Publishers

 

RAVAGES by R.A. Padmos

Steve Gavan and Daniël Borghart are professional soccer players for Kinbridge Town – and also secret lovers.  All that changes, however, when Steve innocently wanders into a city park and falls victim to a vicious gang of queer-bashers who beat him within an inch of his life.  After that there are no secrets any more – and it’s a very long road back, for both of them, from there…

 

[From author's site: please be advised that this book contains both descriptions of brutal physical and verbal homophobic violence, and of sex between a loving and committed male couple.]

 

Buy Link HERE

~*~

SOLEMN CONTRACT by Morgan Cheshire

Connecticut, 1720:  In an attempt to give his family financial security, school master Jem Bradley hires himself out as an indentured servant – and thus begins an odyssey which will take him to the small settlement of Kennet and a burgeoning friendship with enigmatic blacksmith Will Middleton.  Trouble is never far away, however, and when Jem is accused of committing a bloody murder his future begins to look very bleak indeed…

 

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I’m starting a new enterprise – well, new to me – inviting guests to ramble, rant, promote and/or be interviewed. So for a variety of reasons, I thought I’d start off by contacting one of the e-publishers who have accepted my books; Manifold Press. They are very small, very British, and concentrate solely on Gay Romance. So, without further ado – and with ample supplies of tea and biscuits – sit down, make yourself comfortable, and meet Manifold Press!


As Manifold Press has now been in operation for something over a year, Chris, one of our regular authors, has suggested that it is probably time for us to introduce ourselves a little more fully – and perhaps also explain what we can offer to aspiring (or indeed experienced) authors.

 

The Manifold Press project actually started life as a conversation over lunch between two authors who weren’t very happy with their publication options.  For long and complicated reasons neither really wanted to go down the ‘find-an-agent-and-turn-pro’ route, being well aware of how difficult and time-consuming that can be and nervous of the degree of self-promotion involved, but the e-book publishers were mostly based in the USA and required a certain specified proportion of explicit sex in each book – and a good percentage of them insisted on American spellings and word usage even when the story was not set in the USA.  These were two requirements which frankly we had a bit of trouble with; we share the belief that it should be the characters who determine what sex scenes are included in the narrative and when – we can’t force them to do what they don’t want to do – and we also have the odd and (to some people) unreasonable view that if a book is set in the UK the characters should buy petrol rather than gas and use taps rather than faucets.  In short, we wanted a publisher that would do things our way rather than expecting us to fit in with theirs – and the solution to that problem was of course blindingly obvious; we would just have to go into publishing ourselves.

 

The next year or so was what you might describe as a learning curve, and a pretty darn steep one it was too.  We had to find out how to make and distribute e-books, for a start, and in this we were ably assisted by Hooper, our resident geek, who evaluated a lot of formats for us and assessed likely future developments.  This is one of the reasons we only produce a limited number of options; Hooper’s belief is that, as with other technological revolutions in the past, the field will soon settle down to a limited number of standard formats which will all be mutually interchangeable, so we opted for trying to do a few things well rather than a lot of things badly.

 

In fact that’s our philosophy in a nutshell.  What we haven’t mentioned so far is the hilariously small budget we had available for launching this project, and if we told you about the figures themselves you’d laugh yourselves silly.  At any rate we had to think very carefully about how we would spend what little money we had, and there were two things we felt we just couldn’t manage without – professional proof-reading and ISBNs.  We wanted to offer the very best product we could with the resources available to us, and as we have a couple of friends who are qualified proof-readers we were able to negotiate rates with them which would not bankrupt us before we started.

 

As for the ISBNs – well, there’s not a huge amount we can offer our authors as you will shortly see; the rate of royalties we pay is not as high as some other e-publishers – although we do offer them our individual attention and are willing to take chances on books some e-publishers might not even consider – but an ISBN is forever.  When the book itself is no longer available, those thirteen digits will still always represent that particular work by that particular author – and somewhere there will be a permanent record that the work existed.  In fact we go further; as we have ISBNs we are able to place deposit copies of our books in the British Library.  (We send them on CD.)  Our authors may not be the next John Grisham or J K Rowling, but we can at least guarantee them a modest measure of posterity!

