Just so I would have something to bring to the table –I decided to interview my publisher Rhiannon Rhodes of Dark Roast Press. Now I am not in the business of interviewing but I did attempt to ask her questions that hopefully will give others an inside view of what she is all about. For all writers, I checked and Dark Roast Press is open for submissions.My questions are in bold and her answers are in Italic. And before I forget, you can check Dark Roast Press out for yourself by clicking HERE.
A big hello to Rhiannon Rhodes–owner and creator of Dark Roast Press Publishing. First, thank you for doing this interview. Second, here’s hoping I do you justice lol.
Third, tell us a little about yourself.
Hey C, thanks for having me! Oh wow where do I start… I am a 32-year-old college student by day and an Erotic publisher in between homework and family. Born and raised in Chicago, I grew up reading books and loving Sci-Fi TV. I may have a slight obsession with Star Trek and Star Wars and little TV show called Supernatural. I mean just a slight obsession **whistles innocently**. When I am not working towards Dark Roast or doing schoolwork, I am usually reading fanfic from the various fandoms I love. The mentioned above of a part of those fandoms I am a part of. I am somewhat boring really.
What inspired you to open a publishing house and dive head first into this crazy business?
I accidentally fell into this whole world about five or six years ago now. I was unemployed due to cutbacks and while looking for a new job I stumbled across a Hayden Christensen yahoo fangroup. I joined and met some great people who shared the same love for reading I have. Over time and a few crit groups later, I began my own Yahoo group with some friends. They later branched out and created the now defunct Aphrodites Apples Press. That press was home to some fabulous writers. Meanwhile, I stayed in the slash (aka GLBT in fandom) fanfic world until about two years ago when Aphodities Apples needed someone in promotions and recruitment. They wanted to branch out into GLBT fiction and I was asked to help. Just before the GLBT books were to be released, Aphrodites Apples had to close. I was left with four authors who were optimistic of being published. By this time, I made so many friends in the business and learned so much that I thought I would be able to break into this business. Those four authors deserved to be published and I wanted to make it happen.
It is crazy and it is a lot of hard work but really it’s phenomenal. I have met great people, work with amazing authors and love every aspect of it. It does have its downsides and sometimes it like dealing with high school drama all over again but the ePublishing business is an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.
What makes Dark Roast Press different in your eyes or how do you hope to make it different versus the many other Publishing houses out there?
We started out having a GLBT focus. It’s what I knew and it’s what I have experience in but we have become so much more than that. That evolution and constant growth is what I want for Dark Roast. I had a post it note at my desk, though now it has lost its stick and is now in a book but every day I would look at these words, “slow and steady, smart and sassy”. The “Black Coffee Crowd,” a term I borrowed and ran with, is just that. They are readers that are smart with a touch of smart-ass to them. They like their stories just like they like their cup of coffee – no mess and no frills just a cup of coffee, strong but flavorful. Klatsch members are those that want to get away in a story that is believable yet imaginative and will make them think a little. Every publisher has a niche, some love the fantasy world of happy tried and true stories and some love the pure sex all the time stories, Dark Roast tries to be somewhere in between.
Since I have worked with you concerning my book Bound by Blood: The Awakening, I know you’re real big on quality verses quantity. I also know you are not afraid of controversy or publishing something that may go against the grain compared to what other publishing houses accept. I know that you have your own personal tastes but can think outside the box when it comes to a genre other than your own choices. Can you explain to our readers what that means, the Quality especially? What are you looking for when it comes to submissions? Can you give us some examples of your writers and what makes them shine in your eyes, their talent?
My main focus is the story. It’s the bottom line. I don’t care how long it takes for an author to get their story out as long as they get that story out. Once that story is out then you go to work. Words are raw and sometimes need direction. Really, that’s the brilliance of the story, the raw untamed work that authors turns in. When I read, for submissions for copy editing, I look for that spark that shows the heart an author puts into their work. Most of the time the heart equates to quality. I can tell when someone has poured over a story when you can see the thought and effort that go into it.
That being said I am flexible. There are books out there full of things society does not like or would rather hide off in a corner. Our readers are not afraid of those things and neither am I. I could sit here and quote a few rather meaningful clichés but in the long run, the things that are considered bad evil or wrong can make a story that is good and right. Luckily, I have authors that have the same beliefs. All of them, including you, have taken something to its utmost point. That is real writing – push your words, push yourself and push your readers.
What are your goals concerning Dark Roast Press?
I want to get the name out there. Fame and fortune are not what I am looking for but I am looking for my authors to have their work recognized. They are the rock stars I just give them the stage. Plugging forward, though, eventually I want to see us in print and in a brick and mortar. It’s not something I want to go into lightly but it’s a big move that I want to make sure Dark Roast does right.
Any author out there knows that there are plenty of sites that will not touch an e-book–for reviews or reading. According to those sites, anything Epublished isn’t worth being published at all. They claim the books couldn’t cut it in the real world, are chalked full of errors, or are no better than being self published. Now this is changing and changing fast. I have even found Agents that consider an author who is Epublished, to be legit. I guess what it all boils down to is a few bad apples ruin the bunch which can be said for any subject or profession. Still, when you come across places like this, that are head strong and stubborn against authors who are Epublished, how does that make you feel and how much more determined does it make you to prove them wrong?
To many, ePublishing was a hobby, a creative outlet. The business isn’t taken seriously because some feel we are not serious ourselves. Many have the impression that one may be a lonely housewife who is bored with nothing to do. That most certainly is not the case but when I come across those that have this view, I must laugh. I know my authors have more talent in their pinkies than some authors in the brick and mortars. I would throw any DRP book up against the books of the “establishment.” A fine author is one who can weave a colorful tale from old dusty words. That author needs no pedigree and could easily be found living in your neighbor’s basement. For every DRP authors & friend that recieve the positive review and the book of the month award is one more piece of evidence that proves the naysayers wrong. Find an ePublishing house that gives a damn about its content and I bet ya a Snickers bar, their writers are gold!
Where do you see the future of publishing heading? Where do you see or hope to see Epublishing in the next 5-10 years?
I see ePublishing validating itself. It will be a slow process but we will get there. We will be just as equal in respect to the traditional method. ePublishing doesn’t need to surpass the traditional method in sales or any aspect really, just garner the respect of being called a good read by those that paved the publishing way.
When I first researched Epubs and Small Presses, I learned that they were starting to take the world by storm. They weren’t as commercial as most Traditional Publishers were and had no fear of publishing against the grain. Some even say that they made it easy for people to read erotica of all levels again and then there are the more controversial genres to consider. What mark do you think Epubs and Small Presses are making in the world?
ePublishing is another option and a viable one at that. Our base is electronic media, the wave of the future and everything that the human mind could want is open on the internet. There is always the chance of a young child or adolescent picking up a book in the bookstore or your home that they shouldn’t read. ePublishing allows a certain level of guaranteed security and anonymity. You can always password encode a website and lock up a file in your computer. With taking the risks out of the situation, one is free to explore what is in the deep recesses of their mind. One can learn something they had not known before or come alive under a kink they keep secret. In many ways, ePublishers offer the same level of freedom their reader can find in their homes and bedrooms. ePublishing will always be attractive because we give them an arena to be themselves.
Thank you Rhiannon for giving us such in-depth answers and showing us what Rhiannon Rhodes and her publishing house Dark Roast Press is all about.
Thanks C for giving me the opportunity to speak with everyone.