Friday the 30th day of August 2019, Burning Willow Press, LLC announced it is closing its door for good. I’ve waited until this moment to say anything in-depth. I have announced I was going to land on my feet, regardless. Adaptability is key in any business. Many are sad, understandability and some are angry, which is fair. I befriended many through this company. They pushed me creativity and professionally. There is much I will forever credit Burning Willow Press with. The Sowder with. They encouraged me when I didn’t realize I needed it.

One of their mottos being ‘family first’. Many in this field push themselves hard and forget the importance of family. They knew this and helped guide many to the best of their abilities to not forget to take a break and spend time with what’s important family. They helped me so much more than words will ever explain. I’ve learned a lot because of them. I began working for them 4 years ago when Kindra Sowder asked me to do a cover for her. Impressed enough with my skills I was hired a few months later. This led to me meeting and working for most of their authors. They also hired me to work on many things I hadn’t before on the side as a freelance graphic artist doing work on business cards and logos.  They gave me freedom to try new things, things I’d never considered attempting before.

I have a history of this, not trying something until someone’s challenged me or encouraged me. I wrote in genres because of encouragement and Edd and Kindra have, to date, been some of the best bosses I’ve ever had. They stood up for me when need me, helped me, and treated me without bias as an author. Though I was staff when it came to sign my work, I had to do what everyone else did. Submit my work, bite my nails, and hope it was good enough.  Many assumed I had some favoritism because of my being a staff and I never saw this. I was treated fairly and like everyone else.

I didn’t speak much over the years about my time with the company. What I said was positive and honest. Which I’m sure many figured was me towing the company line, but it wasn’t. I never honest had anything bad to say and still don’t. I only hope moving forward I’m treated by publishers and clients as fairly as they treated me. They set a high bar of standards.


Now the doors are closing I’m going to move forward. I’ve already began talking with publishers and getting information. BWP will be dissolving my contracts, as per my request, so that I can go ahead and move forward. This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the people, but business-wise I must move forward. I’m finding new homes for The Blasphemer Series, Human Ouija, and other things that were not announced or previous released. All of My Every Things was not published with BWP so this will continue moving forward as is.

Things will continue forward perhaps quicker as I get back to work. I’ll be writing and adapting short stories, as I have been doing. I will not stop doing what I’ve been doing the past 5/6 years. All the short stories that were in the Crossroad books, from BWP, will be returned rights-wise to me and I’ll be moving forward with them.

SFA will only be available until November 1st, 2019 and then will be removed from shelves. The last money it has gathered will be donated, as it has been for the past year since its publication. The rights will be returned to the writers as the contracts end.

My short story The OWLS is in this collection and great news it’s up for pre-orders right now, currently it’s 99 cents what a deal! Check out the free sample below or buy from Amazon!

Synopsis:

Crossroads in the Dark V: Beyond the Borders

A light in the darkness followed by a young boy. An infestation set to take over the warm Florida coastline. A robot that finds his inner strength. From a derelict ship with dark secrets to enlighten to a politically correct future to trouble for a team of scavengers, and weirdness along a country road… 

Welcome back to the Crossroads for a fifth volume. Beyond the Borders is a collection of volatile stories about fantasy, horror, and science-fiction from some of the best in independent writing. Every page is ready to be turned with anticipation for the next twist as your thoughts race with fear of what will come next. For these tales are pure heart-pumping entertainment and told by some of the most unique minds in the science-fiction world. 

Stories from: James Master, Bryan Tann, Nikki Collins-Mewha, S.L. Kerns, Donna Marie West, Joseph J. Madden, David H. Johnson, Brian G. Murray, Josh Matthews, Veronica Smith, Cindy Johnson, Kerry Alan Denney, Jeffrey G. Roberts, Edward Kenyon, Jeff Prebis, Carol Browne, David Solar, Frank Martin and L. Bachman.

All profits for this anthology will be sent to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Network in hopes that one-day medical science will catch up to science-fiction and be able to cure childhood cancer and disease. 


You can also click this link to go to the page.

