The following market report on the anthology, Robots Beyond, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
- Publisher: LBF Books
- Editor: Jodi Lee
- Pay Rate: 10% gross print sales; 40% gross eSales
- Response Time: 3-5 months
- Description (from the editor): LBF Books, an imprint of Lachesis Publishing, is a royalty-paying publisher of fiction works by authors, new or previously published. We are a print and an ebook publisher offering our reading public the very best titles via direct download or overnight shipping from our website store. For more: Complete Submission Guidelines
Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.
1. What authors do you enjoy and what is it about their writing that captivates you?
It’d be hard to nail it down to a few, and I read from so many different genres. King is the obvious first choice, mostly for his not-always-flawless way of bringing so much into a story, and still keeping it real. Or unreal, depending on which story you’ve got going. I read The Stand at least once a year.
Clegg, Keene, Lee (Edward), David Wong – all from the horror genre. Probably all for the similarities as much as the differences in style. Outside of that, I read a M.R. Sellars book every year. I practically hold my breath from November to October, waiting for the next book; Sellars brings the reader closer to the fire with his tales, serving hot chocolate and cookies while he’s at it. It’s at the end, when he twists your mind into a ball of mush and tosses you out the door until the next time, that makes me come back. That, and he’s a great guy. I read a lot of sci-fi shorts (obviously, as an Apex Slushie) but no one will surpass Isaac Asimov in my opinion. The man was a god. I have a thing for William Nolan, too.
I don’t really have a favorite in the romance genre, but if we skip into paranormal thriller/adventure – Sherrilyn Kenyon steals the show. She has created worlds that just stick around. I also have a handful of non-fiction authors that I read regularly: D.J. Conway, Patricia Telesco, Scott Cunningham – mostly in the alternative religions/alternative healing areas.
See? Hard to nail it down. Particularly when I’ve been known to read medical textbooks or obscure design mags. I like anything if it’s well written.
2. What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
My absolute favorite would have to be horror, followed closely by paranormal thriller and police procedurals. I even slip into romance once in a while. If someone could write a truly wonderful novel and combine all of those, I’d be floored.
Sci-fi and fantasy follow close behind. At LBF we publish the range of genres, so a writer’s best bet would be to query, or take a look at the website and see what we’ve been putting out there. I do like anything with a twist!
3. What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Anywhere that isn’t here. Even here can be intriguing at 3 a.m. with the coyotes howling … Seriously though, nothing ticks me off more than a badly researched setting. If a writer is going to use a real location but has never been there, they have to do the research. I’ve come across some serious research errors in novels I’ve edited that could have been avoided by looking in an atlas, or doing a five minute Google search.
I think what would really work for me is a real, ordinary place made exotic by some sort of fantastical event, and it doesn’t matter what time period – any of them will work. I’ve seen those, and they have the perfect cross-genre twists that keep the reader happy.
4. Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
If a submitting writer doesn’t grab me in the first chapter, or at least in the first three chapters, they aren’t going to get their foot past the desk. I want some sort of hook, action or otherwise, within the first twenty-five pages. A fast pace is great … so long as it’s not breakneck confusion all the way through. Steady on, but gaining speed nearer the end definitely keeps me (and most readers) turning the pages.
5. What type of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
The everyday person put into impossible situations, and coming out the hero. That is one thing that has to ring true to pretty much every reader … if you can’t somehow get involved in the character, you’re not going to get involved in the book. How better to get involved than to relate to the protagonist?
For example – Stephen King’s The Stand. Each and every one of those characters is relatable on some level, with every single reader picking it up. The self-involved rock star turned martyr, the nerd boy that goes evil to get the girl next door (and still fails to get her); even Flagg himself is the spoiled toddler being told no for the first time.
6. Horror and violence can be blatant or suggestive. Which one do you prefer and why?
Both. I can’t choose between the two, although it always depends on the mood I’m in. They have to work together to be effective – the suggestion before the stark visual, so to speak.
7. In fiction and in life, what do you find most horrific?
Disembodied eyeballs. Humankind. The rampant ignorance resulting from dulled senses, lack of stimulation and basic education in society. Love.
8. What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?
Clichés. I know I’ll be skewered for this, and I do love them myself – however – vampires, zombies and were-beasts are overdone. It’s unlikely a submitter will be able to find a new hook to the old themes. Another thing is sweet HEA romance.
Hey, I write vampire fiction myself, and I wouldn’t publish me. I know how hard it is to find an original thread to them. Find something new, away from the overdone.
9. What commonalities are among stories you’ve rejected? Is there a particular aspect authors get wrong? (Question by Martel)
Most commonly, we receive submissions that are little more than first drafts. I cannot stress this enough: any new writer should have at least one person proofread their work for mechanical errors, plot holes, and lack of characterization. A few mechanical errors we can look past, the rest, not so much.
I’d have to say though, the clearest commonality amongst rejected works has been weak stories surrounding badly researched or clichéd plots.
10. If you reject a story, how open are you to a revised version, or do you only want revisions upon request? (Question by Martel)
If I find some merit in a submission, but still plan to reject it, I will ask the writer to submit a revision during our next reading period. I send those requests out with specific, if minimal, critique points, showing the author what needs to be done before we reconsider the submission.
While I understand the yearning to “fix it and send it back” without the request, all too often the author hasn’t fixed what needs to be fixed… and we end up rejecting all over again. It ends up being a waste of our time, and the author’s.
11. What trait are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
Personable authors behind well written, tight and clean manuscripts. Literary, genre-specific, cross-genre – I don’t care. Well, maybe I do care a little bit. I’d like to see more thrillers, cross-genres into paranormal thriller or even into horror.
12. Any last advice for submitters to this market?
I like guidelines. I like writers that can follow guidelines. Our guidelines (when we’re open and they’re available) are clear. Some formatting issues can be easily resolved if the writers simply take ten minutes to change their submission prior to sending it to us. I’ve only known one person to complain constantly about having to do this – and that person wasn’t accepted.
We require a marketing plan – we expect our authors to get out there and work book signings or conventions, have websites and do online promotions. Every little bit helps, and even the most remote authors can do something.
Don’t ask me to critique your submissions. I don’t have time for that – that’s what crit groups are for. I may or may not have time to tell you why I’ve rejected the manuscript (if I do); don’t hound me for more information. Accept it and move on. Overall, don’t argue with a rejection – arguing isn’t going to change my mind.