Rosa Romance Publishing Interview

I am delighted to be speaking with Chris Cross from Rosa Romance Publishing Company, Inc. today. Thanks for chatting with us today Chris!
And thank you for having me, Tammy. This is fun.

To start, can you tell us when Rosa Romance Publishing Company opened?
Well, that's a little complicated. The Rosa Romance site has been live only since February but we're not really new ... we're actually an imprint of a print book company that is a division of a 25-year-old Motion Picture and Television Production Company. So I'm really lucky to have the corporate backing to run wild publishing the type of books I read voraciously -- romance!

E-publishing is a competitive market. What sparked the idea to create Rosa Romance?
Oddly enough it was the need to do something less stressful with our lives than our day jobs!

Rosa Romance was created by a group of gals, myself included, who live and work in Hollywood and share romance novels between ourselves to keep sane. We're frustrated with the product the big studios are making and shoving down the throats of the viewers, Reality TV made a mess of our incomes and since most of us -- not me, I worked in development -- but a good percentage of us are screenwriters for a living, we wanted an outlet for the writing we desperately wanted to do ... the stories that were trapped inside our heads banging to get out that don't fit the mold of what Hollywood is currently buying.

Suddenly it occurred to me that we have all it takes to start doing it ourselves. We've got some top-notch professional writers, some great unpublished manuscripts, and I was involved with a production company that was already publishing books but not any fiction. So I went to the CEO and threw the concept past her. (Don't you just love strong women who run companies in a male-dominated business?) She green lit the project ... and here we are!

How long did the development process take?
Corporately, a minute and a half with the company CEO -- and one meeting with the VP of Business Affairs who advised me on the legal aspects of publishing fiction.

I confess I was very lucky to get the approval to do this from a woman who loves books. She already had a print book company so I was all set to rock on the publishing end -- she'd been involved in book publishing for so long that her Bowker ID is from 20 years ago! But she wasn't doing fiction ... which I now think is very strange as I discovered in our meeting that she's a romance fanatic herself! It just never occurred to her to publish what she reads. But I'm thrilled that she didn't do it before because this is the chance of a life-time for me! And she is totally supportive as only another romance junkie would be. The perfect boss!

The hard part for me was web site development, and creating 4,000 types of eBook files, lol -- that has been the killer. I'm a fairly okay techie but I'm not brilliant. Fortunately, I found someone good and off we went into the wild, sometimes blue, yonder. < grin >

The easy part for me is working with the authors. As I said, I used to work in development at several production companies. I was reading screenplays and writing coverage on an average of six scripts a day, seven days a week and, once a script was optioned or purchased by the company, it was me who shepherded it through all the drafts necessary to get it salable.

I am eternally grateful to the thousands of great writers who took the time to teach me their craft so I could make better judgments on the scripts whose future I was determining. Without them, I would not be qualified to run Rosa Romance! But I learned from some of the top screenwriters in the business, many of whom are also novelists. You can't get that kind of training in school, that's for sure. I am one lucky gal.

Your website describes Rosa Romance as Romantica and Hollywood. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Sure. It's one of those "write what you know" scenarios.

Since Hollywood is my authors' day jobs, I suggested that they write the trials, tribulations, and total insanity of the Entertainment Industry by fictionalizing all the maniacs they work with but telling the truth about the "heat" quotient in Hollywood! Unlike real life, however, I insist on happy endings. For me, that's what romance is all about -- there's enough negative stuff day to day ... I want to read good ol' fashioned escapism!

One of my considerations as a publisher was how to make Rosa Romance stand out from the crowd of e-Publishers out there who may or may not have our qualifications when it comes to writing. Granted, our parent company's spent twenty-five years working with professional writers but we at Rosa Romance have no reputation as a romance publisher. I wanted to set us apart by creating our own sub-genre of Romance Novels -- Hollywood Romance (TM) -- which we are uniquely positioned to write since we love reading romance novels and we work in Hollywood.

It may sound silly, but starting out focusing on the Judy Krantz/Jackie Collins-style novels seemed like a no-brainer to me considering our background. They were writing "Romantica (TM Ellora's Cave)" thirty years ago!

How many books do you release each month?
At the moment, it's whatever gets done. Our writers -- whom I love, don't get me wrong -- are all working 16 hour day jobs. Under normal conditions, even having time to breath in this Town is tough ... forget about writing something you aren't hired to do. For example, I haven't been able to talk to one writer for the last two months -- it's pilot season. And if someone's on location the odds of them writing a single sentence is a big, fat 0. On top of which, they can leave Town on 24 hours or less notice. I have one book that's 85% done and the writer got a gig out of state for 18 weeks. Good bye publishing schedule.

I'm really looking forward to bringing some book writers on board! Hallooooo, any authors out there looking for a publisher? < grin >

We'll be great to work with, I can tell you, because we are a publishing company started by writers! So we understand what authors need and we revere the talent that they have. Granted, we've got a solid company behind us, but that's the good news. We aren't fly-by-night, suddenly into romance to make a buck, newbies. We read and love romance! We run Rosa Romance like the business it is -- but we understand the needs of authors since we are authors!

In addition to publishing the books, we have a Press Agent and a Marketing Department (which I share with the film company) which helps authors to promote their books. We are actively involved in getting reviews, running contests, providing the author with the prizes they need, and doing whatever else we can do to help each author get the promotion they deserve. It's a competitive world out there and the more we can help our authors to get known, the better it is for us too.

