Sisters Doin’ It For Themselves: Four NJRW Authors Form a Publishing Company

Publishing is an ever-changing business these days, and more and more authors are beginning to publish their own stories. Services once performed only by publishers—such as cover design, developmental and copy editing, and formatting—are now readily available through freelancers, allowing authors more control than ever before.

TimelessKeepsakesFinalCoverFour NJRW authors have taken the idea a step further. Ruth A. Casie, Lita Harris, Emma Kaye, and Nicole S. Patrick have joined forces and collective brainpower to form a publishing company, Timeless Scribes Publishing. Their first venture is an anthology, TIMELESS KEEPSAKES, a collection of holiday stories by each as well as a story by Carina Press author Julie Rowe.

So how did these ladies go from authors to friends to business partners? They were kind enough to stop by for a Q&A to clue the Femmes in.

Joanna Shupe: Welcome, and congratulations on both your new publishing venture and your first release together. How did the idea come about?

Ruth A. Casie: Being a published author, from contract through release, is exciting but not necessarily when you’re on the sidelines. I was the only one published in our critique group and I wanted them to experience the excitement. In May, I presented them with the idea that we each write a short story and publish them ourselves in December. With our diverse genres we decided on a unifying theme, Christmas ornaments.

Nicole S. Patrick: We started off the project with the thought that since only Ruth was published at the time, if we self published something together, then each of us would have a published credit. Since we’ve started, both Emma and Lita have gotten offers on their own books and I’m thrilled for them!

JS: What were the challenges in getting your publishing company off the ground, and was the experience anything like you thought it would be?

Lita Harris: The four of us are actual members of the company, which is necessary to setup if you have multiple authors working on a project. First, it gets the business arrangement out of the way and creates an entity to receive payment. It was easy to setup the company, without getting into too much legal stuff, we settled on an LLC, which functions like a partnership but provides perpetuity, so ownership changes can be made if needed or in the event of death that party’s royalties can be paid to their estate or designated beneficiary. The LLC also provides liability protection like a corporation but doesn’t have the complicated structure therefore simplifying tax reporting and the pass-through of profits and losses. Each state has their own business structures so check first.

Emma Kaye: It was amazingly easy! And by that, I mean, Lita handled that aspect of this project. Actually, though Lita had the lion’s share of the business end our project, we all had our roles in setting up the LLC—bank account, name selection, website, etc. But with all of us working together and focusing on our strengths, it all came together nicely.

NP: The hardest part was deciding on a name!

RC: This entire experience has been better than I expected. I’m proud of what we have created and of each other.

JS: Collaborating as a team on a creative endeavor can sometimes have its challenges. How did you organize your efforts?

RC: We broke the project into pieces and took each one on. Writing a short story is very different than writing full length novel. Rather than flounder, I contacted a good friend Julie Rowe, a fellow Carina Press author. She teaches creative writing, including short story writing, in Alberta, Canada. We asked her to teach us how to write a short story in exchange for a story in our anthology. While Julie prepared us to write, we created a plan on what needed to get done: editing, cover art, formatting, conversion, and marketing. We know we work well together so dividing and conquering was not an issue.

NP: So far we work together marvelously! And, I’m not just saying that. Plus, it helps that we are all friends. Our weekly conference calls help tremendously to keep informed and on top of the process. That’s when we brainstorm, make decisions, and set dates and goals on what needs to be completed.

LH: We were lucky that everyone naturally fell into their roles, be it production, marketing, experience, sales, or finance, so it worked. We also worked with wonderful editors and a graphic artist. And consumed lots of chocolate.

JS: Chocolate is always a must! Will you publish other authors?

RC: That would impact our membership type with RWA. So the short answer is no, we are not looking to publish other authors at this time.

JS: Why did you decide on a holiday anthology?

NP: Who doesn’t like a holiday story? To me, Christmas is the best time of year.

LH: I always found comfort in holiday stories, be it the time of year, the hope of better things ahead, or presents under the tree.

JS: Can you tell us a little bit about the collection of stories?

EK:We all write in different subgenres of romance, so this anthology gives you a nice taste of romance across the lines. We used various Christmas “keepsakes” to tie the stories together. An ornament sends my heroine back in time. Lita’s keepsake sparks a conversation between grandmother and child about how the grandparents fell in love. In Nicole and Julie’s stories, the keepsakes are used to play matchmaker. While in Ruth’s story, the keepsake is an instrumental piece in a druid ritual that brings soul mates together.

LH: The unique quality about our anthology is that each author writes in a different genre, yet we were able to tie the stories together with a common item. Ruth writes historical fantasy, Emma writes time travel, Julie [writes] medical themed stories, Nicole writes military based themes, and I usually write women’s fiction but opted to make this story a contemporary.

JS: Are there other anthologies planned?

Cyril E. King Airport RC: We have decided to publish anthologies twice a year. Our next edition, TIMELESS ESCAPES, is targeted for May, 2014. Our common theme will be the setting, the US Virgin Islands. We will also be publishing a Christmas anthology in 2014. We bought the cover art today!

JS: Best of luck, ladies! I look forward to reading it and getting into the holiday spirit. Thanks for stopping by!

Here is a quick look at each story in the anthology:

  • “Mistletoe and Magick,” Ruth A. Casie – She would give her last breath for him. He would give up everything to guard her well and love her more.
  • “Christmas Spirits,” Lita Harris – A widow’s everlasting love is renewed by the memories of the holiday season.
  • “Granting Her Wish,” Emma Kaye – She doesn’t belong in his time and he doesn’t belong back home. Could they belong to each other?
  • “Letter from St. Nick,” Nicole S. Patrick – She’s trying to save her home and he’s never had one until now. Can an unexpected gift lead their hearts to the same place?
  • “Secret Santa,” Julie Rowe – A nurse grieving the death of her twin brother receives an unusual gift at the staff Secret Santa party: the bullet that killed him along with a message of hope and love.

