09 March 2019

Saturday Spotlight | L. Diane Wolfe & Dancing Lemur Press

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday and Wednesday about our travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, I also occasionally post on Saturdays, focusing on things related to writing such as cover reveals, book launches, reviews, interviews with authors etc. So if you're a bit of a book nerd like I am, check in on Saturdays - you never know what might pop up.

I'm really excited to be featuring an interview with L. Diane Wolfe, owner of Dancing Lemur Press. I first got to know Diane through the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) blog hop. She always left supportive and encouraging comments on my blog and was one of the people who encouraged me to submit a story to the annual IWSG anthology contest.

When my short story was selected, I got to know Diane better in her role as the publisher of the anthology. No surprise, she continued to be supportive and encouraging, as well as teaching me a lot about the ins and outs of publishing along the way. I know some of the people who visit this blog are writers and aspire to publish their works, so I reached out to Diane to tell us a little bit about herself and what it's like to run a publishing company.

So sit back, scroll down, and find out what Diane has to say about publishing, penguins, and cookies.

Interview with Diane

1 - What inspired you to start a publishing company? Tell us a little bit about Dancing Lemur Press.
I began as an author, and if there’s a wrong way to publish, I can tell you! After studying the industry for a couple years, I decided to take the plunge and start my own publishing company. I knew I wanted to take on other authors and now, almost 11 years later, we have dozens of authors and almost 50 titles.

2 - What does a typical day look like for you in terms of running a publishing company?

First, there is no such thing as a typical day. Fortunately, chaos is my balance. There’s always social media on the list, but after that it’s either editing, research, marketing, formatting, design, emails, contacting, submissions, packaging and mailing, and anything else on the list. My husband says I am a great employee but the worst boss ever as I tend to spend my entire day working!

3 - When you're looking at fiction submissions, what's more important - character or plot?

Character always comes first. If I can’t identify with the main characters or care about them, or they have little personality, it doesn’t matter how great the plot or the writing.

With non-fiction, I’m looking for something unique and both helpful and relevant. Especially if it’s a self-help book, it’s GOT to stand out from the masses of self-help books out there. (And I’ve read hundreds of self-help, motivational, and leadership books, so you really have to wow me.)

Some of the books published by Dancing Lemur Press.

4 - What do you like best about being a publisher? What do you like the least?

What I like best is the joy of my authors. It fuels me. It might be their first book or a story no one else believed in, and I’m thrilled and honored to bring that book into the world. I do everything I possibly can to give each book its best shot at success. (Thus, the really long hours I work.)

In addition, when I did a lot of book signings (sometimes as many as 50 a year), I loved it, but now the new thrill is representing my authors at sci-fi conventions.

What I like least is it takes away my writing time. I almost never get to write anymore.

And for those who think publishers keep all of the money, giving little back to the author – ha! Expenses cut deep into anything Dancing Lemur Press makes. You don’t open a publishing company to get rich, that’s for sure. (You want to make money in the publishing industry, be an editor, ghost writer, or publicist – they are the ones who make money.)

A very cool Dancing Lemur display at the Fayetteville ComicCon!

5 - What's your favorite cookie? If you don't like cookies, what's wrong with you? Oops, sorry scratch that. My follow-up question was meant to be more polite - "Why don't you like cookies?"

I do like cookies, there are just so many of then I can’t eat because I’m a vegan and I don’t eat chocolate. But I do love a good oatmeal raisin cookie.

6 - A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why did he come visit you?

He says, “Feliz Navidad! I bring you greetings from Santa’s southern home.” He probably comes to see me knowing I like penguins and really miss Albuquerque, New Mexico.

7 - What else would you like us to know about you?

I’m a Type A kind of person and the Energizer Bunny in human form. I’m either operating at warp speed or I’m sleeping! There is no in between.

I also have a big Minion collection. Maybe a little too big.

What do you think? Too many Minions or too few?

Thanks so much for being on the blog today! I really enjoyed learning more about what's involved in running a publishing company. Oatmeal raisin cookies are delicious, especially for breakfast!

About Diane

Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association. She conducts seminars on book publishing, promoting, leadership, and goal-setting, and she offers book formatting and author consultation. Wolfe is the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

Connect with Diane and Dancing Lemur Press on Facebook, the Dancing Lemur website, and Diane's website & blog.

Are you a Minions fan? Have you been to a sci-fi convention? What else would you like to know about publishing companies?

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  1. Thank you for featuring me today, Ellen!

  2. I know that person! I also know she worked hard for my books.

  3. More minions. You can't have to many.

    Have a fabulous weekend, Ellen. ♥

  4. After working with Diane, I can confirm her seemingly endless well of energy. Fun interview!

  5. That's a great Minion collection!

    Would the hardest part of being a publisher be telling a person his/her book isn't really good? That would seem to me to be very difficult.

    1. It is very difficult to send a rejection. Most of the time, it's either the query is written poorly or the synopsis is written poorly, and then we get to the story not written well or very enticing. When it is written well but it just doesn't fit with us, I do encourage that writer to keep submitting. Of course, then you get the queries that are mass emails or with attachments or just come off cocky and ignorant - those I have no problem saying no to.

  6. Great interview! Being a publisher sounds like a very demanding but also rewarding job.

    1. Very rewarding when the book does well, because then the author and DLP both win.

  7. Super interview, ladies!

    There's no such thing as "too many minions." :)

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  9. Great interview. Diane is a pleasure to work with. And she knows what a story needs.

  10. Great interview! I can attest that Diane is indeed incredible to work with - she rocks!!!

  11. Wonderful interview! I might add Diane is a great conference speaker!

    1. Thank you, Jess. I wouldn't have spoken at that conference if not for you though.

  12. Great interview! Hope you'll be able to fit in some writing time soon. Maybe contract for an admin assistant online to help with some of the grunt work? Although, if you're like me, it's tough to hand things over to someone else!

    1. That is the toughest thing to do. I'd love to find an intern for all the research items as they suck up the most time.

  13. I love your minion collection. Fun! You have an amazing amount of energy. I don't know how you keep up with it all. It was interesting to read your point of view as a publisher. It's a lot of work for you, and you've made sacrifices by not having time to write your own books, but you've made dreams come true for a lot of authors, myself included. That is very much appreciated!

  14. That Minion collection is awesome! I know that feeling of being a great employee and a bad boss. You've got so much going on, you amaze me. :)

  15. I appreciate how hard the owners of small presses have to work. And you do speaking and conferences so there's no weekend for you either. I'm in awe of your energy and never to many minions.

  16. Loved this post Ellen and Diane! I appreciated learning more about what it takes to be a small and independent publisher. I also am a good employee and bad boss ~ LOL Here's to high energy!

  17. Enjoyed the questions and the answers in this interview. Never thought to ask a publisher about liking cookies or about a penguin and a sombrero. But then, I remembered it's Ellen's blog. I think when you love what you do, the time spent on the job is satisfying and enjoyable. You must really love your job as a publisher, Diane. Congrats to you and your authors on success in this crazy business.
    JQ Rose


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