Monday, June 14, 2010

Aspen Mountain Press

  • Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
    Aurora Regency/Aurora Historicals
  • Editor(s): Celina Summers
  • Pay Rate: 35% US download price; 40 % after 100 sales
  • Response Time: 1 month
  • Description: Aurora Regency and Aurora Historicals are imprints of Aspen Mountain Press, a multi-genre, royalty-paying, independent e-publisher. (More in guidelines.)
  • Submission Guidelines:
NOTE: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.


1) What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
I enjoy all kinds of authors. I read many genres, so my tastes are eclectic--ranging from Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer to JK Rowling and Jacqueline Carey. I find that all of these writers inherently tell a good story, the kind of story that leaves you waiting anxiously for the next installment of it. That's what I look for in submissions I consider.

2) What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
Fortunately, Aspen Mountain Press publishes most fiction genres so I find that my needs as an editor are met. Right now, I'm busily getting Aurora Regency ready for launch, and we are focusing initially on Regency romances and fiction set between the Georgian and Victorian eras. I would like to see that expanded into Elizabethan/Tudor England and medieval Europe in the very near future, and I always have a soft spot for western romances and Greco-Roman mythology.

3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
At the moment, I'm focused upon settings that are historically and socially accurate. At Aurora, we are stringently fact checking everything in our novels from where specific shops are on streets to popular slang and dances. Accuracy is a must at Aurora. But at Aspen Mountain, I really adore stories in fantasy/sci fi/steampunk settings that are rich and fully developed. Nothing fascinates me more than outstanding world building.

4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
I think a great story has levels of pacing. It's like you're climbing a mountain. Sure, the majority of it is straight up but every once in a while you need a plateau, where you can sit down for a minute, catch your breath and reflect on what has already happened. To me, the same thing needs to happen in a good story.

5) What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
I want real characters--characters that could walk right by me in Walmart and be credible. A perfect character is boring. Give me a character who thinks he's perfect and then destroy everything he holds dear. How he reacts to adversity is what makes his story interesting.

6) What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content?
Aspen Mountain Press publishes stories at any heat level. My epic fantasy series with no sexual content (but fairly graphic battle scenes) is published through AMP. We have specific guidelines listed on our submissions pages at

Aurora Regency and Aurora Historicals are a bit different. Traditional Regency romances do not have sexual content at all in keeping with the historical accuracy we espouse. That's why spicier Regencies will be released through Aurora Historicals while traditional Regencies will be released through Aurora Regency.

7) In general, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
I prefer an ending that is in keeping with the story. Traditional Regencies--in fact, most romances--require a happily ever after ending and that's what we seek. In other genres, a happy ending is neither necessary nor required.

8) What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?
  1. Not knowing the difference between pornographic and erotic.
  2. Not providing a manuscript as clean and technically perfect as it can be. Seriously--spelling/grammatical errors will get your manuscript rejected faster than anything else.
  3. Not being prepared for the eventuality that this manuscript will be edited thoroughly and correctly. If you think your manuscript is perfect, you will not enjoy the editing process. There is no such thing as a perfect manuscript.
9) What trait are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
We are seeking well-written, engaging stories that force a reader to care about what happens to the characters.

10) Any last advice for submitters to this market?
When you submit a manuscript to AMP or any other publisher, follow their submission guidelines EXACTLY. Make it easy for an acquisitions editor to go through your submission: format it correctly, write a proper query letter, take the time to put it in the preferred font and spacing and make certain it's as technically clean as you can make it.

For more scoops, go to

D.L. Snell writes with Permuted Press. He edited Dr. Kim Paffenroth twice, John Dies at the End once, and provided a constructive critique to Joe McKinney on his next major novel after Dead City. You can shoot D.L. Snell in the head at

This article may be freely reprinted in any e-zine, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, website, etc. as long as all links and this message remain intact, as well as Snell's byline and bio. The formatting may be adjusted to fit the venue, but the content of the article must not be altered without written permission from D.L. Snell.

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