Call for Submissions: Vintage

Pictures and photographs capture our faces and preserve our memories. Generations later, they spark our imaginations, making us wonder: Who is in the picture? What are they doing? How are they feeling?

Vintage is a call for written works inspired by pictures or photographs. We are looking for authors who will tell us the story behind those two men on the beach…or standing next to bench…or staring out a window…or looking oddly shy in each other’s presence. We want high quality, original fiction that will draw the reader into world of the photo or picture, to share and reminisce.


Length: Short novels, 10K to 50K words

Theme: Historical love stories that feature a relationship between male same-sex couples, inspired by a picture or photograph. While the actual taking of the photograph (or painting of the picture) does not need to be included in the narrative, the picture/photo does need to be included in the storyline. If you want examples of what we are thinking of, you might want to read Our One and Only by E.N. Holland or Lover’s Knot by Donald Hardy (see in particular, pp. 259-260 and p. 324).

For the purposes of this collection, “historical” is defined as any time in history in which a photograph or painted picture could be produced, with a cut-off date of 1985. Love stories, to us, are those stories that tell of a relationship in a realistic and meaningful way. We do not have a requirement for a “happy ever after” or a “happy for now” ending although that certainly would be acceptable. We recognize the challenges that same-sex couples have faced in the past (and continue to face, but that’s another story) and that can be portrayed, although we also would like these relationships shown in a loving and positive way, to the extent that is possible, given time and circumstance.

Characters can be any age from 15 on up. For stories that feature characters under the age of 18, the relationship must be consensual and presented in a positive light. Teenagers exploring a first, forbidden love would be fine; an older man raping a younger boy would not. It should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway: no incest or bestiality. No vampires or werewolves, no paranormals, although if a story featured a ghost in the old fashioned, classic definition of a ghost story, that would be considered. Again, Lover’s Knot is a good example of the latter.

As these are love stories, scenes of characters making love can certainly be included but we do not have a requirement for a set number of sex scenes or level of explicitness. Let your own judgment be your guide: if it is important to the story, include it; if not, leave it out. In general, we are looking for books written for an adult audience that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.


Query: Send an email to . Include Query: Vintage and the proposed title of your book in the subject line. In the body of the email, include a one paragraph (150-200 word) synopsis of the story. Attach to the email: 1) the photo/picture that inspired you; and 2) the first 5000 words of your story, in a Word doc or PDF. Manuscripts do not need to be complete to be submitted. If an incomplete manuscript is accepted, the completed manuscript will be due two (2) months after the final contract is negotiated and signed. Publication will be two (2) months after a final, completed, edited manuscript is signed off by the author and accepted by the publisher.

Please include your contact information including name, address, email address, and phone number. Queries can be submitted under a pen name, if one is used, although a legal name will be required for a contract, if one is offered.

Queries will be acknowledged upon receipt. A final decision on acceptance/rejection will be made within two (2) weeks. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please re-send, as messages do get lost in cyberspace.

Photograph/Picture and Cover: All books in the Vintage series will use the template cover, as illustrated here, substituting the author’s name, book title, and photograph/picture. Photographs/pictures must be in the public domain or you must have documented permission for its use.

Production, Sales, and Payment

Production: All books will be edited by BCPP staff. Books will be assigned an ISBN and listed in Books in Print. Covers, as noted above, will use the Vintage template.

Format: eBook only. BCPP produces books in a variety of formats that can be read on multiple devices, including laptops/PCs, smartphones/PDAs, iPhones/iPads, the Nook, the Sony e-reader, and the Amazon Kindle. Books are sold in several outlets including Amazon, All Romance ebooks, and OmniLit. We do not sell in the Sony store, although books are sold in a format that is readable on the Sony e-reader. Plans are in the works to sell in the AppleStore.

Pricing: Books will priced and sold according to length: up to 15K words, $2.99; 15K to 30K words, $3.99; 30K words and above, $5.99.

Royalties and Advances: BCPP is a traditional royalty paying publisher. At the time the book is deployed for sale at the outlets through which we sell, an advance (against royalties) will be paid, based on length: up to 15K words, $25; 15K to 30K words, $50; 30K words and above, $100. After that, royalties are paid quarterly at a rate of 40% of the net proceeds to the publisher.

Marketing: Marketing is a joint effort between the author and the publisher. All Vintage books will be featured on the Bristlecone Pine Press website ( and included in our catalog. We will submit review copies to popular review sites, including Speak Its Name and Reviews by Jessewave. We hope that the Vintage books become a recognizable and popular series that readers will look forward to and purchase impulsively.


This is an ongoing call for submissions. At present there is no deadline. Submissions are welcome at any time. Please feel free to direct questions about this call to the publisher, Leslie H. Nicoll, at

The Bristlecone Pine Press editorial team looks forward to hearing from you!

*But were afraid to ask

1. How do you choose what to publish? (Or what makes author X’s book better than mine?)

It’s not as easy as you would think. First of all, the story really has to grab us, keep us enthralled, and present a world that we find fascinating. But it also has to have a unique quality to it. The publishing industry and Hollywood have this flawed ideology that if something is successful, you should make a hundred more just like it. We look for stories that haven’t been done before or utilize a fresh take. Give us something that’s not familiar.

2. Why do you specialize in certain genres? (Or what do you mean you don’t publish cyber-punk-paranormal-alternate universe?

Simple answer: It’s easier to compete in a small niche than it is to try and compete against well-established publishers in less specific genres such as paranormal romance, police procedurals, thrillers, or fantasy sci-fi. By specializing in gay historical fiction, that narrows the playing field and we can strive to offer the best product in our field.

3. How do books generate profit for the publisher? (Or if you publish me, I’ll be rich and famous, right?)

Well, books cost money to produce. There are many expenses that add up. Once a story is selected and the contract has been signed, we have to pay an editor, a cover artist, a book designer, and then there are set-up fees for the printer, cataloging fees and ISBN registration. It usually comes out to somewhere between $1000 to $2000 per book. Of course all that is paid for by the publisher and is not counted against author royalties. So when a book begins to sell, the author gets his contracted percentage from the sale and whatever is left over goes to the publisher to start recouping those expenses. If a book sells really well, a publisher can recoup his expenses in a few months, but more often than not it will take considerably longer before a book starts to show an actual profit. In any case the author earns royalties for each sale even if the publisher never turns a profit for the book. I’ll bet you’re wondering how much of that $14.99 retail price goes straight into the publisher’s pocket, aren’t you? Well after subtracting the retailer’s and distributor’s cuts, the printing and shipping costs, and the author’s royalties would you believe there is often less than $2 left?

4. How important is promotion for a small press? (Or once my book is on Amazon, it will automatically sell and because it is good it will soon be a bestseller, right?)

How important? Very. Without promotion your title wouldn’t sell a single copy on Amazon. I’m not kidding. Without reviews, a brilliantly-written synopsis, and eye-catching cover, no one would buy your book.

5. What is the most annoying thing aspiring authors do when they want you to publish them? (Or how can I get you to notice me without pissing you off?)

The most annoying thing is when writers feel the rules don’t apply to them. Publishers always post submission guidelines. Read them and then follow them. But also do yourself a favor and do a little research about the publisher first. Look through their catalog of titles and determine if your book is even remotely compatible. Submitting a raunchy, scandalous heterosexual memoire to a publisher that has only published gay historical fiction is probably not going to fly. And when you receive a polite rejection letter, don’t get all huffy and write back demanding to know what is wrong with your story.

Well this was going to be a top ten list, but I could only think of five.

In the interview posted yesterday, I stated that the very first book the Bristlecone Pine Press published was L.A. Heat by P.A. Brown which was wrong. Two months prior, I had launched Bristlecone with The Erotic Etudes by E.L. van Hine, a lyrical and deeply moving story about Robert Schumann, imagined from his diaries and writings. Erastes favorably reviewed the book on Speak Its Name; her review can be read here.

The Erotic Etudes can be purchased in a Kindle version from; for a variety of devices from and in print, also from Amazon.

My apologies to the author, E.L. van Hine for the error and oversight. Certainly I should have known better!


It is quite often that we hear of the launch of a new epublisher, but Bristlecone Pine Press is not your typical epublisher and its raison d’etre and modus operandi are both unusual and (in my opinion) a pretty damn good idea.

Bristlecone Pine Press are producing the ebook versions of Frost Fair, Ransom and Winds of Change in tandem with the print release from Cheyenne Publishing. I grabbed Leslie and put the same questions to her as I had asked Mark:

What made you want to get into publishing?

A number of factors came together at the same time; it was, as they say, “a perfect storm.” First, I bought an Amazon Kindle in 2008 and was excited about the new technology. Although ebooks have been around for many years, widespread acceptance has been slow in coming but I think we are finally at the tipping point. Amazon has been supportive of small publishers by having minimal barriers to entry to distribute Kindle books through their catalog. Second, I own my own business (Maine Desk LLC, founded in 2001) so creating a publishing imprint as a division of the business was easy to do and a natural fit as a new venture of the core business. Third, I am, by profession, an editor (and nurse), so I know the nuts and bolts of the publishing business. Last, over the past few years I have been more involved in fiction (writing my own as well as editing/supporting others). Bristlecone Pine Press provided an outlet to distribute some of these products.

What’s it like on the other side of that publishing/writer divide?

To me, the publishing side is where I’ve been for years and years. I am having more fun exploring fiction writing and getting my feet wet in that department.

What made you choose these books for your big launch?

Mark’s answer to this question really sums it up. Because of our collaboration on the military history anthology, as well as his bringing out L.A. Mischief in paperback, we knew we worked well together. When the opportunity to take on these new titles presented itself, I said to him, “Let’s go for it.” He agreed and we did.

Where do you see your firm in five years?

Right now, Maine Desk is the core business and Bristlecone is a very small part of it—almost a sideline. I’d like to get to the point that BCPP is generating 50% of the revenue for day-to-day business expenses, so that I can really spend the time I want with authors and their books, helping them produce very high quality products.

What do I do if I want to submit a book to Bristlecone Pine Press?

My original vision for Bristlecone was that I would publish ebooks for print books that did not have an ebook counterpart. The very first book I published was L.A. Heat by P.A. Brown, which fell into that category. I published a few others and then Pat surprised me by telling me she had an original, unpublished Chris and David story (main characters in L.A. Heat). I read it and it was very good, so I decided to publish it, even though it was not in print. That book is L.A. Mischief. Six months after the ebook was published, Mark and Cheyenne Publishing brought it out in paperback, and I am pleased to say, it’s been selling like hotcakes.

That’s a long answer for saying…if an author has a published print book that doesn’t have an ebook counterpart, please follow the guidelines at to query me. If an author has a new, original book that has not been published, send a query to and pitch the idea to me. I might take it on if it tickles my fancy.

It’s not often there’s a new publisher in town, and even less often when you consider that this is a publisher specializing in GBLT historic fiction. I managed to catch Mark on the eve of Cheyenne Publishing’s relaunch of some of the most prestigious novels of the m/m historical romance genre to ask him a few questions about this new direction. In addition to being the owner of Cheyenne Publishing, Mark is the author of The Filly, the gay YA novel which was one of the books at the center of the Amazonfail bust up this spring.

Many thanks for agreeing to this interview, Mark.

What made you want to get into publishing?
First and foremost—my love of good literature. My mother was a voracious reader and she instilled that value in me when I was very young. Secondly, because gay-positive books were not readily available when I was growing up, I wanted to do something to fill that void. So I wrote a gay young-adult novel of the type that I would have liked when I was younger. The publishing part came about when I wasn’t able to get my story published; I decided to start my own publishing house and then later, when people started asking if I would consider publishing others, I thought, why not?

What’s it like on the other side of that publishing/writer divide?
Well, having been on the other side I know what it’s like to have door after door after door shut in your face with a flippant “Sorry, not for us” tossed at you. And now I have authors contacting me to consider their work. So here I am in a position I really don’t like where I have to turn authors down, and I know how frustrating it is for them. But on the other hand, finding a fresh new talent is very rewarding. The submission call I did in collaboration with Bristlecone Pine Press for the military anthology, turned up a very talented young writer, Jordan Taylor, who hadn’t been published before and was selected over many other applicants who had been previously published.

What made you choose these books for your big launch?
I was acquainted with Erastes and Lee Rowan though some online writing groups that we all belong to, and I’ve been a fan of their work. Frost Fair and Speak Its Name were books that I personally felt were examples of some of the best historical gay fiction that had been published in the last few years. I heard that they were looking to move these books to a different publisher. Leslie Nicoll of Bristlecone Pine Press and I were collaborating on a couple of projects where Cheyenne was publishing the print books and Bristlecone was publishing the digital counterparts, so she and I discussed it and mutually decided to make an offer to pick up all of Erastes’ and Lee’s books from this other publisher. And we were quite overjoyed when they both accepted our offer.

Where do you see your firm in five years?
Probably not where you’d guess. I don’t want Cheyenne Publishing to have grown into some huge company that gets bought out by another bigger publisher. No, I’d still like to be running a small publishing house, but to have attracted enough of a consumer base to be able to grow some. In five years I hope to have built up a strong line of gay young-adult titles that are predominately rooted in the historical genre. I’d hope that maybe by then when readers are chatting in forums about gay historical books, the name Cheyenne would be one that gets mentioned often as a favorite.

What do I do if I want to submit a book to Cheyenne Publishing?

For Cheyenne Publishing, all you need to do is email a query letter with a brief synopsis. If I like what you have to offer, I’ll invite you to send in a partial or perhaps even the full manuscript.