Monday, February 18, 2013

Small Press 411: Authors Nicola Marsh, Jennifer Walkup and Jennifer Iacopelli

Part of our plan to give you information is an insider's view of the small press world. Today and tomorrow we welcome some wonderful small press authors who volunteered to share their experiences with our featured small presses. Enjoy!

First up, Jennifer Walkup, author of Second Verse coming from Luminis Books October 2013!

When Jennifer Walkup isn’t writing or reading, she’s spending time with her husband and young sons, listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and coming up with costume ideas for Halloween. She’s obsessed with good coffee and new recipes and likes broccoli on her pizza, flowers in her hair, flip-flops on her feet, and the number 13. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also serves as fiction editor for The Meadowland Review and teaches creative writing at The Writers Circle. Second Verse is her first novel. You can find Jennifer on twitter @JennWalkup.

Before you signed with Luminis Books, did you have any ideas or notions about what small press publishing would be like? Has that proven to be true or false? What made you submit to your Luminis Books?

Over the years I’ve watched friends publish in all sorts of ways: big 6, independent, mid-sized and self-published. I knew there was no one universal publishing experience and was both anxious and excited to throw my hat, er, book, into the ring.

I had been working on my young adult thriller, Second Verse, for a few years. I was in a unique position because I had just parted ways with my agent around the time Second Verse was really ready for editors. I had to decide – did I want to query agents again or did I want to query editors at independent presses directly? After some soul searching and research, I decided on the latter. And I’m glad I did!

I didn’t know exactly what to expect as I’ve heard all sorts of publishing stories, but I did my homework before querying and made sure to choose publishers that had a professional standing and vibe and ones I’d heard good things about. I bought books put out by the publishers I considered, taking care to check out the style and quality of design and editing. Deciding to go small pub was something I considered for a while before actually taking the plunge.

What has been the most surprising with Luminis Books?

Most surprising would probably be the marketing plan. Luminis has given me a publicist to work with and now that we’re getting close to ARCs being ready (squee!) we’re starting to work on the marketing plan for Second Verse. We're talking about all sorts of exciting things – reviewers, blog tours, book tours, trade shows, various press opportunities, school and bookstore visits, libraries, giveaways. Plus, it’s all very collaborative and cooperative. Lots of creative ideas getting bounced around.

There have been a lot of other great things about working with Luminis, too. My editor and the rest of the team are extremely professional. I love being able to banter back and forth on email or by phone to work out a plot point. And being able to ask any question and get a prompt and knowledgeable answer is fantastic.

Of course I have no basis for comparison as this is my debut novel, but the idea of small presses doing no marketing or no editing has not proved true for me at all thus far!

How would you rate your overall experience?

So far, so good! I’ve been thrilled and blessed to work with an editor that has a hawk’s eye for detail, is patient, responsive, incredibly thorough and really nice to boot. So far, it’s been a dream!

What would you say to writers considering small press publishing?

Consider all your options. There are so many paths to choose from and it really is such a personal decision. Different things work for different writers and different books. For me, a small press has been really great thus far. So I guess my advice would be to take your time and figure out what works best for you before deciding, but most definitely do not dismiss the small press option!


Next we have, Nicola Marsh. Check out her Goodreads page for all of her amazing books!

USA TODAY bestselling Aussie author Nicola worked as a physiotherapist for thirteen years before she tired of saying "I'm going to write a book one day" and actually did it. She started writing late 2001 and found once she started she couldn't stop! Also a Waldenbooks and Bookscan bestseller, she has finalled in several awards including the prestigious HOLT (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Booksellers' Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and won several CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Awards. 
Nicola loves the hip, vibrant, cosmopolitan vibe of her home city, Melbourne, where she's set the bulk of her novels, highlighting fabulous cultural and food havens like Acland Street (St. Kilda), Brunswick Street (Fitzroy) and Lygon Street (Carlton). When she's not writing she's busy raising her two little heroes, sharing fine food with family and friends, cheering on her beloved North Melbourne Kangaroos footy team or her favourite past time, curling up with a good book. You can find her on her website!

Before you signed with Month9Books, did you have any ideas or notions about what small press publishing would be like? Has that proven to be true or false? 

 Before I signed with M9B I'd already signed on with Entangled Publishing before they'd even launched, so I had a fair idea what small press publishing would be like. In Entangled's case, it has been incredibly exciting to be on board right from the very beginning and watch the company grow, and I'm seeing a similar excitement with M9B. My expectations have been proven true so far: I expect professionalism, to be kept informed and excellent royalty rates. 

 What made you submit to Month9Books? 

