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Season One - Episode One

Mon, 6/22 11:19AM • 54:42


book, kickstarter, marybeth, people, authors, publishing, writing, publishing company, agent, published, silk, sword, podcast, wattpad, contemporary romance, presses, editor, publisher, story, ideas


MB Dalto, Voice Over, Laynie Bynum


Voice Over  00:03

You're listening to Sword and Silk, a podcast about writing, publishing and other bookish ramblings. And now, here's your host Laynie. Bynum and MB Dalto.


Laynie Bynum  00:19

Hey, and welcome to the very first Sword and Silk podcast we're your host Laynie and MB here to introduce you to our world of writing, publishing and everything in between. So to start it off, I guess we should introduce ourselves. I'm Laynie Bynum and I entered this writing world writing YA and NA contemporary romance. I've worked behind the scenes and publishing at several different companies and eventually landed here when MB and I decided to start this crazy thing and MB Do you want to tell them who you are?


MB Dalto  00:52

Hi, Yes, I am. Marybeth, I go by MB. I also joined this crazy world writing YA and NA fantasy romance back in about 2014 or so I started writing and I have been involved in various publishing houses as an author and behind the scenes. And together with that, we decided to start this crazy endeavor that we are now doing and how we also want to talk about it. So I hope I hope that we are coming across as a some sort of source of entertainment in one way or another.


Laynie Bynum  01:34

MaryBeth and I have been friends for quite a while. We originally were Twitter friends just Twitter Mutuals after she found me and introduced herself. Slid in my DMS and we actually started writing together as co-authors and throughout kind of the past, I think it's been what two years?


MB Dalto  02:01

That we've been writing? Yes, about that.


Laynie Bynum  02:04

And we had various ups and downs in our own writing careers and various ups and downs in our own publishing careers behind the scenes. And we decided, probably about a year ago, to open up our own publishing company. And after probably about a year of sitting back watching, learning, taking it all in, deciding how we wanted to do this and who we wanted to be. We launched Sword and Silk on - we opened our doors for submissions on April 16. That was the day our Kickstarter funded.


MB Dalto  02:42

Sounds so so long ago, but like, it was only just in April.


Laynie Bynum  02:48

So in February, we, we went ahead and did all the legal stuff to make sword and silk a official legal publishing company and aAs we were doing that I attended AWP in San Antonio and Kickstarter was there talking about their publishing program and how there is an entire publishing section of Kickstarter, which we never knew before.


MB Dalto  03:15

Which I did not even know existed. And Kickstarter has taken a lot of my money over the years. And when I heard that there was actually a publishing side of it, like a legitimate publishing side, I was both skeptical and at the same time intrigued, because crowdfunding is hugely beneficial for all sorts of creatives. And it only made sense when you stop back to think about it about how why wouldn't you know, Authors and Publishers want to use this as a medium. And so yeah, when when when you brought to me the "Hey, you know, publishing on Kickstarter", I immediately opened up the website and there was there was a whole section of publishing on the Kickstarter, and I'm like Yeah, let's do this.


Laynie Bynum  04:01

So we got, we put our heads together and figured out some rewards that we thought that readers would like. And there are there are some pretty universal things that most readers like such as book boxes, as well as signed swag, advance review copies or ARCs, things like that. So we put our heads together, figured out what we wanted to offer. And and got it going and immediately started seeing support and funding like we never expected to happen. No, and. And then since we were already formed, we started pulling our team together. And like I said, we've been in this in this industry for a while and we had we had made associations with people who we knew we're strong in their abilities and also believed in our mission, which was to bring strong women characters to the forefront and and we assembled this team that -


MB Dalto  05:07

The Avengers


Laynie Bynum  05:08

I like, like that a lot. We have been incredibly lucky to have these, these women on board that are both insanely good at what they do, and also incredibly amazing people and it's constantly - we all get along very well. And it's constantly just a source of encouragement and support it's exactly what we wanted.


MB Dalto  05:26

And I think I think it just goes to show how important being part of the community can also be because whether you are a writer or reader, a reviewer, a blogger, an editor, proofreader, whatever it is, I mean, everyone's in that together. And you know, you never know who you're going to come across who you're going to need who is going to need your help. So I mean, that's why I think it's just it just exemplifies you know, how important being true to the community is being you know, yourself being kind, being appreciative, being supportive across the board. Because when things come up, like, Hey, I'm opening a publishing company, do you want to come be an editor for me, you know, you're it could go 50/50 depending on how you've presented yourself in this community. So you know, so long as you're a genuine person, you know, genuine things are gonna happen, so be kind.