I had the honor to get a hold of some of Mr. Sowder’s time and ask him a few questions. I wanted to do a more in-depth follow-up to the post I did called The Word: Mythbusting – Stereotypes and Misconceptions of Self-pubbing and independent pubbing and that’s what this is meant to be. I wanted the perspective of a publisher and not just my perspective as a working author, graphic artist, and formatter in the business.

Edd Sowder is the type of man to not hold back his thoughts or feelings when it comes to business and thus he was the perfect person for me to ask. He’s been publishing for many years and brings to this Q&A his experience and expertise.

I hope in some way that those that read this gain a perspective and insight they may not have had before on things behind-the-scenes of publishing. So many of us go into submissions unaware of what may be going through the mind of the person we’re sending a manuscript to. This is inside one such mind.


In your opinion, what should someone know before submitting to a publisher?

My opinion varies from day to day. Recently, well…when our submissions were still open, I noticed that a lot of authors were submitting first drafts, if not second. I feel that if you are an author, and have written the next great novel in history, you should have someone beta (prior to submitting your books a “beta reader”) your novel from one end to the other and help you with suggestions on fixing plot holes. Additionally, if you could allow time from when the novel was submitted, many publishers have what’s called a “slush pile” of books to read and yours is just as important as the others, so if they say it will take at least three months, don’t email them a week later and say, “did you like my book?”


I feel that if you are an author, and have written the next great novel in history, you should have someone beta your novel from one end to the other and help you with suggestions on fixing plot holes.

Edd Sowder

Many believe the publisher should take on full responsibility for the marketing of a project where others believe in splitting the responsibility, what should people know on this? I have read where some will do all the marketing for the author and others will do zero.

Ours is somewhat in the middle of that. In today’s world, an author should be just as proud of their book as the publisher is. Now if the idea of marketing your books is just completely devastating to you, guess what? If you self-publish it, you will still have to do that as well but you will not have the same amount of reach, you will have to come out of pocket for the edits, cover, interior, and deal with the business side of being published. It is not as glorious as some think. Here is a piece of real information, NO book is accepted by a big five publisher anymore without a marketing plan submitted for approval by the author. I have heard this and read it in several areas. Will my company do it for you? No, not exactly. We will do some light promotional posting, some follow up after the book is out, a few posts on social media a few times a year for you but that is about all the time I have. I actually expect my authors to do the bulk of it themselves. It does show when they, and/or I, do find a few minutes to post something about the back catalog. There is no reason why it would not show something if the author did it as well. Each author is different though. And to ask if an author will or will not, well… most will at the beginning of the life of the book, but soon after it has come out, they discontinue to do so. I have seen it a lot. It is unfortunate but we all get pretty busy.


Here is a piece of real information, NO book is accepted by a big five publisher anymore without a marketing plan submitted for approval by the author.

Edd Sowder

From an active publisher, what is your take on what you see authors doing wrong?

I think I just answered that in the last question but I can elaborate one that I have seen all too often that burns me, and many other publishers up. You have a book with a publisher, and one with another, and you have self-published a few. Great! Good for you! We could not be happier for you and if you ask, I am certain that we may even help you spread the word on your newest book that was self-published as we have the time… just don’t forget that this industry does not revolve around the last book you let out into the world. It is hinged upon all of your catalogs. You have a book here, there, and now a new one but when did you stop loving that first one you have with the initial publisher who took a huge risk on your name, book, concept and put their funds into it to make your dreams come true? Is that now the step-child you never liked? It happens all the time and it hurts not just the publisher but you as well as nobody remembers the first books you put out because you are spending so much time promoting the newest one. Bundle it, ask for a sale to help promote it, make sure that you are not bastardizing the prior catalog you have just because the newest book is ready. They all deserve equal attention.


…just don’t forget that this industry does not revolve around the last book you let out into the world. It is hinged upon all of your catalogs.

Edd Sowder

The situation is a newcomer/green writer to the business doesn’t know what to do, they’ve got a bunch of things done, ideas, and no networking. Advice for those people coming in and unsure what to do and what not to do?

