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Thread: Solstice Publishing (formerly Hearts On Fire Books)

  1. #51
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairy Tales n Dreams View Post
    Why don't you spend some time writing the next best book in the world instead of bashing what some people are trying to do. Do you even realize how many peoples feelings might get hurt by these RUDE comments. Do something constructive with your time instead. If you have a question for me, my email is also listed!
    If you're going to pen a reply to this thread, maybe you might want to take your own advice and be a little more constructive yourself. Anyone who spends five minutes in this section would see that EVERY publisher and agent and agency is subject to scrutiny - your company is no exception. And scrutiny isn't bashing. Pointing out your company doesn't appear to be run by anyone with publishing experience is not bashing - it's a fact. If it is untrue, it would be more prudent for you as the publisher to calmly correct misinformation, not come in with guns blazing and a very aggressive attitude. Ignoring all other factors, I as a writer would avoid your company like the plague based on your attitude alone. You're representing your company posting here, you might want to remember what kind of an impression you're creating when you post.

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  2. #52
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairy Tales n Dreams View Post
    Why don't you spend some time writing the next best book in the world instead of bashing what some people are trying to do. Do you even realize how many peoples feelings might get hurt by these RUDE comments. Do something constructive with your time instead. If you have a question for me, my email is also listed!
    "Bashing" and "hurt feelings" are emotional terms not useful in a professional context. People are asking here instead of sending questions to email because they want a professional evalution of your answers by people who have been there, done that. In addition, asking in an open forum provides answers for everyone, not just one private emailer.

    I suggest you put on your professional hat and provide professional answers.

    On a personal note, in a helpful mode with no sarcasm: If I were you, I'd drop the attitude if I wanted to come across as a serious businessperson.
    Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? He already killed off all 140 characters.

  3. #53
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by showme View Post
    But do we know that these covers were illustrated by Fairy Tales and Dreams, or were they provided by the authors?
    How would that matter? If FT&D is putting out below-professional-standard products, it reflects poorly on the company, no matter whether their vendors provided the product or the authors provided the product.

    As for "try Random House," that isn't a cutting riposte to those of us who have published with Random House. Which was founded not by writers, but by experienced editors. Just like every other major US publishing house, none of which was founded by a writer.

    In general, when writers try to create publishing houses, things very often don't go well. Mark Twain, for instance, had a horrible debacle in that regard, despite having some major bestsellers in his own works and in the autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant.


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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.R.J. Le Blanc View Post
    Anyone who spends five minutes in this section would see that EVERY publisher and agent and agency is subject to scrutiny - your company is no exception.
    But where does "scrutiny" end, and rudeness begin? If the word gets around that publishers who post here are attacked like an enemy, then it could discourage many from participating. If this happens, it's the writers who will suffer. I believe it's possible to "scrutinise" without being disrespectful.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
    I suggest you put on your professional hat and provide professional answers.

    On a personal note, in a helpful mode with no sarcasm: If I were you, I'd drop the attitude if I wanted to come across as a serious businessperson.
    It's a two-way street though, isn't it? Shouldn't the writers who participate here also act in a professional manner?

  6. #56
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I assure you, word has got around--getting the word out being the point of the forum. Whatever consequences forum users suffer is pretty much their own problem.
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  7. #57
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    As for "try Random House," that isn't a cutting riposte to those of us who have published with Random House.
    It's also a false dichotomy, implying that writers can pick either amateur hour or Random House. There are other options which are likely to be better than certain startup publishers.
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  8. #58
    Is me. Monkey's Avatar
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    Wow.

    That is all.

