Regal Crest Enterprises (RCE) interview: July 2008

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Regal Crest Enterprises (RCE) interview: July 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:27

HH wrote:I'm delighted that we have the opportunity to turn our spotlight on REGAL CREST ENTERPRISES. RCE is a lesbian publisher who has been around since -- well, not forever, but pretty close. And they've been kind enough to answer some of my endless questions.

Web site: http://www.regalcrest.biz/
Established: 1999.
Operations Manager: Angel Grewe
Editorial Consultants: Pat Cronin, Nann Dunne, Mary Phillps, Rick R Reed, Evelyn A. Schlatter, Ruta Skujins, Sylverre, Jane Vollbrecht, J. Robin Whitley
Number of authors: 48
Number of books currently in print: 83
Accepts submissions from unpublished authors?: Yes.
Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes.
Accepts simultaneous submissions?: Yes, but please note this in your cover letter.
Sexualities accepted: GLBTQA
Word length range accepted: 60,000 to 120,000
Preferred contact method: email entire ms

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Re: Regal Crest Enterprises (RCE) interview: July 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:28

HH wrote:Lesbian fiction, thankfully, is no longer hidden in brown paper wrappings. It’s in every (well, nearly every) mainstream bookstore, and the number of lesbian novels published each year continues to increase. Have you noticed any recent trends with regards to genre, content, or length? Are certain types of books becoming more popular or successful? Are your readers clamoring for any types of books that RCE hasn’t had the opportunity to publish yet (such as lesbian horror or vampire erotica or love stories with unhappy endings or young adult science fiction or...)?

RCE: Genre - there seems to be a rush to buy all things erotica, yet I have people constantly telling me that they prefer light romance and a story with a plot. So, I am not really sure.

Length - There currently appears to be a trend toward short books, the “easy read” sort of book. People’s lives are hectic and they do not always have time to sit down and read a good book with a substantial plot and well-developed characters. So, they go for the formulaic, cookie-cutter quick reads. I think that is why anthologies and short story collections are so popular right now. It is also why interest in eBooks is growing because it is easier to take along a reader with several books on it.

Our readers constantly tell us, however, that they appreciate that we continue to publish the longer books with more plot and substance. I am certain there are some out there who do not buy our titles for the reasons discussed above and that is okay. The reason there are so many genres and so many publishers is because there are too many types of readers for one publisher to fill all their needs. For example, a publisher who focuses on erotica and sex would not fill the needs of the readers who want a sweet romance with the sex scenes left to the reader’s imagination. And, vice versa.


Is there any lesbian novel you read in the last year or two that just totally blew you away and made you think “Oh, gosh, I wish RCE had published that book!”?

RCE: I wish! Unfortunately, with my many responsibilities for work and family I simply do not have time to read a lot of books. It is one of the great cosmic jokes that since I became a publisher I do not have enough time to read for pleasure anymore. I may read two or three non-RCE titles a year, in a good year, and I tend more toward histories and historical fiction as history is a passion for me.

Are there any types or genres of books that you’d like to publish, but you know there’s not enough of a market for them to make it financially feasible?

RCE: SFF - there seems to be a limited interest in this genre. Several years ago we had a separate SFF line of books and some were really good but they just never found an audience. Our research showed that most hard core SFF readers want those small mass market books that only cost $5 or so. I have noticed that there are more and more SFF books coming out from various LGBT publishers these days. We have done a few in the last year but, I do not yet have any numbers that show there is a much greater interest than there was before.

The number of lesbian publishers, like lesbian books, seems to keep increasing, but small presses don’t always make it in this competitive world. What advice would you give first-time authors looking for a publisher? Are there any particular criteria that set apart the successful publisher from the about-to-implode publisher?

RCE: One of the best ways to find out about a publisher's track record is to talk to several of the company's authors, especially those who have several books in print with a publisher. Find out what they have to say and why they continue publishing with that publisher. And, if an author does get an offer to publish, they should not let their excitement overrule good sense. They need to make sure they understand EVERYTHING about a contract before signing it. Ask questions - but be realistic, too. If they are a first-time author they should not go in asking for massive changes, more royalties, etc. Most publishers use very “industry-standard” contracts, with a few differences here and there for each press and their niche. The bottom line at RCE is that we do not want to sign a contract with any author who is not comfortable with what they are doing. A lack of comfort in this whole process is problematic as we believe it is in the best interest of both an author and RCE that we enter into a business relationship with the intent of it being both professional and successful.

