I'm thrilled to welcome the very lovely Deidre J Owen, Co-Founder and Designer at Mannison Press, LLC, to the blog today, as this wonderful small publishing company celebrates the release of their very first anthology!
Tell me about Mannison Press - How did it begin?
Back in June of 2018, my Twitter pal Ron Linson reached out with a children’s book idea sparked by some random Twitter shenanigans. He knew I’d previously written and published several children’s book and proposed a collaboration. While that was in the early stages of development, we also began working as critique partners and started swapping short stories. We even collaborated on a humorous short story that later became our very first publication as business partners.
One day in January of this year, he was reading a ghost story of mine and realized it shared an underlying theme with a story of his own, and he suggested the idea for a themed anthology. Now, publishing our own stuff was one thing, but bringing in a bunch of outside authors was something completely different. It was complicated.
We decided that if we were going to do this, then we needed to do it right and form an LLC…and I had a name for us right away. So, you know how writers often have a little writing companion? It’s typically a cat, though sometimes a dog or other beloved pet. Well, I didn’t have a pet. I had a plant. This sweet peace lily (which I miraculously haven’t killed yet) had been a housewarming gift in 2017. It was in our new house that my adventures in writing and publishing truly began, and the lily sat quietly beside my desk watching me work and evolve. When I decided he was my “writing plant” I had my daughter help me name him.
She called him Mannison.
What do you publish?
Prior to Mannison Press, I was publishing children’s books (picture books and small chapter books). However, while our origins may have risen from this, Mannison Press has begun in a different place. We’ve begun with speculative fiction, due entirely to the two short stories that birthed our indie press. Right now, we have two main areas of focus: short stories and anthologies. (Well, since an anthology is just a collection of short stories, I guess that means we’re all about short stories right now, haha.)
Our first anthology is multi-genre, including horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and crime drama. We expect something similar to come from the future companion volume. If you’d like to hear a great conversation about anthologies, I recently interviewed with Writers’ Row on YouTube: https://youtu.be/rKckeagW4yQ
Then we have our Mannison Minibooks. These are fun! We’ve taken the short story to a neat new level by publishing them as pocket-size books. They are easily portable (and if I may say, adorable) single-sitting reads. But don’t let their diminutive size fool you…some of these stories pack a punch. Current genres include horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and humor.
Mannison Press also offers editing services. Can you tell me about that?
I had my partner, Ron, field the next two questions!
Our co-founder and resident editor, Morgan Schafer (who writes as Ronald Linson) is offering his skills and talent to provide a number of editing services from beta reading critiques to developmental editing. He says he strives hard to preserve the author's voice and intent, which is not always easy. To that end, he makes sure to keep in touch with clients during the editing process.
So what kinds and lengths of writing will he edit? Length is no object; Morgan will work on anything from flash fiction to a novel series. As far as what kinds of writing he will edit, he says he is most experienced in genre fiction, such as sci-fi/fantasy and horror, but he is open to working on projects of virtually any type…except poetry. "I'm simply not a poetry guy," he says, laughing.
Tell me about some of your publications?
Right now, we have several short story and novelette sized books available, which we call Mannison Minibooks. They're in both e-book and print editions, the latter being in a 4" x 7" format. Basically, they're pocket-sized and great to read in a single sitting. We will be releasing more titles in the Mannison Minibooks line over the coming months (see #6). We should also mention we have a full short story collection by K. C. Shaw in production, which is likely to be published early 2020.
And your latest release?
Releasing October 15th is our first anthology called Little Girl Lost: Thirteen Tales of Youth Disrupted. This has been in the works since early this year, with submissions dating back to April, so we’re very excited to see this finally come to fruition.
The list of outside contributors includes authors from all United States and Canada, both new and seasoned. One name in particular stands out, though: Piers Anthony. Yes, THEE Piers Anthony, renowned science fiction and fantasy author. Early in the planning stages, Ron extended a cordial invitation to him to participate in the project…and not only did he accept, he also penned an original story for it. (We have to admit, we were a bit star-struck by his involvement.)
We’ve also taken the anthology one step further. Not only will the book come in the standard print and e-book formats, but we decided to offer a special print edition as well: illustrated. Falling back on the graphic design skills I honed while illustrating my own children’s books, I created colorful illustrations for each of the thirteen stories in the anthology.
Both print volumes will be available on Amazon, and the e-book will be available on Amazon and Smashwords.
Contributing authors: Piers Anthony, Roxanne Dent, Ashleigh Hatter, Nicola Kapron, Ronald Linson, Rhiannon Lotze, Caitlin Marceau, Bradley R. Mitzelfelt, Rachel Nussbaum, Deidre J Owen, Hailey Piper, Drew Piston, and J. B. Rockwell.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/qxRgYMaa9tM
What's coming soon?
Next up, is more Mannison Minibooks! The first five we published were all our own stories (Deidre J Owen and Ron Linson), but the next six will all be from outside authors. These include K. B. Bailey (horror), Matthew Brady (horror), Craig Crawford (dark fantasy), Eric Lewis (dark fantasy), Chris Doerner (dark fantasy), and Cecily Winter (literary/YA). E-books are on both Amazon and Smashwords for just $0.99, and the (much cooler!) print edition are through Amazon for only $4.99.
We are also well into the planning stages for a second anthology, the companion volume to Little Girl Lost called Little Boy Lost: More Tales of Youth Disrupted. Submissions will be open Dec 1 through Feb 29 (closing at midnight).
And finally, what does the future hold for Mannison Press?
Eventually, we’d like to come back around to what began this whole crazy journey: a new children’s series. The timeline on this remains open, but we do have plans to expand with a new imprint tentatively named Mannison Kids. We’ll take on all my previous children’s publications and then explore the original idea that brought us together in the first place.
Wow! So much good luck to you Deidre, and Ron!
If you would like to find out more about Mannison Press, purchase copies of their titles, or get involved in their upcoming projects, these links should help!
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
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