Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New owner of Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Damnation Books' Kim Richards Gilchrist

Realms of Fantasy was purchased by Damnation Books. Co-owner and CEO, Kim Richards Gilchrist is a friend of mine. My big chance for a scoop! ;) Not to mention a great full circle since she once interviewed me.

AW: What prompted you to get involved in the publishing industry?

KRG: I started out editing for Eternal Press and a couple of book review places. I’ve written columns; from there I moved on to marketing manager at Eternal Press where I learned a lot about publishing.

Back in 2000, I self-published a book with IUniverse because I had the opportunity to do it free. Though it’s never sold well, the lessons I learned about how the industry works were worth the time and energy spent on it. In some cases, I learned things the hard way. The knowledge I gained from others in the business who taught me what they know and the professional contacts I’ve made along the way have been invaluable. I’ve never been afraid to ask the dummy questions and constantly take online classes, go to webinars and read books on how to produce, market and distribute books.

Since that time, I’ve had books and a number of short stories published. I’ve co-edited The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Stories for Dragon Moon Press and am currently working on editing a Writing Horror guide for them.

In March 2009, I quit Eternal Press to start Damnation Books. I’d have loved to do both but felt it was a conflict of interest. It’s funny how, nine months later, we bought Eternal Press when it was on the verge of folding. The combining of the two companies doubled distribution. It opened doors early to a few distributors for Damnation Books because of Eternal Press' reputation. Then we took Eternal Press and added additional formats, including Kindle editions. We also changed the EP printer to Lighting Source for better distribution. I’m proud to say both companies have grown in 2010.

Now we’ve added Realms of Fantasy Magazine to the mix. I know there’s a lot to learn, but most of the staff is staying with us and willing to share their knowledge. Additionally, Warren Lupine, the former owner will consult for us as needed.

I think all of this is in my blood. I’ve found my niche and will never look back. This is a job I love doing so I don’t mind the long hours. I can’t wait to get going in the mornings. That’s saying a lot for someone who’s not a morning person. I also have to give credit to my husband (who co-owns these companies with me). I couldn’t begin to attempt this without his support. He’s neck deep in it too since he’s the financial officer and the webmaster. He created both the Eternal Press and Damnation Books web sites. I know he already has plans for an updated look for Realms of Fantasy after the first of the year.

AW: Where can I find your guidelines? There didn't seem to be a link on the ROF website.

KRG: We have added the guidelines back to the web page at http://www.rofmag.com. Click on the Contact Us tab. Pay rates, submission addresses and everything are staying the same for now.

AW: Will the flavor of the mag shift under your ownership?

KRG: Hopefully not. It’s a professional market with a great look and wonderful stories. We are talking about possibly adding poetry.

I know there are some concerns that Realms of Fantasy will become more horror-oriented so let me lay those to rest. We are planning a dark fantasy theme for the April 2011 issue to coincide with World Horror Convention, because we are already set up with a booth in the dealer’s room and a party.

The 100th issue of Realms of Fantasy is the June 2011 issue. Plans are already in the works for a longer issue to celebrate this milestone.

AW: What has been your experience with digital offerings with Damnation Books and how will you apply that to ROF?

KRG: The magazine has mainly focused on print sales with very little into the digital market. We plan to continue with the existing print model but expand in as many formats and distributors for electronic editions as possible. I believe it’s important to stay current to survive the long term. Hopefully, I’m correct. You’ll see the back issues and then the December issue begin to appear in the next month or so.

AW: Can you tell me more about your plans to expand your digital offerings?

KRG: Right now PDF editions are available on the web site. I believe Kindle editions are also available now. Part of the plan is to make issues available in various digital formats from a variety of online stores and then tell people about it. We also want to add email subscriptions.

AW: Can you tell us what we might find in the "birthday bash" issue?

KRG: More of everything! I know that sounds vague, but we’ve bounced around a lot of ideas and are just now taking the steps to make them happen. It’ll be longer with more fiction and good stuff. Most likely that’ll be the issue in which poetry debuts.

AW: Will the magazine have more author interviews or reviews?

KRG: I can’t answer that with a definite yes or no. If we do well, those are certainly areas open for expansion, so is adding more fiction. One thing is for sure. We don’t want to mess with the professional quality of the magazine. That’s what makes it so incredible.

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Cat Rambo said...

I know people have been curious about the purchase, thanks for the interview!

Marva Dasef said...

I'm hopeful that Kim will pull this off. She's nothing if not resourceful and ambitious (I mean that in a good way).