Interview with Publisher Misty Williams (Fiery Seas Publishing)
May 4, 2017
Recently, I sat down with my good friend, publisher Misty Williams of Fiery Seas Publishing. We had a great chat about the publishing industry and how she came to be the owner of such a great press. For those of you seeking a new publishing house, let me tell you, Misty is one of the most personable, friendly, and knowledgeable people in the industry. While I'd known her virtually for a few months, I met her in person last August at Killer Nashville when I pitched her one of my novels. She was so easy to approach and we sat and talked for quite a while. A friendship blossomed from there and I have been sending authors her way ever since.
Please take a moment to read this fun interview with Misty. When you're done, hop on over to her website and check out her info on submitting your novel. I promise, you'll be thanking me soon!
Have you ever cried over a book? If so, which one and why?
Only one? I have had many that have made me cry, laugh, or both! Let me think about the last one…it would have been Rose Harbor in Bloom by Debbie Macomber (Rose Harbor Series). I’m a romantic at heart and this book hit home in a few ways. I can relate to Jo Marie Rose in the book and I found tears stream down my face as I read different parts of this book. This is an older release, but I travel (driving) lots so I listen to book to pass the time. This is a series I have not gotten to read. This also helps me relax and forget about the millions things on my to-do list.
Who are your top five favorite authors?
Now, this is very hard to do. I have more than five favorite authors and I love them all! Not to mention all the other authors that I grew up reading. So, I will tell you the authors I grew up reading.
In my younger days, I read time travel books. I also loved R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. Let’s not forget the romance novels I read. Lots of them! I have met some wonderful writers over the years and have many favorites. I love thrillers, as well. I’m a James Patterson fan. Jonathan Kellerman and Patricia Cornwell are on that list, as well. I tend to have to catch up with my (pleasure) reading these days.
Do you write novels, as well? If so, do you publish your own titles?
I have written in the past and will someday get back to my own books. I have a few books that are hidden away and may never see the light of day. I have learned a great deal since writing those books years ago. Right now my focus is on Fiery Seas.
Do you believe writing is a gift or a learned skill?
It can be both. A true writer never stops learning. While some people do have a way with words, they still have to learn the ins and outs of the craft. Honestly, it is one of the many reasons that I love publishing.
Do you believe anyone could write a book?
Yes, anyone can write a book. However, not everyone has the desire and determination to make it the best that it can be. Meaning the long hours of learning the craft, rewriting, rewriting, and rewriting some more. Getting the book written is just the first part of the process.
What made you decide to open your own publishing company?
It took me a long time to finally take the leap of faith. I had thought about it for a long time and after a small epub company closed its doors is when I took the final steps to open up Fiery Seas. I have to say that if my support system (my husband) hadn’t really pushed me and supported my decision, I may not have taken that leap. I’m glad I did!
How did you get started?
Research. Lots and lots of research. Learning what is needed to get things up and running. Deciding what I envision Fiery Seas to become and how to get there. So, many questions and planning go with starting a business. It doesn’t stop either.
Once everything is planned out and things are rolling. Other questions of how to choose which submissions to publish, schedules for releases, edits, marketing, and more.
I knew I wanted to slowly build up our author list and show that Fiery Seas was sticking around. So many publishers have closed their doors and that makes many uneasy about submitting to a small publishing house.
This is exactly what I have been doing. Our list of authors is growing and we are putting out more books. Submissions are flooding our inbox and more things are to come from this small publishing house!
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
I think the better question is what I haven’t faced. Many things are trail and error, because what works for one author may not work for another. Genre is taken into consideration for everything that is done.
Finding a great team to work with makes any process easier. I’m blessed with a great team of editors, formatters, cover artist, and more. I would say that building this team did come with some obstacles, but I always learn from them. I have learned that not everything works out the way you plan it and you have to just roll with it. Things happen and make deadlines get moved around, but it all works out in the end.
Who was your first published book?
Expedition Indigo by Stacy Allen
Do you allow your authors to have input on their covers?
Yes! We give our authors a form and ask they be as detailed as possible. Once the mockup of the cover is done. The author gets to make comments on the cover and we do our best to get as close to it as possible. Sometimes we can’t always get the exact image, but we do get close.
Do you work with authors to get their books on bookshelves?
Yes, we do. Working with bookstores for events and more.
What do you look for when reading submissions?
A hook that keeps me turning the pages of the submission, this is where it needs to start. I want characters that I don’t want to let go. Emerge me into a place where I can see, hear, and touch everything that they are doing. Emotions from the characters that make me feel what they are going through. Don’t give me stiff characters.
Do you have a favorite genre? Which genres do you publish?
I read across the board. I do love romance, thrillers, YA, and fantasy.
What is your best writing advice for beginners?
Never give up! Find a writers group or organization that you can learn the craft of writing. Get a critique group or partner to read your work and give feedback. Go to workshops or conferences to help learn more. These will also help form friendships that you will cherish and give you a wonderful surge of energy/excitement for your writing.