Ask questions. Each publisher, author, editor, graphic artist, will have ideas of what you should and should not do to get things rolling. Join a couple of groups online that are primarily other authors and be certain you join a few that are readers too. You will need beta readers. Those that will read your book before it goes to print and help you mold the idea. These people are just as important as the ones who publish it for you. I cannot express to you how important in today’s world social media is for sales. Everyone behind a computer screen is anonymous and nobody knows more about your story than you do. So, share it with friends, family, and loved ones online in excerpts. Don’t give them a whole chapter but give them a part of the book, a passage, that you are particularly fond of writing. Do some interviews. Get on some podcasts as a guest, start an online blog, guest write on a few. It will keep your name in the spotlight and when your book comes out, people will be looking for it.


I cannot express to you how important in today’s world social media is for sales. Everyone behind a computer screen is anonymous and nobody knows more about your story than you do.

Edd Sowder

You’ve gone to many conventions, met a bunch of celebrities. What can you share for an author starting off in conventions? What should they remember about dealing with celebrities?

Be yourself, be gracious, and be thankful. If you are an introvert, as most authors are, take someone along with you who can help liven up the table a bit for the passersby to talk to. If you are an extrovert, like me, go out a few times a day and walk the area to see who all is there. Meet other authors, artists, and for Pete’s sake, get bookmarks, business cards, or something else that will tell others who you are in case they do not buy today. New authors going to cons are hard sells. But sometimes, if you can get in good with a neighbor, they will point people in your direction for you. We have done it for others and likewise, others have done it for us. As far as dealing with celebrities, if there is an after party to go to where they will be there, do it. No excuses. Just go. They will be more relaxed, likely having a drink, chatting with others, and less in the mindset of having to make money. We have met some incredible people on our journeys and many of them are still friends with us to this day. Some have even brought us into cons with them as we get along with them so well. Remember, at the end of the day, we are all just people. Being in the place of a celebrated actor/actress, remember to respect their privacy, ask for permissions, and be cool. All of them like to get something cool from fans (many are readers too), and if you can get a photo op at the end of the con with them, all the better.


Be yourself, be gracious, and be thankful. If you are an introvert, as most authors are, take someone along with you who can help liven up the table a bit for the passersby to talk to. If you are an extrovert, like me, go out a few times a day and walk the area to see who all is there.

Edd Sowder

What’s your take on the saying ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’? Some don’t submit to more than one publisher whereas some prefer doing this?

While I would like to have exclusivity on all published works, that is unreasonable. We suggest—since we know we are not the only publisher out there—to shop around. If you tell us that your book is being submitted to other publishers, as well as ours, we will understand. It will not speed us up in getting to your potential work but we do want to know ahead of time. Submitting to a publisher and then not submitting to others while you wait seems like you are willing to just wait and see. I suggest, weighing the options and looking for who seems to be the best fit for you. Much like we are implementing new tactics for new submissions, we expect that you, the author, are willing to look to not just reputation of the publisher but also ask questions to authors that are with that publisher. If the overall atmosphere seems good for you, and you are willing to wait on them, then by all means submit and be inquisitive but if you get an overall bad feeling from them, or their authors are highly dismissive of how they work with them, walk away. Keep in mind that not all authors will feel that they are getting a fair shake from the publisher, and not all publishers will feel that the authors are doing their fair share of working with the publisher. So, take all info with a grain of salt, so to speak, and weigh the pros and cons of each decision.


If the overall atmosphere seems good for you, and you are willing to wait on them, then by all means submit and be inquisitive but if you get an overall bad feeling from them, or their authors are highly dismissive of how they work with them, walk away.

Edd Sowder

Pet peeves that authors should know about publishers?

