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Thread: Solstice Publishing (formerly Hearts On Fire Books)

  1. #401
    practical experience, FTW josephperin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    Extreme caution. Have you even read this whole thread?
    Obviously, I failed to make my skepticism clear

    My post was intended as an addition to all the red flags.

  2. #402
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by triceretops View Post
    I believed/believe them to be an author mill. That was enough.

    Yes, I have read this thread (just refreshed myself), subscribed to it from the beginning and have one of their contracts. Any info needed on the contract, just PM me.

    Hello,

    I don't normally say much on these threads but I saw this one and thought I would take a minute to reply. Solstice Publishing is in no way an author mill. We are in our 8th year and we only have less than 700 books. And that is with renewing contracts to authors who have been with us since year one. I don't really see how that qualifies us as an author mill. There are new publishers opened less time than Solstice with a lot more books published than that. We do not accept every book sent into us. We offer contracts on books that we personally like and think would do well.

    And as far as our fast turn around. We are not a one of the big companies that needs to hold manuscripts for months on end and then reject them and waste authors time. We have several people who read them. There are times when it takes a few weeks to hear back and there are times when one of our EIC's has some extra time and gets to a book sooner rather than later. We see no need to set up meetings with an author to discuss marketing with them before offering a contract. We are an epublisher.

    If an author is looking for a publisher that takes months to get back to them and set up several meetings and phone calls before offering a contract then maybe an epublisher probably isn't the right publisher for them. Epublishers tend to work on a much faster pace than that.

    Solstice Publishing is in no way an author mill. Like I said we only have less than 700 books after 8 years in the business. We have been to Book Expo America twice already and will be there again this year. If anyone has any questions and would like to speak to us in person our booth number is #2320. We have several authors and staff that will be there and would love to talk to anyone about Solstice.

    Solstice was voted the publisher of the year for 2015 by P & E which I know some will say is just a popularity contest but that does show that we are liked by a lot of authors. We know that we can't please everyone and that is where a lot of the negatively comes into it. All we can do is try and do a rebuttal with the facts.


    We are a recognized publisher by the International Thriller Writers. You can find us listed on their website.

    I hope this helped in some way to tell everyone a little bit more about Solstice Publishing and in no way was it meant to be argumentative at all.

    Thanks
    Melissa Miller
    Last edited by Solstice Publishing; 04-14-2016 at 06:36 AM.

  3. #403
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solstice Publishing View Post
    And as far as our fast turn around. We are not a one of the big companies that needs to hold manuscripts for months on end and then reject them and waste authors time. We have several people who read them. There are times when it takes a few weeks to hear back and there are times when one of our EIC's has some extra time and gets to a book sooner rather than later. We see no need to set up meetings with an author to discuss marketing with them before offering a contract. We are an epublisher.

    If an author is looking for a publisher that takes months to get back to them and set up several meetings and phone calls before offering a contract then maybe an epublisher probably isn't the right publisher for them. Epublishers tend to work on a much faster pace than that.
    The reason trade publishers take a while to make offers is that they read every book they acquire very carefully before making an offer. Usually a couple or more people will read it. Then they'll have a meeting to discuss how they can best market it, and how many sales they think they'll make of it, which leads to calculations on the book's profitability and therefore the level of advance they can offer the author.

    They don't just sit on it in order to waste time: they make sure they're properly prepared and know what they're doing before they make that offer.

    If you're able to do all that within a few hours of receiving a submission, good on you.

    I hope this helped in some way to tell everyone a little bit more about Solstice Publishing and in no way was it meant to be argumentative at all.

    Thanks
    Melissa Miller
    It's good to have publishers come here and discuss things reasonably, so thank you.

  4. #404
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Melissa, with all due respect, and your appearance here is VERY much appreciated, but Mundania also claimed they weren't millish. Let's put that aside for a moment. What is most important is the care and time allotted to each book for proper promo and marketing by the publisher. The big initial sales push is one thing, but the author needs help keeping their book in the spotlight month after month. Any author who is required to heft most or all of the promotion and marketing is doomed to failure. So it's not just how many books a publisher has put out over the years, but how well they're averaging in sales, which reflects right back on the publisher and, sadly, the author.

    I wish you and Solstice all the success in the world. If you haven't already, invest in the services of a marketing manager that does nothing but showcase your books in every way possible. I can assure you that a marketing manager will not have "spare time on their hands" and represents one of the most important positions at a publishing house.
    Last edited by triceretops; 04-15-2016 at 12:17 AM.

