How to Get Published: Why Submissions Aren’t the Only Important Step

Over the years we’ve evaluated thousands of manuscripts in our various editorial endeavors, from The Dream People magazine to numerous anthologies and our publishing imprints. One thing we realized is that as editors you are never merely signed an author, you are entering into a business partnership.

We also learned the hard way that when investing a book it’s best to meet the author first. That way we ensure everybody is on the same page, so to speak, concerning the publishing process. We also make sure there’s no issue with personality conflicts, or any other potential problems.

Likewise, we feel it’s a good thing for authors to vet any publisher they might work with, and do so by meeting them in person. Second-hand accounts are great, but you know best what you want and need. If something doesn’t click with the publisher you’re better off knowing prior to being locked into a multi-year deal.

One function our yearly DogCon event serves is to provide a platform for authors to meet us. There’s still time to get tickets and join us. Of course, if you can’t make it to the Broadkill Resort you can join us for the highlights online free of charge.

You don’t absolutely have to attend DogCon5 in order to get to know us…instead you could be patient and come to one of our workshops, but they have a higher price tag.

KW Taylor came to our second Bourbon Ridge retreat, during which she had a sit down with us to discuss her writing. The result? A year later we published her novel The Curiosity Killers.

Jessica McHugh was awarded the scholarship to attend our first Bourbon Ridge retreat after we ran a successful crowdfunding campaign. The result? Next year her novel Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven will be published by Raw Dog Screaming Press.

Jim and Janice Leach also attended our first Bourbon Ridge retreat, and their collaborative poetry collection all soon be published by us.

We’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with many others at our events, many of whom we’d like to work with at some point. Some we don’t, and others still are uninterested in working with us. Not everything is about signing contracts—there is such a thing as just having a good time.

horror-workshop-skyscraperMaria Alexander? She was one of those people we just hung out with back in the early 2000s. Over a decade later her debut novel Mr. Wicker came our way, and when we published it she won the Bram Stoker Award.

Lucy A. Snyder? She was somebody who happened to be at a bookstore where we were doing an event. She asked if she could read as part of our lineup, we said yes, things were cool. Years later she put together her collection Soft Apocalypses, which won a Stoker Award when published by us.

You never know where just being cool and hanging out will lead.

The next similar opportunity is our From Concept to Market: Create a Horror Book in One Week workshop in November. While it is an online workshop, the best way to take full advantage of getting to know us is in person by reserving your room with the on-site upgrade.

What is included? You learn the secrets of the most prolific writers, editors, graphic designers, and publicists in this week-long workshop. From coming up with your idea, writing and editing, to cover design, interior layout, uploading your files, and executing your PR plan, we guide you step-by-step through the process.

This workshop has a total value of $1,356.68…but you get $774.68 in value free when you act now! We hope to get to know you better in the Create a Horror Book in a Week workshop.

2 Ways to Save Your Future Self – Today

You know what I regret?

We played hard at our Bourbon Ridge retreats

I missed –––––– when it happened, even though I was involved in the scene at that time. Why? There were people to take care of, although in retrospect it’s clear I could have called on others to cover for me while I took a weekend to be part of that event.

I didn’t ——————— even though I was invited. Why? There was work to finish, none of which was so important that I can actually remember them now.

I wasn’t part of –––––––– because I wasn’t born yet. That’s the cause of me missing so many other cool things.

[Names and dates have been redacted to protect the innocent.]

There’s a real science behind happiness, and the role of experiences in your happiness. As it turns out that experiential investments–time, money, effort–bring long-term happiness by becoming part of our identity, while material purchases only bring short-term happiness.

Shared experiences also bring greater happiness by providing deeper connections with people. Some of my best friends are people I’ve been on the road with at book signings and conventions. One reason I lament missing so many of those aforementioned events is that I’ve missed even more bonding moments.

The hot tub is always a hit at our Bourbon Ridge retreats

You’ve been at ground zero for something that turned out to be a big deal, right? Either for your personal circle, or people you are connected with on the internet, or for the public at large, you can list at least one great thing you were a participant in, a witness to. Hopefully more than one.

Do you really want to settle for “hopefully more than one,” though?

There are plenty of instances where I should have taken advantage of an opportunity. Or, better yet, created the opportunity for myself. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I don’t believe it is egotistical to assume other people are like me and have similar regrets.

Save Yourself

So, let’s save our future selves a bad case of hand-wringing and indigestion. We can get ourselves to DogCon5, and wrangle our friends and associates into coming along for the ride. I’ll sleep better knowing I spread the word, and you won’t have to hear about the news on the internet after the fact.

Tattoos were given on site at the first DogCon

The news? Yes. There will be several new developments unveiled at DogCon5. What constitutes a new development or big news for us? Well, we have been steadily launching or acquiring new imprints, winning awards, publishing international music stars, and having movie deals and foreign translations. I won’t reveal details here, but those in attendance will have the opportunity to be beta testers.