Rosa Romance is an open door company -- that means, my door is always open to our authors for whatever reason they need to talk to me. Suggestions for contests, promo, what works and what doesn't, is shared between all of us. "One for all, and all for one" quote the Musketeers ... that's us.

From the publisher’s viewpoint, what has been the most rewarding aspect of this venture?

The joy of reading emails from customers who tell me stuff like this:

"I fully enjoyed the book and can't wait for the second one to come out and will be checking back for it and other new books from your company. I loved this book and can't wait to see what more your site comes up with ..."

From your website, I see you offer Hollywood Romance (TM) and Science Fiction e-books. Do you have plans to include other genre’s?
Absolutely! The reason we started with those is that they were available within the group who started the company.

Every writer I have so far is in the film business. I would love to find some other writers who are doing Paranormal, and Vampires, and Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, and Historical ... all of them! Our current authors have "been there, done that" in Hollywood so if they write about it, you can be sure they know what they're talking about ... but I don't know anyone who writes the other genres. This summer we will be running a writing contest and I'm hoping that helps.

It takes time to build a reputation and for authors to learn that we're here and that we're reliable. From some things I heard, some really good writers just had a publisher go south on them and are probably concerned -- rightly so -- about being burned again. One good thing about Rosa Romance is that the parent company's been around for so long and has such a good, solid reputation!

That and the fact that we're writer driven ... everyone but me being either a writer or a producer -- who knows they're nothing without good writing. So Rosa Romance really understands what writers need. Even me. I started life as a development exec. I worked all day long with screenwriters helping to make the writing better so the movie, or TV show, or whatever the project was got made. I love writers! And revere their talent. Wish I could do that! I can help 'em make it better but I can't dream this stuff up. That takes real talent. Writers Rock!

What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned with starting Rosa Romance?
That all things techie take 100 times longer than you want them to!

What can we look forward to seeing from Rosa Romance in the future?
Lots of great books to read!

Just released in the Hollywood Romance (TM) category, is the scintillating sequel to the Hollywood tale of two star-crossed lovers premiered in Electric Vibes; the sequel is called Electric Vibrato. Sophie and Jerry have fallen in love and in lust. Head over heels and starry-eyed, they dream of a future together as they explore each other’s bodies. From “parking” on Mulholland Drive to an idyllic sailboat ride in Santa Monica Bay to a romantic weekend in San Francisco, love is wonderful. But then real life interferes. Inconvenient roommates, Jerry's schedule as a film electrician, Sophie's schoolwork, shadows from both their pasts, and unforeseen situations, all create complications. But nothing can dim that electric charge that keeps building and building . . . and pulling them back together again.

As of now, in addition to the Hollywood Romance (TM) novels, we have some great science fiction romance starting with the Diir Trilogy -- the first of which, Journey To Diir, is already published and the sequel, Diir Evolution, which is being written as we speak.

We also have a second terrific science fiction series -- STAAR Team -- which is in production as books because, plain and simply, the screenplays they are morphing from are too expensive to shoot! Brilliant writing (not according to me but according to one of the top five directors in the business) but getting a hundred and fifty million budget green lit is the toughest thing I can think of in Hollywood.

Also we have a new author with some serious attitude, Jada Nichols, who is posting bits of her book -- Jada's Journals ~ sex, scandals and superstars, scene by scene at her web site every Wednesday for your reading enjoyment. Please visit her site at JadaNichols.com for some down and true Hollywood stories told from her POV. Trust me, she takes no prisoners in her insider writing about Hollywood! I keep hoping I don't wind up in her books with my name and hair color changed ... but nothing else. Her writing is funny, biting, and way too truthful for the comfort of anyone working in the film business. Readers, however, are lovin' it!

Is there a forum readers can join that will keep them updated on new releases and events
Yes, there is. Please sign up for our recently created announcement only Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RosaRomance_News. We'll be sending out announcements about our authors' books and their publicity plans, about Rosa Romance, and about the writing contest we're running starting this summer. We will also be picking a winner every month from our group members to receive a prize and will be giving away a prize to a random winner who is within each 50 people who sign up! Alternative prizes will be offered for winners outside the US mainland.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Yes! Thank you for asking.

We're having a writing contest this summer -- open to all authors published or unpublished except those we've already signed. The contest will be for shorts and novellas but all that will be required for the original submission will be a one thousand word or less excerpt from the short or the novella.

There will be a monthly winner -- judged only on that excerpt -- who will be featured at the top of the contest site with outgoing links to either the author's web site or a sales location for whichever of their other writing they wish to promote. No, we don't care if you are published by someone else! The link can go to them ... the point is to give our winning authors some publicity!
Our monthly winners will compete against each other and will be judged not only by our editorial staff but with additional input from our Film Company's Development Executives. If the quality of the full short or novella submitted lives up to the promise of the winning excerpt it will result in a publishing deal for any or all of the monthly winners.

For further information, authors should visit this page: Rosa Romance Writing Contest.

Thank you for taking time to speak with me today Chris. Readers be sure to check out Rosa Romance's website at Rosa Romance.com and check out the books they have available.

Interviewed by: Tammy


Tammy