Denise Brown is my Woman In Horror today! Denise is a publisher/owner of May December Publications. Up 'til just recently she was living in a small apartment in Oregon, but that has all changed now. Todd, her husband, bought her a house! Yay, Todd!
Denise reads, formats, and works with artists to create great covers. May December publishes novels from people all around the world, but she also helps others get started, formatting their novels and covers, and answering any and all questions she can to help others pursue their dreams.
In Denise's words:
"Todd has always wanted to write – and he is really good at it. I saw his talent and so we started looking around at different publishers to see what was out there and what we could do to get his book published. What I found was that there were several publishers, but they all seemed cold and distant (mostly because we were new) and information was very short in coming. I am an accountant and a business major so I started looking into publishing as a business and not just a way to get Todd’s book published. When I did publish Zomblog and gave it to him for Christmas – I knew what I needed to do. I named the company May December Publications for a few reasons. It is named after Todd’s kids’ birthday, but it means so much more than that. His kids were his first dream and then his books so it represents a special dream. Now, not only for Todd but for many others. Also, I decided to publish more than horror so the May December meant two sides of the publishing business. One side, the May side, is the spring side, the speculative fiction side. We have titles like the Fervor & Magic University series by Chantal Boudreau, Dakota by Todd Brown, Agape by Bennie Newsome, an actual Post Apocalyptic Cookbook, and more to come. The December side is the cold, winter, dead side. It is our horror side with authors like Todd Brown, Robert Dean, Heath Stallcup, Tracy Ford, Alex Laybourne, and is ever growing.
"What I have found since creating the company is that one, you can never know enough about changes in the industry and how to better your books and take care of your authors; and two, there are many great authors out there that just need a helping hand to get them going. I like to be friendly with people and to help them or talk to them, which is one of the reasons I stay in the background. I understand that if you have questions about a book or a formatting problem or want to know how to self pub your book that it can be intimidating talking to a publisher – but not if you are just talking to Denise. I want the company to stand on its own so I can still be who I am and not let the company suffer. And I have found that it is just the opposite. I have people who I have talked to and helped then find that I am a publisher and that has actually turned them on to my titles. That rocks! I just believe that an author’s work will speak for itself if they can just get it out there for people to see. I am still trying to find out just how to do that, but I am trying. I am learning more and more what I can do with ebooks and paperbacks and have started doing the audiobooks as well.
"When the company was started there was (and still are) a lot of people thinking that if they can self pub their book, then they could – and should – start a publishing company. And let me tell you now, they shouldn’t. Our company was held at arm’s length for a while, and rightfully so. I have seen a lot of companies that were around in 2009 dissolve and disappear. Not mine. As I stated above, I am an accountant with a degree in business. I am not a writer. I am a business woman. I started a business. I went into it knowing that it would cost me money to do it right and would take a few years before it started paying off. I am happy to say that it is now doing just that. After a few years, people started taking MDP seriously as a publishing company and not just a venue to ‘self pub’ Todd’s books (he has the same deal and contract that my other authors have). I didn’t start a temporary business, but one that I wanted to watch grow and mature and become a ‘known’ business. We are on our way.
"One misnomer that I want to correct is that in self publishing you can take a manuscript, add a cover to it, and publish it today – right now. That isn’t the way I work. It can sometimes take up to a year from the first time an author contacts me until their novel is published. I am not in this for instant gratification, but for the long haul. Your manuscript will have to be read and accepted, and that could take some time in itself. Then it has to be put in our calendar for the year working with the other authors and their novels. It has to go to the editor and, depending on your novel, that could take quite a bit of time in Todd’s hands with the editing before I ever get to see it again. I contact one of our artists and get the idea of your novel into their head and we wait for them to create their magic working with the author to ensure that the cover fits what the author has in their mind. I then get it all back and I format the story, format the cover, put them all together to make an awesome paperback and an ebook. We have had a few authors get upset and tell me when THEY want their book published, or HOW they want to do it, and some have left us to go elsewhere. That is fine. I will work my tail end off on your book, but it has to wait until I am done with the author in front of you. Again, I am in this for the long stretch – for the marathon, not for the sprint, and the author that wants it immediately should look elsewhere or do it themselves."What I want for the company and my authors is simple. I want them to succeed. I want them to be the next best seller. If that means I can get someone, say Chantal Boudreau, to be seen by someone that wants to whisk her away to stardom – then I will be the first to throw her a farewell party. And what would REALLY rock is to one day walk into a theater to watch a movie and the title ‘Zomblog’ comes up on the big screen."
Using Denise's words, many of them from my post last year for her, it is easy to see that she has a no-nonsense approach to the business side of publishing. We all have dreams, but sometimes those dreams lack the proper vision as far as making certain a great book succeeds. Handling the business end of publishing is not an easy thing to do. We writers can sometimes not be the smoothest people in the world to deal with. Some of us come to the table thinking our books are perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect book. We need flow of words and a lack of redundancy; we need crisp scenes instead of passive ones; we need punctuation that shines. And we need great cover art and formatting. Denise runs the ship. She makes certain all these things work.
Thus, my friends, it is obvious that Denise Brown is a Woman In Horror!
By the way. Today is Denise Brown's birthday. Happy birthday, Denise!
"If there is anything that I can do to help someone, it pleases me to no end." Denise Brown