In a small house in Morgantown, fantastical tales of sci-fi, gothic romance and speculative fiction enter the world.
Teenagers battle their teacher, who they perceive to be a vampire. Homesteaders on the prairie frontier stand up to a madman creating destructive tornadoes in a steampunk version of the “Three Little Pigs.”
The lives of corporate lawyers, Mexican immigrants and a ranch owner intersect in the middle of a March snowstorm.
Writers from all over the country crafted these stories into intricate novels. Each has been published for the world to enjoy by Line By Lion Publications, Morgantown’s own publishing company.
Line By Lion Publications was founded by Amanda Huntley and her husband, Simon, last year to provide an outlet for beginning writers, both in Indiana and around the country.
Together with its sister imprint Three Fates Press, Huntley has put together a diverse slate of authors working in everything from teen-savvy vampire stories to adult horror to feminist-centric science fiction.
“These are wonderful writers with wonderful stories. Five or 10 years from now, you’ll see them in the mainstream,” said Simon Huntley. “They’ll never make $1 million with us. But we can get you started and move you up.”
From the computer desk tucked into her Morgantown home’s back patio, Amanda Huntley commands a stable of 11 authors. She edits new stories, solicits novels from burgeoning writers and gives feedback.
Cover art has to be designed, signing events need to be scheduled and news releases have to be distributed.
“It’s a constant dance,” she said. “You have to find the balance.”
This has been the headquarters of Line By Lion Publications since it formed last summer.
Amanda Huntley had just finished her first book, a lighthearted vampire tale called “Hunter the Horrible.”
She had been a midwife, and after leaving that practice, she stayed at home to school and care for their four children. Her goal since she was 5 years old was to be a writer.
Amanda Huntley writes under the name of K.A. Davur — pronounced “cadaver” if said quickly. Her work is mostly age-appropriate horror for young adults, woven with positive messages of inclusion and trust.
“Hunter the Horrible” sold 300 copies in the first few months, an impressive showing for a first-time author.
But soon after the release of the book, her publisher, Hydra Publications, decided to close. She and other authors were left without a way to market themselves and get their books to the public.
Through connections that she had made within the literary community, and at the urging of other Hydra authors, Amanda Huntley started Line By Lion.
She went from a first-time author to being in charge of the minutiae of other authors’ careers, as well as her own.
“All of the sudden, I had people, I had formatters, I had editors, I had graphic design people to work with,” Amanda Huntley said.
To get started, she had to buy International Standard Book Numbers, the individualized codes assigned to every book in the world. Existing books that her authors were finishing had to be re-edited.
Finished products had to be formatted for both print and e-book. Cover artists and graphic designers were brought on board to add visual images to the words.
The company is a mix of all types of authors, specializing in both children’s, young adult and adult offerings. Line By Lion handles mostly children’s books, while Amanda Huntley formed Three Fates Press with her partners Marian Allen and T Lee Harris to specialize in adult offerings.
J. Cornell Michel is a San Francisco-based author who writes about zombie stories with a different angle.
“In the horror genre, there’s a misogynist angle to a lot of what is written. I kind of wanted to negate that with my feminist twist,” she said.
Michel met Amanda Huntley at Fandomfest, a sci-fi event conducted every year in Louisville. Amanda Huntley held on to her first self-published book, and once Line By Lion was formed, she contacted Michel to help publish her work.
“It’s nice to have someone else to back up your book and believe in you, having support with advertising and someone else to back up your book,” Michel said.
Michel’s mother, Lynne Gardner Cook, also was signed to Line By Lion’s roster of writers. She wrote a children’s book called “Annie Blue-Eyes,” which will help strengthen the company’s offerings for kids.
“All I have to do is write, and Amanda does everything else. It’s a great set-up,” Cook said.
Author Tom Hamkin, a pastor from Kentucky, has developed a series of phonetically based children’s books based on stories he used as a child.
Called “Simpler Times Emerging Readers,” the books will help Line By Lion expand into school markets and book fairs.
“Our authors have more freedom to follow their own stories. We’re not in the habit of telling them what they can and cannot write,” Simon Huntley said.
Small-print publishing is a niche market, Simon Huntley said. Unlike the larger firms, small publishers have to rely on relationships and personal touch to move their writers forward.
“What we’re able to do, we can look at an individual manuscript, spend time with it, spend time with that author. We can work with them individually if we need to,” Simon Huntley said.
Part of the challenge has been getting the Line By Lion name out in the community.
Since forming last year, the company has been a regular at book fairs, science fiction conventions and comic events throughout the country.
“You don’t make a ton of money there, but that’s where you’re going to get a lot of exposure, and that’s where you’re going to build a fan base,” Amanda Huntley said.
Simon Huntley handles a majority of the business and marketing for Line by Lion. He works at a retail center in Indianapolis full-time, but has helped his wife get the publishing company off the ground when he has time.
He has found that outside the realm of best-selling fiction is a huge demand for writers of all kinds.
“It really is a subculture out there. You have authors who are immensely famous within a circuit, but you might never hear their name outside of that. But you go to one of these events, and there are people lined up for this book,” Simon Huntley said.
The company sells its books through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Nook. Working with communities throughout the country, the Huntleys are hoping to get their authors on library shelves as well.
Locally, they partnered with Big Woods Brewery in Nashville to offer a “Books and Brew” night. Many of the company’s authors mingled with literature fans and prospective writers, all over a few beers.
“Instead of selling 1,000 copies at a time at a national chain, we’re selling one book at a time to a person,” Simon Huntley said.
Being based in central Indiana has proven to be advantageous to a small firm such as Line By Lion, Amanda Huntley said.
They are just 30 minutes from the burgeoning literature scene in Indianapolis, as well as being an easy drive to established markets in Louisville, Ky., Ohio and Chicago as well.
“It’s a nice place to be. There are a lot of really author-friendly events nearby, and we’re in a central location to get there,” Amanda Huntley said.