We're just winding up tabling at our first ClexaCon and we can't recommend it highly enough. Here our editor, Nicole Kimberling tries (and fails) to take a good surreptitious panel selfie with Catherine Lundoff of Queen of Swords Press, and Isabella of Sapphire Books. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!
Nicole: So how did you find Blind Eye Books?
Arao: I was reading a book called Queer Africa, an anthology of LGBTQ fiction from the African continent and re-reading another book called Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta, books that center around LGBTQ characters on the African continent. I started wondering about books or publishers that center around similar narratives here in the U.S. I was doing an internet search, found the Lambda Literary website and scrolled through a few options, read that Blind Eye Books publishes books with LGBTQ protagonists, contacted you and here we are...On a personal note, I'm on a quest to read books or authors from diverse communities—that's how I'll learn and grow and mature as a writer.
Nicole: It’s amazing how books are able to break through barriers between people.
Arao: I understand you are established in Bellingham, Washington. What year did you start Blind Eye Books? Did you originally start in Bellingham where you are located? Have you expanded?
Nicole: We started BEB 11 years ago. Originally we published speculative fiction only but in the last couple of years we’ve expanded into mysteries and thrillers.
Arao: What kind of books do you publish?
Nicole: Blind Eye Books publishes fiction featuring queer protagonists. We do both print and digital releases of novels, anthologies and, recently, standalone novellas.
Arao: Who are the key players in Blind Eye Books?
Nicole: We have two full-time employees and work with several contractors. Dawn Kimberling acts as publisher and art director and I am both managing and acquiring editor. We have a social media coordinator named Theresa Tyree and may work with other freelance editors, proofreaders, publicists, illustrators and book designers depending on what a particular project requires.
For example, for our forthcoming release, a thriller called Object of Desire by Dal Maclean, I did the primary developmental edit and line edit and hired another editor, Anne Scott, to do proofreading and continuity. We hired KaNaXa to design the cover (including the cover type design) and did the interior book design in-house. We also outsource our ebook manufacturing. So including the author that’s a six-person team working to turn a manuscript into a print book.
Arao: Do you have authors with multiple titles that you’ve published? How many books do you publish per year?
Nicole: Yes. Most of our authors have more than one title with us. But we don’t demand right of first refusal or anything like that. We publish two titles per year.
Arao: I understand you publishing company is dedicated to publishing the best science fiction, fantasy, mystery and romance featuring LGBT protagonists. What is your mission statement? How has it evolved?
Nicole: Our mission statement is exactly the same as it always has been: to produce genre fiction featuring queer protagonists that is both powerful and positive. We don’t do bummer endings. Ever.
Arao: May you describe how you fund Blind Eye Books? How do you fund your press? What are the estimated costs of doing business?
Nicole: With money of course! (lol) We run on the revenue generated by sales of our books, just like any other business. :) If you’re asking how much money a person needs to start a publishing company I’d say: about $5,000 and one killer manuscript that’s gonna sell more than 10,000 copies. At Blind Eye Books we lucked out and chose Ginn Hale’s Wicked Gentlemen as our first release. Ms. Hale’s book went on the win the Spectrum Award and was shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award.
Arao: How has your audience changed since you first established Blind Eye Books?
Nicole: Well, it’s gotten bigger. Each new author finds a new set of readers and some of those crossover to our other authors and titles. Plus review outlets are more eager to read fiction featuring queer protagonists than they used to be.
Arao: What other thoughts or ideas would you like to share with our class about Blind Eye Books?
Nicole: When we started Blind Eye Books it was to produce the kind of books that we wanted to read but couldn’t find on bookstore shelves. Back then publishing was a closed system with enormous barriers to entry to the book market and access to readers. Since then digital access to distributors and retailers—even libraries—has become as easy as setting up a Smashwords account. Worldwide print book manufacture and distribution can be had from Lightning Source. Marketing is a hashtag away. Even high-end reviews in venues like Kirkus and Publishers Weekly can be yours for a few hundred bucks. So if you have the passion to start your own publishing company that makes the kind of books that YOU want to read go ahead and make one. If you think there is an underserved reader or marginalized author, publish a book. Sell the book. Prove that the market exists. Make those readers visible.
