Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book World: Behind the Scenes {3}

Hey readers! Ethan here introducing to you a brand new blog series!

Getting a book from a word document and onto the shelves at your local bookstore takes a lot of work and, often, a small army to do it. Many believe that the authors are the only rockstars in the business. After over a year of blogging, I've learned that this simply isn't true. There is an entire community of 'unsung heroes' doing the hard work behind the scenes to get the book ready for our hands!

In this series, I'm honoring those awesome unsung heroes.

Book World: Behind the Scenes will be a weekly post, each Thursday, that will spotlight one awesome individual from the book world. I will not only be spotlighting that person, but also conducting a one-on-one interview with them covering an array of topics such as the current state of the book world, trends they are seeing, and some information about their background in the field.

I think this is an incredible opportunity to show readers and the rest of the bookish community just how much work goes into making a book successful! Let's give those unsung heroes a moment in the spotlight!

Week Three: Meet Rebecca Gober

Anyone who frequents this blog will know that I work closely with the team at Clean Teen/Crimson Tree Publishing on nearly a daily basis. Over the past year, I have found my bookish family among these incredible people. The staff, authors, and everyone else involved are the greatest bookish folks I've met so far. Working alongside them to promote their incredible works is an honor. Today I am so excited to introduce you to the incredible woman who actually recruited me to the CTP family. I contacted Rebecca after devouring Jon Messenger's World Aflame series last summer and wanted to do some promo for it. Rebecca hooked me up with some promo material and opened the doors to a world that has made my bookish dreams come true. Through Clean Teen I have made some incredible connections and memories that I'll carry with me for a lifetime. It's such an honor to host Rebecca here today! Let's learn more about Rebecca (or Beckie) and her job behind-the-scenes in the book world!

Rebecca Gober
Rebecca Gober has thirteen years experience in upper level management, sales, marketing, and business relations. She has a history of finding ways to market outside the box and a passion for social media marketing and customer relations. She’s not afraid to take risks and doesn’t believe in the word impossible. Since entering the publishing world in 2011, Rebecca has co-authored seven young adult novels and has since gone on to open Clean Teen Publishing. Rebecca is continually working hard to make new strides in the Indie publishing world. 

Interview with Rebecca Gober

Name: Rebecca Gober
Location: Texas 
Book World Occupation: CEO at Clean Teen Publishing
Years in the Business: 6 years
Currently Reading/Last Book You ReadNora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

1. We’ve read your bio, but tell us a little more about yourself and your work within the business. What exactly is your role in helping a book get from a word document and into the reader’s hands? 

While being a co-owner of a publishing company means I take on numerous roles, the main role that I'm tasked with is marketing. I set the initial schedule for release and then work with the author along the way on several different marketing projects. In addition, I manage our monthly marketing budget and decide which ads to go with as well as keep analytics of which ads worked and which didn't. The publishing industry is consistently changing, so it's important to continue researching new advertising sources and new ways to connect with readers. I try to spend a little time each week looking for new ideas to implement and I share these with our authors as I find them.

2. What kind of training do you have? What prepares you for this type of work? 

I started in this industry as an author. The experience of marketing our books and successfully launching our titles helped me with my role. In fact, we started our company with the funds made from our self-publishing days. Another aspect of my life that has helped me with this type of work is that I have more than ten years experience as an asset manager in which I have to hold many roles including leading a large team, marketing, managing financials, and more.

3. Alongside your team of amazing, you founded Clean Teen Publishing, one of the rising stars of the publishing industry. Tell us a little about the CTP platform and the history behind it. 

We co-founded Clean Teen Publishing after a few things. I will name three of the major factors that lead us to opening our company. One, we were making a nice income from self-publishing and we wanted to reinvest it in something that would be sustainable. Two, we had a desire to create a content disclosure system for young adult readers. At one point, we even hosted a letter writing campaign to large publishers requesting that content disclosures be made an industry standard. After receiving no response, we decided it was something we should implement and take the lead in. Three, we had a strong desire to help other authors. We know how hard it is to put your work out there. When we founded our company we knew that we wanted to be a little different. We are very author oriented. We are in consistent (most of the time daily and even hourly) contact with our authors. We are not prideful enough to think that we know everything; instead, we are willing to partner with our authors and learn from them. We keep our authors involved in every step of the publishing journey. Our motto with our authors seems like an obvious and simple one, but it takes a lot of selflessness and well, time. Treat others, as we would want to be treated. I believe that it helps tremendously that we started as authors. It gives us a unique insight. Because of our relationship with our authors, our company has grown tremendously in just two years.

4. As the head of a Publishing company, you wear many hats in the industry. Take us through the Clean Teen Publishing process. 

Wow, that would take well a lot of time. I can give it to you in a nutshell. (Well, at least I will try.) Our submission reader’s sort through the numerous submissions we receive on a weekly basis. When we find one that is perfect for our company, we make an offer, sign a contract (hopefully), and then the madness starts. We first schedule a video call with our author so they can meet us and so we can go over our publishing schedule and process. Then the book goes into production, which includes editing, proofreading, book cover design, formatting, marketing, retailer presentations, and then launch. After launch, it's all about ongoing support with the author on building their reader base and continuing to promote the book.

