Saturday, October 17, 2015

Her Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing Imprint

Her Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing Imprint
by Trinitytwo, NYCC

Ashley Eckstein
Ashley Eckstein, founder of Her Universe, actress, and voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars opened her standing room only NYCC panel entitled "Calling All Aspiring Writers! Hear Big News From Her Universe and Get Expert Advice to Become a Published Writer" with a question. "Why is Her Universe, which specializes in apparel and fashion holding a writing panel?" The answer to her question was this exciting announcement: Her Universe is launching a publishing imprint! Eckstein stated that over the years many of her fans would present her with their books and manuscripts at NYCC and other conventions. They wanted to share their stories but couldn't get them published by conventional means. She brainstormed with her friend Russell Binder, President of Striker Entertainment, and he suggested she start her own publishing imprint. He introduced her to Anthony Ziccardi, publisher at Permuted Press which features books with an apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, or survival horror story bent. Ziccardi is responsible for helping Eckstein get the Her Universe imprint started.

The first book scheduled for release is Weirdest by Heather Nuhfer who is well-known for her comic book work on My Little Pony, Fraggle Rock and Wonder Woman. Nuhfer says her book is about superpowers, but not necessarily helpful ones. Veronica, the thirteen year-old main character, finds out what happens when she can't control her feelings. Her superpower may be that she is "Weirdest". This title will hit bookstores on April 26, 2016 and is available now for preorder on Amazon.

E. Anne Convery and Ashley Eckstein wrote The Confidence Chronicles, a YA steampunk fantasy with a mystery element, which will be released sometime during the summer of 2016. It features tween heroine Adelaide and her automatic owl, Eureka, and takes place in an alternate universe in Gold Rush era California. Convery credits Eckstein as the inspiration for The Confidence Chronicles. The novel's illustrator, Dave Filoni, says what's great about Addie is that she is drawn so that "everybody could be this heroic character."

Panel members E. Anne Convery, Heather Nuhfer, and Melinda Hsu Taylor, gave aspiring authors plenty of expert advice. Convery advised writers not to be nervous about submitting their work. "Do what you love and your passion will shine through." She conceded that sometimes writing can be a struggle, but she encouraged writers to stick with it. Nuhfer's recommendation was direct and to the point: "Finish what you start." Hsu Taylor is the author of the third book from the imprint. She urges writers to "write when you don't feel like it, when you don't have time and to continue writing, even when you think your work is terrible. You will always have time to make it better later."

This imprint was created with first time writers in mind. Her Universe Press is looking for empowering stories that feature positive female protagonists in the sci fi or fantasy genre; think "average girls can do great things". While the main focus is on YA and tweens, they are also open to non-fiction and fiction stories but not comics or graphic novels. Although the press was created with fangirls in mind, Eckstein wants submissions from everyone that has a story to tell. She stressed to the audience that "Her Universe Press is a safe and welcoming space to submit your writings." Eckstein guaranteed that Permuted Press will read each and every submission, and that Her Universe will be looking at them as well. Writers who think their story fits into Her Universe's niche should go to and complete the submission form. It's that easy.


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