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Friday, October 9, 2009

PANTASM FRIDAY

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JILL NOBLE SPICES UP THE MOONLIGHT
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Today, Jill Noble of Noble Romance Publishing (NRP), a growing publisher of Erotica writing, joins us at Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem! I am excited because I get to pick her brain and serve you the best “bites”!

In league with the growing craze of craft beer tastings, we are doing a 10 and 6. Only we aren’t offering beers, we’re offering “bites.” First, we’ll offer you 10 writing bites and then we’ll give 6 fun bites!

1. With NRP being an e-book publisher, you must prefer the digital medium. Can you help us to see the e-publishing industry through your eyes? How has the digital medium affected the publishing industry and what do you see for the future of the e-publishing world? Will it one day eliminate the need for paper books? Why or why not?

It’s always exciting to be in on the (somewhat) ground floor of an up-and-coming industry. Epublishing intrigues me because it’s so fluid, so changeable. In just a few minutes, a publisher can begin testing a new format, a new marketing/advertising technique, a new sub-genre etc.

Publishing and the Internet work well together – you have the opportunity to poll your readers, receive instant feedback on new releases, interact with your customers on a daily basis, instantaneously weigh results (sales, site traffic flow, etc). It’s completely different from print publishing on so many important levels. Internet-savvy readers expect to have their voices heard, to interact with both publisher and authors, to become a part of a community. It’s important to talk *with* your readers, not at them.

I don’t concern myself overly much with the whole “will ebooks replace print books” question. That’s not my focus. I think we’ll continue to see huge percentage increases in ebook sales each year. I do believe epublishing is in its infancy, and we’re exploring new and exciting territory, and we have an obligation to continue finding ways to present even higher quality books to our readers.

2. With e-publishers popping up and some folding, constantly changing the face of online publishing, what do you feel makes NRP stand out from all the rest? Why should an author choose you over your competition? What can NRP offer that others can’t or won’t?

As dumb as this might sound, I don’t think NRP “stands out” from all the rest. We stand head and neck above *some* of the other epublishers out there, simply because we treat our authors in a fair, professional manner and we’re releasing quality books. Unfortunately, there are a few sharks in the water. However, I believe there are several excellent epublishers, such as Samhain, Loose Id – and Noble, etcetera, and that’s great news for authors because it provides them with the opportunity to find the right publisher for *their* work. Choices – good choices – are always nice. ;-)

There are two things about NRP that seem to be a little different from the others. One, we offer up to a 1,000 dollar advance against royalties. And two, we really work hard to allow our authors to be true to their characters and their stories, even if they aren’t your standard “erotic romance novel” fare.

Anyone can go to your website and find your submissions guidelines, but if they don’t search around, they will not find key pieces of information that many writers should know, such as the blog topics that you put up every so often.

3. You published the following list in September 2008 in the blog topic, “5 Common Manuscript Mistakes.”

Briefly, they are as follows:
1. The Boring Beginning.
2. Incoherent Writing.
3. Overuse of “it” and “that.”
4. Overuse of certain words or phrases.
5. Incorrect and/or redundant dialogue tags.

And about a month after this list, you mentioned how some authors tend to, “rewind,” a scene when they switch from one character’s pov to another.

Since then, have you found any other mistakes that authors commonly make in their manuscripts that should be added to this list?

Oh, that blog is sorely outdated. I don’t like the format, and have put in a request to our technical department to make some changes, but that’s far down the list of priorities. I started another blog – Noble Expressions – on Wordpress, and I’m using that one much more often.

But to answer your question. Yes, I see other mistakes. Poor transitions between scenes, head-hopping, telling instead of showing, and disembodied body parts (His eyes caressed her body, instead of he caressed her with his eyes.) I honestly try not to focus on the negative when I’m reading a submission, because all these things are fixable and worth my time and effort if it’s a great story. Unfortunately, these mistakes usually come in packages, and are combined with a not-so-great book.

4. Referring to, “Submissions I’d Love to See,” another blog topic, you have a list there of the types of erotic stories you wanted to see more of then. Has that list changed? Are there any new categories that a potential author should know about?

I’m all about *different.* Give me something that catches my attention, surprise me, make me sit up and pay attention. I read so many submissions each week – something needs to really stand out in the crowd to catch my eye.

5. Focusing more on your submissions guidelines, you tell authors you want hot and steamy. Using the Scoville Pepper Scale as a guide (but altered a tiny bit), how would you rate the stories you publish?

Mild 0 to 5000
Medium 5000 to 20,000
Hot 20,000 to 70,000
Smoking Hot 70,000 to 300,000
On Fire 300,000 to 1,000,000
Inferno 1,000,000 to16,000,000

I’d say most of our stories range somewhere between Hot and Inferno, with the majority falling in the On Fire category. ;-) However, we do have something on our site for just about every taste, and we’re going to test the “sweet romance” sub-genre in the near future.