Well, that is a good question. That list can grow substantially daily and shrink just as fast depending on the schedule, the stressors of the day, and the attitudes of those involved, myself included. One thing that publishers hate is for someone to refer to themselves as the “next Stephen King, Anne Rice, James Patterson, Lovecraft, Wells, Harris, etc.” Let us make that determination for you. No, on second thought, let your readers and reviewers do it. If your style is much like Koontz, or Rushdie, your readers will notice. Don’t make the assumption that you are the next anyone. Be you. Be honest. If you are influenced by those prolific authors, then, by all means, state it in interviews that you enjoy their works but if you are trying to be the replacement for Gaiman, you need to have the clout to back that up. Another pet peeve that publishers, well I personally hate, is an unedited manuscript sent in with credits installed in the file that says who edited it. Now, all editors will see a sentence differently than the next but if you have several hundred mistakes per chapter in your submission but it was supposedly edited prior to submitting, and you named that person, as the editor, we already expect a very clean version of the MS. When we get in there and start reading only to find these mistakes, missing words, sentence structure that is horrific and not in any way ready to be considered… it slows us down. If we really want to know if the sub is worth it, we will read on trying to ignore the issues but sometimes, the issues will outweigh the story. This is where beta readers come in handy. Additionally, never submit a first draft. I think I said something about this earlier… or a second. Revisions are your friend. A submission is a piece of your soul. You are baring it for the other world to see and it is also a career path. Treat it as such. Never get too upset if you get a rejection. It comes with the territory and developing a thick skin as it takes to handle it will go further for you than wallowing in self-pity. Hopefully, the rejection that comes back will have some creative ideas to help you grow. I know when I send one back, it has ideas in it to help the author but many other publishers will send a form letter. Those are too impersonal and it’s like they never read through your submission. Why waste your time like that? Keep in mind that most publishers work on a release schedule and many times it has to fit with their preconceived budget to operate for the year. If they tell you the book is accepted and will not release until such and such date, ask them what you can do in the meantime to help them and yourself in potential sales. They should have some good ideas to get your name out there. Remember, your name is now a brand, the book is a product. You need to sell it as much as the publisher will, if not more. You are competing with over one million other books a year to get a piece of the proverbial pie in sales, although other authors are not your competition by any means.


One thing that publishers hate is for someone to refer to themselves as the “next Stephen King, Anne Rice, James Patterson, Lovecraft, Wells, Harris, etc.” Let us make that determination for you. No, on second thought, let your readers and reviewers do it. If your style is much like Koontz, or Rushdie, your readers will notice. Don’t make the assumption that you are the next anyone. Be you. Be honest.

Edd Sowder

Interesting Reads and Related Content

It’s not just this book alone that is important, but the entire Crossroads in the Dark anthology series that is. Why? They are charitable. This edition marks the fifth installment of the series and it’s raising money for St. Jude’s Hospital. All the work that goes on behind-the-scenes (cover services, formatting, editing, and any/all that goes into the production of publishing) are donated to help the cause, taking nothing from it.

This edition includes stories by: Jim Master, Kerry Alan Denney, Josh Matthews, Nikki Mewha, Veronica Smith, Lloyd Kerns, David H. Johnson, Joseph J. Madden, Edward Kenyon, Frank Martin, Brian G. Murray, Carol Browne, Jeffery G. Jeffrey G. Roberts, L. Bachman (that’s me!), Jeff Prebis, David Solar, & Donna Marie West. 

This title is coming soon.

The next anthology in the Crossroads in the Dark series is coming soon. I submitted my story O.W.L.S., which is a sci-fi story. I’ve wanted to do something dealing with aliens for a long time but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to, but I made it work.

This particular story revolves around a woman being torn between reality and her belief she’s losing her mind. It’s a short story. You will find yourself questioning just along with her. You may even feel for her if you’ve ever had similar things occur. I wrote this inspired by how many alien experiences mentioned owls, yes the bird, or seeing them. The large eyes of the bird mimic the same description of the large-eyed greys.

There are tons of theories that are on the internet, some connecting owls to aliens and then on to Atlantis. Some say aliens shapeshift into owls to watch over humans. Some even say it’s just the human mind becoming confused with what the being is experiencing, blurring the birds and the well-known description of greys. Whatever the case may be, I was instantly inspired when looking around the net and my own library researching for what I could do.

This title is coming soon.

