Interview with a publisher
Welcome to Anna Sky, owner of Sexy Little Pages Publishing. I have known Anna since the first Smut by the Sea event in Scarborough in 2013. I am delighted to have you on my blog, Anna.
When did Sexy Little Pages open their doors and why did you decide to go into the publishing industry?
I love reading and writing erotica but it’s a much-maligned genre; I feel that our society hasn’t advanced much beyond a Victorian outlook of sex and sexuality in many ways. And particularly after 50 Shades of Grey came out, the erotica market was flooded with poorly-written, badly-formatted stories which put erotica writers into an even more disadvantaged position. I also feel that there’s a lot of under-representation in erotica in terms of disability, race and gender and that needs to be re-addressed.
Sexy Little Pages came about because about a year ago (March 2015), I complained about the state of the market to a friend. There may have been wine involved, but she suggested I become a publisher and produce the kind of erotica I feel we need more of, and it seemed a great idea. I already formatted for authors, across all genres and non-fiction, so publishing was the next logical step.
(brave step. Well done, you! JD)
Has it taken a lot of work/outlay setting up?
Sexy Little Pages took about a year from the idea being born to Inked, the first anthology coming out. I needed a very clear idea in my head of branding – name, logo, mission statement and of course sorting out contracts, websites and insurance. I develop websites and format for other authors as my “normal” job and Sexy Little Pages had to take a back seat a few times when I had client work to fulfil. At those times, it was frustrating but it has also meant I’m that much more certain of what I’m doing and why. When I looked at contracts and payments, I wanted to be fair as possible to the authors – I looked at maximising the royalty share I could afford, and have a low payout threshold. The extra time meant I was able to play with figures and give everyone, including myself, a fair deal.
What has been the thing you most enjoy about being a publisher and what has been difficult?
I love working in the erotica industry – the authors I’ve met are so friendly and supportive, and really passionate about sharing each other’s work. Anything that raises the industry is a great thing and this genre in particular seems to be good at recognising it as a team effort. When I did the edits for Inked, it was my first shot at editing a project of that size and thankfully, all my authors took my suggestions with humour and good grace. They have no idea how grateful I am for that!
When I put the call out for Inked, I was so nervous that no-one would reply and was overwhelmed with the responses. I genuinely am thrilled at how strong a collection it is and am awed that the authors took a chance with me. When I received the print copies, I nearly cried with happiness and relief that all my work paid off! I really have confidence now taking Sexy Little Pages out into the world as something I can be proud of.
One of the ways I wanted Sexy Little Pages to be different was for all submissions to be sent to a blind read panel first, before I got near the stories. That really helped me – if my reviewers said yes, no or maybe, I was able to go with that, then look at the submissions in terms of editing and whether they fitted into the anthology as a whole. That said, some great stories were turned down and as I’ve been on the receiving end of rejections, I really hated being the bearer of bad news!
(Having done acquisitions work myself, I know what you mean! JD)
How many authors are on your books?
It’s early days but including some publishing before officially launching, there’s about 15 authors now. There’s a couple more authors in the proverbial pipeline; as well as anthology calls, Sexy Little Pages welcomes unsolicited submissions so I never know what will appear next in the inbox!
What great books are coming up?
Not just gags and sensory deprivation! We’re looking for contemporary kink-inspired tales encompassing a range of diverse characters and intense, sexy storylines about communication, that make us squirm in our seat. Tell us about everybody, not just white, cis and able. Make your stories hot with your characters reflecting real people across the spectrum of size, colour, gender and ability.”
There’s also plans for another anthology call in June by an external editor and I’m just negotiating a flash fiction anthology too.
Ralph Greco, Jr has also just published with Sexy Little Pages. He got in touch and asked about publishing two collections, ‘Tease’ on male sexual denial and ‘Arouse’ on female sexual denial. I really like the stories – they’re not just your normal chastity play and are very creative, as well as having a contemporary American vibe to them. It’s also coming out as a single paperback with a bonus story in.
So tell me more about the anthology – Inked.
I’m really interested in tattoos and because they can mean so many different things to different people culturally, it seemed a great starting point for an erotica collection.
I love that all the authors have a very different take on tattoos – there’s a great mix of genders in contemporary, fantasy and sci-fi settings:
Tattoos are intimate and personal, yet can hide as much as they reveal...
This superb collection of erotic stories will have you squirming in your seat! Inked contains first tattoos in Company Ink and first times in Scissoring. An intrepid ink artist crosses galaxies to save mankind in The Voron-Kali Emperor's New Clothes whilst closer to home, a sub makes a lifetime promise to her Master in Commitment.
In Venomous Ink, a vibrant tattoo shows there's much more than meets the eye whilst an art student longs to ink the object of her desire with her permanent markers, in Sign Your Name. An uptight commuter finds herself attracted to her polar opposite in Uncovering Heather, while the ultimate Dom looks to get what he deserves in Her Midnight Roses.
And in Nine Lives, a top tattoo artist has never forgotten one particular customer and when they reconnect, she discovers he has new ink for each new life.
Edited by Anna Sky, Inked contains nine sexy and provocative stories from Gregory L. Norris, Annabeth Leong, Victoria Blisse, Zak Jane Keir, Harley Easton, Jillian Boyd, Alain Bell, Lilya Loring and Katya Harris.
(sounds fab! JD)
I know you are a writer as well as a publisher, how long have you been writing and do you get a chance to write nowadays (and what do you miss if you don’t get a chance to write)?
I have written on and off for years but about 4-5 years ago, I started taking it more seriously. I geek out on anything I do, so started reading about how to write better and it went from there. My first acceptance was an absolutely joyous thing; true validation that perhaps, I can do this thing that is simultaneously incredibly easy and incredibly hard.
I seem to do a lot of writing in my head at the moment as I don’t have the time or the space to write, but I think my creativity is finding other outlets too. My writing is better when I do it more regularly though, so it’s a nuisance when I get a great idea and don’t think I can do it justice – I very much edit as I go and once a piece is done, it’s done. I don’t put it in the drawer and come back to it later, so I’d rather not (in my head) ruin a good thing, and don’t write it at all!
(interesting viewpoint! JD)
Where do you see Sexy Little Pages in five years’ time?
I would love Sexy Little Pages to have a great reputation for high-quality inclusive publishing, whether through in-house anthologies, guest editors or authors wanting me to publish them. I want writers of colour, trans writers, people who don’t fit the expectation of “the norm” … everyone should be able to access erotica that gets them off, not just always see “other” when they’re reading. I want to pay writers more for their work and for them to be as proud of being published by Sexy Little Pages as I am of publishing them.
If we want to submit to Sexy Little Pages can you briefly tell us the books you are little for and what your terms and conditions are (and include a submissions page link)
All the details of current calls and general guidelines can be found at https://www.sexylittlepages.com/submissions/ with further questions answered in the FAQ section. There’s also a monthly newsletter with information on new releases and submission calls; you can subscribe at https://www.sexylittlepages.com/newsletter if you’re interested.
Thank you, Anna. It has been fabulous interviewing you. Good luck to you and all your authors.
Thank you so much for having me, it’s been great to talk about Sexy Little Pages!
If you want to read more posts in the Behind the Scenes series here are the other links:
Watch this space for an exciting project I am doing with Sexy Little Pages…. Details announced later this month.