LET'S GATHER AROUND THIS BEAUTIFUL FIREPLACE AND GET READY FOR THE INTERVIEW! HERE WE GO::
We are honored to have Louis and Kimi here to discuss their new publishing company, Cool Dudes Publishing, launching Jan. 5! We are so glad you guys could join us!
1. Thanks so much for joining us Louis and Kimi! We are excited about the new publishing company, can you tell us how you came up with the name Cool dudes? I love it!
Kimi: Louis had the name. I thought it a great fit for a publisher of m/m genre fiction.
Louis: Thanks for this opportunity Bec, you always make folks feel welcome.
My hubby and I started a mobile retail book company in 2009 and we searched for a cool name that would attract both young and old customers. Man oh man, we tried every name under the sun, and each time the name was rejected because other companies had registered with the name. Then the registering authority sent us a list of five other names, and one of them was CoolDudes. We snapped it up immediately and within a week we were registered.
Bec- I do love the name, and the way you knew it was right for you and you grabbed it, that is great!
2. What made you two decide to team up together? It seems to be a great fit! :)
Kimi: Louis put out a call, and I thought to myself, “Here’s a chance to engage with readers and writers in a whole new meaningful way." He got in touch and there was this synergy that just flowed between us, and coalesced with the people on our team. They’re all a great bunch with various levels of experience and skills in the publishing arena, not to mention varied reading tastes. It makes for a well rounded outlook that hopefully will connect with readers and authors alike. This is really important to me personally because I have two children who are LGBT. I want to help produce books they’d want to read and to be proud of their mom for helping produce.
Louis: I put out a call on FB believe it or not and one of the first to reply was Kimi. She sent me a CV of her experience and it was everything I had hoped for. I was astounded. We chatted about our vision and it just seemed to come together. We won’t turn away any manuscript that has potential.
Bec- I love it when the perfect team comes together like that! I know the results will be awesome, I can't wait to read the first book, Draven's Gate! We are gonna feature the details of this book in the afternoon post, so be on the lookout friends!
3. Are you just focusing on one genre, or are you open to all of them?
Kimi: We only publish m/m, and while there should be an element of romance and a happy ending, the works do not have to be romance novels in themselves. Our calls for submission include (but isn’t limited to) romance, hard hitting science fiction, gritty urban fantasy, and young adult/new adult fiction.
Louis: Our categories aren’t limited at all. As long as the MS has anything to do with us gays, and as long as the stories are exceptional. We also want literary manuscripts, thrillers, poetry (as a collection), short stories, and non-fiction. We will do coffee table books too as long as the main element is gay.
Bec- I think it is wonderful that you will only publish MM, this is a genre that I wish people weren't afraid of, this is such a wonderful genre, with powerful, heartfelt stories that should be enjoyed by so many more people, I am so glad your company is helping to get these books out there!
4. If there was one piece of advise you could give an up and coming authors about the best way to get published what would it be?
Kimi: Ask for volunteer betas (check their experience first!) to check your story for plot holes and continuity issues, do a grammar check, format it cleanly per guidelines, and send us a submission query. ::grin::
Louis: I agree with Kimi all the way there. A good beta is essential to the story, particularly if the author has no recourse to a writing workshop or a “street team”. The best advice I can give any author would be to research the market. Find out what publishers want. Some do only romance. Others only thrillers. Don’t try to send a romance to a thriller publisher.
Make a book proposal: Our website makes it easy for the author. Just fill in the form and send it to us. It will cover the title of your novel. Genre. Length. Audience (age wise), YA or NA. Previously published books. A synopsis. And lastly, email us the first three chapters or the first 30 pages.
In your email please don’t tell us that this MS is the great American novel that will create a new consciousness among all Americans. That’s not what we want. You could say to us something like: This work is similar to Patricia Nel Warren’s work as it deals with gay romance in sport set against a background of the Olympic games.
Revise. Please don’t send us first drafts, we’re not in the rewrite business.
Bec- How awesome that you know what you want, and don't want from a book, I bet that makes the screening process so much easier!
Kimi: As submission editor, I’m looking for a few things. Firstly, I’m looking at the sample to see if if it’s well written, formatted as requested so that I can easily read it, and that is indeed m/m. Free of major grammar issues, that sort of thing. If I ask for the entire manuscript, I then read the entire work, casting a critical eye over story premise, characterizations, originality, lack of major plot holes/continuity errors. It doesn’t matter if you are an internationally acclaimed best selling author or a first time newbie, you get treated the same and have the exact same chance of being offered a contract by us. If you think you might just have a story that not only entertains but will resonate with readers, we want to read your manuscript.
Louis: Kimi has carte blanche on that aspect. But let me just say, we won’t turn away any writer who writes well. Action scenes, reaction scenes, subplots, surprises, no loose ends, the wrap-up.
In all the stories (with the exception of the Paranormal, Fantasy and Science Fiction)we want to see:
Characters that are real. Their motivations must be logical and necessary to the story. Our readers must identify with the character.
Dialogue. Does the dialogue seem realistic? Can the reader imagine real people talking like the characters do? Does the dialogue add to the story, or distract us from it?
Setting. Does the story have a context and place that is convincing and alive? Is the reader able to visualise each scene?
Point of View. Is POV consistent? Or does it leap (head hop) in the middle of a scene. Is the POV appropriate - do we get a clear enough picture of the MC’s inner drama - or too much? Could the story be told more interestingly from another POV?
Development. Does the story develop organically, without the reader noticing, or does the narrative make sudden leaps or get stagnant? The reader get confused at any point?
Pacing. How deeply is the reader drawn into the story? How long does it take to set up the story? Is the reader drawn into the story from the beginning. What is the hook?