Southern Fried Autopsies: An Anthology

Southern Fried…
Not necessarily an odd term if you live in the south or have visited the southern states of the US. In the south, we have monster trucks, lots of fishing, hunting, beaches, humidity, peaches, and a whole slew of stories that happened during the time of Northern Aggression. But what was Southern Fried? What does that really mean? It was once referred to as something, typically some kind of dead animal, that was battered, crispy, deep-fried in oil, and while tasted incredible, was artery clogging and blood pressure rising food. Not anymore.

Now Southern Fried has been attached to a set of autopsies and those files were placed in this incredible collection.
Short stories that will test your knowledge of the southern way of thinking, the southern charm, the hospitality, and the tales all by authors that have ties to the area, or still live here. Southern Fried Autopsies is sure to raise your levels to unsafe highs as you dive right in with both feet to the deep end.

Y’all come right on over, ya hear?

With contributions, stories, and poetry from P Mattern, Mark Slade, Kerry Alan Denney, DS Roland, P. Mattern, Rollin Jewett, L Bachman, SL Kerns, Edd Sowder, Patricia Stover, TJ Weeks, Thomas Vaughn, Cindy Johnson, DC Phillips, Kris Weeks, Olin Wish, John L Davis IV, Donna Owens, Veronica Smith, Mirren Hogan, David Johnson, and James Master.

Today is a big day! It’s the last day to order Southern Fried Autopsies, it releases officially tomorrow!

A collection of horror stories and dark poetry. Out tomorrow on Amazon! Every purchase you will help us in raising money that will be donated to Feeding America.

Southern Fried Autopsies: An Anthology

Southern Fried…
Not necessarily an odd term if you live in the south or have visited the southern states of the US. In the south, we have monster trucks, lots of fishing, hunting, beaches, humidity, peaches, and a whole slew of stories that happened during the time of Northern Aggression. But what was Southern Fried? What does that really mean? It was once referred to as something, typically some kind of dead animal, that was battered, crispy, deep-fried in oil, and while tasted incredible, was artery clogging and blood pressure rising food. Not anymore.

Now Southern Fried has been attached to a set of autopsies and those files were placed in this incredible collection.
Short stories that will test your knowledge of the southern way of thinking, the southern charm, the hospitality, and the tales all by authors that have ties to the area, or still live here. Southern Fried Autopsies is sure to raise your levels to unsafe highs as you dive right in with both feet to the deep end.

Y’all come right on over, ya hear?

With contributions, stories, and poetry from P Mattern, Mark Slade, Kerry Alan Denney, DS Roland, P. Mattern, Rollin Jewett, L Bachman, SL Kerns, Edd Sowder, Patricia Stover, TJ Weeks, Thomas Vaughn, Cindy Johnson, DC Phillips, Kris Weeks, Olin Wish, John L Davis IV, Donna Owens, Veronica Smith, Mirren Hogan, David Johnson, and James Master.

If you’d like to help support suicide prevention for World Suicide Prevention Day, Pre-order the Crossroads in the Dark IV: Ghosts charity anthology from Burning Willow Press on Amazon. Proceeds will go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H4WTJR5/

SYNOPSIS
You attend a funeral of a friend, one who decided that living was no longer an option. That night, you feel a slight tickle on the back of your neck. Shrugging it off as an overactive imagination, you try to ignore it, yet it persists. You turn to look for the menacing thing bothering you, and nothing is there. Not even a shadow. In the far reaches of your sight, you start to make out a familiar figure ascending from the darkest corner of your room. You reach for the lamp beside you, but hit it, knocking it to the floor. Your fear begins to rise, as do the hair on your neck. A familiar voice pleads with you… “Why didn’t you hear me…?

Welcome back to the Crossroads.

Crossroads in the Dark IV: GHOSTS is a collection of short stories developed in hopes of bringing awareness to suicide prevention around the world. While the stories do not tell of suicide, they do speak of GHOSTS. Who are the ghosts that haunt us daily? What are the remains of an otherwise perfect life ended far too soon? Which are the people who we find hardest to move forward from when we lose them? The easy answer is, the ones we failed to save.