5. As someone in such an important part of the business, I’m sure you see some great and some… not so great, work. What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to mainstream publishing? What makes Rebecca Gober tick? 

Hmm, that's a hard one. I guess the reason why it's hard for me to answer this is because I don't like rants. So I will try not to do that. I have to say that my biggest pet peeve in this industry is when people are unprofessional. (In this, I'm referring to publishing industry professionals and authors.) We are in a new age, and I think that it's okay to not have a strict professional etiquette. We can have relaxed conversations, be snarky when appropriate, and have fun. But, I do not think it's okay to go on rants, to insult others, to comment on negative reviews, or to be just plain mean. Oh, and I guess I will add one more pet peeve since I'm here. It may seem small but I really don't like when we get emails asking about our submissions process. When people do this, I usually end up being the one to respond. Everyone else is too worried they will respond rudely. But, while I will kindly direct you back to our website to review our clearly stated submissions guidelines, I will pretty much guarantee that your submission will be declined. Authors have to be very proactive in this industry, and if they don't take the time to research or at least review the clearly stated submissions guidelines, how are they going to be able to guide their books into the hands of readers?

6. Publishing, much like the books themselves, goes through phases and trends. What are some of the more common trends we are seeing in the current book market? 

The book market is getting more and more saturated on a daily basis. There are well more books for sale today than there were two years ago. In fact, two years ago, we probably would have had triple the sales we have today, due to how many books are out there. It is clear that it is no longer enough for an author to write an amazing book. Now you have to be engaging. Readers are looking for someone they can connect with. So it's all about the author-reader relationship now if you want to succeed. If you aren't ready to be socially engaging, this may not be the time to spark a career as an author.

7. What advice would you have for an author who is looking for a publisher? What criteria do you think is most important when searching? With so many to choose from, how is an author to decide who best to represent their vision? 

Research, research, research. Authors should definitely do their research before submitting to publishers. You want to first make sure you are not submitting to a vanity publisher. (If you don't know what a vanity publisher is, then research it.) Then you should develop a list of the publishers that you believe publish titles similar to yours. You need to do some initial research on their submission guidelines, etc. You will want to submit to several publishers. I can tell you that it's not common for you to get an offer with the first publisher you submit to. Everyone has different tastes, and different things they are looking for. So, be prepared for rejection. For example, with our company, we probably accept 1 out of 40 submissions. The odds are not in your favor. So increase your odds by finding numerous publishers that would work for you. When you get an offer or a full manuscript request, we recommend you do more research. Look for information on the company, reviews from their authors, etc. We highly recommend that before you sign a contract, you reach out to at least one—if not more— of that publisher's authors to ask for their opinion. Most authors are honest and will steer you clear of a publishing house that may not have your best interest in mind.

8. In a world where self-publishing is as easy as uploading a document and hitting that shiny ‘publish’ button, what is the allure to traditional publishing. What are your swaying points towards your corner of the industry? 

As previously self-published authors, we see the value in both self-publishing and traditional publishing. I created a quiz once for deciding which is the best option for you. Basically here are a few of the reasons why authors may choose to go the traditional route: They want their book in bookstores. (Keep in mind, not all small publishers can offer this. So make sure you check what they offer. We make it clear on our website that we offer this ability.) They don't have the funds to pay for quality cover art, editing, formatting, or launch marketing. They don't have the knowledge of the industry and they want the support of a publisher to guide them. They need access to an already developed reader base that the publisher may already have, etc.

9. As a publisher, I’m sure you read constantly. What are some of your all time favorite reads? 

My all time favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. After that, I'm going to say it, and I know some people will roll their eyes, but whatever. Twilight. It's what got me reading YA, which I never read before that. I love every single one of our books that we've published with Clean Teen Publishing and Crimson Tree Publishing. And because I love them for many different reasons, I am not going to point out any of them here. It would be like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. But I can say that they are all my favorites now, otherwise, we never would have signed them.

10. Where can we learn more about Rebecca Gober and her work with Clean Teen Publishing? 

You can find out more about me and Clean Teen Publishing on our website at: You can also find our social media links on our homepage. I invite you to subscribe to our Newsletter (which by the way I manage), and when you subscribe you will get a free gift!


This past month at UtopYA, I had the great honor of actually meeting Rebecca. She was absolutely amazing and made me so glad to feature her here on my blog. Here's a pic of Rebecca and I alongside the rest of the CTP team!

Left to Right: Ethan, Marya Heiman, Rebecca Gober, and Courtney Nuckels 


Alright everyone, that's all I have for you on Rebecca Gober during this week's Book World: Behind the Scenes! I hope you've enjoyed learning a little bit more about some of the BTS work that goes into making our favorite reads awesome! Be sure to join us next week when we meet another amazing industry professional! 

Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, Happy Reading!


Are you an author? Do you work with an incredible someone who holds a career in one of the above fields? Are you a blogger who has worked with one? I want to honor those awesome people!

I already have a handful of interested parties lined up, but I'd like to add more. If you would like to nominate someone for a spotlight, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Interested parties are encouraged to fill out the Google Doc by clicking here or to contact me (Ethan) directly by shooting an email to

Google Doc:

I think this is an incredible opportunity to show readers and the rest of the bookish community just how much work goes into making a book successful! Let's give those unsung heroes a moment in the spotlight!

1 comment: