In this post, I’m trying something new by profiling a small press. My goal is to present a new profile every few weeks (or months) to let aspiring writers know about presses that are in the market for new work and also (as always) to help promote independent publishers. If you’re a publisher who’s interested in having your small press profiled, please feel free to drop me a line at marc at marcschuster.com. This week, I spoke with Delphine Pontvieux of Miss Nyet Publishing, whose debut title, ETA: Estimated Time of Arrest, is now available.
Where does the name “Miss Nyet” come from?
Miss Nyet means “Miss No” in Russian. It was the nickname my grandfather and godfather gave to me when I was a child even though we are French. Like every other kid, I went through a phase of saying “no” to everything. It did not stick as I grew up, but when I was searching for my company name, I thought, “Don’t publishers say ‘no’ to 99% of the queries and submissions they get? How appropriate would ‘Miss Nyet’ be for a publishing company?”
Really, it is just a facetious reference, and I like the way the name rings. It sounds cool, in a tough, yet inviting, sort of a way. As for the company logo, it is a swimming mermaid, because I am deeply in love with the oceans and the underwater world at large.
Why did you start Miss Nyet Publishing? How does your background in marketing factor into your efforts in publishing?
I have worked for 10+ years for very successful, 100% independently-owned record labels in the past. As a result, the independent model of doing business has always been very much engrained in me, especially when working for an industry largely dominated by ‘major’ companies. I always took it upon myself to get the work done. It can be risky at times but also very rewarding. Thus, when my novel was nearing completion, I never really thought about shopping my manuscript to agents and so forth. My editor, who used to work for a big publishing company in New York, advised me to try the ‘traditional route’ first, because she thought I had a good chance of finding an agent. So she presented my book to four of her prominent agent friends in LA, which is seldom heard of. I got a reply the very next day from one of them. She liked my writing, but thought the story was too political for her audience. I did not hear back from the other three. I told myself, “OK, so we tried that. Now it’s time to really get to work.”
While I was putting the finishing touches on my novel, I contacted a lawyer and laid the foundations for Miss Nyet Publishing, LLC. It made all the sense in the world to me. I WANTED to create my company, just as much as I wanted my book to be read.
By releasing my own work first, I am learning the ropes, as well as getting acquainted with many interesting people who work in retail and media. I make mistakes, learn from them and find a better way to do things. I am laying the foundation so that I am ready to release the work of other authors when the right time and opportunity come my way. It is a tough road, but there is not a day that I don’t learn something new, or regret the decision I took, and it is all very exciting. I am lucky I can put the experience and expertise I acquired while working in the music industry to the book-publishing business. I think my outlook is a bit unique because I have a fresh take on things, and I’m not afraid of breaking the rules because I don’t really know what they are just yet.
My motto is don’t wait around for someone to discover your worth. It may take years, or it may never even happen. Be proactive about the goals you set out to achieve!
What sets Miss Nyet apart from other small publishers?
It is hard to say, because the company is so young, still. I want my company to serve as a springboard for talented and undiscovered authors, a place to go for new writers who aren’t afraid to work hard to turn their dream into reality that allows them to develop from the ground up over time. If, somewhere along the way, someone’s work gets under a larger book publisher’s radar and the author is given the chance to move on to the next level, then we’ve done the right thing at the level we’re at. Small presses and large publishers should complete each other, not compete against each other.
What’s your ideal submission? Who is your ideal writer? Who do you want to work with?
I would love to find a great horror manuscript with a gripping plot that forces you to sleep with the lights on and characters who are so compelling and credible you recognize that there are people in the world like them.
Another original thriller with extreme sports and/or music as the backbone of the story would also be a great find.
My ideal writer would be a cross between Edgar Allan Poe, Emile Zola, Albert Camus and Stephen King. Are you out there?
Who would I want to work with? Stephen King. I’ve pretty much grown up with one of his books in my hand.
Do you have any projects currently in development?
Right now, I am focusing my efforts on the sale and promotion of my first novel, a thriller entitled ETA – Estimated Time of Arrest, which just came out in December and is getting very positive feedback. I am also getting started with novel # 2.
The process involves creating a network of media contacts, establishing relationships with bookstores and setting up accounts with distributors and chain retail suppliers, among many other tasks.
Wearing the writer’s and publisher’s hat at the same time can be exhausting work. I also have to contend with the “Oh, so you’re self-published?” one-liner more often than not. To this, I reply, “Yes, indeed. But it makes all the sense in the world, because Miss Nyet is the company that I would choose for a publisher at this stage in the game. It is going to take time and effort to establish Miss Nyet and put the company on the map, but I am confident it will happen, and that I will get the chance to work with exciting authors in the future.”
For more information on Miss Nyet Publishing, visit www.missnyet.com.This just in… Miss Nyet Publishing is now distributed by Baker and Taylor books. What this means in practical terms is that it should now be easier for your to order ETA and all future Miss Nyet Titles through the big bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble.