She Dreams of Books
Lida Quillen is the founder and owner of Twilight Times Books, an independent publishing house that publishes critically acclaimed literary, mystery, science fiction and fantasy books. By her own admission, Lida dreams of books every night.
Founded in 1999, TT Books has evolved from a cutting-edge, pioneering e-publisher into a high-quality, full-service independent publishing house with an impressive catalog that showcases more than 70 authors and 150 titles including my latest novel, The Curse Giver, and many of MB4's very own Aaron Paul Lazar's novels.
As you may know, publishers are busy people, so I was delighted when Lida agreed to this conversation. During the next few weeks, she'll answer my questions in a series of four posts here on MB4, where she will share her journey as an independent publisher, her publishing philosophy, her views on which books deserve publication and why, and the trends of a changing industry. She'll also offer her best advice about finding a publisher, marketing your book and the future of writing.
Today, Lida tackles a couple of questions regarding something that is mystifying to the average writer and downright mysterious to the newbie: The life of an independent publisher.
Hi Lida, welcome to MB4. For those readers who don't know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What's your background, when did you decide to go into the book business, and why publishing?
After attempting such occupations as air traffic controller, real estate agent, apartment manager, etc., I found a field of endeavor that is challenging and personally rewarding. I enjoy writing and by 1995 I had garnered publication credits in over twenty print publications with my short stories, poetry and articles. I had also completed the first five chapters and a chapter-by-chapter outline of the rest of the book for five different novels. These are best described as a dark fantasy set in another universe, a contemporary urban fantasy, a fantasy set in the Old West, an epic fantasy set in another universe and a supernatural murder mystery.
After I discovered the Internet, my fiction writing slowed to a trickle. There is something seductive about having 20MB of space to fill with your own creative works. I had fun building a personal website dedicated to beginning writers who plan to write and sell their work. I wanted to share what I had learned along the way to becoming a published writer.
When I first discovered the Internet in 1997, I was amazed at the number of highly talented and yet unpublished writers I kept meeting online. I could feel their anguish and frustration at not being able to break into print. I decided to do something about it and created Twilight Times ezine in July 1998 to showcase great writing and to give these writers an outlet.
Next I started listening to writers who could not get their novels published. In January 1999, I started Twilight Times Books to present the works of talented, but under-published novelists.
What is your workday at Twilight Times Books like? What kinds of activities consume your time? What part of your job do you enjoy best? What part of your job to you like least?
A typical day starts out at 8:00 AM. I am on the computer in my home office coordinating the various stages of the production process, assigning cover artwork to an artist who can best convey a sense of the story, matching a qualified editor to a particular manuscript, putting the finishing touches on the InDesign files that will be uploaded via ftp to the printer, etc. I upload files for new ebook releases to our various ebook distributors and begin promo and marketing efforts. The workflow is handled electronically, for the most part.
By now, it is 3:00 PM and the FedEx driver has delivered cartons of books to my car port and the UPS driver has left cartons on the front porch. With several hundred books in the house, the new books will need to go to a temperature and humidity controlled storage area off-site. I place galley copies in boxes along with a cover letter and marketing material for various pre-publication book reviewers then load the boxes of books in my truck and drive ten miles into Kingsport.
A quick visit to the post office and/or the UPS office and the orders are on their way. The cartons of new books are tucked away at the storage unit and I head home. I’m back on the computer to coordinate with authors, editors, artists, work on promo, publicity and marketing as well as respond to email queries (several hundred email messages most days), etc. After supper I typically work on the computer until 1:00 AM or so then fall into bed and dream of books.
Actually, I enjoy all aspects of publishing. I enjoy giving talented authors their first break and watching them develop as writers. Fortunately, I also enjoy the publication process. We have authors, editors and artists from countries around the world. A new book from an author in Denmark might have a Canadian editor and cover artwork from an artist in Australia. Finding the best editor for a particular author, commissioning the artwork, bringing out the book in various formats, sending it around to the distributors, handling the marketing and promo, etc. is all part of the publication process – a most interesting and challenging endeavor.
Thank you so much for answering our questions today, Lida. And to our MB4 readers, Lida will return to talk about how she decides which book deserve publication next week!
*****About Lida Quillen
Lida E. Quillen is an author, editor, publicist and publisher. She is the founder and owner of Twilight Times Books, Paladin Timeless Books and Twilight Times ezine and current owner of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine.
About Twilight Times BooksThe mission of Twilight Times Books is to promote excellence in writing and great literature. TTBooks is dedicated to enhancing the prospects of getting great fantasy, historical, literary, mystery, science fiction and Young Adult books into the hands of readers.
Twilight Times Books will be open to submissions from February 15th to March 5, 2015. Send a cover letter, synopsis, first chapter and marketing plan in the body of an email message. The subject line must begin with ttb or ttbooks.
Lida E. Quillen, Publisher
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – or – email@example.comWebsite: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/
Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She is one only a few Hispanic women writing fantasy in the United States today. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories.
When she is not writing fiction, Dora also writes features for the award-winning blog Murder By Four and Savvy Authors, where writers help writers. She lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.
To learn more about Dora Machado and her award winning novels, visit her at www.doramachado.com , email her at Dora@doramachado.com, find her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.