Sandy Roffey submits her fantasy novel to Ashley Eckstien’s Her Universe Press and The Force is with her!
When Her Universe announced at New York Comic Con in October that it was going into publishing, I had a fangirl moment of epic
proportions. Her Universe, started about seven years ago by Ashley Eckstein (among other things, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars Rebels) and the Araca Group, began as an online store that caters to women who identify as geeks. It started out with Star Wars clothing for women (and girls!) and continued on with brands such as Doctor Who, Star Trek, Transformers, and (my favorite) Marvel. I’ve followed Eckstein’s venture since shortly after it began, and I’ve watched it grow into the huge presence it has become, killing it at both Star Wars Weekends in Disney World and at several of the larger Comic Cons. One of the greatest things about Her Universe is that they love fans who are girls and fans who love girls. Between the Fangirl of the Day that they spotlight daily, and the Fashion Show/Contest that they run at Comic Con, allowing unknown designers to showcase their “geek couture”, Her Universe has catapulted geek women into the limelight, a place we’ve previously been denied. As a comics reader since shortly after I could read, I can say it’s been a long time coming.
I also happen to write–a lot. While my online presence has traditionally been limited (by choice) to pieces about the real world (either through the eyes of a geek, a woman, a sister, or a mom), my passion is writing fantasy with diverse characters. Imagine my glee when the call for submissions was for exactly
what I write: preferably a strong female protagonist in the fantasy genre that hasn’t previously been published. Check, check, double check!
I had never been through a major publisher’s submissions process, but I have researched a lot. When I tell you that Her Universe’s submissions process is kind of a dream, I kid you not. On the Her Universe Press site, I filled out a form with basic contact information and what’s called an “elevator pitch”–basically how you would describe your book if you had thirty seconds to pitch it to an executive in an elevator ride. In addition to that, I had to give an estimated word count and a two to five page synopsis of my novel. I didn’t need to have an agent and I didn’t need to have been previously published.
Here is where I’ll caution you to do your work ahead of time–if you have an outline for your book, a two to five page synopsis is much easier.
The next step of the process is just a waiting game. I waited almost exactly two months to hear back–you’re told you’ll hear back either way, but they do need time to read all of the proposals they receive.
I heard back in early December that Her Universe Press would like to view my manuscript in its entirety, and here’s where Her Universe really deviates from the traditional submission process. They asked for an emailed copy as opposed to a printed version, and for better or worse, didn’t really give any parameters for that. For me, formatting is a nightmare, so this was a blessing–I could send it without worrying if it had to be in Times New Roman, Courier, or whatever size font the publisher requires (if they read it and like it, they may request these things later, and I am prepared for that.) I wrote an email back, and attached my manuscript, and got ready to both wait and work on the manuscript again–because it’s never done until it’s, well, done, and it can always be better. I let myself bask in a little of the geek glory that comes from having someone like your idea, and I read this New York Times article and began my giddy “oh-my-gosh” dance. Each manuscript submitted to Her Universe Pressis read both by an editor and by Eckstein herself. In my head that says, “Ahsoka Tano is reading my book!”
Once my geek euphoria wears down, I’ll remind myself that if and when Her Universe Press comes back with a “yes”, the most important thing any author can remember is to read your contract. As exciting as it is to have someone love your writing, it’s important that you read everything you sign and remain true to who you are as an author. That was one of the reasons I submitted to Her Universe Press in the first place—because I felt the stories I write and the message of Her Universe are so well-suited for one another.
And full disclosure: while Her Universe Publishing is looking to promote female writers and protagonists, they are willing to look at any novel that matches the spirit of the Her Universe brand: “empowering, hopeful, exciting, adventurous.” If you have a novel like that and you’ve just been waiting for the right company, this is your chance.
All in all, the submissions process so far has been simple and gratifying, and I’m hoping that they like my story–because of all the companies, publishing or otherwise, that I can think of, Her Universe is one that stands for everything I love. Ashley Eckstein’s company may be new to publishing, but I believe in her ability to take something from a small start-up to an internationally-known name, and I think a huge part of that comes from the fact that she puts so much of her personal touch as a fangirl herself into it.
Now, back to my own fangirling, because AHSOKA TANO IS READING MY BOOK.
Writers, new and established wishing to submit their ideas and synopses for consideration by Her Universe Press should go to: http://www.heruniversepress.com/
art~Her Universe Press / Disney / Lucasfilm