Nate Crowder lives a double life as hectic as that of his superhero protagonists. As a writer and member of the Horror Writer’s Association, he brings his readers the scariest fiction he can summon at the keyboard, regardless of the hour. As a small press publisher, he courts the strange and unusual, on the hunt for stories riding the edges of science-fiction. The podcast Cobalt City Adventures Unlimited, written by Crowder and produced by Michaela Hutfles won the 2011 Parsec for Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team. Long listed for the storySouth Notable Stories and a winner of the Hauntings competition at Hugo House, Nate Crowder is a very busy man.
AP: What is your job as a small press publisher?
NC: It’s so many things. To run a small press well, there’s hundreds of little moving parts. I either need to find people to handle those parts, or manage them myself. Promotions, marketing, setting a schedule. It’s a balance between talent management and trying to handle as many of the small details as I can before I go insane.
AP: What advice do you wish someone had given you before becoming a small press publisher?
NC: Be prepared for it to be more expensive then you think it’s going to be and be prepared to plan VERY far in advance. There’s an illusion that with print-on-demand that you can turn a book around quickly, which you can, but to have the time to get it out for editing, to send it out for reviews, you have to look way far ahead into the future and plan.
AP: What do you do to keep up with your writing life around running a business?
NC: That’s assuming I can keep up with my life. The most important thing is my Yahoo calendar. I couldn’t function without it. When I have conflicting things on my schedule, I reschedule. I get two hours for writing here, an hour on publishing emails, I just have to budget my time. But I have to plan for everything.
AP: How do you deal with writing that pushes boundaries with content, as an author and a publisher?
NC: As an author, I accept the fact that I’m going to write what I want to write, and there might not be a market for it. I have a story I originally wrote on a dare for the Rigor Amortis anthology, because the publisher had a number of things they hadn’t seen submitted. So I wrote a story with a tree sloth, a sci-fi story, and it was horrifying. It was too long to fit in the anthology and too weird to publish anywhere else. So I’m going to sit on it, and accept not everything I write as an author will have a market. As a publisher, we set clear boundaries about what we publish at this point. Our whole goal was to publish stories that had a niche, on that edge, not necessarily mainstream. We court the strange in our anthologies. We’re always looking for that.
AP: How do you use social media as a small press?
NC: Oh my God. I don’t know how anyone did small press publishing before social media. Twitter is invaluable for building a sense of community, with authors who have contributed and those that want to, spreading submissions calls, publicizing new releases. Facebook is a sticky static page, a presence people can find us at, see who is involved with us, what we’re doing. There’s an illusion that anyone can put a book out. But the trick is marketing. You need a physical web presence for people to get a handle on who you are. Our Facebook, blog and Twitter are an invaluable place to do that.
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