It would be ingenuous of me to claim that starting a publishing company is easy, because it really isn’t. Like any other business it takes a while to learn the ropes of your industry and you are bound to make some errors and missteps along the way.
But just in case anybody wants to give it a shot I’ll give the brief order of events here:
1. Decide what your mission is. Do not deviate from the mission. For the purposes of this essay lets say you want to read contemporary romance books featuring Latinx protagonists. Decide on a name and acquire a business license and bank account and web address. Apply for an EIN number for tax purposes.
2. Find a couple of authors who are willing to work with you. Even if you are, yourself an author, it will help to have more than one person on your team. Five is a good number, but you can start with just one if that’s all you have. Always write contracts explaining exactly how much an author is paid and when they are paid. At Blind Eye Books we pay 10% of cover price for print and 50% net for digital.
3. Complete production on your books—get them written, edited, proofread, and manufactured into 3 file types: print-ready pdf (for Lightning Source) plus .mobi (for amazon.com) and .epub (for everybody else.) Make sure covers are high-res images. You are now four months away from release.
4. Build your website.
5. Send review copies to reviewers—most big venues require books to be submitted at least four months prior to the release date.
6. Build and connect author websites (if they don’t already have them.)
7. Build social media accounts for your publishing house.
8. Contact citizen reviewers in your field. Send out review copies.
9. Two months before release date, upload digital books for preorder. Begin to arrange author appearances on relevant blogs and websites. (It helps to hire a publicist to do this if you can find one familiar with your field.).
10. One month before release date begin media campaign.
11. Release date: Hooray! Time to see how you did. If you sold 100 copies, you’re about average. If you sold 1000 you’re on to something. If you sold 5,000 you’re onto something good.
12. Pay author on time.
Bio: Arao Ameny is an Uganda-born, Maryland-based journalist and writer. She is currently an MFA Fiction student at the University of Baltimore and loves prose and poetry—equally. Her favorite author is Zimbabwean author Dambudzo Marechera.
Hey there, BEB faithful!
First of all, happy international women's day! This month we've got two quick things to hype! We're really excited that both of our announcements have to do with pretty much entirely to do with women.
The first of which is ClexaCon! We've been talking about this con since last fall, but just in case you missed it, the convention is all about queer women in media! We're going to be there sharing a table with Queen of Swords Press, and we hope we'll see you there! If you need to get tickets, check out ClexaCon's website here! And if you can't come see us in April in Las Vegas to chill with all the other supporters of queer women in media, check out their other events! You won't be disappointed.
Second, there's a book bundle being put on by Cat Rambo right now featuring feminism and our very own Nicole Kimberling! Stories in the bundle include:
Starfarers Quartet Omnibus - Books 1-4 by Vonda N. McIntyre
The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling
Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A. Hogarth
The Terrorists of Irustan by Louise Marley
Alanya to Alanya by L. Timmel Duchamp
Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith
Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard
The Birthday Problem by Caren Gussoff
To Shape the Dark by Athena Andreadis
You can check out more about the bundle here, but hurry! The offer ends on March 21st!
We hope you have a magnificent March, faithful. And we'll see you next month!
Hey there, BEB faithful! Good to see you, even if you're just huddled up next to your computer hiding from the snow.
How about that weather, huh?
Anyway, since you're cuddled up indoors already, let me tell you about this awesome thing you could be reading.
If you read Bitter Legacy, you know what an artist Blind Eye Books author Dal Maclean is. She dislikes the Tragic Gay trope, but loves imperfect characters and genuine emotional conflict in romantic fiction, so you know you're always in for a something relatable and engaging when you pick up one of her books.
Which brings me to the purpose of our monthly tête-à-tête: Dal Maclean's newest title Object of Desire is up for preorder on Amazon!
This time, the story is about a beautiful male model being framed for the death of his employer:
Tom Gray is one of the world's top models–an effortless object of desire. Self-contained, elusive and always in control, he's accustomed to living life entirely on his own terms. But when Tom comes under suspicion in the gory death of his employer, his world spirals into chaos. Someone's framing him. Someone's stalking him. And as old secrets come to light, Tom finds his adversary always one step ahead. Will Foster is the only man Tom trusts to help. But Tom brutally burned all bridges between them two years before, and Will paid a bitter price. If he wants to survive, Tom must prove his innocence to Will–and to the world.
