Since I began blogging I’ve been so privileged to interact with a wide range of other bloggers, readers, authors and publishers and it gives me very great pleasure to welcome Kate Foster, Editorial Director (and angel) of Lakewater Press to the blog today to celebrate Lakewater’s second birthday.
An Interview with Lakewater Press
Hi Kate. Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag. I’m delighted to welcome you here today to celebrate Lakewater Press’s second birthday.
Thank you so much for having me!
Firstly, could you tell us a bit about Lakewater Press?
Yes, of course. Lakewater Press is small, micro really, but still a traditional press in that we DO NOT and NEVER WILL charge authors to publish their work. We are about quality not quantity, with a side mission to publish debut authors who’ve written wonderful books that deserve to be read. All of our books go through a minimum of three thorough edits before we set a publication date and every author receives continued marketing and branding support throughout the term of their contract. We love reading great books and so birthing those we truly adore and are proud of is a blessing.
(What a wonderful philosophy!)
How are you celebrating your second birthday?
Naturally we’re having a book sale and a few giveaways! Chances to win copies of our books, book vouchers, as well as some extra sweet treats too. Readers should check out our blog for details. But also, we’re celebrating by launching book 2 in the Friends series, A Forsaken Friend by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape, sequel to the sharp and witty A Falling Friend. Teri and Lee, the stars of this series, are the Cagney and Lacey of academia.
(Oh yes! I know all about this as Sue and Susan are also on the blog today and readers can see that blog post here.)
What is the biggest challenge in being a small independent publisher?
Growing our audience and reaching readers – the problem that most authors and publishers have. It’s happening, slowly, and we’re pretty chuffed with how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. We have great products; we’re confident of that. And, although we’re not silly enough to think every reader in the world will fall head over heels in love with our books, we know each title is beautifully written, is current, but will also stand the test of time. Our books and our authors deserve to be read.
And what is the best aspect?
Being able to work so closely with the authors and involve them in every aspect of their book’s life. Also, for our staff and authors to become friends and support one another in promotional efforts. We want this process to be enjoyable, exciting, and we’re all about making it collaborative. As a small press we can do this.
Lakewater Press has the motto ‘Great Books, That’s All‘ but we know there’s more to it than that in getting a book from submission to publication. Could you explain the process for us please?
Yes, I’ll try to be as brief as possible! Each of our acquisitions staff has a list of likes and dislikes and what we’d like to see in our inboxes. So, initially, whoever the author submits to needs to have an interest in this genre or content – there’s really no point in sending me a historical novel, for example, because in general it’s just not what I enjoy reading. Then, of course, there’s that connection thing; the editor needs to be engaged and hooked from the opening pages and, most importantly, to the voice. Sometimes we can’t explain why we don’t like a well-written book with a strong story. It can come down to simply not caring enough about the characters or not being swept up in the rhythm of the voice. But, before rejecting submissions we each of us consider if a colleague might be a better fit first.
Once we have a manuscript we love and can’t stop thinking about, we take it through to acquisitions – which basically means sharing the book with the other Lakewater editors and trusted team of readers to make sure we’re all passionate about it and have a good idea of the areas that need work and development.
And then we hope the authors are as excited to join our team as we are to have them! We don’t hide anything and we make sure the author knows we expect hard work on their part and plenty of dedication to promoting their books. It’s that team effort again! At this point, once contracts are signed and deals are announced, we get down to business. Editing, designing, creating, chatting, and celebrating. It’s a lot of fun.
(I love the collaborative approach you have Kate.)
You take a personal approach to dealing with your authors. What is the Lakewater philosophy for publishing that sets you apart from all the others?
It’s a team effort – staff and authors. Pretty much everything is talked through with at least one other member of the team and the author. Everyone gets to be included in every decision – from the editing to the creative element to promotion. A new creative direction or promotional idea or anything really can come from anyone at any time, so we take time to discuss the books, not just when they’re pre-release, but post-release too.
Although you’re a small independent publisher, you have quite an eclectic catalogue. Could you tell us a bit about your books please?
As booklovers, our collective tastes are eclectic and this will always reflect in our catalogue. We have gorgeous, rich fantasy (WITCHBREED series), gritty and edgy thrillers (JAKE CALDWELL series), intelligent and sharp diva lit (FRIENDS series), haunting and refreshing YA sci-fi (METAMORPHOSIS series), terrifyingly real technothrillers (CYBER WAR series), warm and inspiring women’s fiction (THE SUMMER SPRINGSTEEN’S SONGS SAVED ME), and disturbing and heart-pounding YA thrillers (THE LIFE GROUP). And these are just the books published! (I *might* mention our forthcoming titles in a moment…)
(What a wonderful selection of books, Kate.)
Many bloggers wonder if our blogs make a difference to publishers and their authors. What would you say to that?
Absolutely. Book bloggers are the royalty of the book world. Without your love and passion for discussing and sharing books, your honesty and opinions, publishers and authors often wonder what seasoned readers truly think of their work. We, like the authors, can get so wrapped up in the love for our books that we often can’t see the wood for the trees. So readers’ opinions – good and bad – are so important for us to hear so we know what works and why, but also what doesn’t work and why.
There are so many debates about the longevity of ‘real’ and e-books. What is your view from a publishing perspective?
There’s a place for both physical and e-books in the world. They will co-exist happily and there will always be a place for both. I think it was Stephen Fry who made this comparison to elevators and stairs. Why can’t we have both? Just because elevators came along it didn’t mean stairs had to go! Of course, some books sell better than others as e-books and others as physical copies, and trends always change, so it’s important for us to ensure both digital and physical copies are available to readers for all of our books.
(Quite right too. Whatever format doesn’t take away from the effort an author has had to put in to writing it!)
What are you most excited about for Lakewater Press in 2018?
Well, lots! We have some amazing books coming out this year, obviously starting today with A Forsaken Friend of which feedback so far has been remarkable! We think this might just be better than A Falling Friend… But also this year we have another instalment coming in the JAKE CALDWELL series – fans are becoming pretty impatient so James L. Weaver has been busy writing two books – the sequel to Butterfly Bones, Butterfly Blood, in the METAMORPHOSIS series by Rebecca Carpenter – and it’s an absolute beauty! – another adult thriller called The Foster – guaranteed to leave readers super creeped out – a YA LGBTQ called All Boy by the wonderful Mia Kerick – which is not only very important but melted our hearts! – and very possibly the third and final book in the WITCHBREED series – and we have no idea how RL Martinez plans to end this yet! Plus, we’re revamping The Life Group – new cover, new marketing plans – and we cannot wait!
Lakewater Press is 2 years old. What do you think Lakewater might look like by the time of its 10th birthday?
I hope much the same, but with more stunning books, more avid fans, and more brilliant and talented authors as part of the Lakewater family. We’re here for the duration and hope to evolve and learn from what works and what doesn’t. Life is an education.
(I’m sure you’ll go from strength to strength Kate.)
Is there anything else we should know about Lakewater Press that you haven’t told us so far?
Erm, we love books and authors and readers. That’s if you didn’t figure this out already! And we want to take this chance to thank those who’ve already purchased and read our books, to ask those who have to please, please leave a review so we know how you felt about our products, and finally to invite you to connect with us and our authors! We’re a nice bunch.
Great advice Kate. We should always leave a review of a book if we can as it helps spread the word. Thanks so much for being on Linda’s Book Bag today and Happy Birthday!
About Lakewater Press
Launched in 2016, Lakewater Press is a small independent publishing company with a philosophy of publishing entertaining and engaging books for adults and young adults alike, preferring quality to quantity.