Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Authors, What Does Grace Bridges Want From You?

By Jennifer Slattery

Yesterday, we met speculative fiction author and owner of Splashdown Books, Grace Bridges and got to know her publishing company a bit better. Today and tomorrow, she'll share what she looks for in new authors, what makes a great book, and how writers can avoid some common mistakes as they launch their careers.

Love Splashdown books and their vision? Think maybe you could be their next great author? Today Grace Bridges, speculative fiction author and founder of Splashdown books tells us what she looks for in new authors.

“[I look for] a motivated personality [and a] willingness to jump into marketing and team projects and helping the others,” Bridges said. “Our authors proofread and edit for each other as well as being part of email brainstorming sessions for things like back cover blurbs. Of course, a clean and tidy manuscript is also a must - I want stories that don't require heavy editing to get them up to scratch. And the bottom line is, I have to love the story.

More and more publishing companies are setting up “author families,” or close, interactive peer-networking. You’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child?” The same is true in publishing. It takes a village to launch a book and publishing companies that take the time and energy to connect their authors increase their authors’ chances of success. Brainstorming sessions allow authors to tap into countless minds, merging their creative genius with someone else’s in order to create truly original and gripping work. Peer editing allows the writer to step out of their limited perspective, seeing their work through someone else’ mind and often eliminates holes and inconsistencies the writer wasn’t aware of.

This model of networked-marketing, brainstorming, and editing has allowed Splashdown books to remain true to their initial vision while expanding their reach. Bridges wants Splashdown to grow in print-size, without losing its small-press charm. “I hope our modus operandi will remain the same,” Bridges said. “No doubt the team will be bigger, and we might be able to publish more books each year. But I want to keep the personal touch and the team interaction as it has always been up until now. And I do want our authors to be much better known than they are now. With a continuing commitment to quality, and a constant stream of new titles, we can get there.”

When evaluating new stories, Bridges looks for those novels that grip both heart and soul. For example, she finds novels like Taliesin by Stephen Lawhead, especially gripping. “It has always been my favorite fantasy book, and it is responsible for a lot of style elements that have found their way into my own writing,” Bridges said. “The evocative and haunting beauty of that story was what propelled me to try writing myself.”

Here's a quote:
He raised his eyes to the stars once more and saw their cold splendour. I am part of that, he thought. I am part of what they are, part of all that is or ever was. I am Taliesin; I am a word in letters, a sound on the breath of the wind. I am a wave on the sea and Great Mannawyddan is my father. I am a spear thrown down from heaven...

These words went spinning through the boy's head. His spirit quivered as they touched him, before winging away into the throbbing obscurity from which they were sprung, leaving their mark on him, a brand seared into his young soul as if with white iron.

I am Taliesin, he thought, singer at the dawn of the age.

Join us tomorrow as Grace Bridges talks about the elements of a great story and some of the common mistakes authors make. Don't forget to leave a persuasive comment telling her why you desperately need to win an ebook copy of Aquasynthesis. To win, all you need to do is convince her you want it. It's that easy! And you can all win because she's giving away and unlimited number--to the most passionate comment-leavers, of course.

Grace Bridges is the owner of Splashdown Books, and an incurably voracious reader and author of sci-fi. She has two published books: Faith Awakened (2007) and Legendary Space Pilgrims (2010). Grace is a Kiwi of Irish descent at home in New Zealand, and is a multilingual do-it-yourself gal.

1 comment:

Catrina Bradley... said...

I would love to win your book, Grace! I've never read Stephen Lawhead, but after the quote in this post, Taliesin is next on my list. (AFTER Faith Awakened and Legendary Space Pilgrims, of course!)

Unfortunately, our bank account is currently empty after helping a newly widowed friend out of a jam, so I'm unable to make any book purchases. ;)

I'm looking forward to part two tomorrow.

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