Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

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Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:21

HH wrote:This month, our spotlight turns to BLUE FEATHER BOOKS. Blue Feather is a woman-owned press, publishing books by women, for women. :cheer:

Image Image Image

Their website is here: http://www.bluefeatherbooks.com/


Established: 2005.
Owner:
Acquiring Editor:
Number of authors: 31
Number of books currently in print: 54
Accepts submissions from unpublished authors?: Yes.
Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes.
Accepts simultaneous submissions?: No
Sexualities accepted: lesbian, or strong female characters
Word length range accepted: 60,000 to 130,000
Preferred contact method: email entire ms + short synopsis


And -- don't worry -- HH will be madly picking Emily Reed's brains here on the Blue Feather thread for as long as her patience lasts :lol:
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:21

HH wrote:I'm going to start off combining the easy and the hard questions ;)

We know who publishes with Blue Feather: Mavis Applewater, Anne Azel, MJ Walker, and our own Joan Opyr, among others (as well as, rumour has it, Jane Vollbrecht!). But who is Blue Feather? Who owns the press? Who is the acquiring editor, and what kind of books does she particularly like, and what's her favourite type of chocolate, and does she accept bribes? ;)

There's been some conflicting information floating around the web about Blue Feather and an earlier lesbian publisher, Limitless Dare2Dream. BF has some of D2D's old books in their lineup. Other than that, is there any connection between the two presses?

Is Blue Feather specialising in any particular genre(s) in lesfic, like fantasy or mystery or erotica?
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:21

Emily Reed wrote:So you want to know who Blue Feather is, huh? Well, I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you ;)

Let me start off with the easy questions: Any bribe in the form of Leonidas chocolate will be accepted. Gladly. The Leonidas Marzipans will not be scoffed at, either. Good champagne to go with is also an acceptable bribe.

But to business. Blue Feather Books, as you said, is a woman-owned publishing company, publishing books by women, for women. And let me make the rumor fact: Jane Vollbrecht has joined our ranks, both as an author and as part of our business operations, and we're very excited to have her on board. Her first Blue Feather release is titled Detours, to be released in 2009.

The business upto now has been run by me and my partner in crime (and in other things I won't mention here...), Caitlin.

We do indeed have the old D2D catalog, and that's because Blue Feather acquired the publication rights to those titles. We're in the slow process of re-editing and reissuing those titles as Blue Feather titles, although our focus is more on new releases. But we are a completely different company, always were, and enough folks know us by now to know that we're good people. Good lord -- I'm trying to find an emoticon to go with that statement, and there are too many to choose from! :yikes:

We are currently accepting submissions, and we focus mainly on lesbian fiction. Any genre works -- mystery, romance, erotica (hey, Mavis is one of our authors!), sci-fi. Doesn't seem to be much of a market for sci-fi, unfortunately.

We will consider non-lesbian fiction as rare exceptions, such as the recently published memoir of the sister of one of the victims of the Green River Killer, which we thought was an outstanding book.

No single person accepts or rejects a manuscript -- we have a few people go through them, myself included. We try to be timely in our responses, although at times real life and paying jobs intervene. Damnedest thing, that.

Other than that, did I mention the Leonidas? Will offer contracts for chocolate.

And one final tidbit, since I found this cool emoticon:

:Jess:

I do actually juggle clubs and balls. It helps me juggle my life.

Floor's open to any and all questions!

Em
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:22

Nurse Jo wrote:I don't have any interesting questions about publishing I'm afraid but I am interested to learn how the name Blue Feather press originated? (especially as I bought a baseball cap from your stall at gcls)

Also, have you a background in publishing/editing etc.? How does one start up an enterprise such as Blue Featherpress?
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:22

HH wrote:It's okay, Jo, I've got enough questions for both of us :lol:

Are there any genres that Blue Feather is looking to increase their output in? Any new story types on the horizon that you think will be the next hot thing? Anything you're glutted with and don't want to see more of?

How long is your average turnaround time on a submitted manuscript (to make a yes/no decision)?

There's not much info on the website with regards to the staff. Do you have in-house substantive editors and copyeditors, or do you hire freelancers for your books?

Does Blue Feather do print runs or use a POD model? Do you work with a distributor whose sales team markets your catalogue of books to bookstores?

Emily, I know that Blue Feather and Dare2Dream are two different companies. The confusion over Blue Feather and Dare2Dream is probably due to the fact that Dare2Dream was started by Samantha Ruskin and Anne Clarkson. (I think that you and Joyce Colmar worked for D2D, yes?) Then D2D went out of business around 2005, and Blue Feather started up in 2005 by Joyce Colmar with Samantha Ruskin and Anne Clarkson as the two directors.

So, the same people who ran D2D also ran Blue Feather. And Blue Feather bought up the D2D contracts. D2D went out with a bit of a bang and public complaints of authors not being paid royalties. I guess it's not surprising that Blue Feather is seen as a reincarnation of the same company -- same principals, same books, and, many people will assume, same problems.

It would probably clear the air if you could explain what went wrong with D2D, why Samantha and Anne closed down D2D and then started up Blue Feather, and what happened to the authors who got caught up in the transition?
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:22

Emily Reed wrote:Hey Jo!

