So let’s be frank. Opening an e-publishing company is exciting! Knowing we are giving some undiscovered authors the opportunity to get their work out for the world to see is gratifying in so many respects. But opening an e-publishing company is also terrifying. But maybe not for the reasons you think.
Yes, there is money invested, and the time… (oh my goodness there is SO much time that goes into running a company) but money and time are not the whole reason a venture like this can be terrifying. What makes it terrifying? Steph and I are putting our reputations on the line. What do you mean by that, Jane? Just what I said. Steph and I have worked hard to craft reputations with our families and friends, co-workers and even acquaintances. As you know, reputations are hard to build and easy to lose. With that being said, when we put the Astraea Press logo on a book, it means we are giving it our stamp of approval. We are saying “Hey world! Read this! We loved it and we hope you do to!” And in giving our stamp of approval, it means we approve of what’s in the book. Every.Single.Word.
Remember a few blog posts ago when Stephanie wrote about how Astraea Press was bringing sexy back but not in the way you think? This is what I am talking about. There are so many epublishers out there who will print anything. Literally, anything. We aren’t that type of publisher. We are selective on what we choose to put Astraea’s logo on. We are looking for romance novels which can tell the story of two people falling in love (or out of love and back in love) while they travel in time, working in paranormal worlds, live in the present day, 1800s America or the Roman Empire. But we want these romance novels to be about the romance. Not the sex. Believe it or not, there are people in the world who actually enjoy reading a romance without seeing the characters hook up every other page.
I think some people believe if you want a clean romance you have to read inspirational fiction. That is simply not so. Astraea isn’t an “Inspirational Fiction” publisher. We will publish those type works and be happy doing it. But we ARE a publishing house with morals. There are certain words, behaviors and actions we simply will not allow to be published. Does this make us snobs? I don’t think so. Does this make us conscious of what we are giving our stamp of approval to? Yes. Remember, our reputations are on the line not just as good businesspeople but as people who have high moral convictions. Steph and I want to be confident when something goes out the door with Astraea’s logo on it, we can do so without a bit or remorse or guilt.
And you know what? We may lose potential authors over our stance. And that’s okay. But I challenge all of you out there to write a romance that doesn’t include pre-marital sex, or if it does, the negative consequences which can result. Or write a character whose mouth doesn’t have to say curse words when he’s angry or frustrated. There are plenty of ways to get your point across without including these type behaviors. Challenge yourself to find them!
I guarantee you there is a customer base who wants these type novels. As my friend Trina said on my Facebook page recently. “I have seen a great need for this (clean romance) based on my own love of reading and it’s getting harder and harder to find good stories that don’t leave you feeling ashamed.”
This is what we are looking for my friends: The opportunity to offer books to the world that doesn’t leave us or you feeling ashamed for having read it.