Alisa Schreibman is a co-founder of Loose Id Publishing, a leading independent publisher of romance that operates from California. Loose Id in recent years has experienced exceptional growth in terms of profitability, while remaining committed to publishing talented authors from across the world. We carried out an exclusive interview with Alisa to find out about her background, and to learn about Loose Id, its team, and the activities the organization carries out. Alisa also told us about the process involved if authors want to publish with Loose Id. Read on to learn what she had to say.
Welcome to e-Books India, Alisa! We’re thrilled to have you join us for this interview. Where do you come from? Can you please tell us about your background and professional experience?
Hi Hiten. Please call me Allie.
Well, let’s see. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, at 2:52am—just teasing. I have no idea what time I was born. I grew up in Cleveland, though, moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan for my undergraduate education. From there it was Chicago, Illinois for a graduate degree in Art History and then Boulder, Colorado for law school, and then to Vancouver, British Columbia for a graduate law degree. I lived in a number of cities after that, and recently moved back to Boulder.
As you can see, most of my professional background is academic. I spent a lot of time teaching, and then doing marketing for non-profits. I found an editing job with another publisher, and eventually several of us in the industry got together to form Loose Id.
You are of course one of the co-founders of Loose Id Publishing. What is your role at Loose Id Publishing? When did you and your partners form the organization? What made you start the organization? Can you please tell us a bit about your colleagues over at Loose Id Publishing?
My technical title is Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, but really I do a little of everything. My main focus is on our creative design, like the cover art, advertising, website, but I also get the books out every week, add the bells and whistles to the website, write copy for the blog…basically, if the public sees it, I’ve probably had something to do with it.
It’s been that way ever since the beginning, back in 2004, when Treva, Karen and I came up with a plan to start our own publishing company. We’d all had a bad experience with another publisher, the market was still young, and the barrier to entry was low. The right place, the right time, the right people. We just needed someone with more financial experience, which was how Doreen joined us a little while later. We’ve all always had our fingers in all of the pies, although we’ve specialized over time.
As I’ve said, Doreen handles the financial end of things. She’s just brilliant at managing our resources. Thanks to her, we took our tiny initial investment and turned it into a profitable business. We’ve been in the black since our second quarter, and we’ve even been paying into 401Ks. Not bad for four women with a daydream!
Production is Karen’s bailiwick. She formats the books every week, distributes them to resellers and authors. She’s johnny-on-the-spot for all our piracy issues and often the first person to hear from authors if they need something, since they all have some manner of contact with her, and bless her for it. I got a lot of email, but if I got half as much as she does, I might lose my mind.
When Karen’s not talking to the authors or I’m not helping them with promotion, they’re engaged with Treva, who’s our Editor-in-Chief. She oversees our Managing Editor and reviews all of our submissions before they’re accepted. She often helps out with the editing, intervenes when authors and editors have misunderstandings, answers authors’ questions and makes sure we have books on the schedule every week. Really, none of it would be possible without her—and our authors.
What types of books does Loose Id Publishing publish? Does Loose Id publish ebooks or print books, or in both formats?
Loose Id is a digital-first romance publishing house that also publishes a selection of books in print every year. We publish all subgenres of romance, from Contemporary to Urban Fantasy and everything in between.
What do you feel makes Loose Id Publishing unique?
In an era where publishing has come to be an impersonal process that takes intellectual property and turns it out for mass consumption, Loose Id remains personal and personable, invested and engaged.
Every single author has worked with at least one of the owners of the company by the time her first book is published. Every single book has been read by at least one member of the management team. When traditional publishing has cut back on its editing, we’ve strengthened ours; we read the slush pile so readers don’t have to.
Over the years, we’ve built strong ties with the U.S. Romance community—not just by advertising and participating in review/chat site giveaways, but also by speaking on panels at conferences, giving interviews in romance-related research and upon request. Most notably, when one of our fellow publishers went out of business, we acquired the rights to their catalog of titles and either released them to the authors or republished them. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last that we provide a home for authors and books who’ve had a bad go elsewhere.
We’re engaged, not only with our authors and readers, but also with the world. We’ve been active in the fight for LGBTQA equality, supported the drive for gay marriage, use our social media to educate readers about women’s, lesbian, gay and trans issues. Instead of staying quiet so that we don’t offend, we speak up so people know who we are. It’s important to us to be good corporate citizens, in every possible respect.
Since co-founding Loose Id Publishing, what have been some of the achievements of the company that you’re particularly proud of?
Wow. That’s a big question!
Well, I’m proud that we’ve been profitable since our second quarter in business more than eleven years ago. Really, it’s pretty awesome that we’re still going strong when so many other start-up publishers faded away.
If I start listing the awards our books and authors have won, we could be here for months! But I’m definitely proud of our editors and authors for taking chances, testing boundaries, and writing brave books. Proud of us, too, for pioneering new genres as part of our regular offerings: m/m (we were the first that we know of not to have a separate line for it!), lesbian, fetish, BDSM (we were doing it long before 50 Shades of Grey), cross-dressing, steampunk, new adult, and transsexual.
We’re a multi-million dollar business that started out as four people and a hand-coded website (my hand-coding, and, oh my stars, do I hope the old design’s not out there on the Wayback Machine. How embarrassing!). That’s a heck of a thing.
Most of the other achievements that I pride myself on are small and personal. Things like: the company’s run by the same four people that started it and we still get along eleven years later; we’ve learned how to be civil even when we want to wring each others’ necks; I have good personal relationships with quite a few of our authors; I know exponentially more about marketing, writing, and people today than I did in July 2004. You know, the stuff where I’ve learned to be a better person from my business, not a bitter one.
If authors are interested in getting published with Loose Id Publishing, could you please describe the typical process involved?
Sure! Finally an easy one!
An author submits a cover letter, synopsis, and partial manuscript by email to our submissions email address (email@example.com).
Sometime within the first week, that submission package is forwarded to an appropriate editor.
Usually within a month, an editor reads and evaluates the package. If they like it, they’ll email the author directly for the full manuscript.
If they or another editor like the manuscript, then it will be read by one of the senior staff, and if all parties agree, a contract will be offered.
The author then chooses whether or not to accept the contract. If they do, it’s signed by all parties, and then it proceeds into the marketing process.
While it’s being edited, a group of us assess the title, any issues with the content from a marketing perspective, the hook. Basically, we try to troubleshoot everything from overlapping titles to reader-objection to content and focus on the marketing message.
There’s back and forth between the editor and the author until the editor is satisfied and then a story is sent to line editing — fact-checking, house style, that sort of thing.
It’s usually around that time that a cover is being designed. The author will have provided me details on the characters, tone, story line, and so on; I’ll choose one of my artists and then we’ll go back and forth until I’m satisfied and I’ve gotten positive feedback from the author.
From there, it’s proofreading and formatting for the book and cover, and then it’s the nail-biting wait for release day!
How can people find out more about you and Loose Id Publishing?
Obviously, read up on us on our website (which is always being updated): https://www.loose-id.com
Follow us on Twitter: @loveunleashed
Check out our Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/loveunleashed
Follow our Tumblr: loose-id-is-love-unleashed.tumblr.com
Friend us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoosenYourId
Follow our blog: https://loosenyourid.com
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]