  5. #405
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin cardartfth@yahoo.com's Avatar
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    Can anyone here, or from Solstice Publishing, tell me if they do anything for advertising for your book they publish? If not, why would one use them, rather than simply continue to self-publish? Thanks!
    Sue Baumgardner

    My Blog: MaineMysteryWriter

    Murder Mystery/Novel:
    With God in His Hip Pocket

    Younger Reader Mystery/Chapter Book
    He Would Not Forget, Not Ever

  6. #406
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by cardartfth@yahoo.com View Post
    Can anyone here, or from Solstice Publishing, tell me if they do anything for advertising for your book they publish? If not, why would one use them, rather than simply continue to self-publish? Thanks!
    Hello,
    As far as the marketing of our authors and books we do several different things but I will say that we do not work as a publicist. We wonít work one on one with one author over all of our other authors and promote only that book. That being said here are just some of the things

    we do are:
    * sending out newsletters for our books to our subscribers.
    * We do blog posts
    * Facebook post
    *Share posts that the author posts on Facebook to our Facebook page
    * Twitter posts
    *Retweet on Twitter what the author tweets with our Twitter account
    We have a Youtube Channel where we make short videos for our books and for our authors.

    Solstice promotes our books on:
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Pinterest

    We also have accounts with:
    Linkedin
    Manic Readers
    Tumblr
    We have Facebook and 2 Facebook pages. We have 3 twitter accounts.

    I personally spend hours a day doing nothing but promoting our books, but like I said we donít work as a publicist.

    The question is why not continue to self-publish? The honest answer is sure you can do that. But there is a difference. People will argue that point, but there is a difference in being signed with a publisher and self-publishing. Anyone can self-publish. Iím not saying a book is good or bad if itís self-published. What Iím saying is the 100% truthful no holding anything back answer to the question. Anybody can do it. Whether the book is good or bad. Itís not that hard to do it. Anybody can self-publish. Amazon has made it really easy for that to happen now days. So now anyone can call them self an author. Some of those books are good and some are not good. But anyone can do it.
    So to answer the question why would you not continue to self-publish? There is a very easy and important answer to that question.
    In this business image is everything. Small companies and E-publishers may not be considered as good as a big traditional publisher but they are for sure without a doubt better than self-publishing. The question is what is the long term goal in your career as an author?
    If the long term goal is to make it to the big traditional publisher then in my opinion the stepping stone to get there is by starting out with the smaller companies such as an E-Publisher like Solstice.

    I know I risk the chance of getting a lot of people commenting and disagreeing with me on this. (Especially self-published authors) But in todayís world thatís just the way it is. Image is everything. Your image looks better to say Iím published with ďblank publisherĒ rather than ď I self-publishedĒ my book.Ē Iím not saying sign with Solstice or even submit to Solstice. Iím simply answering the question as to why sign with any publisher over self-publishing.

    It looks a lot better on your submissions letter when sending in to a big traditional publisher for them to read somebodyís writing history to have list of publishers rather than to see that an authorís writing history is only books that they self- published without any accountability. They simply wrote a book and uploaded it. Again. Iím not saying that self-published books are not as good. What I am saying is that anyone that has been in this business long enough knows that what Iím saying is true. Image is everything. And when you have just a couple of minutes to get somebodyís attention to even give your book a second glance and your writing history is full of self-publishing and the next guy is full of ďactualĒ publishing the other guy is probably going to get their attention.

    So it comes down to this question. What do you want out of your writing career? Do you want to be taken seriously as an author or do you just want to be another self-published author?

    Melissa

  7. #407
    Thought I'd stop by
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    We'll have to agree to disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by Solstice Publishing View Post
    So to answer the question why would you not continue to self-publish? There is a very easy and important answer to that question.
    In this business image is everything. Small companies and E-publishers may not be considered as good as a big traditional publisher but they are for sure without a doubt better than self-publishing.
    Please understand, I've had no dealings with Solstice Publishing (or Melissa), so my comments aren't directed toward this company or its practices. I've no idea how well their books sell. I wish them and their authors only good things.

    In my experience, a small electronic publisher is not better than self-publishing, assuming the self-publisher does things the right way. You know what I mean: a strong story, a well-edited manuscript, good cover art, the important stuff. Concerned about the challenges of doing things "the right way", I approached small publishers with my first three manuscripts. Those early manuscripts received contract offers so quickly that it gave me pause. I mean, I had offers within two weeks, with three different small publishers. This made me wonder if the editorial teams were very discerning. After all, I do okay but I'm no Nora Roberts.

    With every offer, I contacted a few of the writers that had signed with those publishers. Most of those people had nice comments to offer about everything but how much money they were earning. (A couple of people had horror stories but that's for a different time.) No one was making a living. They hadn't entered the market at the right time, or their genre was saturated, or they hadn't pushed hard enough, or whatever. Everyone blamed themselves, not their publisher, but sales were not good.

