Drollerie Press came to my attention when two authors, Joely Sue Burkhart and Imogen Howson, emailed DearAuthor and wondered if we wouldn’t be interested in reading their books. The covers were gorgeous and I assumed that this was some small print independent publishing house. Upon further investigation, I learned that Drollerie Press is a new ebook publishing house that is offering transformative fiction in any genre. Jayne read Joely Sue Burkhart’s romance Survive My Fire and I read Imogen Howson’s young adult offering, Falling.
Both were interesting pieces of fiction that made us interested in more Drollerie Press offerings. One of the owners, Deena Fisher, emailed me with an offer to the Dear Author readership. Any purchase totaling $2.50 or more, the buyer will receive 15% off if they enter the words ” Dear Author ” (without quotation marks). The code is good through December 31st.
Ms. Fisher agreed to answer some questions about the vision and future of “Drollerie Press ”
Q. What is your niche in the publishing market?
Fisher: Mythic arts. Our goal is to showcase great writing in any genre that includes mythic elements presented in an original way. To use Joely Sue Burkhart’s story as an example, you told her you didn’t much care for dragons as I recall. That was my first response as well. Dragons are overdone. I’m tired of them. They hoard gold, they’re vain, they hate humans for their short lives or brutishness, they’re either sentient and wise beyond mortal ken or they’re incredibly helpful pets. Joely took the idea of dragon and turned it around. She imagined something unique and yet perfectly appropriate to the myth and she made them real for the reader. We find that kind of storytelling exciting and that’s what we want to provide for every genre.
Q: What makes an ebook publisher successful?
Fisher: Well, I may have a different answer 10 years from now, but I think any business enterprise is likely to succeed if the principals find a need and fill it well, manage their product (quality, freshness, reliability), stick out the tough times, provide great customer service, and watch their cash flow. E-book publishers have built an audience on erotica, which, if you’re going to get consumers to adopt something new is one very good way to go about it, and more publishers and wider offerings have resulted from that early boom, which is great. It’s a healthy field, but it seems to me that the rate of growth is slower now in the U.S. Quarterly earnings have quadrupled since 2002, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t be much higher. To truly succeed, to grow into a major market, I believe we need to encourage a universal e-book reader format (such as the adoption of the IDPF approved format); simpler DRM, which I believe is the greater hurdle; and more attractive reading options (as an aside, did you know that 68 million dollars worth of e-books sold in Japan in 2006? And that cell phone reading is what’s pushing that explosively rising trend? AnimeNews
I think e-books will explode–they are exploding–but who will end up leading the explosion is the question.
Q:. Where do you see your publishing house in 5 years?
Fisher: Drollerie Press will have brand recognition outside the e-book world. We’ll have a large selection of good works available for sale in both e- and print formats and in every genre, with a solid collection of non-fiction, literary fiction, and poetry that work within our greater theme. When a reader picks up a book and sees our logo on it, they’ll know there’s a really good read inside. I see us as providing a great publishing experience for established authors and exciting opportunities for new authors. I see our covers as real works of art that are as unusual and exploratory as the words they cover. We’ll have branched out into related products like art prints, pillow books, and illustrated books for adults, for example, and we’ll have a strong and growing young adult category. I’d also like us to be able to be active in other ways, such as providing a couple of college scholarships one to a budding author and one for an artist, though that may have to wait for the 10 year plan.
How are you determining what content to offer?
Fisher: We accept based on a handful of criteria. First, is it mythic in nature?
Does it take a myth, legend or fairy tale and turn it on its head? Does it create a new legend from bits and pieces of old ones or the author’s fertile imagination? We’re not looking for faithful re-tellings, we’re looking for imaginative stories rooted in the mythic. For example, Cindy Lynn Speer’s retelling of Bluebeard is set in an alternate Spain, includes Kitsune, and reads like an historical romance, Imogen Howson’s Falling puts a mutated Rapunzel in an alternate future. Tala Bar’s heroine lives in ancient Israel, sees visions, and her idea of happy-ever-after doesn’t come with a man. Each is very different in style from the other but they’re all mythic in nature.
Second, does the author have a good grasp of the mechanics: punctuation, spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and does the author know how to tell a good story?
Third, does it really work for us? It can’t just be mechanically adequate and based on a myth. The story has to grab the editor and shake him or her. It has to have its own intrinsic magic. I accepted Atlantis
1999 because it’s not just a good story; but the language is incredibly dense and intricate.
Why should a reader be buying from you?
Fisher: A reader should buy from us if he or she wants a good story that’s well-told. Though we find our stories at the heart of myth, legend, and fairy tale, that’s the sum of what we’re about.
Are there any things you’d like readers to know about Drollerie Press?
Fisher: We want them to love buying our books. If there’s a problem with the software, they have difficulty with the shopping cart, they want to buy it from a particular outlet, or in a particular format, they’d like things differently organized, they want to know when the next book is coming out, they’d like to read a particular kind of story, or anything else they’d like us to know or would like to know about us, we want to answer the questions, fix the problems, and make the whole experience rewarding. We hope they’ll drop us a note and let us know–good or bad–how they feel.