Interview with Mike Simpson of Second Wind Publishing

By Joseph J. O’Donnell

ED: We are talking with Mike Simpson in Salem-Winston, North Carolina, about Second Wind Publishing.

ED: Mike please tell us the history of the name of your company and your motto referring to it as, “The home of the best authors that you have not heard of yet”.

MS: First, let me say I’m honored to be interviewed by Eerie Digest. For us it’s a real privilege because we admire your work.

Second Wind, of course, has a double meaning. I’m a long time runner and “second wind” is that marvelous phenomenon of suddenly regaining your endurance and enjoying the sensation of running. For our writers, second wind means a new, more productive and enjoyable life in literature. Virtually all our authors struggled with the traditional route of begging for an agent and then praying for a publisher—most without much success. Back in the fall and winter of 2007, a group of us “failed” authors realized that devoting ourselves to the traditional publishing industry brought us no happiness and no tangible reward. We knew enough to know that we were good writers who deserved to be read and, with the help of our colleagues, were becoming even better. We decided to start our own publishing house, devoted to publishing authors who otherwise might never be read by the public. Our authors are all in their “second life”: they are working with fellow authors and supportive editors, honing the art of writing and experiencing the thrill of having our books published, purchased and read.

ED: I’ve also learned that your publishing company just celebrated its first birthday. Tell us something about its goals and aspirations.

MS: At this time last year, we had about six books in print; right now we have about thirty-five, with seven or eight more in queue to be published. One of our goals is to continue discovering worthy new authors and to publish around twenty new manuscripts a year. Another goal is never to tell an author: “We regret that your manuscript does not meet our publishing needs.” When we don’t accept a manuscript for publication, we try to tell the author why we haven’t. If it’s a “near miss,” we encourage the author to seek editors or other creative help. We have other goals that are not so easy to express simply. For instance, the world of books is changing dramatically. I’ll bet I’m not the first to suggest that the traditional book publishing industry is going the way the music industry went and the movie industry is now going. We know that to survive and prosper, we have to move into the “post printing press age”. We also know conversely and ironically that, as a small independent publisher, we have a hard time getting our books on the shelves of stores. To that end, we are in the process of opening our own first brick-and-mortar store and we are inviting in other small presses as a distinct niche. We’d love to become a recognized distributor for small presses.

ED: Tell us something about how you publish the material from your authors and what format(s) that you publish them in.

MS: Well let me describe our typical process. We ask for authors to submit their manuscripts as either Word documents or rich text files. Then we farm the text out to three editors and a proofreader. I should say another nice thing about Second Wind is that it’s a collaborative process. We work with an author rather than simply dictating how things will be. We create a pdf file and from that a digital proof. The proof is reviewed by the author (we ask them to read it out loud to themselves). Most often a second or third proof is necessary. When the book is perfect, we go to press with it. We have the capability to use offset printing, but most of our first editions are small enough that we go digital with them. Once the proof is approved, we make it available on our website, on Amazon as a print book and also as a Kindle ebook. We also offer the books of those authors who are willing as ebooks on our site and on Mobi and Smashwords.

ED: What kind of material are you seeking from writer’s who contact you, and how can they get in touch with your company.

MS: Right now we are acquiring the books we’ll publish in 2010; we have contracted with two titles so far and are looking to bring in fifteen to twenty more. To submit, authors can go to our website (www.secondwindpublishing.com) and check out the submission page or send an email to mike@secondwindpublishing.com including: a synopsis, total word count and about the first thirty pages of the manuscript. We are publishing crime/mystery novels, romances, mainstream fiction, non-fiction, action/adventure and hope to move into children’s books in 2010 as well. We are exploring the sci-fi genre and may move into that by next summer if all goes well.

ED: Tell us about some of the authors that you presently work with, and how our readers can see their work.

MS: Some of the authors? The ones I don’t mention will skin me! Okay, how about if I mention a few who have new titles coming out soon? Pat Bertram, who is very well known as blogger, has a third novel coming out this month: Daughter Am I. This is a delightful, unpredictable mainstream work that draws in the reader and doesn’t let go. Sherilyn Winrose is an author whose work is little known, but beguiling. Her second romance title, Escape to Love, will be out in a few weeks and it’s an absolute steal. Then there is Claire Collins’ heartrending new romance, Seeds of September, also due out later this year. As a farm boy, it’s a story close to my heart. I predict there is going to be a lot of buzz about two emerging novels from Amy DeTrempe, who has two regency romances we are publishing: Love Trumps Logic and Pure is the Heart. What a fresh voice she has, especially if you like truly authentic regencies. One of our best romance authors, Dellani Oakes, is bridging over to an entirely new genre (something you can do at Second Wind without changing your name) with her compelling new fantasy Lone Wolf. One of our best selling authors, Sherrie Hansen, will have a second romance novel out this fall. Christine Husom, another of our top sellers, just released her second mystery novel, Buried in Wolf Lake. Her characters are so wonderful—it’s a pity she keeps killing them off. Also coming out very soon is a mainstream novel by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner, a well-know duo of writers, called One Too Many Blows to the Head (I’m carefully guarding Second Wind’s movie rights on this one). And in the same way Sherilyn Winrose is the best kept secret in romance, so JJ Dare is our crime/mystery hidden treasure. The second book of her Joe Daniel’s trilogy, False World¸ is due out in a few weeks. She causes so much trouble in it, I sure hope she saves the world in the third installment. The beauty and the curse of this short list is that I’ve left out a number of outstanding writers (sorry guys!). You can find them all on our website and on Amazon. They all blog on WordPress and most have their own sites.

ED: Mike, it sounds like you, and Second Wind Publishing, are an unstoppable team, and that you have a bright and promising future ahead of you. Our staff and readers of Eerie Digest wish you both a long and prosperous future. Good luck to you!