Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nicole Zoltack Talks E-Publishing

Curious what it's like to write for a small e-publisher?

Nicole talks about what it's like here.

(See below for a chance to win swag!)

Nicole Zoltack loves to write fantasy/paranormal, romances, horror, historical, for adults and young adults, novels, short stories, and flash pieces. She doesn't want to get boxed in by genre -- she might be claustrophobic!

When she isn't writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending their unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb. Her current favorite TV show is The Vampire Diaries.

To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit her website at www.NicoleZoltack.com or her blog at http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com.

What is the name of your small e-publisher and how did you find this publishing company?

I'm published through Desert Breeze Publishing. I first learned about DBP through a publisher chat on a yahoo group. As the chat was winding down, Gail Delaney (the EIC) mentioned that she loved series, especially for fantasy and a few other genres. I mentioned to her that I had an unfinished manuscript that would be part of a series and briefly described it to her. She said to send it to her when it was finished.

The story I had mentioned was a Nano story (National Novel Writing Month when authors around the world try to write a 50K in November). I abanonded all other side projects and focused on the novel until I completed it. After finishing it, I submitted to Gail and waited. Shortly thereafter, she emailed me an acceptance for Woman of Honor.

Gail and I worked together to figure out the direction that the series could take so that the entire series was fantasy romance, each book centering on a different couple.

What made you go the e-publishing route?

I like to think of the journey to publication as a ladder. I thought that by having as many publishing credits under my belt as possible would help me to find an agent and, through the agent, land a publishing contract with a NYC publishing house. To me, e-publishing is another rung on the publishing ladder.

What are some of the benefits of e-publishing?

Anyone anywhere can read a book that is e-published. There aren't any shipping fees that you have to worry about. People in other countries have read my books, and that excites me.

You also don't have to worry about returns with an e-book. If someone returns a physical book to the bookstore, it affects the royalties of the author.

With e-publishing, you don't need an agent. You can submit directly to the publisher. Most of the bigger publishers don't allow unsolicited manuscript submissions.

As an author, you receive a higher royalty percentage for e-books than you would for print books.

There is less of a wait from contract to release date. With traditional houses, you may have to wait two years (sometimes less, sometimes more). Depending on the e-publisher, the wait could be significantly less than that.

What are some of the downsides of e-publishing?

Some e-publishers do not have the best quality with editors and covers. People have told me that they have purchased my books based on the cover alone. Covers are so important. As is editing.

Also, the author has to do most, if not all, of the marketing themselves for their book when you publish through an e-publisher. This is becoming more and more true even with more traditional publishing houses, but is especially true with e-publishers.

There are very few, if any, e-publishers that offer writers an advance.

Piracy steals money from the author.

Tell me about your Kingdom of Arnhem series. Is this third book the last one?

The Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy is a fantasy romance series for young adults and adults. It is about the final war between two kingdoms - Arnhem and Speica.

Woman of Honor is about a young girl who wants to become a knight. Aislinn is willing to give up everything for the kingdom of Arnhem - her childhood, her life, even her heart. No matter the pain it brings.

Knight of Glory. Geoffrey leaves Arnhem to find her allies for the war against Speica and finds secrets, lies, and rumors that could tip the war in Speica's favor. He also finds himself torn between two very different and mysterious ladies.

Champion of Valor. Selliki loves the mage Gabrael but she is a selkie and love has never treated her race kindly when they love someone from the land. The final war between Speica and Arnhem threatens the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.

Do you have any other publishing credits?

I've sold nine short stories/flash pieces for various anthologies, including a short story in Mertales from Wyvern Publishing and several collections from Pill Hill Press. I also have another series, but I talk more about that in my answer to your next question.

What’s your next project?

I'm revising an urban fantasy and a fantasy YA with the hope of securing an agent. I'm also working on the last three short stories in my What You See is What You Get series from Echelon Press. This paranormal YA series is 6 short stories about Ana and the summer when she learns that she is a seer. There's a veiled mist between our world and the paranormal one filled with mythological and fantasy creatures, a mist that only few people can see through. Ana's life is never going to be the same again.

