Maria Rogers is the Publishing Administrator and an Editor at the eBook publisher Liquid Silver Books. She holds a BA in Journalism, and has been a fixture with LSB since 2007. She, husband and two cats reside in the snowy Midwest.
Tell us a little about you and your publishing house.
Liquid Silver Books started out as the erotic romance imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing back in 2002. Our primary focus is eBooks, and we offer three "heat levels" to accommodate readers of all tastes. We are currently publishing 2 eBooks per week, and submissions are increasing steadily so we are kicking around the idea of upping the number of releases per week. As far as the substance of our stories, we publish all different types: romantic suspense, contemporary, historical, western, as well as GLBT romances, paranormal, fantasy, etc.
What does the job of "Publishing Administrator" include?
Well, the Publishing Administrator position was born out of a need to expand the staff at LSB to allow for more growth and development on the business and promotion side of things. The owners, Mike Feury and Raven Moore, last year decided to expand the publishing staff: Tina Burns took over as Publisher, Tracey West was hired as Acquisitions Director, and I took on the job of Publishing Administrator. Basically, I'm a sort of go-to person for a lot of things! Primarily, I function as a liaison between the authors and the business/administrative branch of LSB. I welcome new authors when they receive a contract with us, introduce them around our forum community, coordinate their info with our databases, and let them know about their book release dates. I also do the blog scheduling and make release announcements on the forum. I'm also an editor and the editor/author of the monthly newsletter, The Silver Siren.
What do you wish authors understood about your job?
One thing I would like authors to understand about my job is that they can come to me anytime with any questions they might have. Even if I don't know, I almost always know who does know, and am able to get them in touch with the right person. Another thing authors should really understand is that our forum community (lovingly referred to as "SiN"-short for "SilverNet") is a great source for new authors as well as established ones. We have a lot of information for helping with promotion, self-editing, tracking down reviews, learning about the business of publishing, etc.
What made you decide to edit fiction? And why eBooks?
As the daughter of a college professor and a librarian, I've always had an affinity for books, and fiction has always been my favorite. I enjoy reading everything from mystery to erotica to literature and poetry. When I was getting my bachelor's degree in Journalism, I realized that helping others' books become better was really something I could not only do, but that I would enjoy. I decided being a fiction editor was what I wanted to do , but I knew that moving to New York or Chicago or L.A. was not an option for me. Therefore, when I stumbled onto my first Ellora's Cave novel at my local library, I knew eBooks were my future. I actually began at LSB as a proofreader in 2007, and from there became the editor of the Silver Siren newsletter, then was given the editor position in March 2008. Shortly after that, Mike and Raven approached me about taking on more responsibilities, and the Publishing Administrator role was born.
What about the future of the publishing business excites you (or even worries you)?
I believe that eBooks are a very important in the publishing business right now, as every day brings more and more great, accessible books available instantly on your portable reader or computer. They have also furthered the erotic romance genre by leaps and bounds, and formed their own microcosm of an audience.
What kinds of manuscripts do you acquire? Who are some of the writers with whom you work?
Although I am not the Acquisitions Director, I can tell you that LSB is currently acquiring romances from all different subgenres-paranormal, GLBT, suspense, etc. We are always looking for well-written, quality stories, where the sex isn't the only thing that's selling the books. We are an erotic romance publisher, but quality stories, good writing and attention-grabbing characters are first and foremost what we are looking for.
Some of the writers I work with include Loribelle Hunt, Kate Willoughby and Robin Gideon. Kate and Loribelle are well-known in the eBook world, and Robin is a multi-published author who has several books published through Zebra/Kensington.
What about a manuscript grabs your attention and makes you consider making an offer?
I enjoy really tight, well-written dialogue, and characters with a witty sense of humor. I love a strong, sassy heroine and a wisecracking hero. I also like a story with good foreshadowing, maybe a little suspense. Pacing is very important to me, as I can't stand a story that drags me along-I lose focus, and it's the author's job to draw the reader in and keep the reader in. Basically, I need a tight story and fresh characters.
Some romances depend on familiar situations with a fresh approach. How do you feel about these traditional storylines?
Love them. I love tried and true formulas, as long as they have a fresh twist and snappy characters. One way I'm not limited to the familiar is with GLBT stories. I'm very open-minded and enjoy romance and couples finding love in any way, shape and form.
What are some story trends you're seeing?
In the eBook world, M/M contemporary fiction is really gaining ground, and I've also been seeing a return to more traditional genres like Western and Historical. While the paranormal genre is still on top, I'm seeing more than just vampires and shifters coming through these days-there are more stories featuring demons, faeries and other creatures like succubae and phoenix. I like seeing these new creatures, as it is a chance for an author to create more of their own mythology, to build their own world than is possible with traditional, well-known ideas of the vampire or werewolf.
What advice do you have for seasoned authors in the current publishing climate?
I would encourage authors to explore the option of eBook publishing. We have gained so much ground in the past several years, have launched a lot of NY-published authors, and there are many multi-published print authors who still write and publish with eBooks publishers. EBook publishing may be a different animal than NY, but it is no less a legitimate business and I've found LSB to be one of the most respected in the eBook sphere.
In light of some negative press regarding contract issues with a different eBook publisher, I would encourage any author to be sure to read any contract thoroughly and to research publishing houses before signing anything. Be sure you are hitching your wagon to a reputable publisher.
Thanks to Chris Green for inviting Maria to blog for us.