6. Referring to your submissions guidelines, you ask for specific information when authors submit their proposal. Can you explain, for those writers not quite familiar enough with the phrase, what you mean by, “the black moment,” of a story?

The black moment is normally toward the end of the story, and it’s that period where everything seems to have gone to hell in a handbasket. It’s the point where the reader thinks, “Oh, no. That’s it. They’re done. Things will never work out for these characters,” even though they know, in the back of their mind, it will because this is romance.

7. With your manuscript submissions, why .rtf (rich text format) over .doc (WORD doc)?

Safer that way. Word documents can contain viruses.

8. In your estimation, what makes an author an ideal candidate for NRP, or is it more about the writing than it is about the author?

It’s definitely more about the book than the author, however, since we’re an epublishing company, an author should work to build an online presence within the ebook reader/writer community. This means blogging, building a Web site, taking part in online communities such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.

9. You give a timeline, for when an author should hear a response about a manuscript (24 hours for receipt confirmation, 2 weeks for response), but what would you say is your average rate of manuscript acceptance (X out of Y per month)?

Unfortunately, our rate of acceptance is pretty low. I haven’t done the math recently, but I know I reject many more submissions than I accept.

10. Many authors have been burned by some smaller publishing presses and felt like they were left to fend for themselves in terms of book publicity among other things. What would you say to an author to allay his or her fears about this happening again? How would you demonstrate to them that they would not be alone when publishing with NRP?

I personally work with the authors who need assistance in this area, and we’re also fortunate to have a group of authors already with us who are more than willing to lend a helping hand. I will consult with new authors on various advertising ideas and techniques, pay for advertising slots if they’d like to test different venues, etc. We have a large mailing list and we send emails out regarding new releases. We also announce new releases on various social Web sites, send all our books out for reviews, and work hard to maintain an online presence. But in the end, a lot of an author’s success is up to that individual author. As I said earlier, epublishing is a totally different animal from print publishing. An author simply must take the time to build their online presence and build a readership. They also need to keep writing and releasing good books. In epublishing, patience is definitely a virtue. J

Now, the fun stuff:

11. Are you superstitious? Do you find yourself knocking on wood or throwing salt over your shoulder? If not one of these two, what is your superstition?

Sometimes, in passing. If I think about it, I won’t step on a crack so I don’t “break my mother’s back.” If I see a black cat cross my path, I’ll think it just might be a bad day. Those sorts of things. LOL. But nothing major, no. I believe in fate and destiny, but I’m not really superstitious.

12. Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you ever had a ghostly encounter and tell us about it?

No, I don’t. I’ve lost two people who were really close to me, and I think if ghosts existed – if it were possible to have contact between the dead and the living – I would have heard from at least one of those lost loved ones.

13. If you could be any paranormal creature, what would it be and why?

A witch. Like Samantha, from Bewitched. I loved that show when I was a child, and I think it would be cool to harness magic.

14. If you had the opportunity to meet any of the characters in the books published by NRP who would it be and why?

OMG, Miki, from Barb Sheridan’s Beautiful C*cksucker and BC II, Such a Good Boy. He just comes across as so sexy and incredible. A really yummy bad boy!

15. By contrast, which character would you never want to meet?

The green fairy in Absinthe Eyes and Other Lies…probably because if you meet her, chances are you’re insane. :-/

16. Of all the stories that you read for NRP, which one has shaken you to your core, so much so that you still cannot get it out of your mind?

Absinthe Eyes and Other Lies. It’s dark erotic romance (and some might even argue the romance angle, but it’s there), and not everyone’s cuppa, but I absolutely loved it. It’s very Poe-like. Well written. And the author did an amazing job putting together the plot.

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Okay, so you read Jill's interview and you checked out Noble's website, but you still find yourself asking, who is Noble Romance Publishing? Don’t despair, come to Wicked Thorn and Roses tomorrow (Saturday, October 10th) and find out!

Before you run off to Wicked Thorn and Roses, don’t forget to leave a message for your chance to win one of three promo codes for free ebooks!

19 Moonbeams (comments):

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the fantastic interview with Jill Noble & thank you Jill for sharing. I got a lot out of this interview in advice, professionalism, and I learned what "black moment" means.
Thanks again!
All the best,
RKCharron
xoxo

Molly Daniels said...

Ditto:)

Wonderful and informative interview:)

Sorry I've not been around ladies; been a busy week!

Anne said...

This is the first I've heard about NRP, so I found the blog really informative. I'll have to check out the website next.

Tara S Nichols said...

Great interview!
I have to say Jill you certainly make the publisher what it is, a really great, friendly, and professional environment.