What are your long-term writing goals?

I want to secure an agent and land a publishing deal with a bigger house. Bottom line, I just want to keep writing books that my readers will enjoy. That's why I write in the first place.

Any advice to unpublished writers? 

Never give up. Write when you can. If that's every day, great. If it's not, don't sweat it. Pour all of your emotions into your story, and never stop reading.

Quick writing questions:

Plotter or panster? Panster

Quiet or music? Quiet

Laptop or desktop? Desktop

Mac or PC? PC

Coffee or tea? Tea (Actually water, but that's not an option)

Wine or other? Wine (but only blushes)

Day or night? Day

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win some signed post cards and magnets. Each comment during the Champion of Valor Blog Tour gives you an entry for the grand prize: a copy of the entire Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy - Woman of Honor, Knight of Glory, and Champion of Valor.


  1. A friend of mine is going through an epub to publish her short story (which is now going to be part of a series). But it's romance, and epub seems to be big in this genre.

    Thanks girls for the great interview. :D

  2. Fab interview you too. I've been thinking about nontradtional publishing a lot these days...THANKS

  3. Wow, I didn't know any of that about e-publishing! She is so motivating and inspiring :)

  4. Great interview!!! Love getting to know Nicole more! I'm addicted to the Houston Ren Fest and we look forward to it every October! It's always a blast!

    I love how it's explained to get your name out in the world, all the marketing that's required and just another notch on the publishing belt. Congrats on all the success and I hope much more is headed your way!

  5. Love the ePub route. It just gives authors another avenue to reach the audience they desire. Great interview.

  6. Great interview. Very informative. I have thought about using this route, but I found it is $$$$. So, I have been trying to do the traditional way. It's all a gamble.
    I look foward to reading your story stories.

  7. Lovely interview and that book cover is gorgeous!

  8. It's so fun learning about Nicole. Now I need to go visit her blog.

  9. Very nice interview. Great advice for unpublished writers...and writers in general. :)

  10. Great interview and fantastic advice for those of us considering small press publishers.

  11. You're absolutely right, Stina, romance is very big with epub, especially the steamier side.

    Thanks, Vicki!

    You're welcome, Christine!

    Thanks, Saumya!

  12. Thanks, Jen! I would love to go to other Ren Faire's, maybe I should see if NJ has one, NJ is close to me. I'm sure the one in Houston is great!

    Exactly, thanks, J.L.!

  13. Thanks, Choices, glad you found it informative! If you self publishing, then it can be costly, but if you go with an epublisher, you don't pay anything. The money flows from the publisher to the author, never the opposite way.

    Thanks, Liz, I love my cover!

    Thanks, Angela!

  14. Thanks, Cherie!

    Thanks, Michael! Sometimes epubulishers are more willing to take on stories that NY won't publish, so sometimes, it's the perfect home for our stories.

  15. Awesome! This was so interesting!! I can't wait to host Nicole. :-)

  16. Great interview, ladies. It's always interesting to hear about another author's experiences with a small publisher.

  17. You do have a very nice cover. Good advice to never give up. Publication never came to anyone who did.

  18. Good luck and all the best Nicole Zoltack with your series novel!!! I am in AWE at all the hard work you do!! Yay for you!! I think you are onto a winner here with your fab story and I think you have the dedication and passion to make it big!! Take care and thanks Theresa!!!! x

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  20. I learned so much reading this. Ebooks weren't big when I was querying, but I can see how currently they can become a rung on the ladder of a major goal. I wish Nicole the best.

  21. Great info about ebooks and publishing, thanks Nicole!

  22. That was so interesting! Thanks so much for sharing ladies! :)

  23. Nicely done Theresa. I am with Nicole in the water, water, and more water club.

  24. I absolutely love all the publishing options available to us. E-publishing has cracked the doors wide open, and it's awesome. Nicole, your covers ARE amazing!