Laynie Bynum  06:33

Um, we we started to assemble our team, even as the Kickstarter was going, because we knew this was something that we wanted to do regardless of if we had that startup capital that came from Kickstarter or not. And about halfway through we we sat our team down as best you can virtually in the middle of a pandemic. And said, Look, we need to have a serious conversation, the Kickstarter may not fund. If it doesn't, there are things that we can't offer. But we still plan on going going through this 100% giving everything we have to our authors, giving everything we have to our readers making this the best we can, we just might need to rework our plan a little bit. And thankfully, because like I said, we have the most wonderful staff. They were all on board. They were like I'm here regardless.


MB Dalto  07:24

That was the plan too like, you know, the Kickstarter was always so supposed to be, you know, the support. It wasn't supposed to be the purpose. And so yeah, I mean, like I said, when we set it up, I don't know about you, I was a little skeptical at first only because of you know, a crowdfunding a publishing company. And but I think that we went in with the right frame of mind to is that we went in knowing that it wasn't the end all if it didn't get funded. We still were going to do this. We were just going to be doing it slower than if the Kickstarter allowed so I mean, anything but one thing is we were very upfront with our team about that as well. Like you said, you know, we let them know like we're doing the Kickstarter, but this isn't gonna break us. And like you said, you know, they were there behind us, which just again goes to show the amazing people that we have working with us.


Laynie Bynum  08:09

So about two days before the deadline, we were a little over halfway to our goal. And if you don't know how Kickstarter works, you have to 100% meet your funding goal, or you get nothing. And they do that that way for a reason because you don't want to back a project and expect you know, a $10 million movie and then get somebody with his, you know, camera in his basement because it didn't find all the way. So it's really about fulfilling the backer rewards. And that you know, so you have to have it completely funded. And we were a little over halfway through a little over halfway funded and we had 48 hours to go. And so we were we consoled ourselves to Okay, we tried it


MB Dalto  09:01

Let's not discredit us completely because so within 24 hours of us actually posting the Kickstarter, we ended up on their front page- we did- where a fresh pick, I think they called it or a new whatever Kickstarter does to like promote new projects. You know, we were there, we had a front page on it, which was amazing. Like, I saw that and they put their own little green little sticker on us and we were like 100% fresh approved or something like that. And so it wasn't that we didn't have the exposure because we definitely did. We were there and it was great. But you know, with all Kickstarter is, you know, people can give you bids and pledges and they can take them away. Nobody is confirmed until it funds and it ends Actually, it's more ending than funding. So yeah, we had ups and downs. We had people who were you know, pledging to us and it was great, and then they were taking it away. Not gonna discredit people for doing that. But that's definitely It was like the ups and the downs of us watching it until those last 48 hours.


Laynie Bynum  10:03

Yeah. And I think definitely it came into play that when when we launched the Kickstarter, we had started to see instances of the virus in the United States. But by the time our deadline came up, we had gone on lockdown. And I think that people seeing the state of the country and seeing the unemployment rates go up and seeing the money that they have in their bank account there might need here for a while. I think that definitely played a hand in we did have a lot of a lot of people who wanted to pledge or did pledge and then had to bring that money back. Yeah. Because it was just a very uncertain time.


MB Dalto  10:42

And I mean, nobody is really at fault either, you know, like, we started a Kickstarter funded middle of a pandemic. Because we like challenges. And this just exemplifies that, I think. Yeah.


Laynie Bynum  10:57

And well in the last fourty eight hours. Once we got on our social media and said, Okay guys, we've got 48 hours if you if you wanted to pledge if you want to see this happen, you know, we'd love your support. We actually went like we overfunded. Yeah. I think we got to like 125 to 30%. And a majority of those were book boxes, because everybody loves a book box. Everyone likes a good book box. So and then so with that, with that money that came in from the Kickstarter, we had promised to make a podcast about our journey, about getting this thing together and, and kind of share our knowledge as as we have it. And as we gain it, about the publishing industry, behind the scenes, about writing, about books, just kind of about everything that we experience in our daily lives as the co-owners of a publishing company. So so that's why the podcast exists to kind of help you guys get all of the knowledge that that we come across, as well as hopefully entertain you a little bit?


MB Dalto  12:09



Laynie Bynum  12:11

a little entertaining.


MB Dalto  12:13

I mean, the thing was we always I mean, we always talked about doing a podcast for a while to even before we had set sort and soak up, you know, you know, we had many iterations of ideas of what we wanted this company to do. And we'd always talked about, like, why can't we just record what we talked about on a daily basis? Not that this is going to be like that, but it probably will. But I think we entertain ourselves. I mean, I just think that it was the natural transgression of events that you know, we had the publishing stuff, we have this book in writing and publishing knowledge and we have technology at our fingertips, so why not share it try to give that one extra aspect of I don't want to say social media or networking. But you know, just a presence, you know, say we are here we are more than just words on a screen and in a book and you know, so we we just another way to connect and another way to stand by, you know, what we do and what we want to do and hopefully, you know, make some more connections and become a greater part of the community by by doing so.


