Hey there everyone.
Tonight, we have a very special guest here who is offering a variety of writing services and is also in the process of launching a new publishing company.
Please therefore welcome Ellen Michelle, as we get to find out more about her writing endeavours, the writing services that she has to offer and her new e-zine release, which will specifically focus on submissions from Canadian authors and artists.
Thanks for reading folks and as always have a great evening.
Hi there Ellen, a pleasure to have you here today to discuss your Publishing, Editorial & Review Services, along with your own passions, influences and writing experiences.
Thanks! It’s great to be here talking about my work. Thanks for having me.
Let’s start first with your new publishing company Constellate Publishing, the primary focus of which is an e-zine which exclusively publishes articles from Canadian authors and artists. Please tell us more about the nature of your company and the types of writing genres that submissions for the e-zine are geared towards.
Constellate Publishing is a new company—launched in November 2018—that is committed to publishing, supporting, and promoting Canadian creators. Right now, the company only has one on-going project, which is the e-zine run on Patreon, but I have big expansion plans for the company. I hope to launch at least one new project in 2019 as well as work towards expanding the existing e-zine. Whatever we do, we’ll always publish Canadian content.
Constellate publishes speculative fiction genres, which includes science fiction, fantasy, crime, mystery, and horror. What I love the most though is genre bending. I like the bizarre, the weird, and anything that combines or mixes up those genres to create something new. We publish those genres in the strict single-genre sense as well, but I definitely love genre-bending experiments, and I know my readers do too!
Are there any specific genres that you do not cover in the e-zine?
We won’t be publishing romance or erotica. Occasionally, there will be a romance subplot of a story that fits in the genres we do publish, but it won’t ever be the main focus. Those books and stories are definitely valuable and they have their market, but it’s not a genre I’ve particularly enjoyed reading personally. I can’t commit to publishing and promoting something if I don’t enjoy it myself.
You are a member of Patreon – what rewards can we get if we become a subscriber of yours on Patreon?
The e-zine is run on Patreon, so the base reward is receiving the story with cover art and additional illustrations. In higher paying tiers, subscribers can also gain access to interview content with the month’s author and artist, an exclusive Facebook writers’ feedback group, various levels of editing on short stories, and their name listed on a thank-you page in the following months’ stories.
Patreon is great because it allows me to set publicly viewable goals. Some of these goals include an increase in content publication. Once Constellate reaches a certain subscriber amount, the content will be increased from one story a month to two stories a month! The more readers we have, the more content we’ll publish.
How would you like writers to contact you regarding sending articles for inclusion in your e-zine? What criteria should they follow when submitting a query to you?
Writers should go to the Constellate Publishing website at constellatepub.ca and check out the submissions guidelines there. Everything is listed on the Submit page, and there’s a contact form if there are any further questions.
What led you to choose a career in publishing?
Honestly, an accident. A very happy accident. I was studying English and psychology hoping to become a teacher. Halfway through my degree I was clicking around on English department websites of various universities I thought I might want to transfer to, and I accidentally found the publishing department at Simon Fraser University. I did a lot of research that night and I applied for the transfer almost immediately. Since my first day at SFU, I knew I made the right decision. It’s felt like home ever since.
I still plan on teaching as part of my career path, but now it’s shifted from psychology to publishing!
What do you find the most difficult thing about publishing? And what do you find the easiest?
The hardest thing about publishing is definitely marketing. There’s so much content being published these days with digital and self-publishing options that it can be hard to find the right audience. I’m lucky enough to know some people that are very talented in this area, so I’ve had a lot of help.
The easiest thing is finding great content and wonderful authors to work with. There are so many authors writing amazing work. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some incredibly talented people. However, this then presents the challenge that I can’t work with everybody I might want to work with, which is unfortunate.
You also provide Editorial Services. Please let us know more about the services you offer, along with listing them all here and letting us know what writing genres you cover relating to your Editing Services.
I specialize in speculative fiction genres—stick to what you know! I most often work with stylistic or line editing and copy editing. I love working at these levels because I get to dive into the author’s style and help them not only improve their current work, but help them become better writers as well. More details are listed at ellenmichelle.com, and I can be contacted through the website with any questions as well.
What led you to choose a career as an Editorial Professional?
I’ve always loved books and reading, but when I realized that I could make publishing a career I was overwhelmed by the number of roles involved in publishing a book. I did a lot of research into the different roles available and I thought about what skills I already had and what I’d like to learn. All signs pointed to editing. I get to work closely with authors—which appeases the extrovert in me—and I get to work with language and really get into the stories I’m working with.
I love being a publisher because I get to make authors’ dreams come true by offering them publishing contracts, but my heart definitely remains in editing.
What do you find the most difficult thing about editing? And what do you find the easiest?
The most difficult thing about being a freelance editor is, once again, the marketing. I’d love to be able to just focus on my current clients and manuscripts every day, but I also have to be marketing myself and looking for clients for future months or I’ll be stuck in a dry spell.
