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Editor Interview: Black Bed Sheet Books

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Horror fiction mostly

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Honest ones.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: I'm a big fan of my own authors but I'd say James Herbert, Clive Barker, early Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Michael Stewart, Whitley Strieber, John Skipp, Craig Spector, and many more...

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: Passion, ambition, honesty, the desire to make a difference/impact on writers' lives and on the book industry at large, and the owner has 30 years experience as a writer & editor in the industry and in horror.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Be professional, polite, take some time to look at our company online and don't just blindly submit without knowing who you're submitting to, include something about yourself, a brief story synopsis, a snappy subject line, and tell us why we should publish you.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: See last answer.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: That it's quick. We receive over 2,000 submissions a year and generally stick to a traditional publishing house policy of a 6-12-month waiting/review time (though usually we get back to the author in about 6 months).

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Cover letters are always fine, but what's important is all the basic information. Who are you, why are you submitting to me, what are you submitting and why you think it's special and will sell, those kinds of things.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: Rarely do we read it in its entirety at first. We read enough to decide if it's well-written, the story wows us, we get halfway through and already go "SOLD!" If it's not well-written, it's easy because we can tell immediately where to go with it. The better it is, the more time we take with it until it's among a number of submissions that made it to the final rounds and then the process becomes more difficult as we decide what books ultimately make it and that fit our budget to produce at the time.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: I think the last answers says it all.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: We operate at Black Bed Sheet Studios in Antelope, CA, just next to Sacramento, since 2008. The "studios" is essentially a residential house in suburban Antelope where the two-car garage and half of the property has been modified into an apartment dwelling/main office complete with a small storefront and customer service window, and a series of offices and areas for book events and film/TV production work. On a typical workday I wake up, turn on the day's news, open the garage and do a few chores before settling into an office chair and face five or more computer screens and begin publishing/marketing/editing/web designing/accounting/troubleshooting problems and everything slated for that day in running this business, and I'm doing that until usually 3-4 in the morning, go to bed, wake up, and do it all over again. In between that throughout the day, as needed, I go back and forth maintaining the household, taking care of my elderly parents who live inside, the cats and the bird and the hamster (who doubles as a mascot for our Black Hamster TV online telecasts) , and maintaining the yard while my better half Francy Weatherman currently works a full time job during the day and comes home and helps, and produces her popular weekend podcast Francy & Friends. From the offices here I service over 100 Black Bed Sheet authors (and growing), publish an average of 30-40 titles a year, and our readers, customers, associates and partners.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: It's only as important as the readers want, but modern technology is a good thing and if I didn't embrace it, there would likely be no Black Bed Sheet. It's important to remain traditional as a foundation while embracing popular ways to get our product to the consumer while even making efforts to try and invent some new ways and be innovative. After all, Black Bed Sheet was responsible for the first ever fully virtual book signing in 2011 with author Sue Dent (Thirsting for Blood series) where readers can meet the author face-to-face via computer screens and converse, purchase the book, have the author sign it in front of them and virtually hand the ebook right to them. Despite all this, our love for physical books you can hold in your hand will never end.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: The ideal book is one we have to edit the least. We edit only as much as to check for typos and certain sentence structure and punctuation, plot discrepancies, whatever we need to do to give the book its best presentation to the masses. We are very sensitive to the author and don't hack up their stuff. When submitting to us the book has to be in its best possible shape to begin with where extensive editing shouldn't be necessary.