Find the Timeless Scribe authors the web:
Ruth A. Casie | Nicole S. Patrick | Lita Harris | Emma Kaye | Julie Rowe

And one lucky commenter will win a copy of TIMELESS KEEPSAKES! Comment below and we’ll choose a winner later in the week.

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27 Comments

  1. Hello JS and TSP,

    Wow a lot of talent on one post. Intimidating and impressive for little old me.
    Congrats on the self pub venture. You have an awesome idea with a strong team. When Nicole stood for the first time as a pub author the sparkle of pride in Ruth’s eyes was precious. I love when our authors stand. It is fabulous to see the smiles on everybody face that the door opened after the long road was complete. I wish only the best for TSP and look forward to reading all their books.
    Mia

    Reply
    • Agreed! And very well said.

      Reply
    • Thanks, Mia! We’re all looking forward to the day you stand up to tell your first sale story.
      I know I always leave the NJRW meeting feeling inspired. The support from our members is fantastic.

      Reply
    • RoseAnn DeFranco

       /  November 18, 2013

      Nicely said, Mia! We are blessed with a strong level of support across the chapter!

      Reply
  2. Congratulations on your anthology, ladies! I find it fascinating that you formed your own publishing company. I love take-charge women! I am curious, is forming a publishing company the same as self-publishing? What are the differences, if any?

    Reply
    • Hi Diana!
      In our case, it’s the same thing. We formed the company to handle the details of setting up accounts at the various retailers. We’re only publishing our own stories, so it’s all about self-publishing. We’re just doing it as a team. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Thanks for having us here today, Joanna! We’re always pleased to talk to The Femmes.

    Reply
  4. Jenna Blue

     /  November 18, 2013

    I find this whole project fascinating ladies! From the necessity of developing a corporation for the boxed set to the fact that you all have weekly conference calls. (Hey Femmes? Whatcha think of that?) And I’ve also been meaning to ask you all how you work the writing sprints you do, so I’ll email about that later. So cool to hear you are doing this every six months! I am impressed. In awe, actually! Best of luck with TK and your future works!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Jenna!
      We have a lot of fun doing our sprints—and accomplish a lot at the same time. I highly recommend it. Send that email whenever you have a chance. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

      Reply
  5. My sincere thanks to the Femmes for hosting the Scribes (as we call ourselves nowadays) and telling your readers about our project. I love reading your blog on a regular basis and putting in my 2cents, but to actually BE a part of the blog is a thrill…AWESOME! And my thanks for the many, many, well wishes here and at the NJRW Chapter.

    Reply
    • We love having you here, and we love it when you stop by and comment, too! Thanks for this and best of luck. You know we’re all rooting for you!

      Reply
  6. I want to add my thanks for the Femmes hosting the Scribes. And thank you, Mia, Joanna, Diana, and Jenna for your kind words. This project was a lot of fun. We started with an idea and it grew into something beyond what we initially imagined it would be.

    Reply
  7. RoseAnn DeFranco

     /  November 18, 2013

    What an exciting project. Thank you for sharing your process with us all here. The warmth you all display for one another is evident in your responses. A Holiday Anthology is very fitting. I can’t wait to purchase and read the set of stories. Congratulations!

    Reply
    • Thanks, RoseAnn. It was great being here with the Femmes today.
      Any plans to sign Return to Audubon Springs at NJRW? I have it on my kindle, but I’m thinking it would be nice to have a signed copy for my keeper shelf.

      Reply
      • RoseAnn DeFranco

         /  November 18, 2013

        Hi Emma,

        I’m hoping to have them available at the January meeting. I’ll be looking for a signed copy of Time for Love at your book signing on 12/8 where I plan to get my copy of TK as well! What an exciting time for our members. Congratulations on all your success!

  8. Great interview, ladies! Christmas stories warm the heart and this collection you have put together sounds like a set not to be missed! Best of luck with the publishing company! I’m looking forward to reading Timeless Keepsakes!

    Reply
  9. Anna Taylor Sweringen

     /  November 18, 2013

    Wow. What a fantastic project. I and some fellow authors got burned doing an anthology with an e-pub three years ago. Self publishing is definitely the way to go. I look forward to your upcoming works. Thanks for sharing the steps in your journey. – Anna T.S.

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, Anna.
      Self publishing has been a great experience for me—mostly because of the terrific women involved. No matter how the book is received, I deem it a success because of the great time we all had putting it together.

      Reply
  10. Hi Scribes! Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us. Congratulations on Timeless Keepsakes! I LOVE Christmas anthologies. Christmas is my favorite holiday and a book with multiple Christmas stories is a wonderful treat. I’m impressed with your plan and approach. And 2 books a year in addition to your own writing is very ambitious.

    I’m interested in coming to your book signing in Hamilton, NJ next month. Can you tell us a little more about it? Where? When. I hope to see you there where I can get my very own signed copy!

    Reply
  11. Congratulations on the success of your project ladies! I’m looking forward to reading all of your stories!

    Reply
  12. Talk about enterprising! I admire you ladies for taking this on, and working so well together to divide up the responsibilities and make it happen. I’ve got Timeless Keepsakes downloaded on my Kindle. I can’t wait to read all of your stories.

    Congratulations on such an exciting venture!

    Hugs,
    Jaye

    Reply

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