 

We wouldn’t want you to think, though, that we don’t have the highest possible opinion of our writers!  We started off by exploiting all the contacts we could think of and bringing in people we knew slightly but who we knew could write.  We were very lucky in that respect – we found several established authors looking for new challenges, and one or two first-timers who knew that they had stories to tell but wanted a level of hand-holding other publishers weren’t willing to provide.  Some of these have become personal friends; some are just names on an e-mail and we wouldn’t recognise them if we bumped into them – the level of personal involvement is entirely up to the authors themselves.


This is a good point at which to stress that we like the authors to be the ones driving the process as far as possible.  We don’t issue a contract for a book until it’s complete, for example.  (In fact we’d prefer not to read works-in-progress; there’s nothing quite so disappointing as getting all excited about a book which is never actually finished.)  This means that our authors are not under pressure to finish their work to meet an inflexible deadline.  When we feel the book is in reasonable shape, however, we start talking about technicalities – contracts, royalties and publication dates.  We aim to publish two books every three months in our second year – which is just about all our human resources can handle – and we usually need a window of about 8-10 weeks for proof-reading and editing, depending on the word count and the author’s availability.  That means that we’re always thinking a good six months ahead; at the time of writing this, in mid-July, our August books are all ready except for the last few details and our November books are with their proof-readers.  One of our proposed February 2012 titles is still being written, the other is currently being read, and we are already starting to turn our attention towards next May for which we have one potential book pencilled in.

 

When it comes to revisions, we like to discuss things thoroughly with the author.  We’ll often call in an expert – there is a sequence in one of our August books which features a present-day English courtroom scene, for example, and we happen to know someone with extensive legal experience who was able to read it and advise accordingly.  However in cases of disagreement we won’t impose our will on the author; in the last analysis it’s the author’s name on the book, and although we can often assist we will only rarely insist.

 

Now, as to covers, maybe we should explain our choices.  In a book-store, very often it is the cover that attracts the potential reader.  To that end, and because we are in no position to pay for the services of an artist, we have settled on a simple house-style.  All our covers feature photographs (with the honourable exception of ‘Thrace’ whose artwork came from a stock illustration site) because they’re relatively easy to deal with.  Our books may not have to jostle with others on open shelves, but if they did you would easily be able to tell which ones were ours!  We stick to the same utilitarian font for our titles because it’s readable even at a reduced scale.  We retain the same layout because it’s simpler like that and also because we think it’s clear and straightforward and that’s how we’d like people to think of Manifold Press – as a no-frills, value-for-money, does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin sort of operation with the sole aim of producing high quality fiction at a modest price.

 

We’re delighted to say that so far our authors seem to be finding their experience with us a positive one.  We pay our royalties quarterly on the dot and although we’ll never be millionaires we are not terrifyingly in debt either.  More than this, we seem to be making a lot of friends and we have a regular pool of customers who keep coming back each time.  Also now that we’ve expanded to make our books available through Rainbow and (soon) All Romance eBooks – who can offer instant downloads and credit card payment facilities which are simply not available to us given the small scale of our operation – we find we are becoming better known all the time.

 

To anyone with a script they may be considering submitting to us and who may be in some doubt about the likely level of returns we can say this with complete honesty; your royalties from Manifold Press will not buy you a new house or a holiday in the Bahamas, but they will certainly finance the occasional treat – a DVD box set, a theatre ticket or a pair of shoes, perhaps.  We can also help to get your name and your work better known, which will always be useful on your CV, and put you in the position of being able to obtain a wide variety of feedback on your work.  We can’t turn you into a superstar, but if you have superstar potential we can certainly give you a platform for displaying it!  In short, if you have a book completed or nearing completion which meets our requirements – specifically as to having gay protagonists and an element of romance – and you feel this is the sort of deal that would be attractive to you, we’d be very happy if you’d get in touch.

 

Visit Manifold Press HERE

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