Today we have editor in chief of indie press Ragnarok Publications, Tim Marquitz. Tim has an extensive resume as not only an experienced dark / urban fantasy author, including the Demon Squad series and the Blood War Trilogy, but he has also worked as an editor and contributor on many anthologies and other projects, including the Dead West Series and Neverland’s Library. His most recent professional endeavor is taking the helm of the new indie press Ragnarok Publications. Coming off the heels of the amazing Kickstarter Campaign for Blackgaurds, (which damn near tripled it's funding goal), we're chatting with Tim for a little insight into the beast that is Ragnarok Publications...
So, give us the story of how Ragnarok Publications got started.
Joe Martin approached me originally to work on a project (which ended up being Dead West) and he and I got to talking about publishing in general. I’d been wanting to spearhead something different publishing-wise, expanding on my editing work, and along the way I realized Joe would be the perfect partner for this project given his experiences. We sat down and chatted about it. The idea exploded, and here we are.
What does a day in the life of the editor-in-chief look like?
Coffee, coffee, coffee, followed by words. My days are actually split between all the different things I need to get done. Some days are slower, when I get to write and focus on my own stuff, but most days are spent dealing with the vagaries of Ragnarok, from contract creation to editing to doling out assignments to talking to agents to formatting to promoting. There’s a constant stream of little tasks that aren’t scheduled so it’s hard to define each day. That said, I love every minute of it, chaotic as it can sometimes be.
What are some of the challenges of running an indie press?
The biggest I can think of is staying (becoming) relevant. There are thousands of smaller presses out there these days. The hardest part for us is to stand out above and beyond these folks as a press authors want to share their work with and be published by. We push ourselves every release, every day for that matter, to do better, to learn more, to become more competitive.
Another huge challenge is finding an audience. We’ve been lucky to turn our Kickstarter successes into a soapbox, so to speak, but it doesn’t translate across the board for all of our titles. We’re constantly struggling to find a larger audience so the amazing authors we’ve picked up can shine as they should.
What do you enjoy most about running and operating Ragnarok?
For me, it’s finding and promoting authors I love who haven’t quite found their place in publishing yet. While we publish folks who are successes in their own right, we have a number of authors who should be successful but just haven’t hit that point yet. It’s frustrating because they’re talented and fantastic story tellers but just haven’t stumbled across the luck factor yet. I love being a part of these peoples’ careers this early on and helping to push the out there.
I think that’s just the direction that appeals to us most. There’s a beauty in darkness that we like to tap into with our books. We’re comfortable in that darkness.
Overall, how has Ragnarok Publications been received by readers and the industry?
You’d have to tell me. I feel we’re fairly well received given our limited time in existence. Our Kickstarter campaigns have spread our name far and wide and we produce quality books consistently. People likely still see us as a small outfit, and they wouldn't be wrong, but we have huge aspirations. I think I’ll have a better feel for how we’re received as we get a little older in the business.
How has social media played a part in the development and promotion of Ragnarok Publications?
Social media has played a huge role in our development. We’ve a dedicated social media team who promote the hell out of us and do everything they can to get our name out there in a positive light. We’ve also used social media to coordinate and create our greatest successes along the way. If it weren’t for the current atmosphere of social media, I don’t think Ragnarok would exist.
Currently Ragnarok isn't taking new submissions, but once you open the flood gates, what sort of works will you be looking to receive?
We want dark but different. We don’t have a specific type of story (outside of our basic genre preferences) but we want to be hit over the head by a story. We want something that screams at us to be published, whether it’s horror or urban fantasy isn’t an issue.
I think our preference falls in the little-left-of-center category.
Can you give us your take on the publishing industry eBook revolution that’s taking place right now? Where do you see the future of the publishing and eBooks headed?
I feel there will be a slight correcting of course, paperbacks coming back a little more while eBooks begin to settle in sales comparison to paper. That said, eBooks will continue to be the new market, the technology spurring new directions for innovative and interactive eBooks.
Small and self-publishers will continue to thrive for a long time to come. They’re becoming more adept at adapting to the climate while the larger presses stumble against tradition and investors’ needs. I suspect you’ll see a number of smaller presses explode over the next 3-4 years, becoming monsters in their own rights, but then the cycle will reset.
Where would you like to see Ragnarok five years down the road?
I’ve been blown away by Ragnarok’s success so far, so I can only imagine what five years would do for us. I think we’ll have ironed out the “in store” aspect of distribution and will expand into the market. We have big plans yet we still want to retain the creator-comfortable atmosphere we’ve developed. Ultimately, Ragnarok will succeed, expand, become better and wiser, as the years progress. Beyond that, I can’t say.
We’ve just re-released the first book in the Red Reaper series, Sword Sisters, by Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe as well as the first book in the Gnomesaga series, Rough Magick, by Kenny Soward. We’re looking at releasing Rob J. Haye’s gritty, The Ties that Bind series so there will finally be a paperback version of it out there in the world. We’ve also got Skinjumper by Lincoln Crisler coming up and a bunch more.
Tim, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us.
Thanks so much for having us. We’re grateful to everyone who’s help make Ragnarok a success and we plan to hang around a long time and give y’all plenty of dark fiction to hunker down with.
To learn more about Ragnarok Publications, just head on over to ragnarokpub.com, and to find out more about everything Tim Marquitz, check out his blog at tmarquitz.com. Tim, thanks again for hanging out, and best of luck to you and Ragnarok Publications.