  9. #59
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by showme View Post
    But where does "scrutiny" end, and rudeness begin? If the word gets around that publishers who post here are attacked like an enemy, then it could discourage many from participating. If this happens, it's the writers who will suffer. I believe it's possible to "scrutinise" without being disrespectful.
    Of course it's possible. Pointing out that no one at this publisher has experience is scrutiny and a fact. It's not being rude. Rude would be saying that this publisher sucks and not giving a reason why. Saying that this publisher has no experience and is not staffed with the right people is scrutiny. It's not rudeness and it's not bashing just because someone doesn't like it. Criticism is part of the business - publishers expect that. Hell, writers expect that. People are going to criticise and scrutinize a publisher's staff, experience, and product - especially when they have no relevant experience to speak of. And while some posters may be tough, I personally don't see anyone being rude except FT&D. Good publishers let their sales and abilities speak for themselves, they don't come onto a forum and tell everyone off for perceived rudeness. If the folks at FT&D can't handle the same kind of criticism others get, and especially other writers-turned-publishers that have a 99.9% fail rate, then that's their problem. Not AW's.
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  10. #60
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by showme View Post
    It's a two-way street though, isn't it? Shouldn't the writers who participate here also act in a professional manner?
    As the publisher, posting on an internet board, it's up to you to be professional whether other posters are or not. You are a business person. They may be authors, wannabe authors, or trolls--you don't know. Therefore, the watchword Ôs "professionalism".

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  11. #61
    Resistance is Everything christwriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairy Tales n Dreams View Post
    Why don't you spend some time writing the next best book in the world instead of bashing what some people are trying to do. Do you even realize how many peoples feelings might get hurt by these RUDE comments. Do something constructive with your time instead. If you have a question for me, my email is also listed!
    Well, IMHO I have written the next best book in the world. I'm sure most of the other writers here would share that sentiment. What I need is a good reason why I should give it to you, or, you know, anybody. After all, this book is a couple years of my life, and if it doesn't suck and does have a good chance of publication, I'd rather not waste that chance on a scam, an incompetent publisher. Hence, checking somebody's references and job history. It is constructive. For the author. Maybe not so much for a publisher that doesn't have much to bring to the table just yet, so you might want to park the snark and start working on constructing a business rep.

    BTW I don't know of any publishers who give rat pellets for whether or not they hurt authors feelings. Why the hell should an author care if they hurt the publisher's? We're expected to have rhino skin. You might want to work on making yours a bit thicker, too.

  12. #62
    I am a mighty viking! TheTinCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by showme View Post
    It's a two-way street though, isn't it? Shouldn't the writers who participate here also act in a professional manner?
    Questioning a publisher's ability to help a writer's career is extremely professional. Questioning whether the contract is good, whether the publisher deserves their cut, and whether writers should sub to them, is more than professional: It's helpful and intelligent.

    Pointing out grammatical or spelling errors on a publisher's website is not rude. Criticizing the quality of the covers is not rude. If you want to run a business, you can't expect your potential customers and partners to keep their concerns and criticisms to themselves because it might make you sad to hear it.

    I mean, I for one would be shocked if I started a thread criticizing the covers of the Harry Potter series, and Scholastic then showed up in here and started talking about their hurt feelings.

  13. #63
    I am a mighty viking! TheTinCat's Avatar
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    Why don't you spend some time writing the next best book in the world instead of bashing what some people are trying to do. Do you even realize how many peoples feelings might get hurt by these RUDE comments. Do something constructive with your time instead. If you have a question for me, my email is also listed!
    I already did my writing for the day.

    And I really wouldn't want someone who doesn't seem to know proper punctuation editing or publishing it.

  14. #64
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    showme:
    Not sure I follow you here. Isn't every business a "start-up" venture at some point? And isn't it usual for a writer to open a publishing house, in much the same way as an electrician starts an electrical company, etc.
    Yes, but there are start-ups and start-ups.

    I would assume that any electrician who starts their own electrical company is someone who is actually qualified to do electrical work and has appropriate experience for them to do the job. The last thing you would want is someone who had once temped as a secretary for their local electrician deciding that this qualifies them to start up as an electrician in their own right.

    Similarly, if someone starting up a publishing company has already worked for a commercial publishing company then it inspires confidence that they know what they are doing. For example, if Christie Browers had worked as an acquiring editor or senior marketing person or accountancy figure at, e.g. Simon and Schuster, then it would give me confidence that she had the background and connections to make FT&D a company worth exploring. Unfortunately, her only experience seems to be with a company that itself does not have an incredible reputation and does not appear to pay advances. That automatically makes me question whether she has the credentials for her company to be worth submitting to.

    showme:
    As far as I can see, Christie Bowers who is CEO at Fairytales and Dreams is not an ex Solstice employee, she is the CEO of Solstice Publishing.
    Whether she's the President, CEO or the cleaning lady who comes in once a week to empty the bins, her only publishing experience is with Solstice Publishing.

