Paper Bag Press, www.paper-bag-press.com, is a small press specializing in erotic short stories and the discovery of new authors. Amy Barnes is the owner/publisher and has graciously agreed to answer a few questions for aspiring authors and lovers of the smexy stuff.
Amy, what do you think the hottest trends in publishing are currently?
The trend right now is publishing electronically--everything is being published as an ebook. With the arrival of the iPad, ebooks have become the subject of all publisher’s conversations. Will the Kindle die a slow, miserable death? Will all textbooks in the near future be read on portable devices? Do people read ebooks?
I can answer the last question--yes, they do. I’ve been publishing ebooks since 2005 and sales have only increased since then.
As a publisher, what do you look for in the submissions you receive?
Above all else, I look for quality. I have a great front-line editor who reads the slush pile for me now, which was not always the case. Before that, I would read every submission and decide on the quality. The story must not only be arousing to the reader, but must also have some sort of story, a real connection between the characters, and must have a good flow. Part of my decision-making is subjective, as all publishing is. “I’ll know it when I see it,” is unfortunately the way publishing quality is often judged.
If authors follow our submission guidelines http://submissions.paper-bag-press.com/ then their work will be read all the way through. If the submissions are full of mechanical and grammatical errors, it is guaranteed it will be unread past the first page, and rejected. High-quality writing means paying attention to the little things, too.
Most of our stories have strong dialogue, characters that show us their personalities through their actions, and hot sex of all kinds.
I believe that ebooks are the best venue to find stories that you’d never find in a bricks and mortar store. What have you found that made you do an arm pump and say yeah!?
One of our recent stories, “The Holy Book of Holy Fuck: They Begin,” by Joy Green, http://paper-bag-press.com/ebook/holy-book-holy-fuck-they-begin"is a near literary masterpiece. It’s as if she is channeling James Joyce while writing, but her story is more clear and a bit less stream-of-consciousness. I’ve got the second installment of that story in my email inbox right now--I am so looking forward to reading it.
Other stories that I think are far from brick-and-mortar are the “Rites of Spring” series by M. Christian, and “The King’s New Harem Boy,” by Wayne Mansfield.
Let’s not forget “mitch.com!” Is Mitch a cougar, Lori? I like to think so, and if so, the story is very current and hot to boot.
Where did your interest in publishing begin? And with that question I’m also curious as how you balance out publishing, being a wife and mother and having another business also? When do you sleep?
I became interested in publishing when I was writing my first book. I wrote it to make money (it is how-to nonfiction), not necessarily to entertain. Because I was writing and formatting it all myself, I decided to publish it myself, as well. I wanted to make sure that it was done right, and since I knew I would publish electronically, I didn’t see the point in having someone else do it. Like the how-to nonfiction, I like to do things myself. I enjoy Home Depot a lot.
Balancing my life is a bit ridiculous. It helps a lot that my husband works for our craft business from home, and can also do the laundry. He does the majority of the cooking, as well, thank goodness. I am pretty good at compartmentalizing my day: exercise is different from work is different from time with my daughter, etc. I try to focus on one thing at a time, and do it to completion.
What kind of story would you love to see in your inbox? Do you have a desire for a space opera, dominatrix threesome?
Right now I am looking for lesbian erotica, ginger characters (love the red hair!), and sure, space opera. Why not? I have no idea what that would be like--are you going to write it? Gay stories sell very well, as well as anything else that has a specific focus.
Thank you for joining us Old Farts. We’d like to give you a chance to tell our visitors more about Paper Bag Press. So the floor is yours.
From the beginning, I’ve wanted Paper Bag Press to be the place that people come for The Good Parts. I have read erotic romance novels, and while they are good, they are also tedious. If I’m reading erotica to become aroused, I don’t have time to get to the good parts. I figured that I’m not the only one--so I created Paper Bag Press.
Short stories of high quality are arousing but quick, easily consumed, and impart joy to the reader. I also enjoy the visceral response that the reader feels when reading erotica. This response is what makes erotica more of an art form than pornography, in my opinion.
One more thing-- I love having the opportunity to work with authors of such great professionalism and character. Some folks think it’s crazy, but I love payday. I love paying authors their royalties. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction, knowing that the business I have created can help someone else out, financially.
Paper Bag Press is growing all the time. Very soon I will publish our first audio book, which is another trend in publishing, what with the relative ease of digital editing technology. I envision commuters all over the globe turning on their iPods and listening to a scandalous story, while the rest of the folks on the train have no idea about the source of that grin. Ha! It will be another great addition to our catalog.
I encourage all authors to give erotica writing a try. You never know where your talents may be hidden.
To celebrate Amy's visit to our blog and the fact that it's Saturday and that alone is worth celebrating, one random commenter will be winning a copy of mitch.com from paper-bag-press. It's hot, it's funny and it's free.