BEYOND THE PAGE: Deciding to Sign with a Publisher

NYC (2)

July 28, 2015

We’re back, Full Fathomites…with the next post in our BEYOND THE PAGE series, a tell-all about the process of turning a manuscript into a published book. Author Catrina Burgess (check her out HERE) is back to tell you why she decided to sign her Dark Rituals series with Full Fathom Five Digital. Take it away, Cat!

When I’m not working away on my stories, I spend my time running a romance review site called Romance Junkies. It’s a fun side project I’ve been doing for the past twelve years. Through Romance Junkies, I end up dealing with a lot of authors and publishing houses. I had a chance to work with some FFFDig staff—like Publishing Director Samantha Streger and Marketing Coordinator Caroline Breed—when they were doing promotion for their titles on RJ. They were very professional, but at the same time they seemed to have a great sense of humor. I felt very at ease when I was working with them, which to me is a big deal. But it wasn’t just getting to know the staff that made me sign with their house. I did my research. I looked up the employees, checked out their backgrounds, and learned all I could about the new house and how they were running it. I learned all I could about their other imprint and their owner James Frey.

James Frey is infamous. You can read all about him on the internet. One of his books came out years ago labeled as a memoir, and it was later revealed that he’d embellished the drama to make the book a better story. It was big news, and many people were outraged. But everyone makes mistakes in life, and what I admire most is someone who is willing to face those mistakes and not let them define him or her.

Since then, James Frey has had a very successful career. He isn’t just an author anymore. He’s the founder of Full Fathom Five, which began as a multimedia content packaging company. The idea behind it is exactly the same as the concept that created Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries. Full Fathom Five collaborates on a concept with a writer, and together they create a story that can become a book, a book series, a movie, a TV show, a video game, and more. The Nancy Drew books were contracted the same way and were written by more than one author. Some authors have no problem with stories that are created this way; others think content creation companies are evil incarnate. But there are many writers who have made a good living writing books for contract. Many of the content creation books from Full Fathom Five were published by major NY houses. You might recognize quite a few of the titles; some are on the New York Times best sellers list. A year ago, Mr. Frey decided to branch out and create a publishing imprint that would operate separately from the content creation side of the business. You guessed it—that imprint is Full Fathom Five Digital.

Anytime you are contacted by an agent or a publishing house, you should do your research. Find out as much as you can about them before you decided to sign with them. After all the research I did on FFFDig, the decision on whether I should sign with them was pretty easy. In my research, I found that FFFDig is very different than their content creation parent. Like many digital publishing houses, FFFDig splits any profits 50/50 and the author keeps the copyright to their work. I loved working with their staff and I had no problems with James Frey’s past or the idea of the content creation company. I liked that I was signing with a publisher that might allow my stories to be more than just a digital book. In most digital publishing houses, there is a chance your books could be published in print if they sell enough copies digitally, which is very exciting. What author doesn’t dream of seeing their books out in print? But FFFDig also has another aspect of their company that I thought was really cool—they have experience taking turning their books into television and/or movie projects. [You can read more about this on their webpage.]

For me, the idea that my stories could develop into something more was enticing.  But even more enticing was the fact that I would have professional editors working on the book and professional covers made. Writers are always concerned with the thought that, when they’re working on a story, they don’t see its weaknesses—as a writer, you often can’t see the fatal flaw that will keep it from reaching a wider audience and being a success. Having a professional team work on a manuscript, helping you avoid pitfalls and helping the story reach its full potential, is very exciting. My stories are better today because of the staff at FFFDig. And I’m excited to see what the future holds for the Dark Rituals series.

P.S. The cover used with today’s blog post was created by Catrina to accompany her stories on Wattpad. Impressive, right? FFF Digital is working with Catrina and a cover artist to create new covers for the whole series. Keep up with Beyond the Page and you’ll hear all about creating final covers for the series!

Stay tuned next week as our BEYOND THE PAGE series continues. Next Tuesday, FFF Dig Publishing Director Samantha Streger joins the series to talk about all the day-to-day work that goes into publishing books.


Ever wonder what happens after you sign with a publishing house? Catrina Burgess, author of The Dark Rituals series coming this October, has convinced us to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how a manuscript becomes a finished book. Tune in every Tuesday for a new installment, and check out the series on the author’s blog at!

Catch up here:

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