Other than being an early adopter getting in on the ground floor…at a secluded, pristine beach…what else is scheduled?

What if you can’t attend? Well, you can still have access to:
•    Simulcasts of select event programming
•    Free downloads
•    Post-event videos, slideshows, and more
•    A total lack of all the cool things you would get in person

Goth industrial music star and author Steven Archer reads to kids we steampunked at DogCon2

I feel as though I’ve missed it all, even though I have done a lot of things. And, realistically, nobody can do everything. However…you can take this one action:

Imagine your future self asking Do I regret being part of a cool indie publishing event on the beach?

In your mind’s eye do you see yourself angry and depressed by memories of bonfires on the beach, meals and games with artists, and swag?

If not then visit to learn what all the various ticket levels offer you.

Oh, and we’ll be debuting new books during the event. Will you have a new product? Maybe you’re excited about what somebody else is doing? Whatever it is please bring it along and share it with us in person. Thanks!

You Are Invited to the Party!



The DogCon yearly event has grown more bold with each year, and DogCon5 this September 30-October 3 promises to be the best yet!
Step behind the scenes with your hosts John Edward Lawson and Jennifer C. Barnes, the founders of Raw Dog Screaming Press as they look back over 13 years in the publishing industry, and share hard won insights.
That includes lessons from past DogCons, and the user experience upgrades the DogCon team has implemented to take things to the next level in 2016.


  • Get the goods without committing to purchasing DogCon tickets. Find out what all the hype is about!
  • Raw Dog Screaming has repeatedly shaken things up in the publishing scene, inspiring a new wave of imitations by competitors with each new move. Learn why!
  • Those who register will be on the inside track. Don’t let everyone get ahead of you, join the pre-party now!
  • Thinking about a career in publishing? Come spend time hanging out with publishers and editors!


Additional DogCon Opportunities


UPDATE: Add-on madness!

New DogCon Opportunities: Special guest Beverly Bambury provides the following presentations for DogCon 5 attendees (these are included in the base ticket price):

Class 1Social Media for Authors (even Misanthropic Authors)

No matter how you’re published, it’s a tough world out there having to constantly promote your work. Authors have to do more than ever before, and one of the least natural efforts for many is social media. This session will focus mostly on Twitter and Facebook, but other things will be discussed, such as Goodreads, Pinterest, Snapchat, and blogging. And if you actually hate people and want to think about being social as little as possible? Well, this session can help with that, too.

Class 2Building a quality review and promotional pitch list

Asking people to review and promote your book is most authors’ least favorite thing. Sure, we all have our usual suspects, friends, and family, but how do we find new people? How do you find the right kind of reviewers and blogs? Not sure what to say when you finally find them? This useful, hands-on workshop will let you leave DogCon with a list of appropriate reviewers and websites, as well as a query letter template to use when asking for reviews and other promotional opportunities. Being your own publicist has never been so easy!

Important: to get the most out of this session, attendees should bring an internet-enabled device for searching and should be able to create a document for their list on the spot, whether digital or pen-and-paper.

If attendees wish to brush up on their search skills prior to the workshop, Google offers a free class on power searching here:

More DogCon Opportunities

Available for purchase with your ticket. (If you already purchased and want to add any of these items just email us.)

Get started with fully customizing your DogCon5 experience today Combine with the “Con Boss” package to build the ultimate indie author toolkit.

RDSP Against Humanity!

RDSP-against-humanityWe Need Your Suggestions

We are creating a custom deck of RDSP-related questions and phrases for use with the game Cards Against Humanity and we want your suggestions! If you’re already familiar with the game you know that we will need some question cards and some cards that can be used as answers to questions.

About Cards Against Humanity

If you haven’t played you can still make suggestions, just know that the idea is to “answer” the question card with the most bizarre, weird and bad taste card in your hand. This will require a lot of creativity! Here are some examples from the game.

Submit your suggestions and our team of game experts will pick the best ones. If one of your cards is picked you will be entered into a raffle to win a free deck!

We plan to use this custom deck when we have our annual RDSP get-together, DogCon, September 30-October 3. Registration and more info about DogCon 5 here.


  • Deadline: August 30th
  • Submit up to 10 cards by email to
  • Suggestions should be somehow related to Raw Dog Screaming Press books or authors (including our imprints Dog Star Books, Guide Dog Books and Anti-Oedipus Press). For ideas browse our website to see a list of our authors and the books we’ve published

With your help this deck will take things to a new level! In the past, Cards Against Humanity games at RDSP events have been legendary but we want to set the bar even higher for DogCon. So bring your creativity, apply your inner evil genius and let the ideas flow. Each suggestion will earn you an entry in the raffle so keep them coming! We’ll be looking for the most weird, wacky and potentially hilarious combinations.

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