When I was contacted by Kristen Marion, the publisher of Common Deer Press, I was immediately interesting in sharing their mission. I love supporting others in their dream of becoming published. As a children’s book author, there is nothing better than seeing your work in print.
To learn more about their mission, listen to Part 2 of the podcast here.
Interview with the Publisher of Common Deer Press, Kristen Marion
Can you tell me about your kickstarter campaign and your mission?
Our mission is to find and publish extraordinary and enduring books for children and teens, give a voice to debut and emerging writers (of all ages!), and to support children’s literacy.
Books change lives. Books build bridges, connect cultures, transcend differences and, by showing the humanity in others, open hearts. When you captivate a child with books, worlds of possibilities open up to them. Books widen the aperture of what a child’s life can become.
Our Kickstarter campaign is to make this competition both sustainable and international! It’s expensive to bring a book to market. The economics of publishing are such that virtually all of the expenses are upfront: acquisition, editing, book design & typesetting, the first print run and publicity are all incurred before the book even hits the shelves. For a young press like ours, the additional capital required to publish three additional books a year (from the competition) isn’t economically viable.
The funds raised through the campaign will allow us to make significant donations of books to libraries, schools and literacy programs. By meeting our stretch goals, we can introduce audio books to our catalog as well. Some children struggle with the printed word and audio books afford them the same stories to ignite their imaginations, creativity, sense of possibilities and open their minds. We believe that all children deserve good stories regardless of their personal or economic circumstances.
I want to hear more about your passion for highlighting young and aspiring authors.
Every great children’s writer was once a debut novelist.
However, it’s getting more and more difficult for debut or emerging authors to have their books published in the traditional manner. Many have resorted to self-publishing where there are challenges with distribution, marketing and publicity.
To help us find and publish the best books for children and teens, and to give an equal playing field to young, debut or emerging writers, we introduced our annual writing competition in 2019, The Uncommon Quest.
The judging was, and will continue to be, anonymous. The independent panel of judges received manuscripts stripped of any identifying features. The effectiveness of this approach is evident in the staggering win of Broken Shards of Time, a dazzling young adult sci-fi time-travel novel written by 14-year-old Nyah Nichol.
What is behind the name Uncommon Quest?
It’s a straight up play on words as we are Common Deer Press! We are also on a quest to find the very best in books for children and teens.
Our competition is focused on the author, not the publisher, which is one of the things that makes it unique, or Uncommon. We have increased the prize money for next year, and each 2020 winner, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, will also receive a publishing contract. It is our sincere hope that young, debut and emerging authors will continue to take the opportunity to submit their manuscripts. And, that the prize money will afford the winners a further opportunity to develop their work.
What advice would you give to young authors who want to enter the competition?
Write the story you are most passionate about.
Then, take a look at the blog post for March 4th, 2019 on our website outlining how we choose books for children. Take a look at our key criteria. Print them off. Have a friend, family member or editor rate your manuscript 1 – 5 (with 5 being the highest) on each of the criteria.
Make whatever adjustments to your manuscript are necessary and submit!