Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Publisher Spotlight: Maria Dismondy of Cardinal Rule Press

Today I’m excited to have Maria Dismondy here. She is the CEO of Cardinal Rule Press.

Hi Maria! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Maria:

1.  Tell us how you became the CEO of Cardinal Rule Press and what made you decide to found it.

The answer to this question is pretty funny because I never wanted to start a company! I went to college

to become a teacher. As a teacher, I found children’s literature was lacking stories that were realistic fiction. I decided to write a book and a few years later, it was released by a local publisher and the book was called Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun. Ten books down the road, I decided I wanted to share the knowledge I had learned as an author and started Cardinal Rule Press.

About Your Publishing Company:

2.  Share a bit about your publishing company and what it offers to its authors and illustrators.

Cardinal Rule Press produces children’s picture books that reflect modern day diversity. I carried out the mission of wanting to add realistic fiction to the literacy world. We offer education to our authors which is not common for a traditional publishing company. If our authors know how to build an author platform to market their books, then our publishing company, our distributor and the author ALL benefit from their efforts. We feel our commitment does the same for our distributor and author. We are #bettertogether.

What the Publishing Company Is Looking For:

3. Cardinal Press publishes picture books. What genres/types of books does your publishing company focus on and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres/types of books?

We are looking for books for children that are less than 1000 words, are realistic fiction and offer an important life message for children indirectly while offering an entertaining storyline.

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to see in the genres/types of books that your company is interested in publishing?

We would love to see a picture book that is “based on a true story.” We love to be able to connect the story with the real life character who inspired it. We also haven’t seen a ton of historical fiction land in our inbox but would be delighted if these types of manuscripts did!

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5.  What types of submissions are you not interested in? 

Honestly, we really just want authors and writers to follow the rules of our submissions. It’s a waste of their time and ours when the general guidelines are not followed. A sci-fi picture book is not realistic fiction. When this comes into our submissions inbox, we know the author didn’t take the time to research our company mission and purpose.

Editorial Publisher:

6.  Share what it would be like for an author or illustrator to work with an editor at Cardinal Rule Press. 

The editorial process is pretty simple and digital. Our content editor reviews the manuscript in a Google Doc format and leaves comments for editing in the document. Our authors usually only require one round of edits which is pretty amazing! Once we move into the copy editing phase, the book is already illustrated and laid out. Again, this is not usually a big deal and there are only small changes made at this time. 

Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)

7. How should authors and illustrators submit to Cardinal Rule Press and what should they include with the submission?

We ask for a complete manuscript along with a cover letter (also known as a query letter in the book industry). Something that may seem unusual is that we ask the writer to include three comparable titles in their cover letter. We spend a lot of time researching the market before offering a contract on one of our books. We like to see that writers are doing their research as well and making sure that their story is unique to the book world.

8.  Do you have any specific dislikes in cover letters or the manuscript submitted to your company? 

Again, we go right back to following the guidelines. Make sure you add in the comp titles and that you tell us why your story needs to be sold to the market. What makes your book special? You are selling not only your manuscript but yourself as an author as well. How will you go the extra mile to promote your book once it’s launched? We like to see that those would join our team are eager to put in 150%. 

Response Time:

9.  What’s your company’s response time to submissions? 

We have an open submissions period which runs from November 1st to February 1st each year. We make our decisions within 4 to 6 weeks after that. 

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

10.  Can authors and illustrators who have self-published or been published by other smaller presses submit to Cardinal Rule Press? 

Absolutely! All are welcome! 


11. Who are some of your published authors and illustrators?

Our list of authors and illustrators contains debut releases, meaning we were the first published book they released. Some of our team are veterans in the industry. It’s a beautiful, diverse mix. You can find out more on our website here. https://cardinalrulepress.com/creatives/ 

Links and Contact Info:

12. Please share how writers and illustrators should contact Cardinal Rule Press to submit a manuscript and its links on the Web. 

Check out those important guidelines here. https://cardinalrulepress.com/submissions/


13. How does Cardinal Rule Press market the books it publishes? How does it support its authors and illustrators in promoting their books? 

This is an area where we feel our team really thrives, in marketing. Being that I was an author before I was a publisher, I know what was and was not helpful. We offer a free, six week mentorship to our authors when they first join the team. We meet weekly and go over several topics to help them on their journey. Most of it pertains to marketing their author platform and books. After they complete this course, they are welcome to join our monthly office hours where members from the CRP team work with authors to solve problems or brainstorm creative ideas with them. Once a quarter, we hire speakers to educate our authors in areas like website messaging, YouTube with authors, productivity and more! 

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Maria! 

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 17th I have an agent spotlight interview with Jennifer Herrington and a query critique giveaway 

Monday, March 22nd I have an interview with debut author Christina Li and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Clues to the Universe 

Wednesday, March 24th I have an interview with publisher Maria Dismondy of Cardinal Rule Press 

Monday, March 29th I have an interview with debut author Jessica Olsen and a giveaway of her YA fantasy Sing Me Forgotten 

Tuesday, April 6th I’m participating in the April Showers Giveaway Hop 

Wednesday, April 7th I have an interview with debut author Alexandra Overy and a giveaway of her YA fantasy These Feathered Flames and my IWSG post 

Monday, April 12th I have an interview with debut author Kaela Rivera and a giveaway of her MG fantasy based on Mexican mythology Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls 

Wednesday, April 14th I have an agent spotlight interview with Emily Fortney and a query critique giveaway 

Friday, April 16th I’m participating in the Rainbow on Roses Giveaway Hop 

Hope to see you tomorrow!




nashvillecats2 said...

Great interview with Maria, I find inteviews very interesting knowing about the different authors.

Take care Natalie.

Patsy said...

I'm not a kid, but I do like realistic fiction. Somehow it works better as an escape from reality if I believe it really could happen.

Liz A. said...

Sounds like a great publishing company.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Nice interview. I hope they do well.

Angie Quantrell said...

Great interview, Maria! Thanks for sharing about Cardinal Rule Press. I can't wait for November to get here. :)

Thanks, Natalie!

Rosi said...

Great interview. I am marking Nov. 1 on my calendar. Thanks for the post.

Computer Tutor said...

Maria's children's book sounds great. I can see the kids at her school putting spaghetti in their hot dog buns! And her advice--spot on.

Ronna Mandel said...

Very helpful to hear from Maria about CRP. It sounds like they really care about and support their authors.