Black Rose Writing:
A Home for the Extraordinary
By Carin Chea
Whether you were The Popular Girl in high school, or the poster child for underdogs, Black Rose Writing is a home for exceptional souls.
Founded by Reagan Rothe in 2006, the independent publishing house has garnered positive momentum and attention in the decade plus since.
Willing to break the mold, Rothe offers a home to remarkable writers whose works may (or may not) fall into a definable niche.
It was a breath of fresh air to speak with Mr. Rothe as we talked about Black Rose's journey and one of its newest acquisitions - Anthony Mora's upcoming novel Virtual Velocity.
How did Black Rose Writing come to be?
I started writing post-college and I published a couple of different novels through different publishing houses. There were parts of that experience that I thought could be better in terms of them being more direct and personable. Timely communication was also an issue.
Through my experiences, I started Black Rose Writing in 2006. We started part-time and tested the waters and we were able to make and learn from mistakes.
In 2009, it seemed like a very tactical move; I thought (based on our numbers and projections) we could make it full time.
You have been a successful independent publishing house for over 13 years. What did you do before Black Rose?
I mainly did construction, building custom houses. I definitely enjoy what I do. It's great when you find something that's your passion. There are going to be days where you don't want to go to work, or days you don't feel as motivated.
For me, though, it passes sooner rather than later. For everything in my life, I can't say it was that way.
How would you describe Black Rose? How would you say it differs from other publishing companies?
We get a lot of feedback from our veteran authors who have published with other houses and mostly receive positive feedback from those authors, and even from new authors.
Sometimes, a lot of new authors expect more, and they're not always as realistic with a first-time book.
But then, you got those seasoned authors; their feedback makes me very happy because it always seems extremely positive. They know we're not guaranteeing them a best-selling book or promising them a million copies sold, but they know we're active and working for them.
We try to create a family atmosphere, a partnership atmosphere. We're very personable.
Black Rose is known for its inclusive and diverse genre base. In fact, your slogan is "We publish only one genre...our genre." Tell me more about this and how this philosophy came about.
The slogan derived from us feeling that we're pretty much open to anything. We want unique, very original material. Even if there are things that don't perfectly fit into a box, we can market it.
We've taken on things that we've had to market things very creatively. We don't want to reject an author just because there might not be a "market" for the author. We try to give those authors a home.
Our genre is what we feel is deserving and quality writing. There's no bias. It doesn't matter: If it's good, we want to publish it.
I realize this is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child, but what are some of the most memorable works you've published throughout your career?
Battle Hymn is a political non-fiction conspiracy theory book. That was one of our breakthrough books. It's been out for at least 7 or 8 years. The author, John Scura, was on Coast to Coast with John Wells.
At that time, we had so many orders off of our actual website that I literally spent 2 days just placing book orders. I'm not complaining; I would do that again in a heartbeat.
We also have a horror novel called Doll House. It's always been a well-received book. You've got a really good, strong female lead.
The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride by Joe Siple is a literary fiction feel-good story. It's been compared to a lot of Mitch Albom's work. It's another one of our best-selling books.
You're publishing Anthony Mora's new novel, Virtual Velocity, which centers around the fictitious life of pop phenomena, Jake Jenkins. I know him more as a playwright. Can you tell me a bit about how that came about?
Jack Polo is one of our authors and we published his book The Partners. He spoke very highly of Anthony. Anthony's platform is great. My acquisition reviewer gave us feedback and the notes were very positive.
When is the book coming out?
November 14, 2019 is the release date.
The internet as turned the music industry on its head, how has it impacted publishing?
When we first started, we didn't start doing e-books for 3 or 4 years. As a whole, the internet has been a good thing. Its allowed us to adapt and gain an edge on some older indie presses. You can get stuck and set in your ways and you miss certain trends.
There was a time when I thought, "Are we going to become a digital press?" Now, audio books are hitting a heavy momentum.
At the end of the day, though, I think digital, audio and hard copy books will be friends. One won't necessarily replace the other. About 50 to 70% of our new releases are released as audio as well.
I'm a huge made-for-TV buff. Have any of your published works made it to the small or big screen?
We've pitched, but nothing ever became firm. Right now, there's a company called Tale Flick that reached out to us. They've been pitching some of our books.
We're also working with a couple of our literary agents and they're pitching titles to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Nothing yet, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.
What type of genre do you think audiences need more of in this day and age?
I always want to say fantasy and science fiction because that's the hardest audience to break into. Those readers can be cultish.
If someone says, "You need to try this new author out," they can be defiant. You're trying to get people to invest in this alternate, futuristic world.
For more information on this thriving publishing house, please visit www.BlackRoseWriting.com/home/
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