or many aspiring authors finding a publisher for their work can be challenging, even daunting. There are so many things to consider: big house or small, independent press? Who requires the representation of an agent and who doesn’t? And, of those publishers who do not require an agent, what do they publish and how do they market their books?
As I researched publishers for my novel, Silencing Sarah, I came across a small publisher, Resplendence Publishing, and I decided to query them after discovering how active they were in networking through MySpace and other online venues, in addition to attending conferences. Ultimately, Leigh Collett, one of the publisher’s two founders, read my manuscript and decided Resplendence wanted my book and I’ve been noting the fabulous benefits that small presses offer ever since.
So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Leigh Collett who brings a special kind of resplendence to Resplendence Publishing. Join us now for a chat!
Leigh Collett has been an avid reader of romance for more than 20 years and has been a published writer for 18 years. She first published a short story in a literary magazine at the age of 17, with several freelance news articles and professional protocol journals published in following years. Leigh holds three degrees and is finishing her MBA. She spent 11 years as an Administrative Consultant, but she decided to retire from consulting in order to pursue her dreams within the publishing industry.
She is the CEO and Director of Sales and Marketing for Resplendence Publishing. Leigh is a member of RWA, Kentucky Romance Writers, Florida Romance Writers, FF&P, and EPIC.
WOW: Welcome to WOW!, Leigh, and congratulations to the entire team at Resplendence on the successful launch of some very wonderful titles this past year! Could you tell us about the mission of Resplendence Publishing?
LEIGH: We are a new publishing company specializing in romantic fiction, both in e-book and print formats. We consider ourselves a “boutique” publisher. Quality over quantity.
In our view, quality authors, quality working relationships, and quality books lead to satisfied readers. As long-time romance fans, we know that satisfied readers will keep coming back for more, and satisfied authors will be there to provide the stories our readers want.
We believe in seeking the best and brightest authors within each genre because those are the individuals who can deliver the type of high-quality books our readers have come to expect. Basically, if a book can transport us into another world and make us forget all else, we want to read it.
The final component of our operating philosophy is this: readers can’t read books they don’t know about. That is why we believe in aggressively marketing our authors, their books, and our company. Our job is to get the fantastic stories our authors deliver into the hands of readers and we take that job very seriously.
WOW: I’ve come to associate RP with the term ‘Gems of Romantic Fiction’ but I know that you are now accepting submissions for mainstream fiction. Can you share with aspiring writers, what other genres/sub-genres RP is interested in acquiring?
LEIGH: Certainly. We are expanding our offerings and have begun taking mainstream submissions in certain sub-genres of both fiction and nonfiction. We are planning to offer: Action/Adventure, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal/Fantasy, Teen/Young Adult, Women's Fiction, Cookbooks, and Travel Guides for Gals.
“It is an intensive hands-on process, but again, we pride ourselves on the quality of product we produce…”
WOW: When I began working with my first editor, Jessica Berry, at RP, I was surprised by how much was right about my writing and how much was, in fact, in need of polish. From your unique perspective, what are some of the issues you see in the work you accept that most often has to be addressed?
LEIGH: Well, I’ll just give you the short list: passive voice, common punctuation/grammar mistakes, telling instead of showing, echoes, and improperly used words.
These are actually some of the things that will get the manuscript rejected. We will often give an author with a stellar story, but some minor infractions, a quick list asking them to revise and re-submit. However, if the mistakes are too numerous we will take a pass.
If you have a good critique partner you should be submitting a clean manuscript free of common errors.
WOW: One of the first things I was asked to do when my manuscript was accepted was to brush up on my own editing skills, which was a wonderful precursor to working one-on-one with my first editor. She was even kind enough to send me a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (a wonderful asset that every writer should have). Once RP accepts a manuscript, when and how does the editing process usually begin?
LEIGH: After the contract is signed, the author is assigned to an Associate Editor. The editor works closely with the author on content issues, then the Editorial Director reviews the content changes and sends it to the Copy Editors. After Copy, the manuscript will be submitted to the Beta Readers and goes back to the Editorial Director again for final review and edits.
It is an intensive hands-on process, but again, we pride ourselves on the quality of product we produce.
WOW: Does RP allow their authors any input in regard to the cover art for their books?
LEIGH: Yes, we have a Cover Art Questionnaire that gives our Cover Artist a detailed insight of exactly what the author was thinking when they were writing the book.
WOW: Can an author with RP expect to have their work test-marketed and, if so, could you explain how this is done?
LEIGH: That’s why we have Beta Readers. We have a very diverse group of readers derived from every socio-economic and education level. They tend to point out the most consistent flaws collectively.
WOW: With a diversity of talented writers, how do you decide which titles go to print?
LEIGH: All titles eventually will be in print. Even our more popular short stories can be found in Trade Paperback Anthologies.
WOW: Does RP do anthologies and if so, are they typically in electronic format or print?
“We do not make our authors fit into one mold and we encourage all our authors to explore their imagination and follow their muse…”
WOW: RP is known for their ‘read green’ outlook when it comes to publishing. Could you explain the meaning behind this catchphrase and how it applies to RP?
