One commenter at each stop will receive a postcard-size cover art signed by the author or cover artist, and one randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour will receive the full set of cover prints in a custom-made handbag embroidered with the logo. Make sure you leave a comment and your email addy. Good Luck!
Having never been part of a blog tour before, I am unsure what exactly I should write. Harlie told me not to be shy, so I’ll start off with an introduction: Hello, my name is Raechel Henderson, the publisher at Eggplant Literary Productions. I guess if I were to write an unofficial motto for Eggplant it would be: Doing everything the hard way.
Take my company name for example: Eggplant Literary Productions. It’s not the sort of moniker people would associate with a speculative fiction publisher (unless our specialty was sentient vegetable tales). The name comes from the font of all awkwardness: high school. Once, when I was sixteen, I exclaimed, “In the forest of life, there are mighty redwood trees and lowly ferns, and I–I am an eggplant.” Years later (1997 to be exact) when I started my first publishing venture, an e-zine named Jackhammer, the only name I could come up with for my fledgling publishing company was “Eggplant Productions.” This has, I think, set the tone for my entire publishing career.
I started publishing e-books in the early 2000s. At the time readers had few options when it came to reading e-books, either off of a computer screen or printing them out. Taking that into account I decided that the novella length was perfect for e-books. Even with the emergence of e-readers like the Nook and Kindle, I still believe this is true; thus, Eggplant’s focus on stories between 20,000-40,000 words. That word length, and our focus on speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction and horror) is what I feel differentiates Eggplant from other e-publishers.
I think that our narrow focus works well for Eggplant. We’ve been able to publish stories that might not have found a home in shorter markets like magazines, or with novel length publishers, which would be a shame. For example the first title we published, Etta Mae’s Little Theory by Lori Ann White, is a sweet, compact tale big on characters, with less emphasis on action. The story features a plus-sized heroine, a love interest, and fantastic elements but it doesn’t fall squarely into the paranormal romance category. And it’s that sort of story I love to find and share with readers. In fact we just updated our guidelines (at http://eggplantproductions.com/general-guidelines/guidelines-for-e-book-submissions/) to emphasize that we’re looking for stories, characters and settings that fall outside the norm. We’re looking for non-Western settings, minority characters, and stories that straddle genres.
Eggplant isn’t a one woman shop. We have a wonderful team of people who share the same idea behind going against the grain. Our art director, Sam Press, wrote this about how she approaches her job:
“So as art director at Eggplant, my primary goal is to embrace new styles of art, new voices in ‘genre’ art, and stand out from the crowd both among speculative fiction publishing and epublishers. It is, of course, a tall order, and the kind of goal where ‘success’ is a sliding scale wholly dependent on many factors, some of which are beyond my control. But I try, and I can honestly say that I’ve succeeded more often than I’ve failed, and that I have a wonderfully supportive company backing me up every step of the way.”
I do agree that she has succeeded. I believe our covers are beautiful. You can see all of them at: http://eggplantproductions.com/e-books/. It’s not just a pretty face, either. I work with the authors and the copy editor to polish stories and to create an attractive layout and design for each title. We also have a pair working on marketing and promotion, who work on both pre-publication promotion (getting reviews, blurbs and working our social media presence) and post-publication. Publishing is very much a team effort and I think that shows in what we’ve published over the last ten months.
August will see our one year anniversary of the reopening of Eggplant after I put the company on hiatus for several years. We’ll have published eight titles, as well as three issues of our children’s fantasy magazine, Spellbound. I feel that we’re off to a great start to several more years of publishing great stories.