    Maybe their small publishing house had made the marketing muscle to make the numbers somewhat less awful, but I have to wonder. One woman had sold three copies of her book in six months, once she'd removed family members from the equation, and one of those copies had been returned for credit. Even though she'd worked with a publisher, I doubt her career was the brighter for it.

    I did sign with one of the small publishers and sold a few hundred copies of my novella. Self-publishing after that, I've sold much better on my own, 40,000+ copies over four titles, but I'm still not making a living. A piece of living, though, and I'm hoping things continue to build.

    Because sales are what you need to drive your career to its next level. Melissa believes differently but I say image isn't everything; the bottom-line is what matters to our corporate masters. If Solstice Publishing moves 100,000 copies of your next novel, you'll probably attract attention. If they sell 60 copies of your next novel, you're still dead in the water. If you self-publish and move 100,000 copies of your next novel, you'll attract just as much attention. If you sell 60 copies, well....

    That's what I believe, anyway.
    Last edited by MartinD; 07-22-2016 at 04:42 AM.

  8. #408
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cardartfth@yahoo.com View Post
    Can anyone here, or from Solstice Publishing, tell me if they do anything for advertising for your book they publish? If not, why would one use them, rather than simply continue to self-publish? Thanks!
    Advertising isn't a very effective tool for bookselling. Trade publishers tend to advertise in the trade press to remind booksellers that Big Interesting Book is being published in a couple of weeks, to give those booksellers time to sort out their last-minute orders and promotional activities: but they don't usually advertise to their potential readers. They do all sorts of other marketing things instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solstice Publishing View Post
    Hello,
    As far as the marketing of our authors and books we do several different things but I will say that we do not work as a publicist. We won’t work one on one with one author over all of our other authors and promote only that book. That being said here are just some of the things

    we do are:
    * sending out newsletters for our books to our subscribers.
    * We do blog posts
    * Facebook post
    *Share posts that the author posts on Facebook to our Facebook page
    * Twitter posts
    *Retweet on Twitter what the author tweets with our Twitter account
    We have a Youtube Channel where we make short videos for our books and for our authors.

    Solstice promotes our books on:
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Pinterest

    We also have accounts with:
    Linkedin
    Manic Readers
    Tumblr
    We have Facebook and 2 Facebook pages. We have 3 twitter accounts.

    I personally spend hours a day doing nothing but promoting our books, but like I said we don’t work as a publicist.
    The problem is you're one of thousands doing exactly the same things, and it's become a sort of internet white noise now. I don't buy books because of that sort of "promotion", and I don't know many other people who do either.

    What are the average sales of your titles?


    The question is why not continue to self-publish? The honest answer is sure you can do that. But there is a difference. People will argue that point, but there is a difference in being signed with a publisher and self-publishing. Anyone can self-publish. I’m not saying a book is good or bad if it’s self-published. What I’m saying is the 100% truthful no holding anything back answer to the question. Anybody can do it. Whether the book is good or bad. It’s not that hard to do it. Anybody can self-publish. Amazon has made it really easy for that to happen now days. So now anyone can call them self an author. Some of those books are good and some are not good. But anyone can do it.
    So to answer the question why would you not continue to self-publish? There is a very easy and important answer to that question.
    In this business image is everything. Small companies and E-publishers may not be considered as good as a big traditional publisher but they are for sure without a doubt better than self-publishing. The question is what is the long term goal in your career as an author?
    If the long term goal is to make it to the big traditional publisher then in my opinion the stepping stone to get there is by starting out with the smaller companies such as an E-Publisher like Solstice.

    I know I risk the chance of getting a lot of people commenting and disagreeing with me on this. (Especially self-published authors) But in today’s world that’s just the way it is. Image is everything. Your image looks better to say I’m published with “blank publisher” rather than “ I self-published” my book.” I’m not saying sign with Solstice or even submit to Solstice. I’m simply answering the question as to why sign with any publisher over self-publishing.
    I'm afraid your logic doesn't hold.

    When an agent or editor receives a submission from an author which includes a list of previously published books, they'll check those books' sales figures as it's reasonable to assume they're representative of the author's sales potential for the next few books. And if those sales figures are poor, they'll pass.

    When writers publish with small publishers which don't effectively promote or market the books they produce, their sales are usually small. So those publications aren't the "stepping stone" to working with a bigger publisher, they're actually a barrier.

