Monday, May 05, 2008

DEBRA - Announcing Bell Bridge Books

Well, we've gone and done it. Decided to open a new imprint over at BelleBooks. Yep. I'm still getting a few hours sleep every day so adding more to the workday shouldn't be a problem.

I bet you think I'm crazy, but you wouldn't if you'd seen some of the good books we've had to turn down over test covers for POD reprintsthe years because they didn't quite fit our audience. Combine that with my love of fantasy, dark fantasy and urban fantasy. Those don't fit with BelleBooks' Southern slant either. And we've managed to acquire the reprint rights on some of Deborah Smith's books from LittleBlog 1 Brown.

We want to get those in print, but they've already been in print, had their time to shine as frontlist. So, we're really looking at serving a writer's backlist, which is also different from what we do at BelleBooks since those are all original titles.

A new imprint was the only realistic choice. It allows us to "brand" a division that can handle this diversity! (Didn't I hear that word brand around here recently?)

We're Blog 2currently looking for fantasy, especially urban fantasy. We'll also be publishing a few of those Southern books that we can't publish through BelleBooks' traditional program.

Bell Bridge Books will be an advance and royalty paying house. We'll publish POD (print-on-demand) and ebook simultaneously. The advances are small but our cover looks will be "big house" looks.Changling for blog We've included some samples in this blog. Fake books but real covers produced by Bell Bridge Books.

We aren't looking for "romance", even though that cover to the right skewed to the romance side! Romance is a well-served market and there isn't any reason to dip a toe in that pond.

What we are looking for is writers with unique voices who create strong fantasy, dark fantasy and urban fantasy stories with compelling characters--male or female.

We're looking at some young adult. Very excited about that. If you're interested in querying, head on over to the website:

Tell a friend. Tell two friends. We're beating the bushes for good quality fantasy.

So, folks! What do think about our new imprint? What are your thoughts about our cover looks?


Deborah Smith said...

Hey! Aren't DD's covers amazing? She's far too humble to mention that she's become a very talented cover designer in her spare time (hah!) and that these are some of her creations. I'm thrilled with the "look" she's come up with for these reprints of my Little, Brown books, which sported some of the worst covers in all of women's fiction.

Like she said, we're pretty excited about the opportunity to publish books that would have fallen through the cracks in the past. We are always getting manuscripts that don't fit neatly into standard genre categories but are absolutely lovely reads.

The southern projects we're currently considering for Bell Bridge range from Christian "Hen Lit" to a scholarly Civil War memoir. How cool!

Deb Dixon's got me intrigued with the urban fantasy genre, so much so that a couple of months ago I decided to play around with an idea for a novel. Ruh roh. I'm addicted. Boy howdy, it's fun to write about grisly stuff. Who knew? So we'll see how THAT goes.

Betina Krahn said...

Deb, you are one of the engines of creation! You never cease to amaze me. Congratulations on launching the new line or BRAND (?) and on getting even less sleep than ever before!

Wow, these covers are wonderful! And how cool that you've selected fantasy as your next forray.

Okay, other than your own personal preference for Urban Fantasy what made you decide to go this direction? I'm curious-- I wouldn't have thought this was a "natural next step" for Belle Books to grow.

Michele Hauf said...

Absolutely gorgeous covers!

Cheers to you in BelleBooks's new endeavor!

Debra Dixon said...


I really do have a life-long love of fantasy. That reader demographic is also very computer savvy in general and makes a good audience for POD/ebook. We hang at DragonCon almost every year because one of our Board is one of the directors at DragonCon.

I'd already wrangled well-known fantasy author Anne Bishop into writing a story for one of the earlier Mossy Creeks.

Deborah Smith has been pushing to find a way to increase the list. I have to say she found our "outside the box" Southern fiction almost instantly.

It seems odd but this is as much a personal choice as a marketing one. I'm very exciting and hoping those perfect fantasy books are going to hit our submission box.


Debra Dixon said...


Glad the covers pass muster! We've been working hard on that aspect in the last few weeks.

Christie Ridgway said...

