Over the month of March, I will be featuring publishers who are taking pitches at the World Horror Convention 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The posts will focus on the kinds of things publishers accepting pitches will be looking for, advice, things to avoid, and other useful tidbits you should know before you pitch.
I’d like to thank Nicholas Grabowsky for taking the time to participate in this feature.
Publisher: Black Bed Sheet Books
Editor(s): Nicholas Grabowsky
Genre(s) Accepted: Horror and dark fantasy
Submission Guidelines: Black Bed Sheet Submissions
Facebook Page: Black Bed Sheet Books
Nicholas Grabowsky is a horror writer himself, who has written under such pen names as Nicholas Randers and Marsena Shane. Some of his works include the award-winning macabre aliens-among-us epic The Everborn, and The Rag Man among others, as well as several other projects.
Black Bed Sheet Books publishes “exemplary literature, fiction & non” but specializes in horror/fantasy, and Black Bed Sheet Productions, which produces independent film. Some of their authors include S.D. Hintz, Del Howison, Vince Churchill, Lincoln Crisler, Jason Gehlert, K.K., Lee Pletzers, Cinsarae Santiago, Matthew Ewald (Gaildor, Star Trek), Fred Wiehe, and the late Forrest J Ackerman. As well, they sponsor an 80, 000-listener internet radio show (Francy & Friends), stream a web TV channel (Black Hamster), and their official partners are Hacker’s Source Magazine, Shot in the Dark Comics, and Muscle Wolf Productions.
For a more detailed biography of Nicholas, visit this page.
Darkeva: What’s the most important thing you’re look for from a writer during a pitch session?
NG: Ultimately I’m looking for genre material that’s exciting and original and well written, but I’m looking for backbone behind it, the willingness and ability to push it. You can’t have one without the other…. You can have all the passion but a crappy book, and on the flip side you can have material of Stephen King caliber, but if what you do about it is sit on the toilet all day long and read People Magazine and not help promote your amazing novel I just published, it does neither of us any good in this highly competitive world where every John, Dick or Mary Horror Writer can publish a book nowadays and would rather readers go to them than to us.
Come to me like you’re auditioning for American Idol as a serious vocalist, with professionalism and respect and with being prepared and expressing a devotion to the craft, and by placing the best example of your product before me…. In this case, a physical sample of your work which shows me your ability to write.
Darkeva: What should writers bring with them or prepare before they’re going to pitch? Do you prefer to see sample chapters (either electronic or physical) or do you prefer sample chapters plus a synopsis?
NG: Bring along anything you’d like…a physical or digital sample of the work you’re pushing, a press kit of previous works or anything you’d think would impress me. Don’t bring me a stack of pages–just something I can eyeball or briefly pop into my laptop that’s strictly an example of your work…. I’d expect a verbal synopsis in a pitch session. I don’t want to take time to read any synopsis on the spot because you can just tell me face to face. That’s really what pitch sessions are for.
Darkeva: What do you wish more writers would know before they go into a pitch session with you?
NG: I want to see writers who’ve checked Black Bed Sheet Books out prior to the session, to have done their homework and who know exactly who they’re pitching to, rather than someone who happens to be randomly pitching to just anyone.
Darkeva: What are some of the most important points on your checklist that make you to want to see more of a manuscript during or after a pitch session?
NG: It just has to turn me on, Baby. The whole package.
Darkeva: We’ve all heard some major Dos and Don’ts from agents and editors on how to conduct oneself at a convention, and some of the more obvious ones include being respectful of the editor’s time, not cornering an editor in a bathroom, being sure to have both physical and electronic copies of the first few chapters of a manuscript, etc, but what are some of your specific suggested Dos and Don’ts or some of the pet peeves that you’d like writers to avoid when approaching you at a convention?
NG: I don’t have anything that isn’t already part of conventional etiquette, like if you’re trying to pick up a guy or chick in a bar. What I can’t stand is the kind of persistence where one expects me to chat with them for such a length that no one else chatting with me matters, or likewise me having to go somewhere and I just gotta break away…and don’t follow me into the bathroom. That has happened.
On the other hand, it would be cool to have a bunch of writers I barely know follow me around everywhere at a convention setting, because to others it would appear like wherever I go, there’s always some hoopla going on. If I’m in the middle of a very important conversation, or if, for instance, the Make A Wish Foundation sent me a child who all they wanted was to meet me at the World Horror Convention and then you barge in completely nude but for a Superman cape and a manuscript and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I would most certainly figure out some way to incorporate what you have into what I do.
Darkeva: What are some of the new titles we can expect this year from your press?
NG: You can expect Zombie Housewives of the Apocalypse by Sharon Day & Julie Ferguson, our first full color coffee table book, as well as extraordinary genre full-length fiction, and new works by Dustin LaValley (Spinner), Alexander Beresford (Charla), B.L. Morgan (Red Simon: Vampire Punk), Rey Otis (Dead Batteries), Jennifer Caress (The Return of Spring-Heeled Jack), Nicole Vlachos (In the Absence of Sun), and Nick Kisella (Morningstars) to name a few.
We’re also releasing more comics with our partner Shot in the Dark Comics, and you can expect more works from our staple authors like Horns (Chophouse), S.C.Hayden (American Idol), Sue Dent (Electric Angel) and more!
Thanks to Nicholas for stopping by, and good luck to all those pitching to him at WHC!