The easiest thing is connecting with my authors. I’m definitely an extrovert and I love talking to people, which can make working from home a bit lonely. I love having the opportunity to chat and connect with my authors. The best part of my job is helping writers grow and develop their skills, and I find a lot of that comes from conversations directly with the author about changes and suggestions I’ve made.
Lastly regarding your writing work, you also have a website called Scribbles, Quibbles and Scrawlings, where you interview authors and review books. Can you tell us more about what you do there and what genres you specifically focus on for your book reviews.
Similarly to Constellate, the review blog is all about supporting and promoting Canadian content. SQS Reviews started a couple years ago, and has been a great way for me to connect with authors and publishers in Canada. I’m expanding the blog a bit now though. It’s currently going through a rebranding phase and will be relaunched under a new name—Dwarf Star Reviews—with a new logo in April 2019. For the expansion, I’ve put together a small team of reviewers that will be helping me write the reviews so I can publish more frequently. I’m also opening the content up a bit to include not only reviews and author interviews, but to also include cover reveals, event announcements, guest posts, and more. I’m really excited about this expansion and the relaunch. The rebranding will give me the opportunity to do more for the publishing community in Canada.
If you could invite any one of your favourite literary characters to dinner, which one would it be and what would you cook for them?
I would love to invite Riley Hale from Rob Boffard’s Outer Earth series for dinner. For those who haven’t read the series, Riley is a smart, passionate, incredibly tough character who often finds herself in some rough situations. She lives on a space station (because the Earth was no longer habitable) and there are few resources and not a lot of fresh food available. So I would cook everything for her. I have a few specialities that I would definitely include—spinach and cheese stuffed chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, pasta with turkey meatballs—but it would definitely end up being an entire feast. Dessert included, of course, which would consist of cinnamon bread, pineapple cake, cookies…Cooking and baking are my stress relief, so I definitely have a few good recipes I could offer! I hope Riley brings the rest of her crew with her.
What would you choose as your own personal mascot or spirit animal when it comes to you and your work ethic/how you live your life?
I have often been called the Energizer Bunny. I’m always on the go and always adding new projects to my workload. I’m the type of person who needs too much to do. If I only have a few things to do, I’ll procrastinate. If I have way too much to do, everything gets done on time. I think the Energizer Bunny is definitely a good descriptor for me.
Who are some of the authors, musicians, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you?
I call Rhonda Parrish my career hero, so she’s definitely on the list. Also Pat Flewwelling. I definitely would not be where I am today with the confidence in my work without Pat’s support. Pat is definitely the original Energizer Bunny, and her commitment to her work is inspiring. Honestly, I’m inspired by anyone who works hard to succeed, whatever that success might mean to them.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to go after things that seem big and scary, even if you don’t think you’re fully qualified for them—it can’t hurt to try! Also, take days off sometimes. Work is great and continue to work hard, but breaks are necessary. This is something I still have to remind myself of.
How do you spend your free time when you are not working on publishing, editing and reviewing?
What is this concept of “free time” you speak of? I guess when I’m not publishing, editing, and reviewing, I’m teaching and grading student work. But I suppose you want to know what I do when I’m not working at all…I do enjoy video games, hiking in the summer, and visiting with family, including playing with my parents’ dogs. As I mentioned in an earlier answer, cooking and baking are my stress relief, so I definitely spend a lot of time doing that as well.
Tell us more about your upcoming events. Will you be involved with any business promotions, Author Events, Award Ceremonies or other writing endeavours that are directly associated to the running of your businesses?
I’ll be attending Creative Ink Festival in March and When Words Collide in August. I’m also in charge of organizing the book launch and publishing programming at VCON this year, which is in October. As of March, I’ll also be the host of Rave About the Page, a new author interview podcast where I’ll be talking to authors about their writing style and associated things. I’m really looking forward to getting that started!
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other people who are aspiring to set up their own publishing houses and/or editorial businesses?
Ask questions. Even if you’re doing it on your own, you’re never doing it alone. The publishing community—especially the small press community in Canada—is tight knit. Everyone wants to help each other grow and succeed. There’s a lot less competition than one might think. If you ask someone questions, they’ll answer and give you the best advice for you to succeed.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for time Ellen, we sincerely look forward to enjoying the content of your magazine over the coming months 🙂
Ellen Michelle has been working in book publishing for three years as a freelance editor, managing editor for a small press, and book reviewer. She specializes all of her work in speculative fiction (primarily science fiction and fantasy, but also crime, mystery, and
horror), and enjoys working with independent and first-time authors as well as curating anthologies. Ellen is a Master of Publishing candidate at Simon Fraser University, and recently launched her own publishing company: Constellate Publishing.
You can find her Patreon account here:-
You can also connect to her on Twitter here:-
You can visit her website here:-
And finally you can find her Submission Guidelines here:-
Ellen is available for interviews, media appearances, speaking engagements, and/or book review requests – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by email or by phone at 403.464.6925.