Having been able to preview the manuscript, I can personally guarantee that this one is worth your time, and your money. Go snag your copy from the preorder link above! We're only going to print so many, so reserving yours before we run out is a good idea!
Keep warm during this flash freeze, and we'll see you next month, faithful!
Hey there, BEB faithful!
Today, we've got an exciting feature for you! An interview with Jess Faraday, the mastermind behind the new short story series Blind Eye Books will be releasing. Sit down, strap in, and get ready to walk through what makes Faraday tick--as well as get a sneak peak of what's to come in her short stories!
1. What is the vision for your short story series? Will all the stories revolve around characters in the same word and time period? Or will we visit different words, characters, times, etc?
I was so excited when Blind Eye suggested writing a series of shorts with Constable Simon Pearce. Pearce is a minor character in my novella, The Kissing Gate, which appears in the anthology Blades of Justice. The stories all take place in Britain the late 19th century, and follow the young constable through different cases, while he tries to find his place in Scotland Yard and in the world.
2. You do a fantastic job of layering tension, character, and world building, which is essential when writing short stories. What’s your recipe for keeping that so well balanced?
Outline, outline, outline! When you’re working with multiple storylines, it’s important to know the structure and beats of each one, so that they’re balanced. After that, it’s a matter of composing each scene so that it moves the storylines forward together.
3. Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing stories like the one’s we’ll see in this series?
I love reading about history. The 19th century was a time of explosive growth in science and technology. I enjoy thinking about how new advances changed the way people looked at things and related to each other – and about how despite the differences in the environment and social structure, people are basically the same, with the same struggles, desires and conflicts.
4. What sort of representation can readers expect to see in the series?
The main character, Simon Pearce, is a gay man. Being a low level police officer in 19th century Britain, he’s had to be extremely careful, as it was a crime in that time and place — not to mention the ruin of a career that he’s worked very hard to achieve and maintain. So he doesn’t have a lot of experience beyond paid quickies here and there. He’s an innocent in some ways, but not a virgin or naive. Part of Pearce’s personal arc in these stories is learning how to have a relationship with someone he likes, respects, and enjoys spending time with. There may be a couple of someones. Ultimately, though, part of his story will be figuring out what he wants in this aspect of life, and finding a way to get it.
Pearce was a minor character in my novella The Kissing Gate in Blades of Justice. The major character was Dr. Elizabeth Bell, a lesbian physician who was also a police medical consultant. (She was actually a murder suspect in The Kissing Gate). Pearce read and admired Dr. Bell’s work long before he met her in Blades of Justice, and she and her partner, Alice, will show up in at least one of the stories.
Other minor LGBTQ characters may present themselves as the stories progress — people will have to read to find out!
5. Above all else, what do you hope your readers will get out of reading these stories?
A few hours of entertainment!
And there you have it, faithful. Straight from the horse's mouth, all we Faraday wants if for you to enjoy her stories.
We'll be hyping them more as they release, so keep your eyes on our social media pages! And we'll see you next month!
Happy Holidays, BEB Faithful!
From all of us at Blind Eye Books, we want to wish you a merry holiday season and happy new year. We've got all sorts of surprises for you in the upcoming new year, and we're all hoping that 2018 makes the future look a little brighter.
We'll be doing our part by bringing you a bunch of new books and making appearances and even more events!
More on that soon, but for now we have to focus on making our new year's resolutions!
See you in 2018!
Hey BEB Faithful!
Black Friday is coming up, and everyone's having a sale. We're no exception, but our sale? Our sale goes all through the weekend until Cyber Monday!
That means we're slashing prices on all of your favorite books--and we know there are few of you out there that will really appreciate this. I can't tell you how many of you walked away from our con booths these past few months, sad to only have a fraction of the books you wanted to take home with you in your hands.
Get five titles for .99 cents each! The Shattered Gates by Ginn Hale, The Archer's Heart Book One by Astrid Amara, Smoketown by Tenea D. Johnson, Irregulars, by Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Astrid Amara and Ginn Hale, and Blades of Justice by Jess Faraday, Helen Angove and Rachel Green.
So stop by and grab your favorites. Introduce your friends through the sale as a sneaky way to tell them what you want for the holidays. Coerce strangers into looking at or webpage. Whatever you want! The prices are low and the stories are as great as always. Get them while the getting's good!
