Rusty Knight and InUPress with advise for writers

Good day, I’m the author and publisher Rusty Knight and Kenneth Shumaker. Let me explain that. My given name is Kenneth, please call me Ken, I started writing and publishing under the name Kenneth Shumaker with my poetry in 1982, for which I won the American Poetry Society’s, Best New Poet of the Year Award, and in the following year, 1983, I was traditionally published in an anthology of poetry of which I don’t even recall who the publisher imprint was. I’ve never received any royalties from the publisher. I gave up writing right away in a misguided attempt to finish my education with mechanical engineering. I had been invited to give a presentation in the spring of 1983, to give my poetry in a reading to over 5,000 people at a convention in Seattle, Washington. But due to several factors, which included financial constraints, I never made it to the convention.

That, you might think, is the beginning of my writing career and a promising beginning. It was a bump in my life as a writer and an author. As a writer, I began in the summer of 1969, at age five with a twelve-page story about George the dolphin, which I wrote double spaced in a primer scribbler with a number two pencil. My writing took a more serious turn in grade nine with a 352-page science-fiction novel which my family saw the first draft of, and I still have buried in a box somewhere. The writing became serious again with the Owertonna Challenge Blog in October 2009 which ran almost weekly until June 2015, it had over 1,800 following readers. But as an author, things became even more real when Kelli from Kellan Publishing took a risk to publish a fantasy serial series of mine titled ‘Bloodgrue’. Kelli and I discussed my writing under the pseudonym, Rusty Knight for my fantasy work. In April 2015 Kelli challenged me to write twenty-four 2,000 word episodes in thirty days, and then to continue writing another twenty-four episodes in the following six months. I succeeded, and in May 2015 I wrote twenty-six episodes, and by November 2015 I had completed fifty episodes. With my official Kellan Publishing launch on August 2 2015 of the ‘Bloodgrue’ serial series, I never received an advance when I signing up, and we were both taking a risk. There are now 68 episodes written of the ‘Dragoman Bloodgrue’ series, of which twenty-two are currently being distributed with the Inevitable Unicorn Press imprint, as Kellan Publishing had difficulty distributing the series, and with amicable discussions we parted ways. Most of the episodes are over 3,000 words in length; I have several different series now, as well as print and e-book anthologies in distribution with InUPress, Amazon, Kindle and Kobo. I also took up co-authoring a series with another writer in 2014 and really enjoy writing with her, we now have a back log of 131 episodes together and we write fairly much everyday, with InUPress publishing our episodes on the blog, ‘Bard & Dragoman’; we’ve currently published up to episode 084 as of March 10, 2017. I have written over 149 short stories in the three years from January 2014 to December 2017, and one eighty-four-thousand-word epic fantasy novel.

As a publisher with InUPress, I have had varied experiences. I’ve learned a lot from my experiences with the American Poetry Society and the publisher of that poetry, also there is working on my novel ‘Laret’ with iUniverse Publishing, and the experience of working with Kelli at Kellan publishing, as well as knowledge gained from such online sources as J F Penn, Jeff Goins and Mark Dawson among a host of others.

As well there is over a year of working with various authors with my own imprint, Inevitable Unicorn Press. I’ve been learning about such items as: ISBNs and ISSNs, copyrights, copywriting, book covers, book formatting for print and e-books, document design and formatting, marketing, promotions, social media, distribution, etc. There are multiple facets to learn and normally it is accomplished by a team of people, but here at InUPress, I’ve taken on all the hats, even as content, developmental and formatting editor. I have one other person working with me, an editor who freelances for me.

I have had authors come to me expecting me to do all the production, publishing and distribution work, and for me not to be paid, then they wanted more than 70% royalties, I flatly turned them away. I have had other authors approach me to publish them, and they give me first draft manuscripts so bad that they were unreadable. I refused to deal with those authors. I have had still other authors approach me to publish them, then they refuse to offer me any part of their manuscript, but they started trying to negotiate a deal. I turned these authors away. You want to be published, be reasonable, publishers are people and will only work with information they are given and we generally deal with, and only work with polite personable people.

I work with a couple authors now, Eric J Kregel and Brian Hill, who both currently have manuscripts in the pipeline. The process, when going through a publisher, isn’t instantaneous because the editors, cover designers, etc. have to be lined up and dealt with on their schedules. No self-respecting publisher will just distribute a raw manuscript that has been submitted to the publisher, by any writer or author. So, it can be months, even up to years in the process, from initial writer’s query through to final distribution and the book launch, depending on your manuscript and the goals at the outset.

Thank you, yours, Ken, the author and publisher Rusty Knight

© 2017 by Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press