Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Information about publishers of GLBT fiction.

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Re: Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:32

sbarret wrote:Hey Steve!

So glad you're joining us here!

My first question stems from this statement:
HH wrote:They're fast becoming the small press for GLBT anthologies and collections in the speculative genre.


How do you feel about that? I'm guessing it's HH's spin-machine at work :lol: Is this a goal/target for Lethe? and if so, do you have a strategy to share on how Lethe plans to achieve this? Or alternately, what is it about specfic short story collections/anthologies that catches your eye?
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Re: Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:33

LethePress wrote:Well, from what we've released, it certainly does seem like Lethe is headed towards more and more queer speculative fiction. It would be foolish of me to plan on being the dominant force in the field. :eyebrows: After all, we're still a small press and can't afford to pay someone like Laurie Marks.

What I am doing is this:

2008
------
Getting Life in Perspective - gay historical fantasy
Vintage - YA ghost story with various GL characters
Periphery - Lesbian SF erotica
Haunted Hearths & Sapphic Scares - lesbian ghost stories
Wilde Stories 2008 - reprint of best gay spec fic of 2007
Time Well Bent - GBLT alternative history stories
Second Thoughts - gay short story collection

So that's 7 confirmed titles of spec fic releasing this year. And that's not the entire list of our releases.

In 2009, I plan on releasing another edition of Wilde Stories. I'd like to do a collection of lesbian retellings of fairy tales, not erotic but fantastical. And I'm open to other projects.

I'm a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. I happen to know a good number of spec fic writers. So I could always pull in my connections with them to supply stories, as I did with So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction, a LGBT anthology of faery-related stories now up for a Golden Crown.
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Re: Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:33

HH wrote:
sbarret wrote:My first question stems from this statement:
HH wrote:They're fast becoming the small press for GLBT anthologies and collections in the speculative genre.


Actually, I was quoting Sacchi on that one. She said it and I figure she knows the field!
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Re: Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:33

sacchigreen wrote:Yep, I'm the one who said that. I did do a fair bit of market research, and, while there are a few other very small presses who say they're open to GLBT specfic, Steve has serious experience in the field, and picking up some of the orphans of Haworth/Harrington Park would seem like a good move to me even if my own book weren't one of them.

Regarding marketing, there's a fair bit of overlap between the GLBT community and SF/F fandom. One thing many of us involved will be doing is promoting the books at SF conventions. Catherine and I will be at WisCon, which has an enphasis on feminist sf. There'll be readings of both Periphery and Haunted Hearths, and a party for the two combined (as well as a Circlet Press party, where I'll be involved, as well). I'll be in the Haunted Hearths reading, helping with the party, quite possibly participating on panels about editing and publishing, and promoting Time Well Bent even though it won't be out yet. I may also try for Readercon in Boston in July. I'm an active member of SFWA, even though I've been so involved outside that genre for the last few years that I've been pretty much out of the convention loop. Then there's Gaylaxicon in DC in October; I think Catherine and Steve will be there, and I may make it as well.

As with any small press publications, both the publisher and the writer have to work on promotion any way they can. In specfic, that can be a lot of fun. (I hear that lesfic romance conventions can be fun, too; Catherine is also going to the GCLS convention in Arizona.)
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Re: Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:33

jisun wrote:Thanks for your candor, Steve. I'm absolutely flabbergasted at the spread you have to cover with your cash flow. (30 days to pay printer; 90+ days before customers' accounts receivable come due!) Nothing hurts like success, I suppose. I'm still trying to figure out where all the money is going. Seems like everyone is struggling to make a profit these days. Brick and mortar booksellers are struggling due to high overhead, publishers are struggling due to deep seller discounts and book returns while authors are struggling due to low royalties. It seems like the only one making money is Amazon. And they ran monumental losses for multiple years before they finally broke even. I guess you have to spend (a lot of) money to make (a lot of) money.

From my newbie perspective, it seems like the problem is really volume. In order to make any money one needs to break free of the iron clad tyranny of fixed costs. Which only happens at high -- not only printed but sold -- quantities.

But as you said, it's not about the money, it's about highlighting great work. Yours is an ambition that really warms the heart. However, it would be great if we could pay the hard-working people who make that happen a bit more! Editors, publishers, authors and sellers alike. I'm working on business ideas to try and make it happen...but I'm a ways off.

With regards to Sacchi's comment, kudos to you and Lethe! in my humble opinion, her words carry a great deal of credibility and the fact that HH repeated them only confirms it. Although she's very humble about her talents, HH is our resident expert on the publishing world -- a true author's advocate.

sacchigreen wrote:One thing many of us involved will be doing is promoting the books at SF conventions. Catherine and I will be at WisCon, which has an enphasis on feminist sf. There'll be readings of both Periphery and Haunted Hearths, and a party for the two combined (as well as a Circlet Press party, where I'll be involved, as well). I'll be in the Haunted Hearths reading, helping with the party, quite possibly participating on panels about editing and publishing, and promoting Time Well Bent even though it won't be out yet...Then there's Gaylaxicon in DC in October; I think Catherine and Steve will be there, and I may make it as well.


Wow! Now I'm really excited about WisCon. I'm registered to go, though I will likely be tasked to travel to far off places in May. I may not be able to attend, but with that description even the possibility sounds exciting. (Note: I'm assuming you're talking about a different Catherine, Sacchi. Possibly Catherine Lundoff?)

By the way, if you, Steve and Catherine (?) really are coming to D.C., it would be great to meet y'all. Drinks are on me! Only if you want to, though. People have been known to run screaming from my presence. Usually due to my cheesy Asian humor. (Note: No noh rae bang will be required.)

Edited to add: Steve, although my username is Jisun, I go by Catherine or Cat as well.
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Re: Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:34

LethePress wrote:
sbarret wrote:Do you market these books to the GLBT world or the specfic world (or both! ;-)

Sandra



I try to cover both as much as possible. We're a small (but growing) press. So sometimes it might take a year or two for a title to hit its stride. I have titles that released 2-3 years ago that are selling more than their initial release amount.
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Re: Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:34

LethePress wrote:Yeah, Lethe is a labor of love.

Few writers earn enough money to be full-time authors. And some times I'm, not even sure that they should make the leap to writing 100% of the time. What about affordable health insurance and retirement benefits? Having to pay for these on your own can be really rough.

So, with Lethe, if I can help a few people make a few hundred, or thou, in a year, I'm content.
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Re: Lethe Press interview: March 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:34

sbarret wrote:Nope. They've gone steadily down. Of course I'm only just starting my 2nd year, so I guess there could be a pleasant surprise in my next royalty check :yahoo:

I won't know much about the 2nd book for another couple of months, but the first quarter for each had a burst of sales. For the first book, the other quarters had about 1/2 the sales of that burst, and then I think about 1/3 in my latest quarter.

My first book was a romance and my 2nd an SF/romance, so I didn't exactly build the same audience with each. I'm hoping that delayed boost you talked about will happen when I get my next romance out.

What will be interesting to me is to see if the SF sells the same as the romance book. Each of their respective 1st quarter sales were about the same, so we'll see if this trend continues or not.

Of course if the SF outsells the romance, I'm not sure what to make of it. Either I wrote a really good SF, or a really sucky romance :lol:
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