Hello Christina Tarabochia! Welcome to The Writer’s Alley. :- ) What can you tell us about your publishing company that you have opened?
Founded in early 2013 by myself and my mother, Sherrie Ashcraft, AshberryLane is a small, traditional publishing company. We had originally planned on only publishing our own work, but it quickly became apparent that God’s plans for us were far bigger than that limited vision. In the words of Ephesians 3:19-20, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (NASB)
We come from a tight knit, crazy-fun family. Authors who are brave enough to sign with us become part of it!
What prompted you to open your own publishing company (Ashberry Lane)?
At first, again, it was to publish On the Threshold. We had worked for about nine years on the story. Of
course it evolved many times as our skill grew. A large Christian organization/publisher wanted to contract it to launch a fiction line but soon went through a period of layoffs. Our dreams seemed to be put on hold. Again and again we’d make it to committee but could never secure that final contract. Feeling that we knew enough to be sure we wouldn’t be embarrassed to release it ourselves, we decided to self-publish.
There are so many GREAT writers, and large houses have such a limited number of slots open each year. Of course smaller houses have a limited allotment as well, but we don’t have to take on as much of a risk as the large publishers when we publish a book. That means we can take a chance with a manuscript set in a foreign country, an uncommon mix of genres, or other twists on the usual books.
What are you currently looking to publish? Are you open to submissions or are you trying to be a bit more selective?
We seek to bring glory to God and entertain with Heartfelt Tales of Faith. That vision stretches over many genres and time periods, even to creative non-fiction and children’s books. We like long, satisfying books, so here are the specifics on word counts.
Fiction length (includes YA): 80,000-100,000 words
Non-fiction: 50,000-55,000 words
Middle Grade Fiction: 30,000-40,000 words
The hardest part of running a publishing house is sending rejections letters, but we are extremely selective and realize this business is incredibly subjective. (Translation: maddening to authors!) We’ve been blessed to have authors respond professionally and graciously when we’ve been unable to offer a contract. That kind of attitude can take a writer far, whether with us or with a different publisher. It’s easy to spot those who are eager to learn and improve.
You recently released a novel by the late Dianne Price. Can you tell us a little bit more about the story and why you decided to publish it?
Years ago, Dianne hired me as the freelance editor for all six of her Thistle Series. These novels focus on the continuing romance of Rob, an injured American bomber pilot, and Maggie, the RAF nurse who cares for him. Set on the fictional Hebrides (Scottish) isle of Innisbraw, the whole series is a rich, deep read. When I first read her work, I immediately thought of Dianne as the Christian version of Maeve Binchy or Rosamund Pilcher.
Shortly after On the Threshold released, Dianne revealed she was dying of a very slow-moving cancer. Her heart’s desire was to see Broken Wings and the subsequent books find their way to print. We soon signed her, working with Terry Burns of Hartline Literary. Sadly, the cancer’s growth sped up and she passed into Glory only one week before Broken Wings released. She had just turned 80.
Care to chat with us about the process of publishing Dianne’s book? From beginning to end, what proved to be the most challenging and most fulfilling?
What were we thinking of, taking on a foreign setting with foreign customs and language for our first outside contract? Seriously! And a series, at that!
Editing can be a challenge because I’m used to working closely with authors as they improve their manuscripts. With Dianne no longer here, I have to make decisions I think she would be proud of, or at least accepting of, while polishing as well as I know how and honoring her memory.
The most fulfilling moment was when we worked with our Head of Marketing, Nicole Miller of Miller Media Solutions, to design the draft of all the covers before Dianne died. Since we often use live models on our covers, Dianne helped chose the models. She was able to see the series of cover mockups shortly before her death and was overjoyed to see her characters come to life.
Thank you so much for joining us today! Is there anything else you would care to share with our readers today?
Dream big. Never give up out of discouragement. Give up or “give over” only if God tells you to. His imagination far outshines ours and He has amazing plans for each and every one of us!