It's hard to believe that RFP is a year old. RFP was the first unknown publisher to accept one of my stories and make it into a book. I was scared stiff but Steph, and at that time Julie, made it a wonderful experience for me.
Okay, we've had our ups and downs and some of the downs have been big ones, but that's the way with all business relationships I think.
But not all of it has been about business. I've made a good friend of Steph and we've gone on to write a whole series together. I'm not going to use this space to publisicze Upstaged but if you want to check out a character interview with my two favourite characters then check here
But on to the business of today. I have been lucky enough to corner Steph, busy lady as she is, for an interview. Hope you enjoy.
1. What made you decide to set up your own publishing company?
Essentially, I have always wanted to own my own business, always. Publishing seemed like a natural to me since I was an author already and knew a lot of the ins and outs. Obviously, I didn't know them all, far from it, but I wanted to strike out on my own and see if I could make it. I love owning a business and despite the hefty paperwork involved, especially in the set up, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
2. How did you and artist, Mika Star find each other to create such a killer combo of publisher and cover artist?
Luck! No, honestly. I knew Mika already via facebook and we'd chatted at length. She's done some other covers for me for my indie books, which I liked; so I gave her a shot at being my cover artist for RFP. I love her work, as do the authors...she does a great job!
3.What attracted you to the books you've published for other writers?
Story is always key to me—always. I don't like instant relationships, where they meet and an hour later they're in bed. No. I like a good story with some history behind it; build up, drama - some action doesn't hurt either, then they can delve into the romantic parts of things.
4. What kind of books are you looking to publish in the future?
Currently, I'm open to contemporary, cowboy, sci-fi, and fantasy. Also, paranormal have been huge sellers, as people eat up the vampires and werewolves voraciously! I plan on offering more of those, along with what I just listed. Any story will be considered though, as long as it fits the guidelines.
5. What are your personal goals for RFP?
My goals are varied. Firstly I want to get a website up and running so the books can be sold directly. Also, I'd like to have more cover artists, and have merchandising available – bookmarks, tees, things of that nature. I'd also love to offer paperbacks, but demand is pretty low for those right now (everyone has an e-readers it seems).
6. What has been the most/least rewarding thing about running your own publishing company.
The most rewarding things have been running and managing my own company, and seeing such wonderful authors come on board and be pleased with the experience they've had.
The least rewarding things were tussles and scuffles with electronic file creation, publicizing the company and its authors, and niggles such as cover issues, editing, etc.
7. looking back over the last 12 months, what do you think are your:
· greatest triumph... was getting my first book signed (which was yours I believe)!
· greatest challenge... was finding enough time to promote the books
· proudest moment... was when an author hit the bestsellers list for the 1st time.
· most frightening moment... hmmm, frightening? When I didn't place a book for sale on the date promised and it was a mad scramble to get it uploaded.
8. What do you offer to new authors looking to sub a book to RFP?
I offer an open mind, a good timescale for turnaround, and a fair royalty rate. I read everything that's received personally, and if it’s not accepted, I give specific reasons as to why and the chance to edit it and sub it again. I will always be fair-minded and willing to work with any changes.
9. What projects/plans do you have for the next 12 months?
My major project has to be setting up the website. This will be key for increasing our presence, improving and controlling sales. I think this will be key in attracting more authors and helping those who already work with RFP.
Another project would be to look at ways of promoting and publicizing the company and its authors. For example, I’d like to acquire some merchandise, to be used in contests, giveaways etc. I like the idea of key rings with my logo on them dangling from purses and pocket chains all over the place.
An ongoing project, of course, is signing more authors and promoting those we already have.
Finally, I would like to find more cover artists. Although Mika is a gem and very talented I would like to offer my artists a range of styles to suite their own personal needs.
10 Where do you see RFP in five years time?
Wow, that's a long time from now. The market is so fluid right now it's tough to tell, but I hope I'll have a bigger presence in the publishing world, with at least 50 books on the site, and a bigger staff to assist me.
11 Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Frankly, I have no idea. I'll be older, and hopefully wiser, and in our dream house at long last. Career-wise it’s my dream that RFP will have grown and become successful enough to support me, and possibly my staff and authors, although that might be more a 15 year dream.
12. There have been those who have criticized you for being unprofessional and unqualified for what you do. What do you have to say to those people and to others who might be in a position where they have the opportunity to realise a dream but are concerned about those who will knock them just because they can?
There are always people who will criticize you for everything you do, good or bad. I know it was a risk, but it was a dream and goal of mine, and I made it happen. I’ve put my heart and soul into RFP, to make it the best publishing company it can be. I know it’s small and it could be more professional but, at the moment I’m just one woman doing the best she can with the resources she has.
Of course it could be better. With a team of professionals and sufficient resources, it could compete with the big publishing houses, but I don’t have that. What I do have is a small team of committed editors, artist and authors who are as committed as I am to making RFP a success.
It’s unfair to judge on what can’t be achieved and I would prefer to be judged on what has been achieved. I truly believe that, with more hard work and the trust put into the company by its current authors and new writers who are prepared to take the chance and be part of something new and exciting, then one day I hope that we will be able to offer than level of service.
There might be many more publishers out there who can offer more expertise and resources but there are few who can offer more enthusiasm, commitment and desire to do whatever we can to make sure each and every one of our authors succeed.
To those who are afraid or timid about pursuing their goals I say— dare to do it. I did that in 2007 and it kick started what I'd written into an actual published book for the first time. I'd realized my dream as an author, and it started me on the path of writing many more and finding wonderful fellow authors, editors, artists, etc...and dozens of wonderful fans too! Don't ever give up on your dreams. Time and life are short. Dare yourself to live it.
13 Anything else you want us to know about RFP Or Steph Danielson?
I might be a new kid on the block, but I've been around for a year, RFP has great helpers and we're just getting started. I invite wannabe authors to put their stories together and sub them; who knows, you might have a bestseller and not even know it!
Thank you Steph, that was a very enlightening interview. To find out more about RFP and the wonderful authors who find a home there, go to Romance First. They have all kinds of things going on there at the moment...sales, competition, giveaways. Take a look and see what all the fuss is about.
I am also pleased to introduce one of RFP's wonderful writers, Donna McIntosh
And to celebrate our birthday please take a look at All Romance Books where you can find a book by pretty much all of us for the grand old sum of nothing at all.
YES FREE BOOKS FOR ALL