Friday, October 24, 2014

Guest Post: Little Fiction

  1. What is Little Fiction's mandate?
I never really thought of us having a mandate, but our reason for being is to give indie / up-and-coming writers another vehicle for their work and to introduce our readers (who are also mostly writers) to some new works and new talents. Since we started, we've seen a handful of our authors land book deals and release debut collections that their LF stories have been a part of, and that's really the end goal for now. I don't know if that constitutes a mandate, but it's something we're damn proud of.

  1. How/why did you decide to be a publisher?
I was trying to get some work published years ago (surprise, I'm also a writer) and the best advice I received was to do it myself. So I started an indie label called Instrumental Press. I published one title (mine) but struggled to get good distribution. And money. Many years later, technology allowed me to try again and Little Fiction is the result.

  1. When was Little Fiction established?
As an idea, it was mid-2010, but the official launch was October 2011.

  1. Share some of Little Fiction's challenges and victories…
Every new title is a victory. Every new author, every returning author. Every twitter follower, every retweet and every download / read of a story. Those are the victories and they'll never stop being the victories. It’s amazing that we have a few thousand people keeping up with the site regularly, but it’s just as amazing that even one person cares about what we’re doing. That’s something I think every writer, publisher, blogger — anyone looking for an audience, really — should never lose sight of.

On a more specific note, getting stories from Shawn Syms, Andrew F. Sullivan and Leesa Cross-Smith very early on was huge. All three have since landed deals for debut collections.

As for the challenges, keeping up with submissions is tough, trying to establish ourselves enough so that our writers can start to win awards for their LF stories has been a little challenging. Finding a model that allows us to pay writers is an ongoing exploration / challenge.

  1. This is a challenging time to be a publisher. How is Little Fiction uniquely equipped to meet these challenges?
Being digital only helps. It keeps overhead low. Not relying on grants that could disappear one year after the next helps. Likewise not worrying about investors / outside sources for funding. We're just kind of doing our own thing, but I don't think that makes us uniquely equipped — there are plenty of awesome indie journals and publishers who can claim the same thing.

  1. What do you see as the benefits of being a publisher?
It's a labour of love, so you have to be into what you're doing, and that's the benefit for me — getting to do something that I love to do.

  1. What genres do you publish?
We don't really get into genre — it's just literary fiction, for lack of a better term. And literary non-fiction, I guess, for our essay / memoir / creative non-fiction label, Big Truths.

  1. I understand that Little Fiction is solely an epublisher. Do you have future plans of establishing a print imprint? Why or why not?
No concrete plans at the moment, but we would at least love to do a print anthology. The bigger idea is to find the right model that would allow us to maintain a print component, and not just do it once in a while.

  1. Who pays the publishing costs--the author or Little Fiction?
We do.

  1. Do you work with literary agents?
We haven't yet, but we're not completely against it. What I like about what we have going so far is the opportunity to build relationships with so many talented and awesome writers.

  1. Does Little Fiction pay royalties and advances?
No, we don't. But we don't charge for our stories either — everything is available for free. If that ever changes we will definitely be sharing any profits.

  1. Please lead us through Little Fiction's author submission process…
It's an open / rolling submission, so writers are free to send stuff whenever (but only one story at a time, please). When we accept a piece, we'll work with the author on edits and a cover design leading up to the pub date.

  1. How do you choose the authors you publish?
Just from reading submissions. We haven't done much soliciting of work yet — because we don't pay it doesn't feel totally right to ask someone for work. But we have reached out to a few writers we love — we did that when we launched Big Truths last year with stories from Angela Palm, Liz Windhorst Harmer, Jessica Nelson and Ayelet Tsabari.

  1. Please walk us through the process of publishing a book…
It's pretty simple. We like to work closely with our writers on edits and we seek their input on cover ideas (within our design aesthetic). We format the ePub files and then send some digital proofs for the authors to check out. After that we're good to go.

  1. How do you market your books?
Social media. Twitter is the biggest one for us, but we also have Facebook, tumblr and Pinterest. accounts. We have a newsletter that goes out monthly when new stories are released, and we've been fortunate to have some of our stories recorded (which you can find on SoundCloud) by the amazing Xe Sands, so there are plenty of channels being used right now for marketing our stuff. We're looking into doing some merch as well (currently we have desktop wallpapers available on the site — people seem to dig them).

Website: Little Fiction