An Interview With Lynn West – Editor in Chief with Dreamspinner Press
Welcome Lynn. Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions today. Coincidentally—or not really since I set the dates for interviews—today is the release of my first novel with DSP Publications. So thank you for believing in me enough to publish my books.
Thank you for inviting me, Andrew. It’s a pleasure to have you with us at Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your work with Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
I’ve done a little bit of everything with Dreamspinner Press through the years, being one of the founders. But I settled into my skillset (and comfort zone) by developing, building, and growing the Editorial Department. It’s a never-ending work in progress; I’m always looking for ways to increase and improve services for the authors and making the publication experience as positive as possible for everyone involved. It could be anything from making sure an author has certain information on hand before production even starts, to how much and what type of editing a book receives, to tweaking our design work. DSP Publications is part of that, as is Harmony Ink Press. I’m also heavily involved in our Submissions Department processes, especially for DSP Publications.
Special is the right word. We want each book published by DSPP to be singular, an extraordinary experience for readers, a book that a reader just can’t put down or simply has to post about on Facebook or Twitter, it was so incredible. Some of these are books that were so good when we first found them that we took a chance on them at the romance imprint, and now we want to see them reach a different, and possibly more genre receptive, audience. We’re picking books we love, because we think other readers will love them too.
How has the response been to titles DSP Publications has released so far? Are you seeing a broader buying audience?
We’ve been really happy to see new books hitting the top ten on mystery, horror, and urban fantasy bestseller lists—even before their publication date. This happened with John Inman’s Willow Man. We are also seeing active registration on the DSPP website, with 40% of sales being customers that aren’t registered on the Dreamspinner site. I think that shows that we’re getting the press’s name and books out there in front of people, and we’ll keep working on that.
You were in charge of editing with Dreamspinner Press, how different is it now that you’re involved in the nuts and bolts of running the DSP Publications imprint?
I’m seeing a lot more of the other departments, that’s for sure. Launching DSPP has meant closer coordination with the Art Department and Distribution, as well as being an available resource to help guide the authors’ group and learning enough about marketing and promotion to point the authors in someone else’s direction. Building DSPP’s schedule around a promotional plan was an interesting challenge, and I’m glad we pursued it. I’ve had to expand the editorial production model to accommodate that, including encouraging authors to take part in macro (big picture) editing, deepening the one-on-one partnerships between authors and their senior editors, developing elements of story material early in the process to facilitate creating more advance promotional materials. And now I’m even translating some of those changes to Dreamspinner and Harmony Ink.
Seeing a phenomenal book published and not find the success it deserves because it doesn’t fit the gay romance market niche quite right. That was one of the driving forces behind creating DSP Publications: to better market books to find that success.
Give authors one piece of advice when dealing with their publishers?
Don’t be afraid. Publishing is a public partnership—not a silent one—and we want you to ask questions, collect information, and stay involved in each aspect of the production of your publication every step of the way. You’ll never know what’s possible if you don’t ask.
What types of submissions is DSP Publications most interested in receiving right now?
DSPP isn’t open to unsolicited submissions at this time. I’m mainly focusing on working with successful authors who want to take part in expanded promotion efforts so we can build the imprint name. However, I have been known to pull a submission or two from the Dreamspinner pot, since I’m looking for a certain amount of speculative fiction variety. In general, I’d really like some meaty suspense thrillers and classic whodunit mysteries, and perhaps a few classic historical tales and pure science fiction adventures.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Getting happy feedback from authors at the end of production. It’s a lot of hard work on both sides, and knowing they’re pleased at the end is worth the time and effort.
Ursula Le Guin. Her books were among the first to catapult me into the science fiction and fantasy genres, inspiring a devotion to reading that exists to this day.
Besides reading and publishing, what else do you enjoy?
I don’t have spare time for much, but beyond the standard “spending time with family and friends” answer, I’ll say that I do enjoy playing bridge and pinochle, as well as several genre board games like Seven Wonders, Firefly, and Battlestar Galactica. I also follow several TV shows (thank heaven for DVR) and have been known to degenerate into a fangirl. I’m told it’s quite hysterical. When I’m really feeling adventuresome, I’ll surf the black hole that is Pinterest to research what tattoo I want to get next. I have a love/hate relationship with traveling: I love to visit, but I’m such a homebody that it’s only a short time before I’m ready to be at home.
Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything at all.
Dreamspinner Press would like to thank all the authors and readers out there who are already supporting DSP Publications. We’ve received such an outpouring of positive thanks and encouragement. We hope you’ll continue to spread the word.