Laynie Bynum  13:22

And we actually we've had such luck getting our company together and bringing everything kind of to the forefront and we've also we've had our hands in a lot of different pies over the years between being co authors, publishing our own book solo, being involved with small presses, being involved with, you know, larger publishing companies being involved with you know, the self publishing community - we've we've kind of taken in a lot from a lot of different sectors of the industry to kind of put it together in in and get all of our all of the knowledge that we already have. I know when I first met MaryBeth, I actually didn't have a published novel yet. I had no idea what I was doing. I just I kind of had put words on page and was hoping something happened and -


MB Dalto  14:21

Isn't that how it works, though?


Laynie Bynum  14:23

And I actually, we we met right after she had signed for her first series, her original series, and she was gearing up to publish. And I was like, let me play around with ads for your book. Let's, let's see what we can do. And you want to do some marketing and like, absolutley - and I actually come from a business background. When, when, you know, I graduated high school, and I was like, I want to do something with paper. I want to like write emails and stuff. And so of course like my first thought was like I'll get into business because that's where people make money and, and so I got my degree in business and then later I was like, but I really like the word part of it. The rest of it, I just like art, I just like the words. So, I got a degree in communications with a public relations background with a public relations specialty and started interning as, as public relations and, and getting that experience under my belt. And as I think I was interning is, is when I started writing, and, and I was like, I could be a book publicist, and then um, and then I found out I like writing the books and being involved in in making the books and more books. I just really like them and, and I wanted it to be less push this book in your face and more involved with the process, which kind of led me to the author thing and then like mean to the publishing side of things and, and for me that going through all of those processes, and then once I signed my book, realizing that everything I had learned in school was going to be thrown out the window. And I had to figure out how to sell actual books, not, you know, theoretical books on a page. Um, and so I did like this deep dive, and I was like, okay, Marybeth, I'm doing all of this, all of this research, and I want to try to run Facebook ads on your book, I want to try to run a bookbub ad, I want to try I see all these other people doing it. And I've taken all these like online classes, and I just, I want to see it, I want to see what happens and she was like - absolutely.


MB Dalto  16:46

Do it.


Laynie Bynum  16:48

So that was that was kind of, I guess, our first indication that that maybe, maybe we should be more involved in like the business side of it.


MB Dalto  16:58

Because definitely when you're an author, After you write the story, and you think this is great, this is it, I'm done. You're not done. I tell people this that writing the story is always the easiest part. And it doesn't matter how long that story is or how short that story is, or how involved that story is, or what genre it is, the writing is the easiest part. Because then you have to query it, you have to edit it, if you're doing self, I mean, you have to do so many different other levels of it, and then you have to market it. And the one thing I didn't know going in when I first signed my publishing contract is how involved an author needed to be throughout the entire process. Now it wasn't me to say that I didn't know that I was going to have to editing and all this other stuff, but as an author, regardless of whether you are self publishing or with a small press or with the big five you are involved and you need to be involved in whether it's you know, through the next steps of the process, whether it is presence on social media, whether it's you know, having someone put up bookbub and Facebook ads for you. I mean, yeah, so that was that was the one eye opening thing I realized as a debut author is how much more work there is, once the book is written.


Laynie Bynum  18:20

Yeah, as a baby, little fledgling author. When I was writing my first book, I was like, I just need to get words on a page, I have really good ideas for the plot and for the flow of the novel. As far as like the actual words go, that's going to be handled by an editor. The editor will make me sound good. The only difference between my book and the book that the books that are in the bookstores is they had an editor look at it.


MB Dalto  18:45

Oh, yes.


Laynie Bynum  18:47

I found out really quick that that is not the case. That an amazing editor, like the one that we have at Sword and Silk who also has edited everything that me and Marybeth have cowritten so far and she, she's amazing. And she keeps the tone of the story and she keeps your words but she she knows how to kind of arrange them to make more sense to other people and point out things that only made sense in your head that didn't translate to the page, which - remind you about things that you weren't going to write down and never did, because, you know, talking about it and writing it are different things. And, and so an amazing editor can help you. But at the end of the day, it doesn't make or break the book, you have to have that that talent in there. You have to have put the work in and you have to put the work in after those edits come back to because a lot of the times they'll comment and say this doesn't sound right, fix it, and you have to figure out how to fix that. You know, I think we recently had one where the guy loaded up the shoulder, loaded up the bags on his shoulders, and she was like this, this is kind of a weird image you need to fix this and we really like, Okay, how do you physically put a suitcase on your  shoulder like, -


MB Dalto  20:07

like a strap on one shoulder and the other and then suitcases in the hand? and shut the trunk while walking up icy stairs. So yeah, I mean writing it down. It sounds great. But again, you have some third party, a third party editor, especially looking at it. I had no idea about your notes or your thoughts or your conversations. And she's like, what is this? That's why you need it.


Laynie Bynum  20:30

And I was really not smart about it. When I first started querying, which I did before I met MaryBeth and she was like, Whoa, you need to calm down.


MB Dalto  20:42

I don't know if I said that, exactly.


Laynie Bynum  20:44

Okay, so she didn't say that exactly. However, that is kind of how we talk to each other. But I I sent out my book before I had any beta readers before I had any critique partners before anyone else ever saw my book so the book that I was sending out was not only extremely flawed in its plot it was also only half done because after it went out to after I was like okay, no one's no one's responding I'm not even no one even wants to read more pages like What's wrong with it? I found beta readers and I, I found critique partners and I figured out that the book was only half a book and it needed to I needed to rewrite the ending and close things up and I needed to one of the best pieces of advice I got on my first book was quit solving everyone's problems immediately let us have some conflict because I love my characters so much and I didn't want them to hurt and I didn't want like any conflict to happen.


MB Dalto  21:47

I need conflict.


Laynie Bynum  21:50

That's why we co-write


MB Dalto  21:53

Happily Ever After -No no, no.


Laynie Bynum  21:57

I don't think MaryBeth has ever written a happily ever after


MB Dalto  22:00

I don't know about that, but I'm sure, right. Well, I think we've done it co writing.


Laynie Bynum  22:11

I can edit that out.


MB Dalto  22:12

I'm sorry. It's not the virus.


Laynie Bynum  22:15

Um, but yeah, Marybeth loves conflict. But my first novel lacked it severely. And I was sending it out to two agents at the time. And at the time, I really didn't consider small presses because the only real interaction I had with him was doing Google searches and seeing vanity presses. And I was like, I don't want to pay someone to publish my book. Like, I don't I don't have the money for that, um, for a little bit of background. For me, I have two kids, I work a full time job. I you know, I'm not I'm not throwing money at my writing career. Um, you know, we need that money to live so I wasn't going to hire a vanity publisher for thousands and thousands of dollars and hope and pray that someone might read it someday. And so in my mind because like I said, I was I was kind of green to everything. My only hope was to get an agent and secure top five publisher, my big five. And once I had been part of the community for a little while, and, and met some people who - my sweet summer child - with, with small presses, it kind of changed my view on everything. I was like, wait, there's a way that I can do this without having an agent. And I have you know, more more say so in what happens with my book I have, you know, a little bit more freedom a little bit more. I don't have to depend solely on on a big five publisher finding my book and wanting to publish it. And it really changed the game for me and I then ended up with a revised version of the manuscript and queried And found a publisher, a small press publisher and went through them and and the rest is history. But then and I think your your story is somewhat similar. You You started on Wattpad right?


MB Dalto  24:13

I started on wattpad so I have participated in NaNoWriMo almost every year since 2014. Most of my completed manuscripts have initially started as nano drafts, because I am a masochist and I need to write fast or I don't write at all so yeah, so I had written my first book I had edit self-edited my first book and I almost threw my first book away because some random person on some forum I think it was on nanowrimo or something like that it was a chapter for chapter swap, and I sent off my first chapter because you know, like you said, you're green and you think everything's great. This is perfect thing. And this person I have never met before. never talked before. Pretty much said, This is the worst thing I've ever written. You should never write again. I was devastated. Because I mean, obviously, we know now that you know, no one has to like your story. No one, not everyone is going to let your story but as a new writer, sharing something for the first time looking for honest feedback and to have that critique, it was devastating. And I remember bringing it to my Facebook at the time. And I had a friend, an old friend who said, Have you ever heard of wattpad and I hadn't and yet at the same time and back of my head, you know, before I even got this, I was like, I would love something where I could post my story chapter by chapter, you know, episodically, and get feedback and comments on it. Like this is just something I had in my head. And then she mentioned wattpad, and it was exactly what I was looking for. So I uploaded my story in 2016 and it just took off from there. So that was my version of beta readers and critique partners is because wattpad for anybody who doesn't know is a fantastic online community of writers and readers coming together to, you know, to read and write stories. It allows for comments. It allows for social interaction. It is another great platform for anybody who you know, is starting to write wants to get your drafts out there wants people to read them one's honest feedback. And so that was where I started. And I ended up actually winning a Watty award, which is, you know, one of their awards for excellence in storytelling across the website, in 2016. In the year I had uploaded it, and I was on the top of the world, I was like, wattpad loves my story. The world is gonna love my story. The world did not love my story. I queried of the story forever. And I mean, looking back now I know that a lot of it like you said, it was me being green. I didn't know the process as well as I should have. So I you know, like everyone else. I participated in a lot of pitching contests on Twitter, you know, looking for those agent likes, which again, you know, not exactly the best way to to look for an agent, but you know, it's something aside from regular querying. And I actually was getting a lot of interest from small presses. And I remember at the time, I looked into them, and they would touch her go, there were some that like you said, they were vanity presses. And again, I wasn't going to have anyone make me pay to publish my book. At the same time, there were small presses, which is more, you know, traditional hybrid, however it was. And one of the things that always stuck with me is I had an acquaintance at the time where I told him like, Oh, I got a bunch of likes on this one pitch tweet. And she was like, Oh, yeah, which agents did you get? And I'm like, No, no, no, there's small presses. And she's like, Oh, well, that's good, too. And it stuck with me because I realized that there are some people out there who believe that the only way to count as an author in in publishing is to be with an agent and go to a big five. And it's not true. And you know, and I stand by that to this day, I mean, I'll be the first to tell you, I would love to have an agent, I would love to be at a big five, I would love to see my book on a shelf at Barnes and Noble and be able to walk up to the clerk and be like, Hey, this is me, can I sign it for you, you know, there's my bucket list, you know, author dream right there. But at the same time, there are different ways of going about doing that I could still do that and don't have to be with the big five and have an agent, I can still have my book published, I can still be a presence in this writing community. An agent would be great, but I can still do exactly what an agent could do for me on my own with my own input with my more control, you know, any other way and that's just one of the things that you learn as you go through the process. You learn as, as you're, you know, getting your yourself out there, but you're putting yourself out there and I wish that there was an instruction manual. You know, how to become a part of the writing community, how to prepare yourself for the querying process, how to, you know, seek out the right press for you and your story, because I see so many people so hard set on certain ways. And I don't want to say they're setting themselves up for failure, but I just want them to realize that there are so many more options out there. And if one doesn't work, it does not make you a failure.


Laynie Bynum  29:26

Yeah. And that was kind of an eye opener for me. Um, I was involved I still am involved with, with YARWA, which is the young adult romance writers and a lot of a lot of our members are self published, and it blew me away. Well, first of all, the word, the term Self Publish is really misleading because when you are self published, it really does still take a team. You know, a lot of oeople think that they can take the story as they wrote it and you know, make a half assed cover and stick it up on Amazon because it's free and anybody can do it. And then find out that it and then do no marketing and find out that you can't just do that and sell books. But the Self Publishers that I the self published authors that I have met, especially the ones that have done really well, they have a cover designer that they worked with who made an amazing cover for them. They have an editor that they work with, a proofreader that they worked with, they may have even paid someone to format it for them, so that it was correctly formatted for ebook. They then turn around and market the book. So while while the term may be self published, it's really it's really kind of a team effort. you're hiring all these people and outsourcing to all these people, but then they turn around and the return is like no other, they don't have to pay the agent fees. They, you know, they're not relying on a publisher who takes part of the royalties. They're doing really well by themselves. And I think all three methods of publishing between traditional small press and either some people call it indie publishing, some people call it self publishing, but they're all extremely valid and can be done very well. If you study and pay attention and put the work in. And it really just comes down to what's best for you how you want to do things. Of course, traditional traditional publishing is the dream for a lot of authors, especially beginning authors, but some people try for their entire career and never get an agent and even people who do get an agent that doesn't guarantee you a sale. A lot of books go up for bidding and never, you know, they go on submission and never get bought they there's no offer offers on them even though they have an agent. So an agent doesn't necessarily mean that you will sell and then and also an agent doesn't necessarily mean that you're gonna sell to a big five. While the only way to get into a big five is through an agent because they're closed for open submissions. They don't allow people who don't have an agent to submit to them. But agents are also going to send you to to mid level publishers or they may even send it to small presses, depending on your agent and depending on where they believe that this best this book best fits. So the traditional method really takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of a lot of patience when it may not pay out the way that you are hoping it will. And then the indie method or self publishing, you are putting up money up front. It's not vanity. When we say vanity presses, we we mean companies that are out there, who you pay them a set amount, and they publish your book for you. And with a lot of vanity presses, what happens is they don't supply you with an editor. They don't supply you with any marketing, it's just about putting your book on a page. They basically do the formatting and printing for you and you're paying for that. And and that might work for some people. I I didn't want to do it for myself. I didn't have the money to do it for myself. But as far as the the average person in the writing community, they're looking at three options usually. And that self published all option does require more money up front and it does require more knowledge upfront. It requires you to to to kind of do a deep dive into everything that you're going to need to do it well there's a 20booksto50k is a method of publishing and it is also a group on Facebook that were self published authors share their knowledge and share, share what they've taken to get there and that effort that some of these people put in and it's a full time job for them a morning noon and night there. What they're working on is getting getting out as many books as possible getting getting those books as the highest quality as possible. And they're doing this all by themselves. They don't have anybody there with them. Unless you know, they bring someone in, they don't have anybody in their within telling them you know, do this do this kind of guiding them. So when we were going through our journeys and experiencing the highs and lows of our author careers, and we still are. We're still writing, we're still putting stuff out. And we're still, I think we've got a co written co written book coming out either the end of this year or the beginning of next year. We've got two stories coming out, what's the release date?  July?  So July 1st And we have another one coming out together November I think.  So I mean, we're still we're still writing we're still going through our our process still learning things. I think even the the most experienced people still have still have an opportunity to learn and if you're not learning and growing and modifying your ways, then you kind of get stagnant. So but in in all of that we we wanted to form a company where people didn't feel kind of in open water. They had someone who had already been through everything and and could basically help them navigate as they go through the publishing experience, especially when it comes to marketing, when it comes to getting your book out there, we didn't want to leave them in the dark. And a lot of times what we were seeing happening to other authors is their book was coming out. And then the publisher was just like, all right, that was great and just kind of leaving it and and we didn't want that either. We wanted to be somewhere that our support is always behind you. And we are we're doing everything we can to help you sell your book because we want you to sell it as as much as you do. You know, we want it to do well. And so that that was kind of the idea behind sword and silk was to encourage people to to help educate the best we could to help guide to help, you know, help them in their journey. That was the original idea and then me and MaryBeth cannot not write strong women characters. And we love reading strong women characters. And when we thought about what kind of books we want to publish, we kind of read every genre. I tend to stick more to like contemporary and urban fantasy and things like that whereas Marybeth


MB Dalto  37:24

I like my fantasy


Laynie Bynum  37:26

She does love her fantasy especially dark -


MB Dalto  37:28

The more epic the better. Dark, epic, high, I mean I'll do some urban but you know, the more fantastical the better.


Laynie Bynum  37:36

And we also  - we've read suspense and mystery and and really what ties every book that we love together is this strong female characters and then whether no matter what genre it is, and we didn't want to limit ourselves to genre we wanted you know, some some publishing companies only published fantasy, some publishing companies, only Publish romance, we didn't want to be like that. We wanted to leave that door open and just know a good book when we saw it. And so when we thought about our brand, which you know, a publishing company has a brand, an author has a brand. And they're incredibly important because you want your readers to know what they're getting into. And for us, we wanted people to think of Sword and Silk and automatically know that there was going to be a strong woman character in that book somewhere, that it was going to be someone who - the characters were going to be people who stood up for what was right, who weren't afraid to speak their mind. And, and I think I think we've actually found that in two books.


MB Dalto  38:53

So yes, welcome to Sword and Silk Publishing, where we already have two Signed authors. When we opened up our submissions, I mean, I'm not saying I'm a pessimist, but sometimes, you know, like, okay, we, we had our Kickstarter, it's great, you know, let's open up our, our submissions and, you know, all this hype is going in the back of my mind. I'm like, nobody knows us. Nobody knows us from anybody else. We're new, we're green, you know, why is anyone going to want to, you know, trust us with their work, other than the fact that we just can show them who we are as best as we can, you know, make ourselves as transparent as possible when it comes to this is who we are. This is our mission. This is what we want to. And the submission started coming in. And it was glorious. Um, so yes, we have now two authors who have - it wasn't that they sold their soul to Sword and Silk. But they have, you know agreed to trust us with their, you know, their art, and just that alone has been extremely humbling, um, and also now extremely stressful. Because it means that we have to follow through. Not that we wouldn't follow through anyway. But now we have to - now they're depending on us. Exactly. Now we're standing by our words, and now we have to show them that we mean everything we say. We do. Now we have to show it well to perform. Yeah, yeah. So so you know, we have to, you know, be a publishing company, but we're here for that. And clearly, this podcast is part of that.


Laynie Bynum  40:49

I mean, we're living the dream.


MB Dalto  40:51

So no. So pretty much This podcast is kind of keeping us accountable.Because we said we were going to do it and we did it and and nw we we have you know people that are depending on us and we have to do it.