#InTheSeries
Crossroads in the Dark: Anthology of Morality
Amazon US: http://bit.ly/critd-i
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/critd-i-bn

Crossroads in the Dark II: Urban Legends
Amazon US: http://bit.ly/critd-ii
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/critd-ii-bn

Crossroads in the Dark III: Monsters Under Your Bed
Amazon US: http://bit.ly/critd-iii
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/critd-iii-bn

#worldsuicidepreventionday #preorder#experiencebwp #goodbook #critd4 #anthology#charity #suicideprevention

 

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Crossroads in the Dark IV: Ghosts

Series: Crossroads in the Dark Anthology, Volume 4
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Suspense
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Cover Design: Bachman Designs
Publisher: Burning Willow Press

One night after a close friends’ funeral, you feel a strange tickle on your neck. At first, you shrug it off as a figment of your imagination or a flying pest, but then you feel it again… and again… and again. Turning you do not see anything there. Nothing, not even a shadow. In the far reaches of your sight, you start to make out a somehow familiar figure, arising from the darkness of the corner of your room. You reach for the switch of the nightstand lamp only to knock it over to the floor. Your fear starts to rise along with the hairs on your neck. A familiar voice comes across the room… “Why didn’t you hear me…?”

Welcome back to the Crossroads.

Crossroads in the Dark IV: GHOSTS is a collection of short stories developed in hopes of bringing awareness to suicide prevention around the world. While the stories do not tell of suicide, they do tell of GHOSTS. For whom are the ghosts that haunt us daily? What are the remains of an otherwise perfect life ended far too soon? Which are the people who we find hardest to move forward from when we lose them? The easy answer is the ones we failed to save.

Contributing Authors

Lily Luchesi (Forward): Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

CC Adams: Website | Facebook | Twitter

L Bachman: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Alice J Black: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Carol Browne: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Nikki Collins-Mewha: Facebook | Twitter

James Crawford: Facebook | Twitter

Rachel de la Fuente: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | BookBub

Kerry Alan Denney: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Mirren Hogan: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Cindy Johnson: Facebook

Frank Martin: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

James Master: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Brian G Murray: Website | Facebook

Michael Schutz: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Edd Sowder: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Kindra Sowder: Website | Facebook | Twitter

W T Watson: Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

Donna Marie West: Goodreads

Kevin Wimer: Amazon Author Page

Peter Oliver Wonder: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Erin Yoshikawa: Facebook | Twitter

The Rest of the Series

If CRITD IV sounds interesting to you, check out the other books in the series while you wait.

Crossroads in the Dark: Anthology of Morality
Amazon US | Barnes & Noble

Crossroads in the Dark II: Urban Legends
Amazon US | Barnes & Noble

Crossroads in the Dark III: Monsters Under Your Bed
Amazon US | Barnes & Noble

 

As with my article on The Buzzkill Magazine, some may have seen this coming in my future. For a long time, many believed me to be considered fully a signed author with Burning Willow Press, LLC, but though I had been contracted for the shorts appearing in their anthologies, I was never publishing my own works with them considering myself a self-publishing author. With their full support I continued self-publishing my personal projects without feeling or being pressured to sign with them, but after much thought, I decided to do this on my own.

I do not hide the fact that Burning Willow Press employs me in their graphics department to do promotional materials, graphics, and time to time covers for their authors. This has been an amazing experience for me. Burning Willow Press had done much for me just by employing and recognizing my graphic talents.

The reason for my wanting to publish through Burning Willow Press, LLC is supported by my experience. I know how this company works and I stand behind what they do. I’ve personally seen how hard the staff works and knowing this I knew that it was time for me to step into the ring as an author with them and not just a staff member any longer.

So with all of that said, I can now clear the air and say I’m officially an author with Burning Willow and glad to be apart of the team in a new way.

Currently published works will remain self-published until their time to be pulled and run through the well-oiled machine of Burning Willow Press. This includes The Blasphemer Series books, Human Ouija, and the upcoming release The Painting of Martel, which is releasing out May 1st, 2017.