About Danielle Modafferi
Director of Marketing and Acquisitions at Ink Monster Books
Danielle Modafferi loves inventing words, exploring new destinations (both in reality and in her wild mind), and performing random acts of kindness. She earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and her BA in English Literature and French from the University of Pittsburgh. When Danielle isn’t publishing or daydreaming, you can usually find her in front of a classroom – she has been a high school teacher and a college professor intermittently over the past 12 years. In 2016, Danielle published her first novel, a YA Dark Fantasy titled The Girl in the Glass Box, under the pen name Andi Adams. She has a passion for travel and for her two dogs, Jackson and Liam, who are incidentally her biggest fans.
First of all, thank you so much, Rae, for hosting me and this guest post on your blog. Rae, for those of you who don’t know, has been a great supporter of Ink Monster and our authors and we are so grateful for her continued encouragement. We love all books, and all readers, and we are excited about bloggers who keep that enthusiasm alive! So thank you, Rae – keep up the great work!
How did Ink Monster get started?
It’s kind of a crazy story. A few years ago, (well, more than a few I hate to admit), Aileen and I studied Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. On two separate sides of the country, Aileen (in LA) and I (in PA) both started our own publishing company. Aileen was writing and publishing under her Ink Monster company, and I was scouring through piles of submissions for new authors to take on under my company Firefly Hill Press.
After many discussions of both wanting to grow our businesses, we decided why are we doing this alone!?! So, we teamed up, which has allowed Aileen to focus a little more on continuing to pump out awesomely popular YA series (ie: The Alpha Girl Series and the upcoming Off Planet Series.) And I have been working more on the business end, alongside our other SHU alum, writer, editor and part-time internet wizard, Lola Dodge.
Fun fact: two more of our authors are also alums of the Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill, Tricia Leedom and Mary Karlik. We didn’t intentionally set out to be so SHU-centric, but what can we say, the submissions we received from these authors were off-the-charts-amazing, so it’s working out for all of us. It’s kind of a cool story that most of us (sorry, Beth Merlin!) have the roots back to SHU. As for Ms. Merlin, Beth’s manuscript was pulled out of the slush pile back when I was operating alone under Firefly Hill Press! Her manuscript and her story as an author is one of true success, seeing as only 1% of unsolicited manuscripts ever find their way out of the slush pile into publication. We are so proud of all of the authors that we represent. Each one has her own voice and own niche. It really rounds out our group and our demographic.
Why all women?
This was another feature of Ink Monster that we didn’t necessary set out to do (or be) intentionally – it kinda just happened. That’s not to say that we won’t take on male authors or male employees at some point in the future, it just hasn’t happened yet. And we’re pretty proud that we are kicking a$$ as strong, intelligent women in our field. We are an all-female executive team, we only rep female authors (at present), even our reps at our distribution company, InScribe, are all women!
It’s funny, though we didn’t set out with a women-only model, it does speak to our mission in terms of upholding the ideal that women are smart, independent, and fully capable of “being the heroines of our own stories.” With our literary model being to represent books that feature fierce female heroines who aren’t afraid to save themselves (damsels need not apply!), it seems apropos to perpetuate this idea in our business as well.
What is your WHY?
Basically, we love books. We love writing. We all started out as writers, first and foremost, and we wanted to start a company that was more author-centric than traditional publishing companies have been. We hope to create a team atmosphere, where authors have a greater say in how their work is represented and cultivated.
We also want to be positive role models for women. We hope to write female characters who prove to be strong, though flawed, just like real women are. We want to show dynamic, dimensional people – not just stereotypes or fixtures that operate as mere after-thoughts.
Favorite part about publishing?
Without a doubt, it’d be fan engagement! All of our authors LOVE hearing from fans and those who take a moment to reach out to say hello. It’s nice to know that there are real people out there reading and loving the work that we are doing.
And for me, it’s experiencing the process of a book being brought to life. When I first see a book in its rough first draft, I love to see the potential of it. What it currently is and then what it can be in the future after LOTS of hard work, edits, and more hard work. And then, the best part is seeing the finished product: the one fans get excited about and respond positively to, the one that Amazon nominates for special features, and that we are recognized for by leaders in the field. It’s such a thrilling process for me as an Acquisitions Editor; bringing an author’s dream to life is truly indescribable!
Least favorite part about publishing?
I would say that adhering to strict deadlines and maintain the calendar is certainly the most challenging part. It’s no secret that life gets in the way sometimes and we can’t always account for emergencies or blips in our calendar. When we have to plan releases and promos almost a year in advance, there is no way to foresee some of the things that life will throw our way in the interim.
Sometimes life happens and we have to scoot things around – we don’t want to, but since we never want to compromise the books we offer our fans, we must. But it’s hard because we know that can result in disappointing fans, which we never want to do. We just hope that our community of readers understands that our authors are people too. And while life is messy, writing and inspiration can be halted or at least slowed when things like illness or family emergencies get in the way. We just want everyone to know that if we move a release date, it’s usually for a very good reason. We never do that lightly because we understand the anticipation and excitement readers have for those next books.
What’s next for Ink Monster?
Well, we hope to keep growing and growing! We have slowed down a bit in our acquisitions department, so that we can concentrate on the authors we currently represent and can really cultivate a following and a brand for each author. We have so many releases planned straight through 2018 – so we anticipate being quite busy. All Ink Monster fans can look forward to some really awesome books coming your way – both as continuation of series that are currently out and also brand-new series. We hope you love them as much as we do!