  25. So so good stuff here...

    Have been thinking about e-publishing.

    You are a lovely cyber-friend, Theresa! Loyal and smart and fun!

  26. Love the 'never give up' advice.
    Great interview :)

  27. Great interview and like many others I have learned a great deal with this post.

    Especially not to give up! :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  28. Hi Nicole. I have found a lot of great authors through epublishing. Some I think I wouldn't of found otherwise. Covers do get my attention. Enjoyed your post.
    Sue B

  29. Fantastic interview and very informative. E-publishing is something I'd never considered before, but this post has intrigued me. Thanks, ladies!

  30. Very fun interview! I'm always curious to learn more about e-publishing. I've thought of going this route very seriously.

  31. Your blog is so interesting, Theresa. Whenever I log on to it, I find something exciting that you are doing for others.

    This is a very helpful interview about e-publishing. Congratulations, Nicole.

    Do you need publishing credits to be e-published?
    Perhaps I should search online for a chat group about publishing memoir, as that is what I am working on right now.

  32. Thanks, Shannon! All of my blog hosts are the coolest, what can I say? :)

    Thanks, Talli, from one small-published author to another!

    Publication is a long road, and definitely not for those without perseverance. Thanks, J.L.!

  33. Aw, Old Kitty, thank you so much! You're too kind! :)

    Thank you, Medeia!

    You're welcome, Lydia!

  34. Glad you thought the interview was interesting, Jemi!

    Yay for water club members! Thanks, Slamdunk!

    Epublishing is wonderful. Some books and stories will never find a place in traditional publishing and now epublishing allows those stories to still be accessible to readers. It's wonderful. Thanks, Julie!

  35. Epublishing is definitely worth looking into, Jennie.

    Thanks, Lynda, glad you liked the interview!

    So glad you learned from the interview, Jules!

  36. Epublishing has opened a lot of doors for authors that may have never been published otherwise. Thanks, Sue!

    Glad you thought the interview was informative, Lisa!

  37. I wish you the best whichever route you settle on, Nisa!

    Thanks, Victoria. You do not need publishing credits to be epublished, although it would be helpful for some of the bigger epublishers such as Samhain. Most of the bigger epublishers focus on erotic works, so they aren't for me, personally. If you could find a chat group for your niche, that would be a great idea. Best of luck to you, Victoria!

  38. Great interview. Thanks Nicole for sharing how you decided to e-publish your book. I love the cover of Champion of Valor. That's awesome people are buying it based on the cover. Your books sound awesome. I love fantasy.

    Good luck with your goals.

  39. It's always so wonderful to hear how an author chooses to follow her dream, using creative ways to get where she wants to go.


  40. Great interview! Thanks for the insight!

  41. Great interview Nicole and Theresa! Thanks for sharing about your small press experience. Congratulations on all of your success! Good luck with aquiring an agent this year. :)

  42. Interesting interview, and the books sounds really interesting too! I don't really know much about e-publishing, partly because I don't have an e-reader, but it was cool to learn more about it. It's nice to know that writers have more publishing options now.

  43. Thank you, Natalie! Glad you liked the interview.

    Thanks, cleemckenzie! :)

    Thank you, Shannon!

  44. Thank you, Sharon! I really hope this year will be the year of the agent. *crosses fingers*

    Thank you, Neurotic Workaholic. What's great about ebooks is that you don't have to have an eredaer, you can download programs to be able to read kindle books or Nook books and read them on your computer. I'm sure that as the price of ereaders continues to decease, more and more people will buy ereaders and ebooks. It really does allow or more books to be read.

  45. Hi Theresa .. good interview and bits and bobs of useful information .. thank you Nicole too.

    Talk about a hive of activity .. it's a great position to be in .. and good for you embracing a new method -

    Cheers to you both .. Hilary

  46. Interesting, I didn't know this series started off as a NaNo project :-) And I now know about Desert Breeze Publishing, which I didn't know about before.

  47. Thanks, Hilary!

    I really like it here at DBP. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel!