City Owl Press is a publishing house that specializes in romance in a range of genres from paranormal, contemporary, historical, sci-fi, romantic suspense, and time travel.
Tina Moss, Chief Operating Officer, and Yelena Casale, Chief Marketing Officer, share their insights about the publishing industry.
About City Owl Press
Who is City Owl Press’s target audience?
Our target audience is primarily women in the age range from 25 – 65. However, we have readers outside of these parameters as well, and welcome the diversity.
How does City Owl Press’s editorial team decide which manuscripts to publish?
The process begins with the query or pitch, and if it peaks an editor’s interest, the editor will ask for a partial or full manuscript. After reading, if the editor wants to make an offer, they must send it to our senior staff, which reviews it in an acquisitions meeting.
All senior staff must be in agreement to make an offer for publication. It is dependent not only on the quality of the manuscript, but also on the current needs of the City Owl Press catalog (upcoming releases), the author’s social media presence and goals, and marketability of the manuscript.
What is City Owl Press looking for in the manuscripts it publishes?
In general, we would like to see stories with well-developed, strong yet flawed characters, and interesting settings. In addition, we are always looking for diverse and “own voices” novels.
City Owl Press editors have varied wish lists, which cover most adult romance and fantasy genres (we do not currently publish Young Adult). We do ask that there is at least a romantic thread in fantasy, sci-fi, and urban fantasy manuscripts.
At this time, we are looking to especially keep building our urban fantasy, historical romance, and sci-fi romance lists. Authors are welcome to go on our website to see more information about us, and read our Queries section, which goes into more detail on what and how to submit to us: https://cityowlpress.com/queries/
Queries can be submitted to the editors via the Query Manager.
Does City Owl Press consider submissions from international authors, or only the ones that are located within its region?
We work with authors from around the world. Cultivating a global author and reader community and diversifying our catalog offerings is an important part of our brand and strategic goals.
At present we have authors outside of the United States with us and coming from Canada, Australia, and Switzerland.
Does City Owl Press accept submissions from debut authors or unsolicited manuscripts?
We love working with both. Our goal is to help authors develop their career, whether it’s at the beginning or further along.
We love debut authors! Guiding an author from the beginning of their career is one of our favourite parts of publishing. It can be a risk, but if the author is willing to learn and grow with our guidance, we are happy to be a part of their journey. New voices are always welcome, and we look forward to seeing them grow.
At the same time, we are always excited to work with established authors who already know the business and know what it takes to keep growing. Whether debut or experienced, we are always partners first for our authors.
Which range of genres does City Owl Press focus on?
We publish primarily romance in a range of genres from paranormal, contemporary, historical, sci-fi, romantic suspense, and time travel.
On the speculative fiction side, our hottest genre is urban fantasy with our bestselling titles coming from Lisa Edmonds with HEART OF MALICE and her sequels books in the Alice Worth series.
We also have books in the steampunk, Gaslamp, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, and dystopian genres.
Overcoming the Challenges of the Publishing Process
What are the main challenges that City Owl Press’s editorial team experiences?
The biggest challenge comes from keeping up with market demand. Readers are voracious but trends come and go.
Knowing what is popular not only now, but what will continue to grow over the course of the year is an ever-changing landscape. Our editorial team needs to be aware of the changes while staying true to their editorial styles and their authors’ books.
How does it overcome these challenges?
Communication, knowledge, and reading, reading, reading. An editor is only as good as their next book, just like authors.
Our editors are an experienced and professional team that have been working on their craft for many years. By continuing to learn and push the boundaries of excellence, they are able to take our press to the next level.
What challenges did City Owl Press face during the COVID-19 outbreak, and how did it overcome them?
The greatest challenge during the COVID-19 outbreak has been to ensure that our authors, editors, and assistants have the resources they need. We were, and continue to be, most concerned with keeping our people safe and healthy.
Everything else has been adapting to market demands. Thankfully, book publishing, especially in the digital space, was not negatively impacted by the pandemic. In fact, with more people at home, many have turned to reading as a means of entertainment, which in turn helps boost our business.
What prominent opportunities can City Owl Press observe in the publishing industry?
Opportunities in publishing are more prevalent today than any other time before. The indie market is blazing and continues to make strides.
Traditional publishing is diversifying their lines. It is an exciting time to be in the industry as more authors than ever before are having their voices heard.
How can City Owl Press utilize these opportunities to remain competitive?
Our goal is to always be growing and adapting with our authors to bring the best books to the market for our readers.
Raising up marginalized voices, creating stories where anyone can see themselves in our books, are all important and vital parts of not only remaining competitive but staying true to our core values.
How does City Owl Press market its products to its target audience?
Marketing efforts are focused on digital advertising, trade reviews, mailing lists, and our dedicated reader team. We also have been enjoying trying out new platforms to us such as Pinterest and TikTok.
Interacting with our readers through our Facebook group, City Owl Readers, and online through social media is always a fun time and a good way to target the audience organically.
Does City Owl Press intend to collaborate with international partners in the future?
Yes! We are actively looking to make connections with foreign publishers to hit the international markets. Expanding our readership to a global community is foremost on our agenda. We would love to see our books translated into different languages all across the world.
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