Industry Insights: Loredana Carini
Loredana Carini is the Founder, CEO and Chief Editor of SmashBear Publishing. Here she talks to us about her journey to founding her own publishing house.
Tell us about your journey into publishing.
I started reading for fun at the age of twelve. I quickly became borderline obsessed and knew that working with books (whether writing them or publishing them) would be my dream job, so I decided to study a BA in Creative Writing and a Masters in Project Management. I thought these qualifications would give me the necessary skills to work in publishing, and I feel that they provided me with a lot of insight. The job market is tragic for graduates at the moment though – hence why I started my own publishing house.
What made you decide to focus on fantasy, horror and sci-fi?
I love these genres. I read them myself and I think it is vital to publish books that you, as a reader, enjoy. Reading what I love also gives me knowledge of whether a manuscript we’re sent is good or not and assists us with our marketing strategy.
SmashBear is described as ‘a small press with big goals’. How would you like to see the company grow in today’s competitive publishing market?
I see SmashBear growing to be the leading publisher for fantasy fiction. I want us to be an ethical publisher known for good quality books. I want our authors to know that we care about their creative vision and aren’t just in it for the money. I think there’s been a disconnection between larger publishing houses and authors, which is where SmashBear comes in.
What is the difference between an independent publishing house like SmashBear and a vanity press? What should authors look out for when submitting their work to avoid vanity presses?
You could write multiple articles on this subject alone, but I’ll try and keep it as brief as possible. Things to consider are:
The only benefit of a vanity press that I can think of is that if you can’t get in with a traditional publisher, you can essentially pay them to do everything a traditional publisher will do. You’ll usually be charged around £5,000-6,000 though and I rarely hear of positive experiences with vanity presses. To self-publish your book, you’d be looking at £2,000-£3,000. You’d just need to organise it yourself (find your own editors and so on).
Vanity presses also have a lot of hidden costs, so make sure you verify costs when you’re approached by one of these ‘publishers’ to ensure that there is no additional charge to you.
The difference between SmashBear and a vanity press is that we give our authors money whereas a vanity press takes it. As we take on all of the initial costs for editing, formatting, etc, we provide a higher standard of service because we have an active stake in the book selling well. We are essentially solely responsible for how well a book sells so we will make sure it is to the best possible standard. Vanity presses on the other hand already have your money – a lot of the time with a no refund policy and so they won’t feel the need to generate book sales.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Due to my own preference, I’m practically nocturnal. I find working at night helps me focus, and as we work with international authors, it’s easier to organise meetings due to time differences. We’re currently making sure that the Storm’s Child manuscript is ready for release. Most of my day consists of going over the manuscript and prepping the author and our marketing team for the launch. I also attend to emails, ensure our acquisitions team is running smoothly and that new manuscripts being sent in are being processed.
Are there any new projects you are most excited about?
We’re in the process of possibly signing a new author which we’re all very excited about and will take SmashBear in a new direction.
Can you tell us a bit about Storm’s Child, your first upcoming release?
As you can probably guess, we’re all very excited about the release! It’s months of hard work across multiple departments. We recently put it on Amazon and Goodreads and seeing it there really brought it home that we’re nearly at the end of the project. As much as this is our debut launch, this is John’s (the author) debut as well, so it’s a really special moment.
Ultimately, Storm’s Child is a story of revenge and confronting your past. Nathan, the main character, has a traumatic past that he must deal with whilst also finding a supernatural hunter which has been preying on the mystical community of Portland, USA.
And finally, any advice would you give to publishing hopefuls?
It sounds so cliché, but just do it. Publishing can be competitive, but you won’t know until you try! So go for it – try blogging, bookstagramming or whatever you’d like to. If it fails, it fails but at least you tried and won’t be wondering ‘what if’.
You can find out more about SmashBear on socials @smashbearpublishing and at smashbearpublishing.com