Today Governing Ana welcomes back Staci Taylor from LazyDay Publishing! Staci talked with us last fall about publishing spanking fiction, and today she is here to talk about my newest release, The Way Home (Kat and Natalie, Volume One).
Thank you for joining us, Staci! By the way, you may want to be careful. The last time you appeared, you got an anthology submission. Who knows what will happen today? 🙂
I’ve told my story here of how The Way Home came to be, but today I’d like Staci to share her side of the story.
Anastasia Vitsky: Thank you so much for joining us today, Staci!
Spanking. F/F. No sex. The Way Home doesn’t follow a best-seller formula, yet you chose to publish it—and you’ve appeared on Fika not once but twice to show your support for my work. What was it like to get this submission and read it for the first time? I’m guessing that it’s not the usual procedure for someone to email you several times about a submission before giving you the manuscript. What was your response? What made you take the chance?
Staci Taylor: I got an email from Ana and she did the classic name drop. She said she was friends with Alta Hensley, Sue Lyndon, Jade Cary etc. I’m not sure if she knew this or not, but that’s a great approach to take with me. I like working with friends of friends.
Anyway, she had a long list of questions about our company, if we took her genre, if she would have to change, and so on. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if her book would be a right fit. I agreed to take a read and let her know. I’m so glad I did. Yes, there were a number of emails, but I didn’t mind at all. I liked getting to know Ana. Sometimes the personality of the author is just as important as the book.
I loved the manuscript. It was as simple as that. When you have a good story – a really good story- it doesn’t matter what genre it’s in. I wanted to be part of it.
Anastasia Vitsky: I was thrilled that you appeared in KT Grant’s Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event. Is this the first F/F book that LazyDay has published? Why do you support F/F fiction?
Staci Taylor: We loved being part of that. KT Grant was fun to work with.
The Way Home is the first book that is 100% F/F fiction. We had some books with lesbian elements in them before, but not the whole book. Then you throw in spanking…and we have quite the book!
We support F/F fiction because there are incredible stories to be told, that sometimes don’t get a voice because publishers and agents don’t want to take a chance on that sub genre. One thing we learned with the DD genre, is that taking a chance is well worth the reward.
It’s my goal to always be open minded about all genres, all beliefs, and all lifestyles. All I need is a good story.
Anastasia Vitsky: Let’s be honest. There must have been at least one time in the past six months when you tore your hair out at my demands for everything to be absolutely perfect. Yet you were unfailingly professional, courteous, and accommodating. What is the payoff for you? Why do you put up with this nutty obsession with perfection?
Staci Taylor: Yes, you were a real pain in my ass. 🙂
Anyone who has worked with me, knows I have to have my hand in everything. I’m a total control freak. So I have a real understanding for all the perfectionists out there who are as obsessive as I am.
The payoff is having an excellent end product. I see this as a team. It’s not my way or the highway. It’s a partnership and I’ll always see it as that. And I appreciate nutty obsession. Even though you may be nuttier than most, Ana.
Kidding…sort of. 🙂
Anastasia Vitsky: You’re very good at ego-stroking, telling me that my book is incredible and that you are proud to be part of it. Do you see this as part of the publishing business? Do you say this to all of your authors?
Staci Taylor: Yes and no. All the books I’m part of, I’m proud to be part of, or I wouldn’t do it. I want to believe and feel the story.
I don’t stroke egos, in fact, I tell it like it is. I’m not going to say something I don’t feel is true. But if I love something, I’m not going to hold back on that either. The whole process of getting a manuscript published can be very harsh at times. Edits suck. The comments can hurt your feelings. You can doubt your knowledge of the English language and so on. So yes, I try to let the authors know how great their work is, as well. I find that authors start to doubt themselves because all they see is critique after critique. So I want to make sure they know why we wanted them to join our team in the first place.
Anastasia Vitsky: Did you learn anything new in this process? What was surprising to you, if anything?
Staci Taylor: I learned what Fika is. I also learned how ambitious Ana Vitsky is. Watch out world, this gal doesn’t stop.
Anastasia Vitsky: We had some discussion whether to categorize this book as romance. You said that it was about love and affection even if not a typical romance, while I worried that readers would then be disappointed at the lack of bodice ripping. You also suggested women’s fiction and coming of age, as well as lesbian/LGBT. What do you see as the advantages in categorizing and marketing the book this way?
Staci Taylor: How you categorize a book can make or break a book. When we upload a book, we have to insert key words and other boring stuff like that. But it is very important that we really find the right home for the book. I think all the categories you mentioned, describe and define the book perfectly. And last I checked…the lesbian category has been working for you. [Ana’s note: Six days and counting on the Top 100 Amazon list for F/F fiction…yes, Staci, you were right!]
Anastasia Vitsky: One thing that surprised me is that you contracted the sequel before this book was published, while sometimes publishers wait to see how well a first book sells before offering another contract. What is your reasoning, both artistic and from a marketing perspective, in encouraging sequels for this book?
Staci Taylor: We sign the author just as much as we sign the book. When we bring an author to our team, they truly are a member of the team. So we look beyond just the first book. We want to look at the future as well. We also sign the author’s voice and their writing style. We know what they have in them. Not to mention, the best way to promote a book is by continuing to write and put out more books. We want to help build the author’s name, just as much as they do.
In your case, we really loved the first book, and the characters, and wanted to see what happens next. Just like any reader would.
Anastasia Vitsky: Along the lines of sequels, we’ve already scheduled book two for release on June 6th. What was your response when I asked for that date because it is Kat’s birthday? I half-expected you to reply saying, “Ana, are you crazy? You do realize that these are fictional characters, right?”
Staci Taylor: I did respond that way. I just didn’t tell you.
Kidding…sort of. 🙂
I thought it was a fun and creative way to pick a day. Nothing could surprise me at this point when it came to these characters. You treat them as if they truly live, and I like that.
Anastasia Vitsky: What kind of audience do you think The Way Home will appeal to? What do you hope readers will take away from the reading experience? What would you like to say to readers?
Staci Taylor: I think this book can appeal to anyone. The book will appeal to all the spankos, but it also won’t offend someone who never even considered a spanking. I think it is a very welcoming book for all sexual preferences. I don’t think it’s just one genre. The Way Home is a story that can pull anyone in. I have high hopes for Kat and Natalie. The readers will fall in love.