Ashley Madau-Founder/Designer, Cara Ruegg-Editor/Moderator, Jessica Lopez-Head of Marketing, and Lauren Skye Sila (not pictured here) Moderator for Reuts Community (ReutsComm)
What motivated you to engineer your own online publishing firm?
A day or two after I signed a contract for my story to be published through a different publishing company, and reading, re-reading, and reading the contract it was almost a light bulb moment; in one quick moment I knew I could provide people like myself with a publishing company while improving on what I didn't agree with in my own contract. Luckily, I was able to terminate my contract with this other company, and I began developing Reuts. The name was the hardest part. I complained to my boyfriend how it had to be perfect, had to embody my dream of the company. When Reuts was voted upon by a handful of people, I worked on the website, the policies and the contracts. In less than a week I had the company ready to go; it was a surreal moment.
You are solely online. How do you feel that differs, if it does, from other publishers?
Our central location is online (people a part of our team are from California, to Michigan, to Maryland), and I feel it's a great example of how writers and individuals can come together, creating a publication for young adults, by young adults. Most publishers, large or small, may try to relate to that age group, but by actually haven't young adults from different corners of the world a part of Reuts, we're able to truly relate and offer an experience of publication and friendship with others like ourselves. It's a relationship, personal before profit.
Your staff members, how did you meet them and hire them to work with you? What are they're qualifications?
I stumbled upon many of the Reuts team members. We are currently made up of young adults volunteering their specific skills for a ending goal. Jessica has superb marketing skills which she has lent to the group, and Lauren is a fantastic motivator. Why should there be a big difference if someone has professional qualifications or not? These individuals are talented in their own way, and I'm so appreciative that they're anxious to help an up-and-coming company!
What are you hoping to accomplish through Reuts Publications?
I want to offer young adults something I wish I had when searching for a publisher: someone who communicates with you, responds in a timely fashion, actually reads through every submission, and gives you a real chance within the world of publication. Starting Reuts was never about breaking the bank or gaining unimaginable fame, but helping others you truly believe in to realize their dreams and goals. I want to help and get the word out about these fantastic authors.
You are currently accepting submissions. What genres do you work with most?
We accept all submissions except highly erotic stories, but personal preference of most of our team members is in the paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi realm. We're looking for stories to push the boundaries, with a unique take on the over-killed genres. If it's different and well written, we're happy to give it a shot!
What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?
Unpredictable characters, relatable characters, a story to tug at the readers emotions. It's all about creating realism with the most unbelievable stories. It doesn't matter if you're dealing with elves, zombies, mutants, there's always a way to weave believability into the story-line and cause the reader to wish for it to be reality. Take me, take us away from mundane life.
What are you looking for in a writer/client?
Someone fun. Like I mentioned before, a friend. You don't need to be afraid of your publishing company, we're normal people too. I love talking to different authors and understanding their writing, their style and their thoughts. That said, there has to be a small level of professionalism with the author, nothing too drastic, but enough to demonstrate the individual is serious about their story and sharing it with the world. We all wouldn't mind fame, but it's always nicer to hear an author wanting to share their story with the world instead of making their millions.
On your website, you state on your About Page: "...here at Reuts, we're looking to redefine the relationship authors develop with their publishers."Could you elaborate on this statement?
Too many times a publisher/author relationship is purely business; you profit by having your book published, we profit by selling your published book. From the beginning I never felt this was the right way to do it. Why not create a relationship beyond that, a friendship? Both are still benefiting from the other, but there's also a deeper relationship between publisher and author. I discussed with one of our authors about her recent prom, and was able to share my own (horrifying!) prom stories. It's caring for someone as a human being, not a number on a checkbook.
Do you have any projects and/or clients you'd like to share with us?
We are currently in the editing stage of a two-part story, aimed to be released Winter '10 or Spring '11. It's an enveloping fantasy story which paints the world across the very pages as you read. We're keeping the title under wraps right now, but a sneak peak of the book should be coming near the end of Summer.
Reuts is also working with a series of authors who are writing an anthology to be published with us. We have no release date for it yet, but it's coming soon, and from the beginning drafts of it, it's looking fantastic!
What are your hopes for Reuts Publications in the future? Expansion?
The future for Reuts right now is developing a collection to present to the public. We're new, and we can only work so fast to sift through, edit and publish quality books for our readers. I'm guessing this will take some time, and start off slow, but having five or so titles within the next five or less years is a good goal for the company. Expansion would be above and beyond what I'm looking at in this moment. We don't want to rush because we want to do everything right. Quality is better than quantity, there's no denying that.
There are critiques for and against self-publishing. What are your thoughts?
I have an appreciation for those who choose to go the self-publishing route. It takes a lot of guts, time and energy to even get to that; and you thought querying agents and publishers was hard! It's not for everyone, but it's not impossible. If you believe in your story 110% that should radiate off the screen towards your potential readers.
Today's electronic age has finally bleed into tangible books. I know there has been a lot of controversy over ebooks and readers like the Kindle. You represent ebooks. Where do you stand on price, distribution, and the percentage the publisher should receive?
Ebooks are interesting in that there has to be some sort of compensation for both the publisher and the author for all the work put into writing and publication, yet eBooks are clearly different from print books. I think a fair price would be anything under $5, and if you really think about it, any book you'd consider reading should be worth at least $5, and if not, there are other books in the sea. Ebooks are probably the easiest and the hardest to distribute in that there are venues on the internet where you can advertise and distribute for not cost at all, but reeling in your proper audience can be extremely difficult. As with most other companies, eBook publication grants the author a higher royalty percentage than does traditional print, which is how it should always be. The cost of printing is nonexistent, therefore the author should reap more of the benefits; Reuts has no problem with that.
Ashley, thank you for all this viable information. I'm sure many readers will appreciate your perspective.