Small Press Month Interview with Dragonfly Publishing Inc

7:13 AM Posted by Lori Calabrese

To celebrate Small Press Month, the Indie-Debut Authors have rounded up a series of interviews with small presses, agents and other super-interesting industry folks to talk about how they work (or don't work) with Independent and Small Presses. Today, I had the honor of interviewing my senior editor at Dragonfly Publishing, Inc., Pat Gaines.

Pat Gaines worked 22 years in the Lincoln County, Oklahoma courthouse, and retired in 2003 after running the County Election Board Office for many years. Pat and her husband Jerry have two grown children and three grandchildren. She is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., Web Writing Wonders, New England Ancestors, Daughters of the American Revolution, American Legion Auxiliary, and the Lincoln County Historical Society. She is the current Senior Editor for Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.

Her books include…
O. O. Octopus: Sheriff Of Blue Ribbon Sound
The Journal Of Amos Hannah

You're currently a senior editor at Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. which is owned by your daughter, Terri Branson. Can you share with us a little of how Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. came about?
Terri worked for an online publisher as an editor for several years in the early 1990’s and then decided to open her own publishing company.

When did Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. get started?
Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. was launched in 2001.

What's it's like working alongside your daughter?
It works out fine. We live about 60 miles apart and most of our work is done by electronic files. Sometimes we get together to work, but not often.

Do you think being an editor has improved your own writing--why or why not?
Yes, of course it has helped me. Terri had to teach me how she wanted her books edited. One of the hardest things for me to get straight in my head was “point of view.” She is a stickler about authors keeping point of view.

How many titles (adult and children's) does Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. publish each year?
Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. releases between 4-5 titles per year on average.

Each year, Dragonfly Publishing Inc. holds a picture book contest and you just recently announced the 2010 contest general rules. Why does Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. hold this contest?
The first contest we held was in 2008 for authors and illustrators of Children’s Color Picture Books. The response from authors was pretty good but we had few entries from illustrators. The contest was my idea because all submissions from authors come to me first. We have to keep our submissions closed most of the time because we get too many and we just can’t physically handle the volume. There are lots of good authors out there wanting to get their books published and so few opportunities unless you want to self-publish. Both Terri and I felt that this contest would give some of those aspiring authors an opportunity to get their books in print. Good illustrators are hard to find sometimes especially by small publishing companies because we can’t afford to pay big money for their work. This illustrator’s contest was a way to find new illustrators wanting to get into the Children’s Color Picture Book market.

What are some of the challenges of being a small press?
Small publishers have a very limited number of staff, which restricts the number of books they can publish in a year and the amount of marketing they can do.

With rising costs skyrocketing in publishing, many small presses have focused their business around a technology known as POD. What are some of the positives in working with POD?
The primary advantage of POD is twofold: cost and quality. Since POD books are printed as needed, from individual copies to short and large runs of hundreds to thousands of copies, publishers can control how many books are printed and when. This eliminates the print-run requirement to pre-order 500-1,500 copies minimum and then pay to have them warehoused.

Another thing to note is that in most instances POD copies ordered in short run bundles (i.e. 50-250 copies) meet or beat the per-copy price of the same books produced by offset-press. Also, with some exceptions, POD copies are printed on superior paper using laser inks that fade less over time.

Only six to eight major publishing houses now exist. However, Publishers Weekly estimates that more than 7,000 new publishers form each year, giving writers options for seeing their books in print. Do you see small presses as the wave of the future?
Yes, I see POD publishing as the wave of the future. In fact, few people outside of the bookselling industry  realize that publishers of all sizes have been using POD either partially or exclusively for nearly ten years. The percentage of POD to off-set press books changes dramatically every year in favor of POD. In other words, customers do not know which books were printed POD as opposed to which were produced by offset press. Remember, POD is a "printing term."
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