Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Time to Celebrate…

No, I did not hit the Powerball – but the thing I am celebrating is just as good. On September 17th of this year, Divertir Publishing will have been in business for five years.

When I started the company in 2009, I knew there was a chance I would not be writing this blog. That year, based on the number of requests for ISBN blocks from new companies, Bowker estimated that approximately 80,000 new publishers went into business. That same year a statistic came out that 95% of new publishers fail in the first two years, while 98% were no longer publishing books after five years. So I’m personally quite proud to be able to say that, at our five year anniversary, we have seventeen books in print and another fourteen under contract.

In my next few blog I will cover some of the things I feel we have accomplished, some things that still need to be done, and what we have planned for the coming year (such as the fact that our new website will debut within the next two weeks). In this blog I think it’s important to take time to thank some people who made this anniversary possible.

Beth Harvey was out first Acquisitions Editor, in addition to being the editor for two of our short story collections and several of our full-length manuscripts. Beth and I met at the karaoke show of a mutual friend – yes, I meet writers at the strangest places. Beth has moved on to start Insomnia Publishing, and I wish her all the best with this new endeavor.

I met Lisa Keele on Deviant Art – she ran the Daily Lit Deviation group. Lisa started as an editor with us, editing one of our first short story collections and several of our novels. She then served for a brief period as our Senior Editor. Lisa has moved on to other pursuits not directly involved with writing, and again I wish her the best.

Elisa Nuckle and Mel Ngai both worked as editors for us in our early years. Elisa has returned to school to finish her degree, while Mel is now working with Beth at Insomnia Publishing.

Jen Corkill-Hunt has been our Acquisitions Editor since the beginning of the year. Jen started as a reviewer for us, moved into editing after taking the Kobayashi Maru of all editing tests (which I have since stopped using because of the ban on cruel and unusual punishment), and now runs the editing side of Divertir Publishing. I consider Jen to be both my “partner-in-crime” and a close friend, and she is responsible for several of the new ideas we’ve implemented this year.

Jayde Gilmore started with us as a reviewer, while Laura Jamison started as an intern. Both now review and edit manuscripts for us. In addition, Laura is responsible for designing the incredible cover for Repeat Offenders by Bill Bonvie and is the girl on the cover of Guardian’s Nightmare. Without the dedication both have shown to Divertir Publishing our backlog would be a lot larger than it is.

The people responsible for wading through the queries to identify books that might be of interest to us are our reviewers, and without them we would have much less time to actually publish manuscripts. Our current reviewers are Michael Gilmore, Sam Tower, Ben Lyles, Lylah Caldwell, and Marie Wagner. In addition Sarah Welsh, one of our authors, reviews romance novels for us.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank our authors. Each of them put there trust in a small startup publishing company, and without their trust, hard work, and continued input on how to improve things at Divertir Publishing we would not be where we are today – celebrating our fifth anniversary.

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Brave New Worlds…

For the past few blogs I’ve been writing about what we look for when reviewing manuscripts for various genres. This weeks I want to tackle Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’m putting them together in the same blog because, while the genres are very different, often what I look for is not.

  • Make your worlds interesting. Often when writing science fiction and fantasy you are creating a new world (the exceptions being urban and paranormal fantasy, which is more about mythical creatures living in our world in the present or past). Does the reader know all the details they need to about the spaceship your characters are traveling in and the planet they are visiting? Can the reader visualize the creatures (mythical or not) in you work? Can the reader get a sense of how scary the “badlands” in your fantasy novels are from the description you’ve given? A world that has not adequately described to your readers will be uninteresting.
  • Have fun with characters. What I really mean here is that you can have a lot of fun when developing your characters because they don’t need to be human or possess standard human traits. In The King’s Tournament, a fantasy novel by John Yeo currently under contract with Divertir, “Balor the Barbarian” speaks about himself in the third person, throws a cow through the Duke’s window to pay his taxes, and proves he not a complete ass when he tells one character how to beat another in battle. A Twist of Fate by Mark Johnson relies heavily on the use of magic in a world where several of the characters are demigods. Some authors overlook developing their characters in as much detail as their worlds when writing science fiction and fantasy. This is a mistake, because two-dimensional characters make uninteresting books.
  • Have fun with science. What color would the skin of a creature be if it lived in a predominantly methane atmosphere where the respiration of oxygen did not occur? You can have a lot of fun with science, even if your book is a fantasy novel. In Kindar’s Cure, by Michelle Hauck, the main character is afflicted with a rare disease and finding a new source of a metal ore is the secret to saving the kingdom. Michelle’s book also relies heavily on magic, which some would claim is just science we have not discovered yet. In one of our upcoming book, Harold and the Purple Wormhole by Richard Mellinger, the “wizard” is a man from the future who creates items he claims to be magical.
  • The basic laws of physics must still apply. An object falling towards a large mass (like a planet) will ultimately crash into it because of gravity unless the object is diverted. An object cannot travel faster than the speed of light without either finding a way to turn it into pure energy and back (which would still only allow travel at the speed of light), finding a way to shield the object so it is not converted into pure energy when it hits the speed of light, or creating a “fold” in the space-time continuum that can be used to “shorten” the distance between two locations. Having things happen in your manuscript that readers know can’t happen (or more precisely that readers can’t believe are possible) is the fastest way to lose a readers in either of these genres.

Whether you are writing science fiction or fantasy, the details you provide readers really are critical and could be the difference between an exciting book and one that never finds a publisher.

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