Monday, February 26, 2018

Working for a Small Press – An Insider’s Scoop

My Experiences Working For Curiosity Quills Press, by Clare Dugmore

Hey and thank you for inviting me to the IWSG blog. For those who don’t know me, I’m Clare Dugmore, and as well as being an author, I’m part of the marketing team for Curiosity Quills Press.

I joined CQP back in July 2013 as a social media intern. I’d been looking for work I could do from home, alongside working on my own novels, which also allowed me to be around for my kids (who were four and ten at the time). Thanks to knowing some people who worked at CQP at the time, I was given an interview, which led to the internship.

The internship quickly led to a permanent position, where my main duties were maintaining the CQP social media platforms – something I still do to this day. But as my time with the company extended, and they went through various staffing changes, my duties increased and evolved.

Right now, my duties involve a mixture of marketing tasks, and admin tasks people might not even be aware are part of the publishing industry. For example, I have to keep the CQP site, and their databases on CreateSpace, Ingram and Bowker up-to-date. Not very glamorous, but without those things, paperbacks wouldn’t get produced etc.

In addition to this, I also fill out book order requests from authors and bookseller/ bookstores. This basically entails calculating the cost of however many books they need and applying the appropriate discount (CQP authors receive a 50% discount off the MSRP of their books, and booksellers/stores receive a 45% discount), then using either Ingram or CreateSpace to calculate the shipping fees. Once their payment is received, I process the order, and make sure it’s sent out to them.

Alongside this, I also use Ingram and CS to send out paperbacks to reviewers, contest winners etc. and one thing I always find amusing about this is the differences between US and UK addresses (I’m from the UK). Some street or town names often give me a good giggle.

The most memorable time was when I was sending out paperbacks to winners of our Goodreads giveaways, and one of the winners was author-friend Christine Rains, who I sometimes beta read for, and who I greatly admire the work of. It made me laugh to see my ‘work’ and ‘writing’ lives crossing over.

One of my favourite aspects of working for CQP, and I guess what people would deem the ‘coolest’ is liaising with the cover artists. I love seeing the author’s initial concept, then the artist’s draft covers, and finally the finished cover. We’re lucky to work with some really talented artists.

Another aspect I greatly enjoy is connecting with our reviewer and blogging community. I maintain the monthly reviewer and blogger newsletter, which features that month’s releases, and selected ARCs for review. I love not only helping readers find terrific books and ensuring the CQP books receive the recognition they deserve, but I meet so many wonderful people. Even if I only chat to them once a month, it’s nice to say hi and see how they’re doing.

I also send out invitations to guest blogger (as well as CQP authors) for posts for the CQP site. My wonderful team-mate Nina Post came up with a great editorial catalogue, where each month is broken down into themes. For example, in March we’re looking for blog posts about Reinvention and Second Chances. In the first month of spring, CQP celebrates reinvention, renewal, and second chances. Think of your favorite character arcs and how hard-fought changes or second chances inspired you—or give us an example from your own life. If you’re interested in writing for the CQP blog or joining the reviewer mailing list, please email

Nina and I also collaborate on the bi-monthly CQP newsletter, which not only features our latest releases, and links to our most recent blog posts, along with any other news, but contains a list of bookish links and information cultivated by Nina. We aim to offer not only updates about CQP, but interesting articles and snippets to keep you entertained and informed. You can sign up for the CQP newsletter HERE.

As well as getting CQP books in the hands of reviewers (both from the blogging/ reviewing community, but also bigger ‘trade’ reviewers like Locus Magazine and Kirkus) I also reach out to bookstores, libraries, universities etc. to try to arrange signings/ speaking events etc. for the authors. This can be quite challenging, not only because of the time zone difference caused by me living in to UK and most bookstores I reach out to being in America and Canada, but sometimes it’s hard to get hold of the exact right person, and I often find myself emailing or calling the bookstore etc. multiple times before getting a response. It can be quite frustrating.

There’s probably more I do that I’m forgetting, but that’s the main breakdown of my duties for CQP. I consider myself very lucky. Not only do I get to work from home, in a job that allows me to focus on my own writing and be around for my kids, but I’ve also learned so much about the publishing industry from CQP and I know I’ve acquired skilled that made my own journey into self-publishing so much easier.

If you want to know more about the behind the scenes going on of CQP, we’re hosting an ‘Ask Me Anything’ over on AMAFeed this Monday. You can find it HERE.

