Small Press Spotlight
Welcome to our Small Press Spotlight, where we are pleased to profile some of the smaller publishing houses offering romance fiction. This issue we welcome Elan Press. Editor Christine Eaton Jones and author Carrie Weaver give us their insight.

Christine Eaton Jones, Editor:

TRR: How did Elan Press get started?

CEJ: Elan Press was started as a new beginning.I had been kicking around the idea of a romance anthology based on holidays with my publishing partner and good friend.When she passed away suddenly I knew this was something I had to do, for both her and for me. Once she was gone it took on a new meaning. That's part of the reason our slogan is "Where Dreams are Made Possible". I feel I am making our shared dream a reality and helping others reach their dreams of publication as well. I believe that we can offer our readers unique stories that might not appeal to a more commercially-focused mainstream house.

TRR: In what formats are your books published?

CEJ: The collectors series Romancing the Holidays are trade-back, perfect-bound books, but we are currently considering expanding our offerings into the e-book format. We are very progressive and are enthusiastic about the new media, but will always continue to publish our books in paper format as well.

TRR: Do you do Print-On-Demand books?

CEJ: No, we do not offer print on demand books at this time.

TRR: How are your books distributed?

CEJ: Our books are available with Ingram, Books-In-Print At the moment we are working with Barnes & Noble, Inc. and Barnes&

TRR: Where do your advertising dollars go?

CEJ: We have comprehensive advertising and marketing communications campaigns for our books that include flyers and special inserts for bookstores, advertising in magazines and radio, promotional book-signings for our authors and media relations.

TRR: Who are some of your authors? What releases do you have out soon?

CEJ: Deborah Shelly, Cathy McDavid, Carrie Weaver, Karen Williams and Pamela Johnson are the published authors whom we've contracted with for Romancing the Holidays, volume one anthology , but we pride ourselves on introducing new voices, such as Barbara White-Rayczek, Trudy Doolittle, Belmont Delange and Su Kopil, to our readers in every book. Our latest release is Romancing the Holidays, Vol. 1, but we are currently in production and considering manuscripts for volume 2, which will be released Feb. 2002.

TRR: What is the price range for your books?

CEJ: Our trade back-sized books are collectible and within the market price of about $13.95.

TRR: How can readers purchase your books?

CEJ: You can purchase our books in all the usual ways, but if you don't see it, just ask for it, or you can order it online or purchase it directly from our website,

Carrie Weaver, Elan Press author:

TRR: What led you to a small press?

CW: One of my writing cohorts, Cathy McDavid, thought I might be interested in trying a shorter format. She asked if I would like to participate in ROMANCING THE HOLIDAYS, Vol 1. I'd never written a short story and the challenge appealed to me.

TRR: Were you previously published by a mainstream house?

CW: My first published romance novel was a contemporary Kensington Precious Gem. PROMISES, PROMISES was released in April 2000. A novella, "Love's Defense" was contracted for a July 2001, American Media MiniMag release. Unfortunately, it looks like the MiniMag romance line will be discontinued before the debut of "Love's Defense."

TRR: What's it like writing for a small press?

CW: Pros: Sometimes a new author can get lost in the shuffle at a larger house. With a small press, I received more individual attention. There's a real feeling of comradery at Elan Press-we're all in it together. The energy is amazing. Ideas flow freely and everyone pitches in.

Cons: There seems to be a misconception that small presses are less choosy about what they publish. That couldn't be farther from the truth. And if money is an author's major motivation, a small press isn't the place to look. Many are on tight budgets and offer modest advances. It's a great way to keep your name out there, though.

TRR: Do you receive advances and royalties? Or are there different arrangements?

CW: I received an advance, and have contracted for royalties once my advance earns out.

TRR: Tell us about your experiences promoting a small-press release.

CW: The readers don't care who publishes the book, as long as it's a great story with characters they care about. Distribution is another matter. The book has to get on the shelves before the readers can find it. The mainstream houses have the advantage of national distribution and name recognition.

Elan Press made ROMANCING THE HOLIDAYS available through their own web site, and at most bookstores/online book retailers. Websites like The Romance Reader help us reach the readers. Booksignings work, too.

TRR: Is there any advice you'd give to an author considering signing with a small press?

CW: I would recommend the same steps as with a mainstream house. Research. Read books they've already published. Talk to other authors. Read the contract carefully. I was fortunate. Working with Elan Press was a dream. But it could have just as easily been a nightmare, if I hadn't done my homework. I knew Christine Eaton Jones (Elan Press founder/editor) was detail-oriented, professional and highly organized. The project was recommended by an author whose opinion I valued, and I was familiar with the work of several of the other authors in the anthology. I was confident we could put together a quality book and I haven't been disappointed.

Christine and Carrie, thank you for joining us! Readers, we have a review of Romancing the Holidays on our Contemporary page.

June 22, 2001

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