Friday, June 9, 2017

Interview with Brenda Hill by Jacqueline Seewald

Today I am interviewing another Five Star/Cengage author.
Multi-published Brenda Hill studied writing at several national institutions including Gotham Writers Workshop NY, and the University of Iowa. Certified in Written English, she served as acquiring editor for an indie press and leads a critique group in SoCal. In addition to her novels, she wrote short stories for a national women’s magazine and a literary anthology,
The Talking Stick. She offers tips on writing and editing on her website: Brenda is sharing details of
her new venture with us.

Q: Brenda, you’re primarily a writer with several published novels. Why did you decide to venture into something so drastically different as publishing an e-magazine?

A. I sometimes wonder myself, Jacqueline, but by nature, I’ve always loved to try something new. I’ve lived in several states, and even in writing, I’ve explored different avenues. While primarily a novelist, I’ve been CEO of L. Cooper Press, a service for writers. We do websites, 3-Chapter Analysis, 1st Chapter Editing, and we assist writers who wish to self-publish but do not care to do everything themselves. I also wrote short stories for a national woman’s magazine and restaurant reviews for my SoCal newspaper. When I thought of a magazine for writers and readers, it seemed natural to go for it.  

Q. How did you get the idea?

A. I lead a critique group at a restaurant in Redlands, CA, and several of us arrive early, to have a bite to eat and to socialize. One evening several weeks ago, we celebrated a member’s newly-published fantasy novel.

One member, an older gentleman, examined the book. He congratulated the author. “Seems like everyone has something published except me,” he said, passing the book to the next member. “Makes me feel like a third wheel on a couples date.” He smiled, but I could hear the longing in his voice. I thought of my early days of writing when I desperately wanted to say I was an author.

One member suggested he try short stories, but that presented a problem: where to send his submission.

An anthology? Good idea. Some writers associations publish a yearly anthology, but they only accept submissions from their members. 

Magazines used to be great avenues for writers, but today, with only a few accepting fiction, the opportunity is greatly reduced. Many writers clubs across the county have their own emagazines, but again, they accept submissions only from their members. And they’re funded by dues.

That’s when I wondered if I could establish an avenue where writers could submit their stories and articles. An e-magazine open to anyone across the country would be a perfect solution. And I would offer it as a free download to anyone with access to the website.

Q. I believe our readers would be interested in how you handled the financing.

A. I decided against a business loan or funding by a large corporation. That could mean delays in opening, and both could ask for submission approval based on age-old publishing standards. Instead, I wanted the freedom to accept stories I, and the other editors, felt readers would enjoy.

So I wondered how I could fund my great new idea without constrictions. While I was considering the possibilities, another member mentioned the contest he’d recently entered, and excused the high submission fee as a possibility for his fiction to be read. A submission fee! Of course! I could use my own funds to begin the process, and ask for a low submission fee from the writers for operational costs. Then perhaps later, the magazine could accept ads.

Q. What terms are you offering writers whose stories you accept?

A. In our contract, we stipulate we have all rights for six months after publication. After that time, the author may publish the story on his/her website or even submit to another publication, but we retain the right to keep the story in that issue, which would be archived and available to anyone as a free download.

Q. Do you have a website yet?

A. Absolutely. Interested writers can read our guidelines, and if they have any questions, they can contact me from the site:

Brenda Hill

*Questions and/or comments for Brenda are welcome here!


Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

What a great way to encourage new writers and to give established writers another publishing venue! I wish you much success!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great idea, Brenda. Been there, done that with The Wordsmith Journal (now TWJ Magazine)! Good luck and God's blessings with your new venture.

Loretta Wheeler said...

What an interesting interview :) And I love the idea that you offer another venue! That's so needed. I think most of us can relate to how the gentleman felt in your group when he'd found no place to easily approach regarding his work. The first time out is so overwhelming.

Of course I'm going in to have a look! :)

Betty Gordon said...

An informative interview and a great opportunity for writers to participate in another venue.

Good luck with your venture.

Jacquie, thanks for presenting this opportunity.

Susan Oleksiw said...

New venues for fiction are always welcome. And how gratifying that the idea came from talking in your critique group. Good luck with your new venture.

Brenda Hill said...

I'm not sure how to respond to each comment, so I'll simply say thank you to all of you for your comments and your encouragement. It's difficult to get a new venture going unless you're backed by a huge corporation, but with encouragement like this, I feel a lot better.


Be sure browse the website, and think about sending your stories! We'd love to read them.


Bonnie Tharp said...

Nobody understands the writer's journey better than the writer. What a wonderful way to support the writing community.

Brilliant idea. You are a Rockstar!

Unknown said...

I wish you much success!