Two words: Georgia McBride. I'm addicted to Twitter and have been a member of YALitChat for a while, so when I saw Georgia had launched her own company (and the agented sales being made to M9B via Publishers Marketplace), I checked out the publishing guidelines and thought Scion of the Sun would be perfect for M9B. I had the book on submission with other publishers at the time but when the offer came through from Georgia, her vision for the book matched her enthusiasm and I signed up. 

What has been the most surprising with Month9Books? 

 The speed with which they're growing and developing. For a small publisher, there are some exciting announcements in the works and they keep coming. Once again, I draw parallels with Entangled Publishing, who followed a similar trajectory. It's empowering as an author to be part of fast-growing companies with a vision. 

 How would you rate your overall experience? 

 Excellent. M9B sends regular updates to their authors, keeping them abreast of developments. The editing has been fantastic (after publishing 38 books elsewhere, I've had my fair share of editors!) and the PR machine is hard-working, dedicated and enthusiastic. M9B is a modern company moving with the times and it's exciting to be along for the ride.  

What would you say to writers considering Month9, or small press publishing in general? 

This applies to all publishers, not just small press: Do your research. Be business savvy. Make informed decisions. With the digital publishing boom, there are many small publishers springing up everywhere so care must be taken before signing over your book and possibly your rights. I subscribed to Publishers Marketplace, which is a an excellent way to keep an eye on agents and publishers. Sure, not all agents report deals to PM but it's a start. Stating the obvious, but Google extensively. Check out the small press. Their employees. Watch for red flags. And once that publishing offer arrives, research even more carefully. Contracts should be scrutinized (literary attorneys are a good investment), paying particular attention to option clauses and non-compete clauses, which can restrict you from publishing elsewhere.


Finally, we have me! Jennifer Iacopelli, author of GAME. SET. MATCH. coming from Coliloquy on May 1, 2013!

Jennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave...ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favorite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett all of whom wrote about kick-ass girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-ass. She got a Bachelor's degree in Adolescence Education and English Literature quickly followed up by a Master's in Library Science, which lets her frolic all day with her books and computers, leaving plenty of time in the evenings to write and yell at the Yankees, Giants and her favorite tennis players through the TV. You can find Jennifer on her website and on twitter @JenniferCarolyn.

Before you signed with Coliloquy, did you have any ideas or notions about what small press publishing would be like? Has that proven to be true or false?

I'd done a little research, but honestly, I was so new to the game and it all happened so fast, I didn't really have time to think about it. What I DO know is now that I've signed with them, most of the stereotypical notions about small presses and digital only pubs are not true when it comes to Coliloquy.

What made you submit to Coliloquy?

I like to joke that I submitted to Coliloquy by accident, although that's not exactly true. I'm a member of and each month they hold a "Submissions Mailbox where a vetted handful of submissions are sent to a panel of agents and editors for consideration. I wasn't submitting to small presses or any presses at all at that point because I definitely wanted to sign with an agent and I didn't want to limit my eventual agent's options down the road by submitting to presses on my own. 

I got several requests from that Submissions Mailbox, one was from my eventual agent, Michelle Wolfson, another from Lisa Rutherford at Coliloquy. 

Clearly, it's the best accident that's ever happened to me.

 What has been the most surprising with Coliloquy?

The most surprising thing has been the level of editorial support. Everyone always says that small presses do not have the same editorial process as the Big 6 publishers. That's simply not true when it comes to Coliloquy. My editor, Melanie Murray-Downing, is a vastly experienced editor (formerly of a Big 6 publishing house) and in talking to my friends who have Big 6 deals, the process she's taking me through is easily comparable.

How would you rate your overall experience?

It's been incredible. Throughout the revision process I feel like I've become a much better writer and I'm learning so much about the publishing industry.

What would you say to writers considering Coliloquy (and small presses in general)? 

Consider all of your options carefully, if you have an agent, run everything by him or her. If you don't have representation, hop on twitter and/ or join a writer's group then ask as many questions as possible. There are positives and negatives to every option out there (Big Six, Small Press, Self-Pub) and they are all viable options. One of them is right for you! To those who are considering Coliloquy, I HIGHLY recommend them for their professionalism, their dedication to putting out the best books possible and their innovation in publishing's rapidly shifting marketplace.


  1. Thanks for including me, ladies! This has been a really great series! I can't wait to read Jennifer and Nicola's books too!:)

  2. Great to see so many strong small presses emerging -- they are picking up so many gems. It's a testament to how well they are reaching readers that I've already heard of all three of these authors! Much success to you.

  3. Great to hear these inside perspectives. Wishing these authors all the best-- I am especially excited for Second Verse!

  4. These are exciting times in publishing. Thanks for sharing your insights. And, Nicola, congratulations! You're my, heroine??? You know what I mean. Can I be you when I grow up?

  5. Interesting interview. Thanks for the insight!

    Kelly Ethan

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