    showme:
    How long would you expect it to take with an 8 page ebook?
    It depends on the business model and what they're proposing to publish but usually I wouldn't expect any publisher to make a commitment to turn around on submissions because the number that you'll receive will soon make it difficult to fulfill - particularly if you're under-staffed. 3 to 6 months is usually a good turn around on a submission to a publisher's slush pile and that's regardless of whether you're submitting a short story, novel, novella or picture book.

    showme:
    How much can one "realistically" expect to charge for a tiny book, a few pages long, designed for children? And how much can an author "realistically" expect to earn on royalties from a sale like that?
    A quick look on Amazon will answer your first question on eprices for children's books. Speaking in general terms, I generally see ebook prices starting off at about $3.99 with authors getting 40% on cover price or net (depending on their publisher).

    As to your second question, it depends on who your publisher is and what they're doing to get the ebook out there. The point is that if you're going with a publisher that expects/relies on you to do a lot of the marketing and promotion yourself, then you will more than likely have to spend your own money up front and this is why so many authors find themselves out of pocket at the end of the day.

    showme:
    What kind of "marketing and promotion" do you have in mind for these little stories?
    Well, there's a big children's market out there with established commercial publishers targeting respected print and electronic magazines that review children's books (e.g. Locus for the fantasy market), some tap into schools by offering free downloads to targeted areas. Savvy new publishers can tap into the conference circuit (obvious one would be SCBWI, although they're a clued up bunch), setting up stalls with electronic samples of their authors' work and where possible, getting authors in for signings. Hell, even the clueless but well meaning start-ups know about using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. FT&D seems to have nothing but a blog that you wouldn't look at unless you already knew about the publisher.

    The big thing that helps of course is that established commercial publishers are also offering printed versions of the books, supported through in-store placement which is valuable in and of its own right. When you're shouting on the internet and seem to lack an internet marketing strategy, then how's anyone going to know about you?

    showme:
    There again you say "book" when, in fact, they are merely a few pages long. So what "contract terms" and "marketing and promotion" would you like to see?
    I say "book" because FT&D say "book". Whether something is a picture book only 6 pages long or a novel of 300 pages, it's still a book so I'm not sure what you think you're proving by picking on semantics. We can call it Billy-Bob Jamboree if you prefer but it is still a one-off product being sold as a book (or "ebook" if you want to be precise) on the FT&D website.

    Contract terms I'd like to see would include:

    - a clause stating that the term runs from the date of signature of the contract, with an option to extend by mutual agreement in writing;

    - a clause entitling the author to terminate in the event that they are offered a commercial, advance paying deal elsewhere by provision of notice in writing with no penalty or costs;

    - a clause setting out precisely what rights FT&D is taking (preferably electronic rights only) and setting out the relevant territories it's taking it for;

    - a clause setting out royalty calculations, the author's percentage of royalties and when royalties are paid (this would echo what's already on the FT&D website but set out whether royalties are paid on cover or net);

    - a clause setting out applicable jurisdiction and DRP rights (e.g. is it only recourse to arbitration in a particular state/country or is there recourse to the courts in any country);

    - a clause setting out the minimum marketing and promotion commitment that FT&D will provide - e.g. if there are certain reviewers etc they will provide copies to;

    - a clause setting out how or if the author is entitled to free copies of their ebook and if so, for what purpose;

    - a clause setting out if the author is entitled to discounted copies of their ebook and the implication for royalty calculations.

    However, while there'd be a shopping list of clauses I'd expect to see in a contract, the key is knowing what conditions are actually being offered.

    showme:
    it seems to me that the site is just being constructed, which could account for some of the glitches.
    Well that in itself is not a good sign. No company should be offering books for sale on a site that's still under construction. The point is that you get the site up and running and bug free first, so that customers see a professional looking site.

    showme:
    It would be interesting to know how many publishing houses have been started by writers, as opposed to those with no writing aspirations whatever, and how successful they were.
    If you check out the Index at the top of this discussion board, you'll find the answer to this is dozens, the majority of which are now defunct - taking their authors with them.

