A few years back, Sandra Ruttan launched Spinetingler, a crime ezine that aspired to do better than ezines of the past. It paid it’s writers enough for Edgar consideration. It went out of its way to behave the way many print mags were expected to print. And I’ll be honest, there are quite a few print mags that have fallen far short of that mark.
Recently, Sandra and her husband, Brian Lindenmuth, launched Snub Nose Press, diving into the e-publishing waters by doing, as I’ve often said needs done, all that stuff print publishers do well and writers generally suck at: Editing, covers, marketing. The result?
Well, I’ll let Sandra tell you about it. Sandra?
A few years ago, when I was starting to write fiction and trying to get it published, I got an honorable mention in an ezine’s contest, and my short story was published by the ezine.
For me, it was success. I’d written a story that had enough merit for an editorial board to pick for publication. It boosted my confidence in my writing.
What undermined that confidence was the commentary I heard at the mystery writer’s group I attended back then. I wasn’t “really” published, because I hadn’t been published in print.
It was around the same time that Spinetingler was born. I’ve always been a natural champion of things I love, and it seemed logical. I could share my enthusiasm about books that knocked my socks off, polish my rusty interviewing skills from my journalism days, and have the privilege of publishing promising writers – regardless of whether it was their first piece of fiction or they were a multi-published author.
We’ve survived some rough patches along the way – divorce, changes in ownership and changes in contributors.
We’ve also seen a lot of other ezines, and a lot of other publishing ventures come and go over the last 6.5 years.
That’s what’s made me cautious. Just this past week, I heard about a new site that was going to publish crime fiction by female authors. A few days after I heard they were open for submissions, the site had been pulled and no longer existed.
That’s why ezines and epublishers have to fight hard to earn the respect of the industry and to establish themselves as credible. It’s too easy to throw up a site and never do anything with it.
So, call us cautious, call us careful. But when we make a move, it’s because we genuinely believe we can sustain it. The decrease in start-up costs for publishing e-books has made it possible to expand, and while the traditional publishing market seems to be shrinking and publishing more and more commercial product and less experimental fiction, we can find the material that should be published, present it professionally to readers and help writers establish themselves in the e-book market.
Here’s a bit of general information about Snubnose Press.
1. We did not want to use the Spinetingler name because some time after I started Spinetingler, a publishing outfit in the UK with a similar name was started and we wanted to avoid any possible confusion.
2. We spent several months debating name and agenda before we agreed to a plan, and even then it took several weeks before we registered the site and started the online work. This was a plan that started with words and paper, built from a lot of discussion.
3. We had professional agents screen our contract before we made any contract offers to authors.
4. We work with professional artists who create original material for the site and do the cover art.
5. We publish short story collections, novellas, original novels and reprints.
I share the concerns that people have, about unedited works flooding the e-book market, and that’s where Snubnose Press comes in. We intend to brand Snubnose Press as a leading publisher of exceptional e-books. We launched with Speedloader, which has received rave reviews in the US and UK. We followed Speedloader with my novel, Harvest of Ruins – primarily because the novel had been edited already, and we have several short story collections contracted for the coming months and didn’t want to be branded as solely an anthology publisher.
Upcoming publications include short story collections by Patti Abbott, Keith Rawson, Sandra Seamans, and Les Edgerton, and a revenge novella by Eric Beetner, with three other original projects in negotiations.
Some writers don’t want to learn how to format their works, or spend time handling the business end of the equation. For them, self-publishing isn’t ideal, but if their work meets our standards of quality storytelling, lean prose and compelling characters, they might find a home with Snubnose Press.
Sandra Ruttan is the author of three novels, including her latest, Harvest of Ruins.