INTERVIEWS

A New Fiction Imprint Picks Up the Pace
Showcase interviews Pace Press

The Fresno-based publishing group of Linden, Quill Driver, and Craven Street recently added Pace Press, a new fiction line. Pace has put out a call for “everything from hard sci-fi to paranormal fantasy, from historical romance to westerns, and mysteries and thrillers of all stripes,” including cross-genre. Showcase asked Linden’s Publicity/Marketing Director, Jaguar Bennett, to bring us up to date.

Showcase: What led to your decision to launch a fiction imprint?

Bennett: For nearly 40 years, Linden Publishing has exclusively published nonfiction, and in that time we’ve worked with some truly amazing authors with wide-ranging interests and expertise. Increasingly, we were finding that our nonfiction writers are also writing fiction. These are highly talented writers with fascinating stories to tell. We really like working with our authors, and they like working with us. It made a lot of business sense to build on these existing relationships to help our authors bring their fiction to readers. Once we decided to create a fiction imprint, we were always very certain that we wanted to develop new authors as well as work with our existing authors.
Showcase: What do you look for in a proposal?

Bennett: An exciting story and the skill to tell it well. We value quality, but we are not highfalutin’. We think the best fiction is the kind where the reader is eager to turn the page and find out what happens next. We like stories with a lot of movement and vigor, with characters who take action in challenging situations. We love it when writers can be playful with genre clichés and develop new concepts within their genre. We’re open to any kind of genre or any kind of cross-genre mash-up. If you can make it entertaining, we’re interested. Skillful handling of language is important — entertaining fiction should be a pleasure to read.

Beyond the manuscript, we look for writers who can market their books effectively. These days every writer needs to have a marketing platform to reach out to new audiences and deepen their connections to their existing audience. Regular blogging and a strong social media presence are real assets.

Showcase: What immediately turns you off in a proposal?

Bennett: Obvious red flags, like typos, grammatical errors, dull writing, plots that don’t make sense, and not following our submission guidelines.  It helps if submitters have a basic understanding of how the publishing industry works and if they show professionalism and courtesy.

Showcase: You seem like a man who’s excited by good fiction. Do you think you’ll come close to discovering brilliant new talent? Do you harbor a special wish list?

Bennett: Every publisher dreams of finding the writer who will be the Next Big Thing or the writer who will have a major influence on the future of literature. The world is full of untapped talent, and somewhere out there the great writers of 2025 are writing their breakout works right now. This is why we’re especially interested in submissions from first-time authors. There is a lot of fresh talent out there, and we would love to discover it. Speaking for myself personally, I love novelty and invention. I’d really like to see a writer do something completely new.

Showcase: How should writers submit?

Bennett: Writers should contact us with a query letter that includes their full contact information, a story synopsis, author bio, and their books’ target audience, and a description of their online platform, social media presence, and ability to promote their books. Additionally, we request a sample of your manuscript’s first four chapters or first 50 pages. If you’re interested in submitting to us, you can download our full submission requirements at quilldriverbooks.com/pace-press/.

 

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