Hi, I am so honored today to have as my guest Lee Morris, the owner and editor-in-chief of Eirelander Publishing. Lee, thank you so much for joining us here at Paranormal Romantics.
Thanks for having me.
Now, for the sake of honesty, I have to tell our readers that four out of the five authors here have contracted books with Eirelander Publishing. My book, Love Beyond Time, comes out December 4th. Rae, J. Hali, and Sandi have also sold books to Lee, so we are all big fans. All right, now that I’ve gotten out the disclosure, I can get going here.
Lee, what I wanted to discuss with you today is about the publishing industry. I think there is a lot about publishing that people don’t understand, even people who have been published don’t know the ‘ins and outs’ about what it actually takes to get a book from manuscript to published novel.
So, let me start out by asking you when the idea started to blossom in your mind that you might like to start a small publishing/e-publishing house of your own? When did that happen? Was there a catalyst?
Eirelander was two years in the making, though it took a lot of soul searching on my part before I really went into formulating this company. It all started with my utter frustration with the lack of truly intriguing stories coming out of what I feel is the next generation of publishing. Eirelander is dedicated to a high level of quality that still showcases the author’s own voice and concept but delivers excellence you see coming from a mass market publishing house.
What was the first thing you did when you decided to pursue opening Eirelander as a reality and how, this is really just for my own curiosity, did you come up with the name?
The first thing I did was talk to friends in the industry. This was more for my own self-assurance than anything else. Through the discussions I was able to pull together a great support staff including my senior editors, Zaynah Monodee and Natalie Owens. Both bring great talent to Eirelander. Our cover artist, Buffi BeCraft is an author in her own right and delivers excellent graphics to our authors. Our most recent member to join our staff is Pierre Roustan who handles Urban Fantasy/Sci-fi and Hard Fantasy. Each of them is an asset to Eirelander and all are extremely talented.
LOL to the name. The truth is I originally liked the name Ibernian. The fact was nobody knew what or where Ibernia was. Unfortunately, I also liked the name Dubliner, but that was already taken by a bar in downtown Washington DC. So after much consideration, I returned to the name of a starship I once penned about – the Eirelander. That became the name of the company. By the way, it’s pronounced air- (as in what you breath) lander.
How have you seen writing change over the years and in what ways do you think Eirelander can bring some of what has changed or been lost?
That’s the great thing about this industry; it’s rarely the same for long. I’ve seen the hayday of head hopping and the loss of the passive voice/adverbs/--ing verbs. I’ve heard all the supposed rules and normally I went out of my way to break them.
The thing about Eirelander is I want a lot of what was old style with the set-up and enough back story to get the tale going but I like the new voices I keep seeing pop up. There are a lot of great writers out there who are outside the box, and I’d like to give them a chance to shine.
The one thing that seems to stumble some of the authors submitting to Eirelander is that a firm plot is required for all stories published by Eirelander Mainline and even the Heat Line. For the Heat Line gratuitous sex is frowned upon. We appreciate heat scenes that propel the plot forward but don’t read as filler. This is very old style in that all stories are focused on plot and character development.
Tell me about the process at Eirelander. What happens when an author first submits a book and, let’s say for the sake of argument the book is accepted, what happens after that? In other words, what is the path the book takes from contracting until publication?
Eirelander has a straightforward contracting process. In our acceptance letter we’ll tell you what you should expect your editor to focus on. This may be character development, head hopping or a plot drop. I, personally, think this makes it easier on the author since they can make a determination of signing with us on editorial issues as well as our contract.
Also, in the letter of acceptance an author is assigned a tentative editor and given a tentative release date. From there the author can expect at least three full edits (based on the NY model of going from broad notes to detailed items) from their editor, a full copy edit and an errata. The fact is that at Eirelander your editor is as invested in a story as the author is.
I think, from my own experience, that most authors I speak with feel that they spend nearly 1/3 of their time in promotion of their novels. Do you have advice for authors pursuing that important but obviously time-consuming process?
Preparation. Preparation. Preparation. Promotion is about being on your game more than being behind the eight ball. If you have all your stop and drop excerpts ready, you’ll be better equipped to handle the daunting task.
At Eirelander we have a designated author preparation/promotion liaison. Her job is to set up certain dates for an author to promote her/his work so they aren’t totally lambasted by promotion. Our cover artist provides all authors with a banner to use for promotion. We try to ease the daunting task but we can’t do it all.
When you look at the literary market, how do you make the decision about what to put a call out for and what to say has saturated the marketplace?
The market place is an ever changing landscape. It’s made up from what is selling, what has sold to its limit and the maybe that the story sitting on your screen might be the next best thing.
I never say a sub-genre has totally saturated the market. If I did that, Eirelander would be rejecting vampire stories left and right. There will always be readers for specific sub-genres.
Eirelander puts out calls based on what is missing in the market and readers’ request. Our open calls are a bit more detailed and off the map of what other publishers are looking for because there are defined holes in the market. This is where we focus our attention.
What are Eirelander’s current submission calls?
We have three specific open calls but are currently open to any and all genres except non-fiction.
Unto Tomorrow. If you love Dr. Who or Sliders this is the line to write. It is a modern day traveler or a near modern day traveler who can go to anywhere from the future to a parallel dimension. It’s a fun call because the future is only limited by the author’s imagination.
Legacy 2150. This is our signature line of Hard Sci-Fi stories. Yep, that would be the hard side of Sci-Fi (think Asimov here). These stories don’t have to be romances but I think romance lets readers down on this aspect. This ain’t your watered down sci-fi or Star Trek on hormones. Focus on all the things that make a real Sci-Fi story intriguing and wow me.
Revenge is Sweet is our Heat Line’s special call. Ever been burned by love? Well, take it to the next level. These stories focus on getting over the hump and putting your character back in the saddle. These stories focus on character development and the arc which takes the ‘burn’ victim back to trusting in the often painful emotion of love. They should be either carnal or above on our heat level and include an HEA or an HEA for now.
If there was one thing you would let potential authors and readers know about Eirelander that you think they don’t, what would that be?
Eirelander is dedicated to quality. We want everybody to be satisfied. Though we recognize that not every story is for every reader, we try our utmost to honor the relationship between publisher/author and author/reader.
We’ve tried to establish ourselves for publishing stories that take a reader by surprise. Multicultural Anglo-Indian, Dragons in disguise, Urban Fantasy mixed with a true thriller, unusual time travel with paranormals involved – this is what we adore. We look for unique plots or characterization. We want the best of what’s not done or what’s been spun. We ask our authors to give us intriguing stories that don’t necessarily fit the NY or common e-publishing/small press mold.
Okay, final question, and I ask this of everyone who I interview, since I know you are an author as well as a publisher, please, if you would, tell me about your Muse. What is she like?
Sadly, my muse went MIA years ago. I think she got tired of being stuck in the vacuum of outer space. The biggest thing to me about writing is the challenge. That comes from writing for as many years as I have. I want to take on myself and push the limits I’ve written before. Whether it’s a historical, multi-cultural, paranormal or bringing fanta-historical into romance makes little difference to me at this point. To me the proof is in the final product.
I’m a writer who will try anything at least once. As long as I have a brain in my head, I’ll be stretching my imagination.
Thank you so much for joining us here and doing this interview.
Thank you very much for having me. It’s been a joy.