2015 News & Announcements

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in News |

With the new year come changes. (Or at least good intentions for change: amiright, O Neglected Treadmill?)

New Years was always one of my favorite holidays. That probably has something to do with the big NYE parties in my parents’ garage and the 60 pounds of homemade confetti we would battle with at the stroke of the new year. That sense of excitement and newness was thrilling. I would start the new year in giddy asthma-inducing dust clouds, all-day Lord of the Rings marathons, and absurdly late nights with friends.


It is in that spirit that I think about 2015 and the goals Cait and I have for our editing business. I’m EXCITED about the plans we have for this year. ALL CAPS EXCITED. You know the editor is pumped up when they use all caps. If you’re not convinced yet…hey look, excessive use of exclamation marks!!!

Here’s what we’re making of 2015 at Bear & Black Dog.

More content and services provided specifically for self-publishing authors.

This includes the addition of proofreading services (a big welcome to our proofreader, Keith Barbalato!) and a discount on all of our services to anyone who is self publishing. The discount is going to last ALL YEAR. All year!! (Note: all caps, excessive exclamation points) Plus we’re going to be posting here on the blog about self editing, marketing, book design, and the other important self-publishing skills.

More content and services for authors seeking traditional publishing.

But we’re not leaving out the writers who are seeking a traditional publishing deal. We’re also offering query letter critiques and phone/Skype consultation services for those who need help hooking agents and editors. Pretty awesome, right?

Answers to more of YOUR questions about editing and publishing.

We’ll be starting a semi-regular video series called Ask B&BD, wherein we’ll answer questions from you. To submit a question, tweet at us with the hashtag #AskBBD, comment on our Facebook page, or email us at contact [at] bearandblackdog [dot] com with “Ask B&BD” in the subject line. We’ll also be using the videos to talk about some of our favorite writing and editing resources. The videos will be posted to Cait’s YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe!

Another B&BD anniversary contest.

Last year we gave away a free twice tried edit. For B&BD’s two year celebration, we’re scheming to bring a free edit to a new author–so someone who hasn’t been published before and is working in that direction, whether self publishing or traditionally publishing. This edit will be at whatever level the author needs. Our editing services are like an in-depth writing course, so this could be a valuable step forward for the winner!

Personal development to improve your favorite bear and black dog’s editing skills.

We’ll keep you updated as to side projects, conference attendance, and activity in the Twitterverse. We always like talking with writers. Find Cait @CaitSpivey and Ash @AshyAslan, and give a shoutout and a follow to our new proofreader Keith @BooksellerKeith.


For more information about these services, offers, and changes, stay tuned to the blog here or our official B&BD twitter account. Our updated service packages can be seen now under the Services tab above.

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Secrecy in the Name of Sales?

Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in News |

Aspiring writers and new authors are often cautioned to play nice in the industry and on the internet. It’s a sound application of a “do unto others” policy. Don’t write a bad review of someone else’s book. Don’t harass someone who’s given your book a bad review. Don’t badger agents and editors on their Twitter accounts. Don’t mention your partner in your bio if you want to be published by Cedar Fort, Inc., a publisher in Utah.

Wait, what was that?

That’s what Michael Jensen was told. He and David Powers King were proofing the cover art for their YA fantasy WOVEN, for an expected release in October this year. All seemed well, except that a line was cut from Jensen’s bio: “He lives in Salt Lake City with his boyfriend and their four dogs.” When he emailed the acquisitions editor to correct the mistake, he was told that any mention of Jensen’s relationship–even using the word “partner” instead of “boyfriend”–would hurt sales with Cedar Fort’s Mormon audience. The confrontation that followed is detailed in a statement from the authors’ book website.

Is it acceptable for a publisher to require one of their authors to hide his orientation and relationship, usually a given inclusion in bios, for the sake of appeasing readers and distributors? I say no. As Jensen said:

“They knew I was gay when they signed me. If they didn’t want to print the bio of an author who happened to be gay, then they shouldn’t have signed an author who happened to be gay.”

When I was at the Backspace Writers Conference in May 2013, Jonathan Maberry (whom I respect very much) cautioned authors not to get involved in political or religious debates; but for many of us, those debates are central to our identities and our experiences. In the age of the internet, readers become fans as much of authors as of books, and authors like Maureen Johnson, Melinda Lo, John Scalzi, Chuck Wendig, and others have been vocal supporters of diversity and equality in our industry and our lives.

Identity is such a crucial part of storytelling, so how does it make sense to insist that authors hide their own for the sake of sales? In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not really in it for the money anyway.

What do you think about the WOVEN controversy, or about being open with your political views as an author? Let us know in the comments! 

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