Interview with Publisher Deron Douglas

MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA: Today I’m interviewing Deron Douglas, publisher of Double Dragon Press, the largest science fiction and fantasy e-publisher in the world (and, I might add, the publisher of my books). Deron, is that claim based on the number of books you have available, the most sold, or what?

DERON DOUGLAS: Hi Mike, it’s based on both numbers… sales and number of editions available for purchase from DDP and all our retailer sites worldwide. However, it is a fluctuating number as well.

VENTRELLA: What is in your background that made you want to start Double Dragon?

DOUGLAS: I’ve been involved in the publishing industry, in various aspects for about 25 years. I’m also an avid Science Fiction and Fantasy reader from when I was a kid. About 10 years back I purchased one of the first ebook devices on the market called the Rocket eBook (I still own 3) and found that there weren’t very many titles that I would enjoy reading myself. After further investigation into the technology it “clicked” that I had the personal experience and technical ability to pull it off.

VENTRELLA: Have your standards changed over the years? Now that DD is doing better, are you being pickier with which manuscripts you accept?

DOUGLAS: We’ve always had high standards, but like everyone else are restricted by our submissions pool. But generally I like to select titles that I find interesting and diverse; something that I would want to read myself.

Yes, as the submissions pool gets larger we find that we can select more carefully based on market trends and an author’s current readership base.

VENTRELLA: What is the biggest mistake that aspiring authors make when they submit their work?

DOUGLAS: In a lot of cases they do not bother to read the guidelines or take the time to find out what we publish. Double Dragon Publishing is essentially a Science Fiction and Fantasy publisher, but I still have people sending me relationship books, autobiographies etc. If an author does happen to read the guidelines and are submitting within the right genre, they neglect to send their best possible “polished” work. We edit all titles before they are published, but we won’t accept a title that is still in the development stages and requires massive rewrites.

VENTRELLA: What do you personally like to read?

DOUGLAS: I like science fiction with a time-travel, time paradox sort of twist, as well as “steampunk”, alternate reality, divergent societies sort of stuff.

VENTRELLA: You’ve recently begun to expand a bit and publish other genres. Tell us about that!

DOUGLAS: Actually, from the start we accepted everything in all genres, over time we found what sells and what doesn’t. But occasionally I’ll accept something that is “out there” because it’s well written and I’m curious as to how it will be responded to by our readers. But maybe you are referring to our sister imprints, Carnal Desires Publishing and Blood Moon Publishing? Each is dedicated to a genre that we felt was growing to a degree that it deserved its own identity and staff.

VENTRELLA: You’ve been able to lure some fairly famous authors to DD for their e-books. How has that worked out?

DOUGLAS: It’s worked out very well for us. The things take seem to be common to all is that they’ve heard our reputation for a very expansive eBook distribution network, fair methods of working with authors and our “professionalism”.

VENTRELLA: Most of the paperbacks you publish are print on demand. Do you see a future where you would have regular print runs?

DOUGLAS: No, not at all. In fact I can see a near future where we will be phasing out paper book completely. Last fall (2010) is was reported by Amazon that eBooks were outselling “hardback” books on Amazon. This year in Feb It was reported by Jeff Bezos (CEO and Chairman of Amazon), that eBooks are now outselingl paperbacks. People tend to forget that Double Dragon Publishing is an eBook publisher and has always been, and as a result we are well positioned to take advantage of this huge market. After all, we are one of the pioneering ePublishers and have been involved for more than 10 years.

VENTRELLA: How do you publicize your books?

DOUGLAS: Currently we release between 100-120 titles per year, as such we are unable to publicize every title ourselves. We depend upon the author to promote themselves and build a base of readership. After all, if they leave DDP they will take this base with them. But we also provide venues of promotion such as out blog at blog.double-dragon-ebooks.com, Facebook, etc. We also provide a forum where new authors can discuss methods of publicizing themselves with other seasoned veterans.

VENTRELLA: Do you see e-books as the future? Is this good for the industry?

DOUGLAS: Ebook have taken off from where they began 10 years ago, it seems every major manufacturer is now building an affordable ebook device that allows the seamless purchasing of titles almost anywhere in the world. Yes, I think ebooks have a future and think they are also good for the industry. But the industry will change, portions such as paper book production services will die off. But eBook conversion services will sprout, are sprouting in fact.

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4 Responses

  1. What a great subject for an interview!

    How hard was it to get Deron Douglas, anyway? Did you work this out with him recently, or is it something you’ve had to plan for a long time?

  2. Well, he’s my publisher and I’m one of his favorite authors! How hard did you think it would be? Heh!

  3. I guess I just figured a lot of people would want to interview him… I’m new to this blog, and I hadn’t yet seen just how many people you’ve interviewed!

    Anyway, I’ve only skimmed through a few of your earlier posts, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far. Especially “Obvious Writing Rules That Aren’t So Obvious”, and “The Reluctant Hero”.

    I’ve always used the phrase “reluctant hero” in the sense of a protag who is forced into heroism by circumstances (i.e., the bad guys just won’t leave him alone). I always just sort of left it at that, but your entry on the subject was very thought-provoking. It makes me wonder, how many definitions that we’re so comfortable with, have perfectly logical expansions that lead to unexpected gold mines of original story ideas…

    Thanks for posting something so interesting to read about.

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