About Clare Dugmore
Clare Dugmore is an author of all things romantic; be they contemporary, paranormal, fantasy. She loves a good love story!
Her published works include contemporary-romance novel ALL IT TAKES, LGBT novella I WANT YOU TO WANT ME, web serial EVERY MOMENT WITH YOU, and a Nutcracker Prince retelling which with be featured in the forthcoming MAGIC AT MIDNIGHT ANTHOLOGY.
Clare is a thirty-something, married, mother of two from the West Midlands, of England. In her spare time, she enjoys binge watching shows with her hubby, spending time with her two sons, and playing video games.
You can find out more about Clare and her writing on her website.

About Curiosity Quills Press
Curiosity Quills Press is a publisher of high-quality fiction of many flavors. We offer some of the best novels in sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventure, paranormal, romance, speculative fiction, horror, and mystery. We love talking books, writing, and the latest Netflix original series in between reading manuscripts. We believe everyone needs an escape and we want #CQreads to be yours! We are nerds serving nerds and always happy to hear what kind of stories readers are looking for- tell us what kind of books you want at Find out more about CQP and the books they publish at Curiosity Quills Press.

Monday, February 19, 2018

How Famous Authors Stay Inspired and Keep Writing

How do you coax your writing inspiration? Do you have a favorite place you like to write? How do you keep the writing flowing?

The more we learn about what works for us, the better we can become as writers. Taking the time to honor our writing process on a regular schedule can reap a bounty of results. In fact, many authors have a regular writing routine that serves as a foundation for them.

Having a routine when you write can also provide a sense of reassurance and comfort. It can protect you from the ramble of distraction, and allow you to have the time you need to do what you have to do-write. Global English Editing has outlined the writing routines of 20 famous authors in a fun infographic below. Perhaps you can borrow a few ideas!

Many thanks to Sierra Delarosa from Global English Editing and The Expert Editor for the infographic and information!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Striving For Originality

We strive as writers to come up with original stories and to stand out from the crowd. For many of us, finding that plot seems impossible. We look at the millions of books out there and try to create a new plot, but it seems like everything has been done before.

And do you know what? It has.

Now before you bang your head on the desk, know you shouldn't worry about all those other books. Nope, not at all. When you tell your story, it won't be like anything else out there.

Plot and story aren't the same thing. You'll find the same basic plots in every book, but the telling of that story will always be different. It will have the author's quirks, experience, and imagination which is a unique blend to make the story unlike any other.

Not convinced? Think of it like this: imagine you're visiting a class of students. They're sitting on the rug listening to the teacher read to them. Let's use Hansel and Gretel as an example.

After the teacher is finished, ask each child to tell the story in their own way. They can tell it however they want to as long as it has the same plot. It doesn't even have to have the same ending. No story is going to be alike. Not one. Jean tells the story with both characters as girls. Bert decides to have a dragon instead of a witch. Arthur has the story take place in a city instead of a forest. They're all using the basic plot of Hansel and Gretel, but each story is different.

If you're still uncertain, here are three tips to help you:

1. Write about something you'd like to read. If that's vampires, don't listen to the people who say the market is too saturated. You need to write something you're passionate about. It will show in your writing.

2. Be true to youself and your story. Don't add something because you think readers might want it or that it fits a certain trope.

3. Connect with your characters emotionally. Make yourself vulnerable and put all those emotions onto paper or the screen. If you're feeling the happiness, sadness, and fear, then so will your readers.

Remember, your story has never been seen before. It is original.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG And The Many Happenings!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

February 7 optional question - What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

The wonderful co-hosts for the February 7 posting of the IWSG are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!


The second #IWSGPIT was a huge success. #IWSGPIT became a trending topic throughout the day and we more than doubled the participation of the first one. 5100 tweets!

We'd like to thank everyone for making it our best pitch so far. Keep polishing those pitches for our next one in July!


In case you missed it. The next IWSG Anthology has a cover and release date.

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting…

Release date - May 1, 2018
Mystery & Detective/Crime/Thrillers
Print ISBN 9781939844545 eBook ISBN 9781939844552

And it is now up for Pre-order. Get your copy today!


After trending on Twitter we've seen a spike in interest. Still on the fence about joining? Here's what some others have to say about us.

Anything else you'd like to add?


And don't forget to check out #theiwsg writing Wednesday posts on Instagram.
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