

We don’t usually waste much time before getting back to an author once we’ve requested a full manuscript.  If we know we have a backlog we give them a timescale by when they should have heard back from us. If we ever overshot that timescale we would welcome a nudge.  But then we have a friendly relationship with any author by that stage and so “should I, shouldn’t I? ” mental gymnastics are unlikely to figure into any interaction with us. 

What do you take into consideration when you’re thinking of publishing an author’s book/novel/whatever? Is it the writing alone, or is it more than that?

Definitely much more than that.  Preparedness to submit to the editing process.  Do they have a readership base already?  Do they have a realistic attitude to what being published means?  Will they be supportive of our promotional strategies?  Can they undertake promotion themselves?  Are they interesting personalities which would make for press opportunities?  Are they active in their genre communities?  Are they likely to be able to produce more work of a consistent standard?  Are they likely to be happy with us and stay part of the Endaxi stable in the long-term?

Since so many authors are going the self-publishing route, why would an author go with you?

Because we do all the expensive stuff for free.  Thorough editing, cover design, ISBN numbers, worldwide distribution, promotion and printing, typesetting and interior design.  We also ensure that when we produce a book it is priced competitively so that it will be able to stand happily among books from the big six publishers. The remuneration to an Endaxi author can in some cases be more than if they went it alone as far as hard copies are concerned.

What can you do for them that they might not be able to do for themselves?

We have a great deal of technical expertise and contacts within the industry.  Publishing is not always as easy as it seems.  It is easy to produce an okay book.  But to produce a top class book in every respect takes a lot of skill.  Things go wrong with the print process, with ebook conversions, with online listings to name a few examples.  As an individual it can be overwhelming to try and deal with these issues especially if they occur as they so often do at time critical moments.  We have been through most of these things by now and have learned how to handle them.

We also look at the author’s book with new eyes.  But with eyes that care as much as theirs that the resultant book is presented to the public in its very best light.  In fact in some cases we care more than they do.  We see ourselves as the Jeeves to their Bertie Wooster – passionately concerned that we send our charges out in to the world impeccably turned out and always at hand to ease their troubles in as unobtrusive a manner as possible.  Their success and contentment is our success.

How do you feel about self-publishing and where it is headed?

It is all very exciting and we look forward to seeing what happens next.

And lastly, if you could publish any author in history (dead or still alive) who would you publish and why?

The authors we have already.  We chose them because they are authors we wanted and the authors we believe in.  They are Endaxi authors.

~~

Michele Brenton aka banana_the_poet is commissioning editor at Endaxi Press.

Endaxi Press is proud to have one of its books – Pierre Van Rooyen’s Saturdays Are Gold currently in the running for the shortlist of the Guardian Not The Booker prize.  Endaxi will also be launching its first steampunk novel – Raven Dane’s Cyrus Darian And The Technomicron at The Asylum which is the biggest Steampunk Festival in Europe and will be held in Lincoln UK from the 9th-11th September 2011.

Both Pierre Van Rooyen’s Saturdays Are Gold and Raven Dane’s Cyrus Darian are available to be won as Goodreads Giveaways.

Guardian shortlist  

The Asylum

Endaxi Press