Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Guest Post - Editor-in-Chief of Pill Hill Press

I’m honoured to have the Editor-in-Chief of Pill Hill Press, Jessy Marie Roberts, on my blog today. Jessy kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about the process behind creating their short story anthologies. I’ve had several stories published and accepted for Pill Hill Press anthologies and have been impressed by both the print quality and the stories contained within. So, with no further delay, let me hand over to Jessy Marie Roberts.

What is the meaning of “Pill Hill”?

My house was the original hospital in Chadron, Nebraska. The house on which it's perched is locally known as Pill Hill.

On the Pill Hill website it says your house is haunted. Did the ghost influence your decision to create Pill Hill Press and specialise in speculative fiction?

That's funny. No, the ghosts had nothing to do with my decision to open Pill Hill Press.

Apart from you, there are several other editors. How does that work?

We communicate via email, text messaging and phone calls.

There always several anthologies about to go to press or open for submissions. How do you come up with the ideas?

If I come across an idea that I think would make an interesting anthology, I run it by my husband (author/editor Alva J. Roberts) and some trusted friends in the small press community. If everyone agrees it's a good idea, I write up a call for submissions. Also, I try to listen to ideas/suggestions from the authors who frequently contribute to PHP's anthologies.

Pill Hill Press now has a Kindle Store. How is that going?

We're new to the eBook world, so we've been pleasantly surprised by our success in the electronic venue.

The ‘to read’ pile must be huge. How enjoyable to you find the submission process?

While I like the submission process (it's where I get a first look at how the anthology is going to come together), sometimes it is overwhelming... we get hundreds of submissions a month. Organization is key. I have lists upon lists of deadlines and daily tasks. Keeping up with the slush pile is challenging, but very rewarding.

What makes a good Pill Hill Press story?

Pill Hill Press is interested in stories that capture the reader's attention right away, and deliver a satisfying, comprehensible ending.

What advice would you give to anyone considering submitting a story?

Read the guidelines. As I sift through so many stories, I get a little frustrated when I realize that an author hasn't bothered to read any of our writer's guidelines (available on our website at Also, proof read your story. Read it out loud and listen for awkward passages. Have a trusted friend or colleague give you constructive criticism. Revise, revise, revise. Thirdly, make sure you are familiar with what the editor/publisher is looking for. An author can send in the world's most fantastic puppy story, but it won't be accepted if the theme of the anthology is werewolves on Mars.

Finally, some fun random questions:

Zombies or vampires? Vampires.

Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead? Shaun of the Dead.

Stephen King or Stephenie Meyer? Stephenie Meyer (Yeah, I know... he sparkles!).

Paperback or ebook? Paperback.

Starbucks or Costa? I don't drink coffee.

A huge thank you to Jessy for agreeing to guest on my blog. If you are interested in learning more about Pill Hill Press and it's current anthologies open to submissions click here.


  1. A lively interview demystifying how the face behind the publisher thinks! Well done!

  2. Wonderful interview, thank you Ellie Garrat and Jessy Marie Roberts. I love the advise given here to writers thinking of submitting.

    Take care

  3. Loved the interview. Some of the answers made me chuckle. Great fun and informative too.

    Madeleine x
    (I'm a Costa girl myself).

  4. Great interview, Ellie. Thank you!

    But what, no coffee? Is that possible?

  5. Great interview! I have been thinking about submitting to Pill Hill, so this information has been really helpful.

  6. Thank you!

    Madeleine - I'm a Costa girl too. They do a great soya decaf, which is a winner for me.

    Talli - I didn't think it was possible to write without coffee, either LOL.

    Janel - You should think of submitting to Pill Hill Press, you won't be disappointed if your story is accepted.

  7. A coup of an interview Ellie. Good questions and very interesting responses.

    I'm a non-coffee person too, more of a char lady.

  8. Great interview! I will definitely check out Pill Hill Press! I love the name of it, too!


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