Saturday, September 15, 2007

Interview with Resplendence Publishing CEOs

Good morning! It's a beautiful Saturday morning here in Kentucky, crisp and cool. I think fall is coming. Yay! My favorite time of the year. Today I'm featuring the CEOs of Resplendence Publishing, Jessica Berry and Leigh Collett, and they've provided all of us with some great insight to their new company. I'm very fortunate to be associated with Resplendence and proud to be one of their authors. I wanted to feature them on my blog because of all the hard work they've done for me and I want to help get the word out about their company because, well, I really believe in the philosophy and their dedication to publishing quality. I also thought that there are many authors and readers out there who would like to know about Resplendence.

Maddie: You ladies have had quite a busy year so far. Tell us about your new publishing venture, Resplendence Publishing.

Jess: First, I want to thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk about our venture on your blog. It is always a pleasure to reach out to authors and fellow readers.

Okay, on to your first question. Resplendence Publishing officially opened for Submissions in January of 2007. Since that time, we have been fortunate enough to sign several wonderful authors, and we are so excited about our launch on October 1st.

We publish several genres of romance in both electronic and print formats. Additional information and submission guidelines can be found on our website.

Maddie: How did this all come about?

Jess: In a nutshell, we saw a void within the publishing industry and knew we could fill it. Our central philosophy is to stay small, selective, and market, market, market.

Maddie: Leigh and Jess, tell us a little about your backgrounds.

Jess: Basically, I have been helping classmates, family members, and friends to pass English since the third grade :) But I think your question pertained to my professional qualifications, so here goes.

I hold a BA in Psychology and spent several years working with emotionally disturbed and learning disabled children. I have spent most of my professional life as a teacher. Even during my time as a Social Worker, I taught Language Arts to teenagers in the Juvenile Justice system, and to children (ages 5-18) in foster care, court ordered and voluntary protective services, and in residential facilities. Afterward, I spent time in the school system teaching advanced primary-level curriculum at a private academy.

I am a bookworm, a grammar nut, and a perfectionist. I love editing because these qualities, which drive me nuts more often than not, are now being put to good use.
I’ve been an avid reader of romance for more than 20 years and have been a published writer for 18 years. I published my first short story in a literary magazine at the age of 17, with several freelance news articles and professional protocol journals published in following years. I have three degrees and am finishing an MBA. I’ve spent 11 years as an Administrative Consultant, but have decided to retire from consulting in order to pursue my dreams within the publishing industry.

Maddie: You've gathered quite the covey of authors. How have they come to you?

Jess: It has really been a mix. We met some at conferences, some (like yourself) through RWA chapters, and others through the submissions process. I can say that we have been incredibly lucky. Sometimes I can't believe we have managed to assemble such a wonderful, cooperative, and incredibly talented group of authors.

Maddie: Are you currently looking for new authors?

Jess: Yes, we will remain open for submissions for as long as we can, since we believe that there are great authors out there who, for whatever reason, can't attend conferences and must submit the old fashioned way. We are, however, incredibly selective. We want to stay small, and that means we only accept the stories that grab us and refuse to let go. Having a properly formatted, clean submission doesn't hurt either.

Maddie: Tell us about your trademark, Read Green.

Jess: Read Green refers to the Eco-friendly environmental policies adopted by the e-book/POD industry, and Resplendence Publishing in particular. Traditional printing practices create a lot of waste. E-books and POD technology allow books to be published without the environmental strain of production, shipping, and returns, which are associated with traditional printing. This technology also greatly reduces landfill waste.

Maddie: What's unique about Resplendence Publishing and the way you do business?

Jess: First and foremost, we believe that readers can't buy books they don't know about. Leigh is our marketing guru, so I'll allow her to go into further detail on that. I also mentioned earlier that we want to stay small, with a philosophy of responsible growth. We think a lot of new publishing companies try to do too much, too fast. This is a pitfall that we are determined to avoid.

In addition, we have a very cooperative, supportive environment here at RP. This is entirely due to the authors we have in-house, and the way they have embraced the RP culture. I'll say it again: we have been very fortunate in our author acquisitions.

Leigh: Our goal when we conceptualized RP was to be unique within the industry. We polled authors to find what was most important to them when searching for a publishing home and we found that unanimously authors wanted their publishing house to participate in their marketing plan.

At Resplendence we have done just that and have taken it a few steps further. Not only do we participate in marketing for our authors, we invest RP funds and a great deal of time into promos and ads for our authors. Initially, when we offered advances to our authors they requested instead that we roll the funds over into additional promotion. We still offer that choice to authors.

Maddie: Where would you like to see RP in five or ten years?

Jess: Quite simply, we want to be the best small publisher in the business. Be it in five years or ten, we want readers to know that if they purchase a book from RP, it will be a quality book. This means great stories that are free of errors, typos, and grammatical mistakes. This is why we have such a low author-to-editor ratio and plan to keep it that way. Our editing process is hands-on, stringent, and focused on presenting the best possible product to our readers.

Leigh: We want to be known for producing quality books and for providing a great publishing experience for authors.

Maddie: Where can an author find out more about your submission process?

Jess: Detailed submission guidelines are available at

Resplendence Publishing

Maddie: As you’ve stated, RP is a small press, featuring electronic and print-on-demand publishing. What do you think makes a good author/publisher fit in small press publishing?

Jess: I can't speak for all small presses, but at RP, we look for authors who are willing to work as part of a team. They must have reasonable expectations (no, a small press will not get your book into every Barnes & Noble in America), be open to editorial advice (even the best writers can learn from an editor who isn't so close to the project), and be willing to aggressively market their books (authors who promote their books sell more books. Period)

In return, the publisher must be honest, responsible in their business practices, and also willing to see their authors as part of a team rather than taking an us vs. them mentality.


Ladies, thank you so much for your time. I know since the launch of Resplendence Publishing is just around the corner -- October 1 -- you are each extremely busy. Thank you.

Readers, there are some fabulous books up there for the launch in October. I urge you to check them out! See some of the titles, below.

Resplendence Publishing



Anonymous said...

Great interview.
I can confirm, first hand, how much of a positive experience it is to be part of the Resplendence team. It has been a pleasure to work with with an enterprising pair such as Jessica and Leigh, my editorr, Tiffany, is very committed, and the other authors are evolving into supporting friends.
I am so excited for the 'live', October 1st, launch and believe there is a bright future ahead for a talented and committed house which is true to its name: Resplendence Publishing.

Thanks for doing the interview.
Aleka Nakis

Magdalena Scott said...

Yes, this interview made me proud - again - to be a part of the Resplendence family. It was fun to have "Resplendence Publishing Author" on our name tags when Maddie and I were at the RWA national conference in Dallas. I cannot imagine a better publisher-author relationship than the one we have at Resplendence. Thanks, everyone!

James Goodman said...

Great interview, Maddie. I echo the sentiments of the others. RP is a fantastic publisher.

The time I've spent with Resplendence is hands down the best experience I've had to date.