Love the covers! And congratulations on a new imprint. Fabulous.

Deb and Deb: I really love the Sweet Hush cover (one of my fave books of all time, BTW). Love how the apple is in the palm of the hand and the title on the apple. Draws my attention straight to it.

Helen Brenna said...

Deb! Wow, your covers are gorgeous!

And what a fun imprint. Hope you find some real gems!

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- Thanks! Covers have been a dividing line of small presses and the bigger publishers. Not that the big publishers don't have bad covers...they do! But the bad covers still have a certain "look" that says a professional created the bad cover. (g)

We're thrilled to get to do Deb's backlist from the recent hardcovers. In case she doesn't see the Sweet Hush comment I'll pass along you feelings about SH.

Debra Dixon said...


Thank you, ma'am. Not start spreading the word. Tell everyone you know. (g) I figure the more material we look at the better our launch titles will be.


Cindy Gerard said...

Deb - Mega congrats on launching a new imprint. What a wonderful success story you are.
and wow, the covers are awesome.

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- I accept that compliment if we add "very modest" to "success." We are still very small potatoes in the world of books. But growing!

lois greiman said...

Deb, you are soooo impressive. Wow. I love fantasy and now's the time huh! So, if we ahummmm, happen to have a couple hundred fantasy ideas brewing in our heads, what would Bell Bridge want to see?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Deb, this is thrilling news! The cracks in publishing are getting wider and wider imo. I'm having trouble finding the kind of book I want to read--fresh, original, thoughtful. Maybe even thought-provoking. And Deb Smith is one of my all-time favorites. A GENTLE RAIN is terrific! (Contemp, American Indian hero, horses--my kind of reading!)

Debra Dixon said...

Lois-- Yes, I would love for inspiration to strike now! We'd probably be willing to look at a partial from well-published authors. But the need for "finished" books is so we can get the launch done.

Tell folks to get those queries in. Especially if they've read the part about "small advances." :) We're taking a long term view and want to find authors we can grow, who can produce in series which is what so many of the young hip fantasy readers like. They want to find a world and hang there. Like Harry Dresden books.

Debra Dixon said...

Kathleen-- It's a wild ride to say the least. We're juggling a million things.

And A GENTLE RAIN is a fabulous book. I was so proud of the RITA nomination for Deb. That's a lovely validation of the quality.

Deborah Smith said...

Thankee much for the nice AGR compliments. I was stunned to get the RITA nom.

But back to the fun stuff: like DD said we're still small potatoes. And the advances for the POD ane book buys are tiny. However, we've seen some serious success stories, esp. in fantasy, with small presses using POD to build careers for new authors who go on to solid careers in New York. So we see this as a way to give new authors (or established authors with a special book to sell) a chance to find and grow an audience. We're chugging along with plans to use email lists and Internet resources to do promotions and to make excerpts available to a wide audience of reviewers and booksellers. On a related note, we recently got a bunch of our older titles formated for ebook sales, posted them on, and were amazed to find a nifty royalty check heading our way within the first couple months, and with NO marketing on our part. So there's plenty of juice in that orange, ripe for the squeezing.

We're also starting our own audiobook division, if I didn't mention it before. Actually, it's me in a closet with a microphone, but thanks to modern tech, the quality is amazing (except for the voice talent part, which is me with one accent: southern.)

Can't wait to see how we do with "BelleBooks Audio." Authors should be doing more of this production stuff for themselves. It's not brain surgery, really.

Keri Ford said...

Beautiful covers! I passed what you're looking for to my local chapters for you!

Debra Dixon said...


Thanks! We appreciate your telling more than 2 friends. (g)

Susan Kay Law said...

Congratulations, Deb.

the covers look lovely.

And I have to say, it's been fun to watch you birth and grow this company. I expect in other ten years we'll be able to impress people when we say: "yeah, I remember when they were just starting out . . . " .


Debra Dixon said...

Susie-- Let's hope we become the way to impress folks. LOL! I wouldn't have missed the experience for the world but there are days I think, "Why am I doing this again?"