Mechanics: At the outset, some writers experience trouble with the mechanics of expressing their fiction in words. Story, paragraph and sentence structure are all slaves to the flow of the story. If something is amiss, the reader will experience the lack of flow immediately. This is where beta readers are vital.
Kimi: Well, Louis is spot on here. Though I will say ::grins with her canine teeth showing ever so slightly:: if you send us fantasy/paranormal, I want characters who seem so real that they could be possible in a readers mind.
Bec- I love that you have it almost down to a science, what will work for books you publish! That is so important, and Kimi, I so agree with you on the characters jumping off the page, as an avid reader, those are the most enjoyable reads for me. You read to escape the pressures of everyday life, and what better way than to be transported into a story by an author who can take you there!
6. What made you two decide to start a publishing company? (a wonderful idea by the way!!)
Kimi: It’s a growing genre with an ever widening readership. It’s also a field where a lot of authors have been frustrated by length constraints and even requests that they change who the main character falls in love with. We wanted to offer an option so that if a well written novel is 30 k or even 120 k in length, it gets seen. We also want authors to have access to editors that won’t change the story to fit THEIR ideal. This is the author’s story, not the editor’s. If the editor wants us to have a story they craft the way they imagine it going, they can write it and submit it. ::grin::
I edited a manuscript for an author two years ago, a MS that I thought was fabulous in every aspect. I became his agent and sent it off to publishers. One publisher offered a large royalty base and of-course, the author accepted. But this publisher used three editors and one year to tell the author that he needed to change the love interest, that his MC may not die, and that no one is interested in the geopolitical references of a certain place upon which the book is based.
Both author and myself tore our hair out and refused to change those core elements to appease the publisher. The publisher wanted a book that the author did not write and they should not have offered him a contract based on false hopes.
I took it upon myself to publish this book, sought help, and got together with Kimi and several others who are well known in the writing industry, from places like the United States, Sweden, Australia and England.
Let me say something about manuscript length. Publishers require certain lengths and our max is 120k. They require a certain length not because they’re particular or odd or difficult. On a basic business level, manufacturing costs require that books fall within certain ranges in order for them to be profitable, and also for shipping. I’m talking printed books here. And that is the secret - realising that publishing is a business like any other. And if one wants to be successful, it is useful to stick to these rules.
On the other hand, readers require certain lengths for certain types of books. An avid romance reader knows that a Silhouette Desire novel will run to a maximum of 50 000 words, whereas an Avon historical romance will give a more leisurely read of 100 000 words.
With ebooks it’s not much different, because in the end, the ebook also goes to print. So we need to keep that in mind.
Bec- That is a very good point about the length of a story, and it is so wise to make a word limit! Something I never would have thought about doing, but I have read some books that would have been 5 stars had they stopped way before they did, almost a too much of a good thing type of thing! Great idea guys!!
7. What is your main area of advertising? Website? Facebook? There are so many options nowadays! :)
Kimi: We’re on most of the popular social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest… We also maintain a friendly relationship with bloggers who run promotional news. Review blogs may contact me via the submissions page in order to get added to a list of reviewers who receive notice of upcoming releases that they may request review e-copies of. Reviewers must provide their blog URL, or Amazon/Goodreads review page link as part of the vetting process.
Louis: What Kimi said. Include Google+. I’m also developing a monthly catalogue and looking at a weekly online newspaper that will cover everything, from the literary world to the sporting world. And of course, word of mouth. We want people to say, “Wow! This new kid on the block seems like a good place to start!”
One question I have been asked is; How do I know if my book will sell? My answer is always; You don’t. You pray.
If there is one thing I would like to mention it is this: Gay society has come a long way from the turn of this century. More countries have legalized, and many more are considering it. But there is still a stigma attached to LGBT. For this reason we intend to build a comprehensive social outreach by supporting charities all over the world, starting with Leona Windwalker’s fabulous book called Sol’s Solstice.
Leona had kindly offered her part of the royalties to the South African organisation called GALA, (Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action) and you can find GALA here:
Bec- I loved Sol's Solstice, and I am so looking forward to the sequel, (I hope Leona is reading this) ;) any author that donates royalties to a worthy cause is more than worth their salt to me!
8. If you had a slogan that summed up your company in a few words, what would it be, or what is it?
Kimi: CoolDudes in awesome reads for the discerning m/m reader.
Louis: Ah…Our books. Your books. Their books. The small publishing company with BIG gay books.
Bec- Those are great! Just for fun I am gonna throw my hat in the ring: For MM reads that turn up the heat or pull on the heartstrings, grab a book from CoolDudes Publishing!
Thanks guys for the wonderful interview! Now we have a few links and we have the awesome CoolDudes logo for you to see, can't wait!!
Kimi: Thanks for having us here!
Louis: It’s a pleasure, Bec. I think I’ve spoken now for the rest of the month. Visit our site, folks. It’s clean and easy to negotiate. We welcome any and all comments.
HERE IS THE AWESOME LOGO:
IT IS SO PRETTY! FOR SOME REASON I WANT TO GO SURFING NOW, AND I HAVE NEVER SURFED A DAY IN MY LIFE! HERE ARE SOME LINKS FOR YOU TO CHECK OUT:
I KNOW THE COOLDUDES LINK IS IN THE COMMENTS, BUT I AM GONNA SHARE ONE MORE TIME TO MAKE SURE YOU GOT IT :) THE LAUNCH IS IN 2 DAYS, SO BE SURE TO USE THIS LINK THEN FOR THE LAUNCH!
THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY, I HOPE YOU HAD AS MUCH FUN AS WE DID WITH THIS FIRESIDE CHAT! WE WILL SEE YOU BACK HERE LATER WITH A LOOK AT DRAVEN'S GATE!