    It looks a lot better on your submissions letter when sending in to a big traditional publisher for them to read somebody’s writing history to have list of publishers rather than to see that an author’s writing history is only books that they self- published without any accountability. They simply wrote a book and uploaded it. Again. I’m not saying that self-published books are not as good. What I am saying is that anyone that has been in this business long enough knows that what I’m saying is true.
    I've worked in publishing for three decades, which I think is "long enough". And I know what you're saying isn't true. It's not even close. It's also perilously close to being disrespectful to our many members who have self published. Please remember our one rule: respect your fellow writer.

    Image is everything.
    When I go through a slush pile looking for great submissions I don't care what a writer's image is. I care about how good their writing is, how much commercial potential I can see in their work, and how well their work fits in to the imprint I'm reading for. If a writer has self published to good effect, that's a defininte bonus. If they've published with a small press which has sold very few copies, that's a negative. If they've not published at all, I don't care. It doesn't matter.

    And when you have just a couple of minutes to get somebody’s attention to even give your book a second glance and your writing history is full of self-publishing and the next guy is full of “actual” publishing the other guy is probably going to get their attention.

    So it comes down to this question. What do you want out of your writing career? Do you want to be taken seriously as an author or do you just want to be another self-published author?

    Melissa
    Self publishing is "actual" publishing.

    If self publishing is done well, it beats most obscure small-scale publishers into a cocked hat.

  9. #409
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    But having simultaneously self-published and published with smallish e-publishers--some of the latter were getting me about 1000 sales in the first month of release with a cover price of 6-8 dollars, alone I never managed anything close to that. Not all small epublishers are equal (nor all self-publishers).
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #410
    from words to worlds zmethos's Avatar
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    FWIW, my experience has been similar to MartinD's. I've done fairly well self-publishing and thought I was moving up when a small publisher took me on. However, that book has sold the least of all my titles. Now, I'm not blaming the publisher; there are a lot of reasons that book might not have sold as well. It's a new series, it's a niche market, etc. My next book (new series) comes out with a different small publisher next month, and I'm curious to see how that goes. Because all small publishers are not created equally. And again, this new series is, I believe, more commercial and has the potential to do much better. I guess my point is, product is one end and publisher is another. But so far my self-published work is where I'm making any money. Not a living wage, as MartinD put it, but about 12-13x more than my current small pub gives me each quarter.

    I was eager for the validation being published by some other entity would give me. I'll admit that. But it hasn't given me anything more than that so far. No boost in sales or career or "image" that I'm aware of. And I agree with Old Hack, too--all that marketing is just so much Internet white noise that people have learned to tune it out. My small publisher did those same things: Facebook, Twitter, etc. Didn't get me much.

  11. #411
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Dawn Douglas's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who participated in this thread. Your comments helped me decide whether I should publish with Solstice or go ahead and self-publish.

  12. #412
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by W.K. Greyling View Post
    Thanks to everyone who participated in this thread. Your comments helped me decide whether I should publish with Solstice or go ahead and self-publish.
    I'm glad we helped, but remember there are other choices than just those two.

  13. #413
    figuring it all out msuss's Avatar
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    Solstice published my YA novel, Crashing Eden, in May of 2012. Although all of the Solstice staff with whom I interacted were pleasant enough, I came to regret choosing this publisher.

    I had already published two professional books in clinical psychology with reputable houses (Wiley and Jason Aronson.) I also published a children's picture book, Otto Grows Down, with Sterling, an excellent publisher. All three of these books did quite well.

    In my experience, the editing process at Sterling was cursory and incompetent. Looking back on the novel, it could have used some substantive editing. What it received was sparse line editing, much of which I rejected because it was grammatically incorrect or at odds with standard formatting.

    The cover design for Crashing Eden was simplistic and aesthetically lacking. Rather than use that cover, I chose to pay a graphic designer out of pocket for a better cover.

    When it came out, I busted my butt for over six months on promoting the book. This included sending copies to top Amazon reviewers, dozens of blogger reviews, a couple of newspaper reviews, guest blogging, interviews, and a Facebook ad campaign. I managed to get a few local indie bookshops to carry the title, but only by using my own copies on a consignment basis.

    In my case, as far as I could determine, Solstice did minimal promotion.

    I'm not saying Crashing Eden was an extraordinary novel, but it was good enough to earn an average of four stars on both Amazon and Goodreads. A pilot based on the novel made it into the semi-finals of the Pilot Launch TV Script Contest. And yet, the sales were downright poor. A couple of years later I was informed that the book was out of print, even though it was POD through CreateSpace. Even the eBook is unavailable. Realistically, I would have done better with a vanity press, but my own vanity ruled out that option!
    Crashing Eden (Solstice, 2012)

    Otto Grows Down (Sterling, 2009)

    A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy (Jason Aronson, 2007)

    http://MichaelSussmanBooks.com

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