21 May 2014

Traditional publishing research - Crystal Spirit Publishing, Inc.

a guest post by Andrea Scovel (@AndreaScovel1) 

Vanessa S. O'Neal, Crystal Spirit Publishing

Lately,  I have been wondering what an author needs to be preparing for when looking to get published. Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Vanessa S. O’Neal with Crystal Spirit Publishing, Inc. Vanessa was able to answer a lot of the questions that I had. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear about Crystal Spirit’s independent publishing practices. It really broadened my perspective as to what an author has to choose from when it comes to finding a publisher. She was also able to provide some general information about the publishing biz. 

What is the most important thing that an author should know when looking to get published?
Oh, man! You just come out with the hard questions right away, huh? I really feel for authors in the publishing process. I am an author myself, and I know how hard it can be to try and get published.

Authors should expect to be rejected. It’s going to happen a lot; expect it. I think that the most important thing for an author to do when looking to get published is to know the publishers and what they expect.We [CSP] do not publish science fiction novels, but we get a lot of them sent to us every year because the writers are not paying attention to detail when looking at the submission guidelines. Do your research. Visit the publisher’s website and find out what the submission guidelines are before you send in your manuscript. Know your audience!

What format do you want manuscripts to be in?
All of that information is listed on our website under submission guidelines. We do accept manuscripts via email, but honestly I do prefer to have them bound and mailed. 

What do you expect from your authors?
I expect them to be ready to assist with marketing themselves. We’d like them to be active in their writing community and help to market themselves and promote their book. 

What are your royalty rates?
The royalty rates vary. As an independent publisher we are in a position to pay higher royalties than others. Our authors’ royalties range from 35-45%. We consider our authors to be our partners in this business, and you want to make sure that you treat and pay your partners well. 

How are your books distributed?
Our books are primarily distributed through our website and ebook distribution. Being an indie publisher, working with big box bookstores can sometimes be tedious because of the distribution rates, shipping and return guidelines. However, our books can be purchased through any bookstore; if it is not on the shelf, the bookstore can order, which is common.

What kind of support do you offer to your authors?
We offer a lot of support. We really pride ourselves on developing authors. If we find a great story but the author is new and still needs to work on the development of their story, then we have them work very closely with an editor and/or have them take a writing class. We really want to partner with our authors and help to develop them into strong writers. 

What is your biggest pet peeve in your line of work?
The thing that really annoys me is when a manuscript is sent to me and it’s full of proofreading errors. If you are going to send a manuscript in, hoping to be published, then at least use spell and grammar check! 

What is Crystal Spirit Publishing looking for?
We like to find great stories. A story that really grabs your attention and keeps you reading. If you can’t stop reading it then you know you’ve got something special. 

Thanks for chatting with me, Vanessa! It was great to hear all of your insights into publishing and to find out more about what Crystal Spirit Publishing, Inc. does. 

You can connect with Crystal Spirit via Twitter, Facebook or their website.

About the contributor
Andrea grew up on the Oregon Coast and moved to the Portland area 12 years ago. She and her husband have 3 kids and a cat. She is currently attending Marylhurst University and majoring in ELW with a concentration in Creative Writing. She aspires to be a freelance writer and novelist. Right now, she is working on a children's book with her husband and kids and also has a couple of other small children’s books in progress. 

Andrea would love to connect with you via Facebook, Twitter, her website or email, andrea (dot) scovel (at) marylhurst (dot) edu.

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