And, as always, we'll see you next month!
So in episode five we left off with Lauren in a precarious situation: in the middle of her podcast two nefarious thugs broke down the door sprayed her with gunk shoved her in a bag and carried her off. We pick up again with Special Agent Keith Curry, who has just come home from work.
Episode Six, “Performance Review,” was written by Nicole Kimberling and produced by Tommy Jordan. Keith Curry’s Theme and Lauren’s theme were written and performed by Tommy Jordan.
This week’s episode features the voices of:
Addition featured music was: Mind of the Machine by Future Lab Rats and Skipping 7th Grade by CHRVNS
When 12-year old cat sitter Lauren discovers her neighbor is a secret agent, the next logical step is to start podcasting his field reports. In episode five, Lauren listens in while Keith takes a call from a distressed kraken.
Episode Five, “Just Say No to Kraken,” was written by Nicole Kimberling and produced by Tommy Jordan.
When 12-year old cat sitter Lauren discovers her neighbor is a secret agent, the next logical step is to start podcasting his field reports. This week Lauren's podcast gets some sponsors--though the products they're selling seem very strange... Then for a change of pace, Lauren breaks into some saved voice messages from Special Agent Keith Curry's hot boyfriend, Gunther.
Episode Four: “Hot Boyfriend” was written by Nicole Kimberling and produced by Tommy Jordan. It features the voices of Ginn Hale, Tommy Jordan, Brendan Connor, Dal Maclean, Tenea D. Johnson, Anthony Navarro, Nicole Kimberling, Danielle Rose and Ian EveryHope.
Episode Three: “Then She Feeds” was written by Nicole Kimberling and Tenea D. Johnson and produced by Tommy Jordan. It features the voices of Ginn Hale, Tommy Jordan, Tenea D. Johnson, Nicole Kimberling and Ian EveryHope
Hey there, BEB faithful!
It's been a while! Hopefully we saw you in Helsinki or at Geek Girl Con. If we didn't, we're back to our regularly scheduled monthly blog posts, and we got you a special Halloween treat: our awesome new podcast, Lauren Proves Magic is Real.
What's nice about posting the podcast on our website is that I don't have to link to it when I tell you it's here and it's awesome! Seriously, just scroll down!
Those of you who read The Irregulars will remember Special Agent Kieth Curry. Those of you who know Nicole Kimberling will remember her fantastic way with preparing food. Both of those things come together in the podcast to bring the previous chef, now paranormal agent character of Kieth Curry alive as his 12-year-old cat sitter Lauren broadcasts his personal dictations of his cases to her listeners.
To be one of those listeners, all you have to do is find Lauren Proves Magic is Real wherever you listen to podcasts. Oh, and please take a moment to subscribe, rate, and review. It helps keep us on the charts, where others less fortunate than you who aren't reading the BEB blog can find it.
See you next month, faithful! And Happy Halloween!
When 12-year old cat sitter Lauren discovers her neighbor is a secret agent, the next logical step is to start podcasting his field reports. Episode Two takes Special Agent Keith Curry to Austin to investigate mystery meat.
"Lauren Proves Magic is Real!" was created by Nicole Kimberling and is a co-production of Tommy Jordan, Shepherd Boy Records and Blind Eye Books. Episode Two, “A Special Kind of Hell,” was written by Nicole Kimberling and produced by Tommy Jordan. It features the voices of: Ginn Hale, Ian EveryHope, Anthony Navarro, Spencer Reeves, Jake Wichrowski, Tommy Jordan, and Brendan Connor.
When 12-year old cat sitter Lauren discovers her neighbor is a secret agent, the next logical step is to start podcasting his reports.
Set in the shared-world universe first explored in our book "Irregulars" "Lauren Proves Magic is Real!" explores the lesser case files of Special Agent Keith Curry, supernatural food inspector. For more Special Agent Keith Curry check out "Cherries Worth Getting."
Or you could check out the book trailer for "Cherries Worth Getting."
"Lauren Proves Magic is Real!" was created by Nicole Kimberling and is a co-production of Tommy Jordan, Shepherd Boy Records and Blind Eye Books.
Episode One, “The Banana Thing,” was written by Nicole Kimberling and produced by Tommy Jordan. It features the voices of: Joji, Dal Maclean, Ginn Hale, Ian EveryHope, Tommy Jordan, Brendan Connor and Nicole Kimberling
We have a second trailer up for our upcoming podcast!
