Here's a blog from J and J on just how it happened.
We have a confession: neither Jeanie nor I had ever read a novel, seen a play, or recited a poem by author Raven Starr until she submitted a manuscript to Beautiful Trouble Publishing. That, however, didn’t stop us from being familiar with the author. Despite the masses of authors out there, publishing circles are small and the six degrees of separation are more like three degrees of separation…if that.
Even though neither of us knew her, we knew of her because she had an online presence. That is, she had a blog, was on both Facebook and MySpace, and had a yahoo group. You might wonder what that has to do with her submission and we’d answer “everything.”
When reading over submissions, we look for a well-written and compelling story. That, however, is not all we look for when we receive a submission. As a publisher specializing in e-Books, we also look for how the author looks online. Before we read the first word of the submission, we perform an internet search for the author. We expect veteran authors to have a presence, and Raven definitely had one.
Able to check off that first box on our ‘must have’ checklist, we read her submission. We didn’t accept Raven’s first submission—not because it wasn’t a good read, but because it was a genre more appropriate for a different publisher. Asking her permission, we hooked her up with another publisher and encouraged her to submit something else to Beautiful Trouble Publishing.
She did. Word on the street is ‘because we’re so awesome’. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. Skimming her submission, as usual we mentally noted typos, repetition, and other grammar things. Somewhere along the way however, we got sucked into the story. We wanted the heroine to make it out to the other side, especially as the hero was damn likeable. Before we even reached the end, we’d decided to accept the story.
Knowing Raven has children, was also a student herself and managed to squeeze in a social life, we emailed her and asked her to call us. A few minutes later she called the business line. That initial conversation was memorable.
“Hello, Beautiful Trouble Publishing,” Jayha said (Jayha likes to add that she sounded all sophisticated and whatnot…The Jeanie likes to point out that is a damn lie).
“Hi, this is Raven. You asked me to call.”
Being the epitome of professionalism, grace and etiquette, I responded. “You B*tch!” I screamed/sniffled because I was still crying from the story. “You are wrong for making me look so un-gangsta like. We want the story. By the way, DIBS on Aidan.”
Instead of being offended, Raven responded with tinkling laughter before getting all serious. “So you liked it?”
Raven was concerned that the story wasn’t “enough” for our publishing company. We were concerned that we might be too much, not just for Raven but for many authors. The Jeanie and I…we’re picky, we’re demanding, and according to rumor “UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME.”
Was To Start Again our usual type of romance? No, but we pride ourselves on not having a “usual” type—other than kickazz. During the read we got angry, we cried, and in the end we sighed when Madison and Aidan both received their HEA.
The story went through what many of our authors refer to as “editing boot camp.” Through it all, Raven was the epitome of a professional. She didn’t whine and moan about our picky ways (well, at least not out loud). Instead, she buckled down and put her nose to the grindstone. We happen to think To Start Again is her best piece of writing…and that’s not simply because we published it.
The book is dedicated to her mother. We think her mom would be proud. We certainly are. Thank you Raven for being part of Beautiful Trouble Publishing. —Jeanie and Jayha