Guest Interview for ALL PULP
Barbara Custer, Publisher of NTD
Conducted by Tom Johnson
I have known Barbara Custer since Ginger and I were publishing our line of new pulp magazines back in the 1990s. At the time we were publishing numerous top-notch writers and artists, and she was one of them. Since those long ago days, Barbara has continued her own writing, as well as entering the publishing world with the NTD imprint. With her busy schedule, I was finally able to sit down with her for this interview.
TJ: Barbara (or is it Popple?) why don’t you begin by telling the readers a little (or a lot) about yourself? Who is Barbara Custer, and what should the world know about you?
BC: I go by two nicknames: Popple and Balloon Lady. I’ve written Twilight Healer and Dark Side of the Moon, and coauthored Blood Moons and Nightscapes, Alien Worlds, and Starship Invasions. These books have enjoyed decent reviews. I also publish Night to Dawn magazine, and every so often, paperback books under the Night to Dawn imprint. These works have enjoyed decent reviews.
TJ: What is Night to Dawn, and how did it come about? I guess this should be broken into two parts, your magazine and your books under the NTD imprint. Who are your authors and artists, and what genre are you interested in? I’m sure our readers will be interested in the genesis of both magazine and book imprint.
BC: Night to Dawn features vampire / dark fantasy short fiction, poetry, and illustrations. It comes out every six months. In 2003, the original editor, Dawn Callahan, was publishing my work for Night to Dawn. She had to retire, and I offered to take over. I knew nothing about publishing magazines, but Ginger Johnson had been a great mentor, teaching me about Word and other programs I needed for a magazine. People like Marge Simon, Margaret L. Carter, and Cathy Buburuz have supported the magazine from the get-go.
Around 2003, a small publishing house published my novel, Twilight Healer. The company folded after a year, and some of the other authors asked me to publish the books under the NTD imprint. So I started with Twilight Healer, and took on several authors. I publish different genres under the NTD imprint. The book process has been a baptism by fire. I knew little about the process, and neither did most of my writer buddies. It necessitated getting a new website.
I now have a new website, and I have access to software to make epub books. I found several distributors for the NTD books. God has been good.
TJ: Where can your books be purchased?
BC: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, and Nook are the chief publishes. Easiest way: go to www.bloodredshadow.com. Click on the title of the book under its respective author, and it will give you the direct purchasing links.
TJ: What does Barbara Custer do when she’s not involved in the editing and publishing of the NTD books?
BC: She’s revising her novel, Steel Roses, a tale about aliens living in an underground city, and the humans who fear them. It started as a sequel to Dark Side of the Moon, but now has its own cast of characters and plotline. For her hobby, she collects Mylar balloons.
TJ: What is in the future for Barbara Custer and NTD? Where do you want your publishing imprint to be in five or ten years?
BC: I would like to continue publishing the magazine and books. The process goes slow since I work a day job. My hope in five or ten years is that someone might partner with me, or perhaps I can hire someone to help with editing / formatting. I also hope to have more of my own books in print.
TJ: If our readers are interested in writing or drawing for your magazine, or book covers, where can they contact you with proposals or questions?
BC: My contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are tight at the moment, but I am actively seeking 3 good mummy horror tales incorporating the vampire theme.
TJ: Is there anything special coming up soon that you wish to tell the readers to watch for? Do you have a website where potential buyers can read about what’s coming up from NTD?
BC: I am holding a sales special with some of the Night to Dawn books available at reduced rates. Occasionally I do radio interviews, and I will post this on my website. You can find out about my projects at:
TJ: What is the most difficult part the publishing process?
BC: I find formatting book covers the most difficult. The front cover will make or break sales, and finding right combinations of colors for the lettering against the illustration has been a challenge. Some good buddies have helped me with this.
TJ: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Be ready to do a lot of promoting. That means having a website, seeking out reviews (there are folks out there who will give new authors a chance).
Get a fresh pair of eyes to read / edit the manuscript. When you’ve gone through your writing so many times, you become too close to the work to notice problems, and no writer can see their own mistakes. I’ve noticed this with myself.
When you get your printed novel, savor the moment.
TJ: Barbara, thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to answer these questions. Ginger and I were a two-person operation and we had very little time to catch our breath, so I can imagine what you must go through with the NTD imprint. Good luck in all your future endeavors!