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.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks again, Clare! You have a lot of duties and a lot to juggle there.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I know all too well all that goes on behind the scenes.

That's a smart way to handle the newsletter. Otherwise it's just an ad.

It is frustrating tracking down the right person at a bookstore or even getting a response sometimes. Same with reviewers.

Chemist Ken said...

Sounds like your plate is pretty full at CQP. Do you have much time to work on your own stories?

Christine Rains said...

Wow, you are a busy woman! It's nice you get to work from home. Do you keep a strict schedule with everything you have to do?

cleemckenzie said...

You do wear many hats! I think you have a challenging yet fulfilling job, and I'm glad to know more about what it is you do.

Tonja Drecker said...

You do keep busy! I'm always impressed with how on top of things you are. And I didn't know you're in the UK, so new thing there. Thanks for sharing. It was interesting to get a glimpse behind the scenes.

Juneta key said...

Enjoyed reading and getting a look behind the scenes.

Pat Hatt said...

Sure have a lot on the go and many tasks indeed. Sounds like it keeps it interesting and you learn a lot too. Wins.

Jemi Fraser said...

Very cool! It's nice to see behind the scenes :)

Gina Gao said...

This is very cool. Thanks for sharing what goes on behind the scenes.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Clare - it certainly comes over that you love your work and obviously benefit hugely from being involved, as too do we getting the insight into Curiosity Quills ... fun, but congratulations and good luck - cheers Hilary

Unknown said...

I enjoyed your walk though the behind-the-scenes aspects of your work and the parts that are great about it.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Great insight to see what happens behind the scenes. Lots I never even thought about. And how fun that Christine won a book for a giveaway you were managing.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Wow, you are really busy. How do you even find time to write! Sounds like Curiosity Quills is a quality outfit.

Michelle Wallace said...

Sounds like a win-win-win situation...working from home, in a job that allows you to focus on your own writing and be around for the that insider perspective of the publishing industry? The best of all worlds!!