Laynie Bynum  41:08

So the first author who signed Justine sign with a book called Never Say Never which is a why a contemporary romance with fantastical elements. Can I just say that I love the way that that that sounds?


MB Dalto  41:26

I mean, it caught my attention for sure.


Laynie Bynum  41:29

So the the book is 90% contemporary romance, but it follows a girl named Bren who swears off love she's never going to fall in love. After finding her mother, I think she describes it as doing the horizontal Mambo with a man who is decidedly not her dad. And so she swears off love. Well, one of her friends takes that as a challenge.  She's not quite sure why and she doesn't want to listen to her until her friend reveals herself to be the goddess Aphrodite, which is all well and good until Bryn falls for after daddy's boyfriend. And she finds herself in an epic love triangle opposite the goddess of love herself. So, the book definitely, I don't want to say caught us off guard, but it definitely left an impression and it's one of those books that you can't quit thinking about it even when you're not reading it, which I think to me was - a good thing. Yeah. It was definitely an indication that there's something here there's something that we need to pay attention to. So and as as we were like, Okay, let's do this. Let's let's make the offer. Let's, let's see how she feels. Send her the contract, let her know what we want to do for her. And, and we'll go from there. And I had - we had read another book. An author named Haleigh called A Feeling Like Home, which is another way contemporary romance, you know your contemporaries. And, and I was, it was another book that I could we couldn't quit thinking about it and feeling like home is about a girl who her father's sick and she can't quit self destructing, especially when it comes to things like graffiti and breaking into abandoned houses and things like that. And so in order to take the stress off of her father, her parents send her to live with her older sister in Texas for the summer, and basically tell her that if she doesn't change her ways, by the end of the summer, she's going to boarding school both characters are extremely relatable in different ways. And both characters are extremely strong in in different ways. And and so we made a


MB Dalto  44:00

And offer on that too. And they both came back. And they were like, Yeah, let's do this. And we were like, Wait, really? Woah.


Laynie Bynum  44:08

We didn't think that was gonna happen. So we have now we have now brought Justine and Haleigh on board as our first Sword and Silk authors, with Justine's book being published in June 2021. And Halley's book being published in September, no August 2021.


MB Dalto  44:27

Glad you're not in charge of the dates.


Laynie Bynum  44:29

Yeah. MaryBeth is the date person.


MB Dalto  44:33

And so one of the things we will do with the podcast that we want to do is, you know, not only you know, Have you listened to us talking, but our goal is to introduce our authors, you have them on, interview them so you can get to know them better. know their books, you know, any questions, you know, we'll we can field them. But that's, you know, part of the point we want to do this is that in addition to us coming on, and us you know, regurgitating everything we know, and if experienced, we want other people's experiences to be a part of it as well. So that that's, that's part of what we want to do with the goals and the plans of this as well. You know, we'll have you know, interviews with our own authors interviews with other people in the industry, didn't your dad get an interview?


Laynie Bynum  45:23

So, one of the backer rewards that we listed on Kickstarter was an interview on the podcast and my dad could not I guess he didn't see the button that said you could donate without selecting a reward. And we kind of had a jump from, from the book box to the next highest reward was an interview  on the podcast and so he selected that and Marybeth was like, Alright, let's have him on. And my dad was like No -


MB Dalto  45:56

it's gonna happen. I am going to make this happen if I have to come Down there myself to make it happen. We will have an in person interview with your father.


Laynie Bynum  46:05

My but my dad was like I'll give you the money I'm just I'm not doing the the podcast how's it good okay you know about like Star Trek or anything like my dad my dad growing up in I think a lot of a lot of my fantasy and scifi kind of interest came from him because he is the biggest geek in the entire world but it made growing up fun and and I still haven't gotten over it and so on still a very large geek but so wouldn't actually be kind of fun to have him on there and -


MB Dalto  46:41

 oh its gonna happen - I'll let him forget that he said he wasn't gonna do it and then we'll have him on to do it.


Laynie Bynum  46:48

But so as far as interviews go, we like we said we'll have authors on but we also have, we'll have people, other people in the community who have experiences outside of ours because Our experience is not going to be everyone's it's not going to be everyone's going to have a different, a different journey here. And I think that's what makes the writing community so great is because it is diverse. And it is full of interesting people with interesting stories, and we will be seeking them out and having them on to entertain your ears.