Cheers!

-Tara

JillNoelle said...

Thanks, guys. I enjoyed the interviews for MLM and WTR. Gracen asks some tough questions! :-)

Bryl R. Tyne said...

I just want to say that working with NRP has been a pleasure. From personal experience, I can add, Jill is an excellent publisher and takes extra lengths to work one-on-one with her authors, which is very much appreciated.

Awesome and informative interview, ladies. :)

~Bryl

Jude Mason said...

Thanks for the excellent peek into Jill's mind and thank you Jill for sharing some thoughts with us. I'm another one who hadn't heard of the black moment in a book, but it makes sense. I've never been asked to pinpoint it.

The more I learn about you and NRP, the more I feel you're on the right track.

Hugs

JillNoelle said...

Thank you, Jude. I think we're on the right track, too. We had to revise our business plan a little, in keeping with the downturn in the economy and the distrustful epublishing environment (brought on by all the business closings). The first year was tough, and we didn't grow as quickly as I would have liked, but things have turned around. I see steady increases in sales each month, we receive excellent book reviews and I've really tried to focus on putting out quality products. I think 2010 is going to be a great year for us. :-)

Sheila Deeth said...

This is the first time I've heard of NRP, and I'm really glad to learn about them. Thanks for a great introduction, and lots of useful bits of information.

Jaye Valentine said...

Unfortunately, our rate of acceptance is pretty low. I haven’t done the math recently, but I know I reject many more submissions than I accept.

I don't find this unfortunate at all. While your backlist may be growing at a slower pace than some other e-publishers, the gradual growth is reflected in quality. I don't perceive a low rate of acceptance by any publisher to be a negative. Quite the contrary.

--Jaye

JillNoelle said...

>>I don't find this unfortunate at all. While your backlist may be growing at a slower pace than some other e-publishers, the gradual growth is reflected in quality.<<

Oh, I agree with you in that regard, Jaye. By "unfortunately," I meant "unfortunately the chances of acceptance are rather low." :-/ I wish I could send out more contract offers, and spend as much time with new authors as needed to help them grow and learn, but I just don't have that kind of time anymore. I still accept the occasional "this is a great story/concept, but it'll need a ton of edits," because I still believe in cultivating raw talent, but these days those are few and far between.

Carrie said...

Hey Jill,

Thanks for joining us today! Your answers felt very truthful and not just what you should say for the sake of public image.

You appear to be "real" in what you say, which can be refreshing!

I have a much different view of NRP than I did before. Thanks!

Gracen - I hope you're having a safe flight home!

JillNoelle said...

Thank you, Carrie. You're very kind, and I really appreciate the opportunity to tell more people about Noble Romance Publishing. :-)

Carrie said...

Anytime!

Keta Diablo said...

Great interview Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem!

I think I was on board with Noble in the early stages and have enjoyed writing for Jill Noble very much.

Through all the growing pains, Jill has conducted herself professionally and has taken immense measures to help her authors grow in the writing arena.

The authors who write for Noble are an eclectic mix of enthusiasm, fun and remarkable creativity. They often work as a *unit* when it comes to promoting Noble, contributing to anthologies and supporting their fellow authors.

This is the ambience of Noble that starts at the top and works its way down to the authors, i.e., Jill is very supportive of the authors she works with.

You'll hear a lot more about Noble Romance in the future, so come join us!

Keta Diablo
http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com

Gracen Miller said...

Thanks for joining us, Jill! I love your straightforwardness and it’s refreshing!

NRP has some amazing authors and all of them have been helpful and welcoming. I can't help but think that is also a reflection of how Jill deals with authors and people. I can say, from the first contact I had with Jill to now, the editing phase, I have been impressed with the company.

At NRP, it feels like you're among family. That's the only way I can explain it.

Thanks again, Jill!

There's still time to enter for a chance to win, so be sure to leave a comment! Winner(s) will be picked next Friday!

Carrie, my plane trip was uneventful yesterday...thank God! LOL I'm a nervous flyer, as you know. :D

s7anna said...

Hi Jill,

That was a fantastic interview!!! It was really interesting to hear about the publisher's side of the writing world. I'm eager to check out NRP...steamy erotic romance is my absolute favourite genre to read and it seems like that's what you're targeting...I relish the thought *as I rub my hands in glee* LOL

Well, thanks for such an insightful and thought provoking post...

Happy Reading!!!
Anna Shah Hoque
s7anna@yahoo.ca

JillNoelle said...

Hi, Anna. You're welcome. It's my pleasure, really. If you try any of our books (or you're lucky enough to win one here!), I hope you'll write and let me know what you think. :-)

Jill

Gracen Miller said...

Winners have been posted in the "Contest Winner" section on the left hand side of the blog!

Congrats to all the winners!!!