Riptide Publishing is a boutique publisher of some of the finest LGBTQ fiction, romance, and erotica available in print and ebook today. Created by industry veterans and LGBTQ authors who were hungry for better editing, marketing support, production values, and contracts, Riptide Publishing sought to bring the Manhattan quality aesthetic to small-press, author-friendly publishing—and in doing so, to elevate and integrate positive LGBTQ representation into the mainstream. Riptide Publishing now fills a critical niche in the LGBTQ market: quality books, pristinely packaged, that satisfy readers’ desires for rich, plotty, well-edited, queer-positive stories.
More than Just Romance
Riptide is a romance-focused house, but that's not all we offer. First and foremost, Riptide publishes quality LGBTQ fiction. Erotica? Yes. Romance? Absolutely. But stories with LGBTQ protagonists or a focus on the LGBTQ experience also have a place at Riptide—no romance required. Currently, Riptide's catalog features primarily gay protagonists, but we're actively expanding into the rest of the rainbow and look forward to becoming your home for quality lesbian, bisexual, trans, nonbinary, and ace-spectrum fiction too.
Believe it or not, Riptide Publishing was an accident. Or rather, the founders never set out with the intention of starting a business. So how did they come to launch a publishing house with such high-caliber authors signing on before they even put up a website?
Since mid-2010, founders Rachel Haimowitz and Aleksandr Voinov have spent long hours studying and discussing the contracts, editing, cover art, marketing, and other production values and support at a great many gay romance e-publishers. Between the two of them, they’d worked with eight presses, and while some offered overall positive experiences, none were 100% ideal. Nor did their search for the perfect home among a number of other gay romance presses yield any results. Oh, how Aleks and Rachel wished they could cherry-pick all the best bits from each publisher and squish them together into one perfect house!
And then they looked at each other and said, “Well, why don’t we?” They both knew the gay romance market inside and out—as writers, as readers, and as marketers. Both are professional editors: Rachel spent years in editing and production for Avalon, Thunders Mouth Press, Pearson (a “Big Five” house), and even the makers of the World of Warcraft card game before going freelance. Aleks is a financial editor in a pan-European investment bank, and has taught, coached, and edited writing for ten years. Rachel even had small business experience; she owned and operated a game store for seven years, managing a six-person staff, a massive worldwide mail-order business, and a retail location open almost 80 hours a week.
They considered creating a co-op to publish their own work, but decided in the end that too many authors were clamoring for a publishing house they could call home—a place with top-notch editors who would nurture their writing, top-notch cover artists and marketers and publicists, and author-centric contract terms with strong royalties and no rights grabs. As readers, they were also hungry for more quality work in the genre they love; too often they’d read books from brilliantly talented authors whose work suffered for lack of true editorial guidance.
Aleks and Rachel wanted to put their skills to good use helping authors grow, and they wanted to pay all their talent—not just their writers, but also their artists, editors, and marketing and production staff—a fair, living wage. They also wanted to fight for the success of every book they published, no matter how new or old the title was, or how "big" the name of the author who wrote it; every author at Riptide would (and does!) receive custom marketing support and an actual budget for promoting their work. The idea was to partner with writers to help them market their books and protect their copyrights, thus giving them more time to, well, write.
The final addition the original Riptide team was double-threat editor/programmer Tal Valante. Tal set out to build a user-friendly website that would offer readers all the information they might ever need to make the best choices. Word counts? We've got 'em. Excerpts? Absolutely. Professional reviews? Yup, we link to those too. Want to know if there's an HEA, or content warnings, or gay cowboys in space? All those details are just one click away. And if you don't want to know, you don't have to; everything's hidden behind a toggle.
And so Riptide Publishing was born. It grew more quickly than any of us could have imagined. Aleks has since moved on to focus on his writing, but his shoes have been well filled by over a dozen talented and experienced full-time and freelance staffers.
Since our launch in October of 2011, our titles have been reviewed in venues ranging from RT Book Reviews to Library Journal to Publisher's Weekly to USA Today, and our staff and authors have been covered and quoted in feature stories in those same publications. You'll find us at all the major (and many of the minor) industry and reader conferences as guests on panels, hosting workshops, taking pitches, selling books, and passing out swag. Authors, readers, staff, and industry pros are tremendously enthusiastic about the house we've built, we hope you will be too.
Want to Publish with Us?
In order to give each book we produce the utmost editorial attention, we've chosen to remain an invitation-only press. However, we are open to any agented submissions (please have your agent submit proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org with "agented submission" in the subject line) and referrals from existing authors, and we have a number of specific open calls—no invitation, agent, or referral necessary—posted on our submission page. You can also find our editors taking pitches at RT, Authors after Dark, GayRomLit, and other conferences and events; please check out our events page to see where we'll be.