MB Dalto  47:25

I mean, but that being said, as well, you know, we we have no problem talking for 45 minutes to an hour. And, you know, we would love you know, at the same time, you know, we have ideas of what we want to talk about, but I would also eventually love to have you know, listener suggestions and ideas come in of what we could discuss because, you know, other people may want to hear something that we may not even consider and I think that that in and of its self would be like the best thing we could do because like, I mean, we can go on and we could talk about this, you know, small pub, you know, querying and that kind of stuff, but I would love someone else to just be like, Well, what about, you know, actually writing? Right, you know, just like just different things like so that -


Laynie Bynum  48:10

ORrganized chaos That 's how we write.


MB Dalto  48:13

But I mean, like, that's what I would love to see some point like, you know, like so we have certain topics that we'll cover, you know, as as the packet goes along, but I would love for people to be like chiming in and be like, Well, can you guys talk about you know, this or that and I'll be like, Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we've we've never shied away from answering questions. I actually had questions last night that somebody messaged me about co-writing. we've answered questions on Twitter, we any anything that we know we are more than happy to to share because it is a great big writing world out there and it can be very hard to navigate without someone to be able to reach out to and and get some some input on how they may have already navigated that or how they've seen it navigated. And and we're definitely here to answer any questions you have or help you. However we can, as well, we'll have discussions on on different themes. Marybeth can talk forever about troops, oh, the one bed, but they have to be enemies to lovers. And there has to be a triangle before they get into that bed.


Laynie Bynum  49:35

Um, fun fact, the first iteration of sword and soak was actually called cliche press because we were going to take it back. We're going to take back the word cliche.


MB Dalto  49:46

Okay, so I vaguely remember there being a hot debate on Twitter, about cliches and tropes and people hating them. And we're over there talking like what are they talking about? We're running down every book. We love. Every book has at least like three of them. And so I'm like I am. And this isn't just once we this is once we write, I can throw you my books and you can find the cliches. I mean you want you want triangles you want you know, faded lovers and prophecies and dreams. Yeah, I can give you all of those.  So thats where Cliche came from we're like, you know what, you know, I think tropes are fine. We're just gonna bring this back.


Laynie Bynum  50:30

But thankfully, towards the towards the beginning of this year, we we rebranded a little bit and we brought on our cover designer, Lucy has been absolutely amazing. And she was like, Hey guys, um, so you want me to redo your logo a little bit? Like, yeah. And then she's like


MB Dalto  50:51

so how about your website? Okay.


Laynie Bynum  50:57

So we have been incredibly lucky like I said with our staff in general but also when we when we did the rebrand into Sword and Silk and everything that it stood for. We were incredibly lucky to have Lucy on board who was like alright, I'm going to givey you some graphics that are going to show like we're gonna show what you what you stand for. And I think sword and silk the actual name came about because I think this sword represents more of like the fantasy side whereas silk represents kind of the romance which are basically our two biggest genres


MB Dalto  51:37

I think that was part of it but we also went back to you know the the idea of a strong female to be like you can still be a woman and -


Laynie Bynum  51:44

theres strength in softness -


MB Dalto  51:46

exactly you can wear you can wear silk and still carry a sword you know, like, you know, so in there you know, strong women come in all you know, types and shapes and sizes and and mentalities. And and I think felt that you know sword and silk you know covered all of that.


Laynie Bynum  52:03

Yeah, it definitely did and and we now have some amazing graphics that that help us portray that in an amazing website that helps us portray that but um so we we will be talking about different-  we have ideas for different episodes and different things that we can speak on it will always be all random like this is this was our first episode, we wanted you to get to know us as we are and the hot messes that we are and and let you know about the company and let you know about the authors that we do have signed on. And from here on out, I think we have ideas of of what we'll be doing. For the next episodes we'll have guests on to to help us give you more information, whether it's meeting our authors or it's meeting someone in the industry who has knowledge that they can pass on. We are here to entertain you to educate you and to uplift you. And so before we go, I just want to we just wanted to take a minute and thank our Kickstarter backers who made this podcast possible. And from the equipment to the software. Everything has been Kickstarter backed and their interest and their support is what what gave us the opportunity to do this. We also wanted to thank everybody who's been there to support us. Whether you followed us on Twitter, or you donated to the Kickstarter or you've just sent in a word of encouragement. It has been amazing the following and the reception that we've received. And if you're curious about us, if you've never heard of Sword and Silk before, we are all over social media. We're on Instagram at SwordandSilkBooks and on Twitter at SwordSilkBooks, or you can visit us at our website at and feel free to reach out with any sort of recommendation.


MB Dalto  54:00

Any questions, anything that you just have to know or anything that you feel like, like we should know. But it's been wonderful to be able to have this opportunity to to get these words out there to get this podcast out there to get these books out there. And we just wanted to thank you guys. Thank you.


Laynie Bynum  54:22

Until next time


Voice Over  54:25

Thanks for joining us today. To find out more about Sword and Silk the company visit our website at

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