LEIGH: We know that readers may never completely give up print books, and we certainly aren’t asking them to do so. What we ask is that readers give e-books a try, even if it is only to supplement their print collection. We have compiled the following list of e-book benefits in the hope that more readers will see the many benefits of electronic books.
Save money: Quite simply, fiction in electronic format gives readers more books for their buck. E-books cost less to produce, so e-book publishers are able to pass these savings along to the consumer. For the reader with a large appetite for new reading material and a limited budget, e-books make perfect sense.
Get the book you want when you want it: Since you can purchase an e-book at any time of the day or night from the publisher’s website or an e-retailer such as FictionWise, you never have to wait to obtain your favorite new releases or titles on your reading “wish list.” Aside from 24-hour availability, e-books save you a trip to the bookstore, and shipping costs that you would pay if you placed an order with an online bookstore.
Go GREEN: We live in a world of dwindling resources, and print publishing is not exactly an environmentally friendly endeavor. Print books require paper, ink, and energy (fuel, etc.) for production and shipping. In addition, retailer returns of print books are a waste of paper and shipping costs. Even recycling returned books requires energy. For readers who want to do their part in conserving our environment, e-books are absolutely the greenest way to read.
More room on your keeper shelf: Many avid readers complain that they just don’t have enough room to store their massive paperback collection. What if you could have one bookshelf for your “keeper” paperbacks by favorite authors that you will read again and again, while the remainder of your collection is conveniently stored on your computer, e-reader, or on disk? E-books make this possible.
Take your books anywhere: Electronic readers have come a long way in recent years. Large, easy to read screens, font re-sizing capabilities, longer battery life, and more storage capacity have made these devices much more universally appealing. E-readers allow you to carry your e-book collection with you wherever you go. Forget about a suitcase bogged down with books on your next vacation. With an e-reader, you can carry your entire collection in your purse.
WOW: What kind of books do you most enjoy reading?
LEIGH: We appreciate all genres. We do not make our authors fit into one mold and we encourage all our authors to explore their imagination and follow their muse.
WOW: Is there a certain genre that editors specialize in or do they enjoy working with authors from various genres?
LEIGH: We try to keep our editors working within the genres they are most comfortable reading. It wouldn’t do to have an editor with a preference for sweet romances to start trying to edit an erotic horror. Also, it cuts down on editor burnout.
WOW: How would you say that the role of an editor in a large publishing house differs from that in a small press?
LEIGH: We are more hands on and probably far more accessible than we should be. LOL
WOW: Could you explain some of the ways that RP markets their books and authors?
LEIGH: There are many ways RP invests time and money into marketing and promotion. Some are outwardly obvious, such as: purchasing ad space in periodicals and on reader websites, submitting ARCs for review in several venues, and purchasing and distributing promotional materials for each of our titles.
Other promo/marketing avenues that are not so obvious are: helping the author establish an online presence, helping the author explore alternate marketing venues, and assisting with production of book videos, etc.
“It is our goal to produce the best book from each and every author, and help them make their stories and writing stronger…”
WOW: I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Heather Graham Conference in New Orleans this past September and one of the things that most impressed me about you is that you’re so easy to talk to in person. With that being said, do you attend writing conferences frequently and if so, does Resplendence accept submissions from writers attending?
LEIGH: Yes, we try to attend at least five conferences a year. We take appointments at some, but others we prefer casually blending into the crowd and not announcing our presence until we speak to an author with an interesting premise. It cuts down on the “nervous tension” that some authors experience during formal pitch appointments.
WOW: How would you finish this sentence? When a writer receives constructive criticism he or she should…
LEIGH: Let me just say this… People often think of constructive criticism as a bad thing. It isn’t in our view. We assess the manuscript to minimize the weaknesses. Don’t forget that this is a business.
Realize that the criticism is not personal. We do not get excited about tearing down a manuscript. It is so much easier to just let infractions go. We invest a significant amount of time into each manuscript/author to make them stronger and better.
It is our goal to produce the best book from each and every author, and help them make their stories and writing stronger.
WOW: Thank you so much, Leigh. Do you have any closing comments or advice for WOW! readers?
LEIGH: Most importantly, learn the craft, get a good critique partner, and attend conferences. You can never learn too much!
To find out more about Leigh and Resplendence Publishing, please visit: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com
M.L. Cordle is a published author (Silencing Sarah/Resplendence Publishing 2007) and an artist when she’s not writing.
Her paintings and sketches have sold to thirty-eight states across America and her poetry can be viewed in literary journals such Origami Condom and the California Quarterly (put out by the California State Poetry Society). She was interviewed by WOW! in 2007, and shortly thereafter received the endorsement of New York Times best selling author, Adriana Trigiani, who agreed to read the galley of Silencing Sarah and offered a blurb for the cover of the book. She enjoys speaking to aspiring writers at local colleges and will be serving on a panel at the Christopher Newport University Writing conference in March.