Lisa Natcharian launched the Storyteller’s Cottage in a beautiful Victorian house in Simsbury, CT, in 2017. It began as a venue for various literary activities and events for children and adults—book clubs, author readings, Harry Potter and Dungeons and Dragons Clubs, literary parties (1930s Murder Mystery or WWII Blitz party, anyone?) and plenty more. (Check the writers’ Calendar page on this site.) In addition to all of this, Lisa offers writing courses—Six Months to Your Manuscript, Intro to Journalism and Picture Books 101 among many others. Recently she installed a writer-in-Residence, C. Flanagan Flynn, who leads workshops and one-on-one coaching, as well as writing for Inkling, (below) the beautiful quarterly literary magazine published by Storyteller’s Cottage. With all this going for it, it’s small wonder that ST is so popular with writers.
Full disclosure: I’m one of four authors featured in an evening called Book Odyssey Night on May 9, but that’s not why I asked Lisa for this interview.
Recently Lisa added to her impressive list of offerings, by launching The Storyteller’s Press. So far, they’ve published three authors, and I wanted to find out more.
GC: What made you decide to begin such a time-consuming project?
LN: In the two years that we’ve been active in the writing community, we have been privileged to meet scores of aspiring authors. As we spoke to them in the context of our writing classes and social events, we heard over and over about the difficulties new writers have trying to make an impact as tiny fish in a gigantic sea. We saw a need for a small, hometown, supportive press, where new children’s authors can launch a career with personalized, caring support.
GC: How does an author get published by you? Do they require an agent?
LN: No agent is required. Prospective authors may send us a summary of their story idea by email and we’ll respond back with a request for more information if the concept is a good fit for us. For the first year of our operation as a publisher, we are limiting our range to children’s books. As we grow, we plan to add additional genres.
GC: What makes publishing with The Storyteller’s Press different from traditional or self-publishing?
LN: We fit right in the pocket between traditional and self-publishing. As a small press that focuses on personal service, we provide a hand to hold on the beginning of the publishing journey. Whereas self-publishing requires a significant up-front investment on the part of the author, publishing with The Storyteller’s Press does not. And while traditionally published authors may receive an advance on sales, or may be asked to travel to promote their work, the Storyteller’s Press instead operates on a smaller, more human scale. We publish small initial print runs and rely on a print-on-demand model after the initial run, reducing financial risk for all involved. Focusing on our local contacts to promote new books, we work to get new authors into local independent bookstores as well as national chain stores.
GC: Does The Storytellers Press help with marketing the books?
LN: Definitely. With the Storyteller’s Cottage at the core of our local writing community, we are able to quickly garner name recognition for our new authors by promoting them on all our established communication channels, including our website, direct mail, social media, online magazine, etc. New authors are featured in our on-site bookstore, and at a variety of special events, including a launch party, storytime, writing workshop, community fairs and more. We help authors create a website, blog, Facebook page, YouTube book trailer and any other personal marketing vehicles that they can then maintain. Our staff promotes new authors to the media with regular press releases to our established contacts in the area, and will also submit authors’ names to respected online directories and for a variety of author awards.
GC: This is amazing! And finally, most important for my readers, are you currently looking for submissions, and if so, in what genre(s)?
LN: Yes we are. We would love to see submissions from local children’s book authors, especially those that have a self-confidence or educational component. Our current roster includes Amanda Bannikov, whose three books featuring Tippy the Dragon and Kimothin the girl knight all encourage children to get comfortable with uncomfortable situations; Lana Bennett, whose two books featuring Truly the Fairy use mystery-solving to build self-confidence; and Kati Mockler, whose book about magnets teaches children how positive behaviors can attract joy in life.