That's right. We have a trailer available for our upcoming podcast, "Lauren Proves Magic Is Real." Have a listen:
Hey there, BEB Faithful!
As you may know, Ginn Hale's long awaited release of The Long Past will be coming out at the end of next month. I'm sure you noticed the book preorder has been on sale for a while, but I'm here to tell you about how you can win your very own digital copy of the book! From September 15th through October 3rd, send us a private message on Facebook or tweet us a picture of you and one of Ginn Hale's books. We'll select five lucky winners at random, and those winners will receive an electronic copy of The Long Past for free!
Speaking of free things, how many of you like money? Blind Eye Books will also be doing another give away from Labor Day (September 4th) until the end of September. All you need to do to enter? Send us your best Lord of the White Hell fanart! The art doesn't have to be new, but we will need you to tweet it at us or send it to us in a new Facebook message during the dates of the contest. We're really looking forward to seeing all your lovely fanart of Javier and Kiram--especially Kiram. He may be a favorite of mine. Shout out to anyone who wants to draw the matriarchal society of Kiram's family! One lucky winner will be selected at random and will receive an Amazon gift card for $50!
The one stipulation we have for both contests: keep it clean. We have to ask that all fanart be safe for work. It can be as suggestive as you want, but we can't accept any entries with genitals in them. Get creative with some fig leaves, if you have to, just make sure we can count your entry by keeping it dong free!
Enjoy the encroaching Autumn, faithful. We'll see you next month!
Hey there, BEB faithful!
We're hard at work this month, and it all comes down to all the appearances we're putting in later this year at conventions! Get these dates on your calendars, and come by and say hello if all the times and places align!
First up, star BEB author Ginn Hale and heavy-hitting head editor Nicole Kimberling (excuse the fact that this sounds like a wrestling intro from GLOW, we've been loving the show) will be in Helsinki August 9th-13th for Worldcon. If you've never heard of Worldcon before and you're a science fiction fan, you're missing out! Worldcon is short of World Science Fiction Convention, and it happens somewhere different each year. This year, it's in Helsinki. Specifically in Messukeskus, the Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Next up, Blind Eye Books will have a table at Geek Girl Con. You may have seen us there before—spoilers, it's because it's one of our favorite cons—and we'll definitely be there again this year. Especially if you're wearing cosplay from any of our books, DROP BY THE TABLE. We might have a special treat for you if you do. Geek Girl Con will go from September 30th through October 1st and will be held at The Conference Center in Seattle, WA.
And last but certainly not least, Ginn Hale and Nicole Kimberling will once again appear in Seattle for Read with Pride Northwest. As the Northwests biggest celebration of LGBTQIA romance, this is an event you won't want to miss! All events will be held at the Seattle Public Library from November 3rd-4th. Take this chance to meet some of your favorite authors, celebrate queer romance with other fans, and maybe even pick up a few new books!
See you next month, all. Perhaps literally if you're in Helsinki!
As you know, it's Pride! Here's hoping you've been having a safe and supported experience. Just in case you need a little you time with a super gay book, though, we're chopping 25% off of Ginn Hale's new book The Long Past! Grab your copy before Pride is up to make your savings count.
We're also taking some time this month to remember the victims of the Pulse shooting. What happened last year was tragic, and it's made us even more resolute to keep publishing queer stories and queer voices than ever before. The more we speak and read and write these stories, the freer we'll all be someday. So go shove some queer books in a friend's face and make a difference this Pride. We're all counting on you. <3
We've got two exciting things to announce this month, the first of which is our newest Ginn Hale title available for pre-order The Long Past & Other Stories. Reserve your copy now at the special pre-order price!
Our second bit of news is Dal Maclean's Bitter Legacy has made the list of Lambda Award finalists in the category of Gay Mystery! Show Dal your love by dropping by dropping her a line on twitter (@MacleanDal) and congratulating her on this colossal achievement!
And, if you haven't already picked up your copy of the book, look no further than the publications tab of our website. We're happy to enable some of the best rainy weather mystery reading you've ever had--and if that isn't enough to fill your reading hours, check out the full list of Lambda finalists here!
See you next time for Pride Month!