1) What made you found Stitched Smile Publications? I think what was the motivating factor was watching indie authors struggling and no one helping them. In fact, some were being taken advantage of. I had a good grasp of the skills needed to format and do covers, and a great network of people in the industry so we began to chat. Heath Stallcup was a huge factor, too. He told me I should open a pub house and help people to a bigger degree than just covers. So I put it all together and went for it.
2) Name one of the difficulties of running your own press, if you could? Lack of respect for the process. I think it's the biggest heartache I face.
3) You put out between eight to twelve books a year, anthologies included. Do you think you can keep up the pace? I'm not sure. I'm more focused on the quality of stories we get and the work submitted by our VIP authors who put in a lot of their time and effort back to SSP.
4) What is your chief concern when it comes to writers in general? My chief concern is the level of impatience and the rush. I know they're excited but planning a marketing strategy as a whole takes time and brainstorming.
5) I’ve heard some rumors of this Press being a stalling ground. What do you do to prevent an author from merely spinning their wheels, so to speak? I'm not sure where that rumor originated or why. We have an author who, within a year of being published with us, has swept awards, and taken his writing to a whole new level. I don't know another pub house who gives such undivided attention, or one on one time, as our company. If an author is willing to learn-if they are willing to better themselves-they will get something out of their time here. If an author is only here to get famous then yes, they are spinning their wheels. We do things "right" not "right now".
6) I’ve watched as your titles regularly dip into the top fifty during release, sometimes drifting into the top twenty-five. What is a secret that you wouldn’t mind sharing to that kind of success? There isn't a magic wand. It takes a lot of hard work. Authors who get their hands dirty, and put time into engaging their readers, networking with reviewers, doing interviews, etc.
7) Now, I know you take on interns from local colleges. What kind of work do you have them do? We give them tasks in line with their chosen field of study. I don't hold back any knowledge from them. If they want to learn something, I make the time to trash them. All they have to do is ask. Some come to do editing and build their resume, some come to do marketing, and others come to learn about publishing.
8) Is there a place in Stitched Smile Publications for more than just horror?
Stitched has a place for any dark fiction genre. We just happen to get a lot of horror authors!
9) What would you say to those that claim that Stitched Smile won’t last beyond the five-year mark? What are the long-term goals? I can say the people who are worried about our five year mark should be more focused on their own long term goals. We work hard, we continue to learn, and we aren't trying to rush the system. Anyone who does will burn out hard and fast.
10) Tell me how a novel is selected to be signed up for a contract. What’s the process? I get first look at 99% of all novels. If I like it, I show it to my head editor and my executive liaison. If they agree, we have a long chat with the author via Skype and discuss our process. We ask what their goals are and go through any questions they may have. If it's a mutual feeling of being a good fit, we offer them a contract.
11) You’ve shed light on so many facets of the operations, but one face of the diamond is that of the continued author presence in your ongoing work. Is that a contractual obligation to promote other people’s work, or is that done of free will? For VIPs it's something we highly encourage because they are a team and we know it takes a team comprised of authors to know what authors need with regards to support. For other authors, we don't require it. We ask, and leave it up to them.
12) You’re an author as well, are you not? What is your latest claim to fame? I am! My latest novel is THE UNFLESHED: TALE OF THE AUTOPSIC BRIDE. But I also have several short stories out - most recently in HYDROPHOBIA which is a charity for helping victims of Huricane Harvey in Houston.
13) What are you working on right now? I'm currently writing THE UNHOWLING, about Viking Werewolves - that's all I'm going to say about it right now!
SSP website: www.stitchedsmilepublications.com