First, let me congratulate you on your excellent purchase of a spiffy Blue Feather cap! I think I'll make a picture of that cap my avatar for this forum

:eyebrows:

Anyway, to the origin of the Blue Feather. I love the story, even though it's completely apocryphal. It's rumored that in the 15th century or thereabouts, Italian female troubadours who were of a certain... persuasion (family, in modern lingo) wore a blue feather in their caps, to indicate said persuasion. It's blatantly untrue, but such a cool story!

Em
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:22

Emily Reed wrote:Since this Parte is longe :scared:

First of all, the history of Blue Feather's creation. I've posted this on forums, but it's been a long time... I didn't really want to go into all of that again, but I'll give the basics here:

Sam and Anne had overextended themselves, publishing too fast. They ran into financial problems. Caitlin and I, as their friends (and published authors of Dare2Dream, originally), pitched in to help them. When we saw that Dare2Dream was unsalvageable, we decided to form a new company, buying the assets and publication rights to the D2D titles. We never worked for Sam and Anne, we were trying to help them as friends. Sam and Anne were initially on the board of Blue Feather, and this was done for reasons of business continuity. That's why they were listed in the corporation registry when people did their very thorough searches online. They were never part of the business operations of Blue Feather, and have not been members of the board of Blue Feather for a very long time. Sam and Anne were never involved in running Blue Feather. We took a lot of flak from a lot of people who claimed we were just a reincarnation of D2D. I think that the past years have proven those people wrong, and have shown the community who and what we are. We publish very high-quality books, we have high-profile, highly respected authors signing and publishing with us, and we're like a family. It's been a long road, but all of the feedback we've received in a very long while shows me that we're long past being associated (however erroneously) with Dare2Dream.

Thus endeth Parte the Firste, and I'm hoping it's been laid to rest once and for all. I will mention that the whole reason this came up was because I was upset to see us listed on Predators and Editors as a reincarnation of D2D, and not recommended. If you ask any of our authors, you'll hear a very, very different story.

Onwards to the rest of the questions...
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:22

Emily Reed wrote:A few more answers, for anyone still reading the thread!


We're a POD company, like most of the small publishers in our little niche of the readership. These days, and it's about time, POD publishers are no longer considered vanity presses. Used to be if you were POD you were automatically looked down upon. But for a small company, it makes more business sense, so most of us are.

We're distributed through Ingram and Baker and Taylor, and recently through Bella Distribution, as well. We also work directly with independent bookstores.

Our average turnaround time to accept or reject a manuscript, officially, is six weeks. If we really like something, though, we'll offer the contract sooner than that <G>. Sometimes things are busy enough that it takes us the full six weeks to read the ms thoroughly and reach an agreement on a yea or nay, too. And there are rare times when we run over the six weeks, but we try really hard not to do that. I know that an author who's submitted their work is waiting anxiously for a reply, and every day can seem like six weeks.

Not sure what you mean by in-house editors -- as opposed to freelancers? We have several editors who are extremely competent. And that's not easy to find. Every single ms, besides the edit, gets at least two proofings, as well. Makes for a long publishing process, but better books, in our opinion. We're not a large company, we don't publish a ton of books a year. We'd rather publish less books, all of them high quality

About the genres: I love sci-fi and fantasy, so I'm very glad that we have I Christie as one of our authors, since that's her favorite genre to write, and she's very good at it. I'd like to see more sci-fi, but I think I mentioned that there doesn't seem to be that big a demand for that particular genre. Speaking only for myself, I like stories that are different and original. Doesn't have to have a happy ending. But in general we have a fairly wide range of genres (almost all within lesfic, of course), and we're happy that we're not publishing only romance, or only mystery, and so on.

Whew. HH, you're making me ramble here. When do I stop being a Newbie? And who said I'm unsullied???

Fire away with more!

Em
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:23

PaulaO wrote:The problem with the term "POD publisher" is that POD stands for two different things.

PRINT on demand is what BFB, RCE, and others use. They are a real publisher who PRINT their books when needed, rather than in large print runs.

PUBLISH on demand is what vanity presses such as LuLu and PubliSHAMaerica. They'll PUBLISH anything you pay them to publish.

It seems as though the term POD publisher is slowly becoming to mean Print on Demand since a lot of legitimate publishers are now using that model.
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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:23

wildlx wrote:Do you know if you sell more books online or in bookstores? I'm interested in your answer because you wrote that:

Emily Reed wrote:About the genres: I love sci-fi and fantasy, so I'm very glad that we have I Christie as one of our authors, since that's her favorite genre to write, and she's very good at it. I'd like to see more sci-fi, but I think I mentioned that there doesn't seem to be that big a demand for that particular genre.

I'm a reader of SF/fantasy and I am also a demanding reader. That said, I would say that (IMO) a lot of what is being published in that genre by lesfic publishers is not good enough quality fiction. Also, recent data from a Random House/Zogby Poll, showed that there were more people buying online SF/fantasy (19%) than romance (7%). I would like to mention that SF/fantasy is a genre where, even in mainstream books, frequently gender is questioned and there are LGBT characters which means that there is a straight audience for books with lesbian characters. So, could it be that the lack of demand is due to lack of quality? Or just lack of publicity of what you publish in the genre?
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