Each lesbian press seems to find its own niche-within-the-niche, because each publisher and editorial group has its own strengths. One press might find their best sellers are novellas, while another might make its name with literary fiction or romances with lots o’ sex scenes. What is RCE’s particular niche within lesbian fiction?

RCE: We are quite willing to take on longer stories than some of the other presses, though I am not sure that could be considered a niche. We do shorter books, also, and we are not married to only one or two genres. We have, at one point or another, done just about all of them.

RCE doesn’t seem to publish anthologies. (My apologies if you have and I’ve missed them). Any particular reason? Is RCE interested in approaches from editors looking for a publisher for their anthologies or from authors with short story collections?

RCE: We have published several anthologies and short story collections over the years. We have a new one coming out in July - Blue Collar Lesbian Erotica.

We do not mind approaches from anthology editors, but we are a SMALL company and not as willing to take some of the risks that other presses might take. As for short story collections, we mainly work with our current authors as we know they already have a fan base.


RCE publishes (according to the website) about 24 books per year. You must receive hundreds, even thousands, of submissions each year over the transom. Given the fact that RCE already has a couple dozen authors on its roster, how many new authors do you expect to sign each year? Do you expect RCE’s yearly number of released titles to increase or remain unchanged?

RCE: We do not set any numbers in stone as to how many new authors we will sign. We pick up stories based on whether or not we like them and on the quality of writing rather than trying to fill a quota of some kind. Our numbers will likely stay around 24 or so, but that is not set in stone either.

When you are deciding whether to acquire a book from a new author for RCE, what are the most important things you look for? Do you have any pet peeves or formatting or craft issues or types of story content that automatically turn you off a submission?

RCE: It may sound silly, but the first thing we look for is whether or not the author was able to follow the submission guidelines. We have found over the years that if an author does not follow those guidelines they likely will not follow directions during the publication process, resulting in too much stress for everyone involved. After that we look at whether the premise is interesting and the story well-written, then we have to decide if there will be a market for the story. It is just that simple.

(HH adds: NOT silly. A lot of publishers say this. Burn these words into your brains, O ye aspiring authors: FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES!!!!!)

One pet peeve is when an author addresses the query to “Dear Sir” as though no one but men could possibly be in charge. Another is when they try to make themselves sound more important by throwing around the names of other authors who have “helped” them in some way. We really do not care who someone knows so long as their story is good. Lastly, too many authors edit their story a couple of times and wrongly consider it ready to send to a publisher. We usually do not even get all the way through a submission that is not well-edited. Polish, polish, polish…

What do you look for in an author? Are there things writers can do to make themselves stand out, as well as their manuscripts? Does it help an author if she has a web page, or has published short stories, or attends conventions and meets the editors in person, or has nonfiction publishing credits?

RCE: Honestly, we are not looking for a particular kind of author. A web page is a nice touch, but I have seen some that were a real turn off. Good thing we do not judge people by their web page. <g> An author who wants to publish with RCE just needs to write a good story (and not send us a rough draft!)

Do you make any specific requests of your authors such as setting a minimum/maximum number of books they should publish with you each year, wanting them to not publish under the same pseudonym (or under any name) with competing lesbian presses, asking them to use a different pseudonym for each genre they write in, etc?

RCE: The answer to all of those is “no, we do not.” Some of that makes very little sense to us, though we know other publishers do require those things. Even though we do not, we realize that each company has to set their own guidelines, things that work for their particular business model and we support their right to do so.

Many authors nowadays choose to use self-publishing or subsidy-publishing services. If an author cites such a previous publication in her cover letter, does it bias you towards (or against) her submission?

RCE: No, it does not. Again, if a story is interesting, well-written and we feel our readers would enjoy it, that is all we look for. The only time that would matter is if they want us to publish the same story that was already self-published. Then we have to look at how long it was in print, did it sell, etc.

RCE has been in the publishing business since, well, forever. What are your favourite aspects of being in the publishing industry? Which bits annoy or bother you?

RCE: Favorite - It would have to be a tie between meeting lots of different people and helping authors to realize their dream of being published.

Annoyances - How much room do you have for this interview? ;)
Seriously, the most annoying bit would have to be people who tell me how to run my business as though they were the ones who have been doing it for 9 years and risking their own money to do so.
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Re: Regal Crest Enterprises (RCE) interview: July 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:28

PaulaO wrote:Just thought I'd share that even though RCE answered the questions HH provided, it doesn't mean y'all can't ask others. CL is way busy being a publisher and a teacher at the same time and couldn't find the time to visit here regularly enough so any questions anyone has, I will gladly forward to her, get her answer, then post them here.
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