Monday, April 22, 2013

Robin Tidwell, Rocking Horse Publishing, Coming to the Conference!

Please help me welcome, Robin Tidwell, to our blog and April 2013 conference! Robin is the author of REDUCED and REUSED, and lives in the St. Louis area with her husband, Dennis, and their youngest son. She has a rather eclectic educational background, and finally finished her B.A. in interdisciplinary studies. She has held a plethora of jobs, appointments, and volunteer positions, and tries very hard to make it through one week at a time without a crisis. Robin and Dennis are the owners of All on the Same Page Bookstore and Rocking Horse Publishing.

MWG: Welcome, Robin, to the MWG conference blog! Why did you found Rocking Horse Publishing and when?

Robin: I self-published my first book, Reduced, in late August 2012; made a few mistakes; decided to re-do the formatting; and was working on my second book, Reused, when I thought, Hey, why not just start a publishing house? I was already doing book consulting and marketing seminars, etc., so it seemed like a natural fit, especially since we’d opened a bookstore in October 2011.

MWG: I love that--you just thought, WHY NOT START A PUBLISHING HOUSE!! What kind of submissions do you take?

Robin: Right now, we accept all types of fiction and limited nonfiction. So far we’ve done dystopian, romance, and children’s. We have two more children’s and another romance in the works--and a cookbook, humor, and two science fiction (one YA) coming up this year.

MWG: Awesome--that's a great line-up. What will you be doing at the MWG conference this weekend?

Robin: There are several sessions that I’d like to catch, and of course, I’ll be selling my books. I’m also anxious to meet authors whom I’ve only met online so far, and to see some “old” friends again. And then, too, I’ll be taking pitches for RHP.

MWG: So, you'll be around AND taking formal pitches. So, MWG conference-goers, here's a question that we should all pay attention to: What makes you love a submission? (Do you have other editors, too?)

Robin: I have to like the story, and I have to believe it’s relevant – in other words, can I sell it? After that, it has to be good writing. That’s hard to define; but as a lifelong reader and writer, I know if something is good or not. And yes, we have a fantastic editor!

MWG: On the flip side, what makes you reject a submission?

Robin: I hate rejecting any manuscript; and truthfully, I haven’t outright rejected many – but I do make notes and if I don’t think it’s quite “right,” I send it back to the author with suggestions for improvement. And I invite him to resubmit after the changes are made. Of course, when poor spelling and grammar are in the query letter itself, I hesitate to even read the manuscript; I try to send back words of encouragement, but have to be firm as well.

MWG: Yes, we are always hearing how important it is to proofread! Tell us a bit about you as an author!

Robin: I’ve done a fair amount of writing over the years, especially for online publications and websites, and have been working on my “great American novel” for a number of years. Woke up one day after an awesome dream and began writing Reduced. It took me six months, on and off, and I queried half a dozen or so agents. I got a few “no thanks” responses, and several simply didn’t bother to respond. Then I got a contract offer from a small press… I turned it down. It was a decent contract, very exciting to get that e-mail, but I realized that the things they were going to do for me weren’t enough to justify handing over most of the earnings. Besides, I’m not known for my patient nature, and waiting until just past the holiday sales for a print copy wasn’t going to work for me. I wrote Reused in about six weeks, because I was kind of procrastinating – in fact, that’s when I founded RHP, in a moment of boredom combined with a dearth of ideas for that sequel. I’ve been told it’s a little better than Reduced, but I doubt it has to do with the speed of writing! I’m currently at work on the third in the series, Recycled. It’s due out the end of May/first of June.

MWG: I love your spirit and passion! Anything else you want to add?

Robin: While I have little patience myself, I’d like to counsel authors to have at least a tiny bit of it, especially when submitting to a small press. We’re small, after all; and no, we don’t have some of the resources that the big publishers do – and that includes personnel. A month or so is not long; and if you e-mail me within a couple weeks to tell me someone else is interested and ask when I’ll be getting back to you, I’m mostly likely to wish you good luck and file your manuscript under “no.”

MWG: Thank you, Robin! We look forward to visiting with you at the conference. 

Interview conducted by Margo L. Dill. To find out more about Margo and her middle-grade historical-fiction novel, FINDING MY PLACE, please visit:  


  1. What an inspiring approach to publishing! Sorry I can't make the conference this year. Good luck to all presenters and attendees!

  2. Donna: WE WILL MISS YOU! And I agree it is an inspiring story. :)

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