    By contrast (and speaking off the top of my head) I don't personally know of any successful publishing house started by a writer. This is generally because writers want to write, rather than publish.

    Fairy Tales n Dreams:
    Why don't you spend some time writing the next best book in the world instead of bashing what some people are trying to do.
    How is raising legitimate questions or concerns about your company (and I'm presuming that you are generally here representing FT&G rather than some sad little troll who gets their jollies by posting hysterical comments) bashing it?

    If you can answer the questions then I'm sure people here would appreciate it. As a general hint, storming in and claiming "bashing" usually results in your confirming people's suspicions rather than refuting them.

    Fairy Tales n Dreams:
    Do you even realize how many peoples feelings might get hurt by these RUDE comments.
    Do you realise how completely stupid this makes you look?

    FT&D is claiming to run a professional, commercial company. That means that it's going to have to deal with questions on the internet. If it can't cope with that, what hope has it got of dealing with an angry customer or an author with a genuine complaint?

    Do you know how many publishing companies are started by clueless but well-intentioned amateurs who go under in the first year of business, taking author's manuscripts (and their dreams and hopes) with them?

    Fairy Tales n Dreams:
    Do something constructive with your time instead. If you have a question for me, my email is also listed!
    No can do, I'm afraid.

    If you know about this site and the questions being raised then either answer them or stay silent. Coming on here, storming about "OMG the internet meanies!!!111! and storming off again makes you look like a hysterical twunt and certainly not someone with the professional attitude that any self-respecting author should want to work with.

    showme:
    But do we know that these covers were illustrated by Fairy Tales and Dreams, or were they provided by the authors?
    Does it matter? No publishing company should be allowing bad covers to go out on its product - regardless of whether it put them on there or the author. And to reiterate, covers are the publishers job in any event.

    showme:
    If the word gets around that publishers who post here are attacked like an enemy, then it could discourage many from participating. If this happens, it's the writers who will suffer.
    This is a site for writers, not for publishers. Most publishers with threads here don't participate because their sales and record speak for themselves. On the rare ocassions when publishers do come here to answer questions, the ones who do so with an apprciation for author concerns and who respond to questions honestly and openly are generally the ones who can show a background of commercial publishing experience.

    The publishers who come here spouting off about internet meanies or making threats or who evade answering questions are the ones who generally aren't in business within the following 12 months.

    You've already posted here on the Damnation Books thread so neither the concerns being raised here or the tone being taken should be a surprise.

    showme:
    It's a two-way street though, isn't it? Shouldn't the writers who participate here also act in a professional manner?
    I treat people with the same respect that they hold out to me.

    Broadly though, no one makes people post here and these boards are tougher than most (with the possible exception of the politics forum) because we've all seen what happens when amateur publishers with no credibility crash and burn and the damage it does to the people who signed with them.

    MM

  15. #65
    Here's the issue as I see it with submitting work to Fairy Tales And Dreams as they are now. (Obviously, they could grow, but I have to go with what's in front of me.)

    I can publish an e-book for free. I can write and illustrate it myself, convert it to e-book format, and plop it up on my website with a Paypal button. If I were to do this, I would keep 100% of the profits.

    Now Fairy Tales And Dreams is asking for authors like me to submit their work and (if accepted), they will take 60% of those profits away from me. What will they give me in return? Not higher quality illustrations.

    Here's one of my illustrations:
    http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs44/f/20...inaKadabra.jpg

    And here's a Fairy Tales and Dreams illustration:
    http://www.fairytalesanddreams.com/A.../76839794b.png

    (btw, I don't consider myself an artist by any stretch of the imagination. There are plenty of authors who actually are artists as well.) So what do I get for giving them 60%? Do they have significantly more traffic going to their site than mine? It seems this thread shows up higher in a Google search for "Fairy Tales and Dreams" than their actual homepage, and it only has 707 views. My dA account alone has 6,700 views, and I'm hardly active on it.

    If you were to publish a book of mine at this current time, Fairy Tales and Dreams, you would basically be taking money from me and lowering the quality of my product. You can see why the authors on this board would strongly recommend against submitting to you. If you are not contributing to the quality or distribution of the book, you should not be taking any of the profits either.
    Last edited by Katrina S. Forest; 07-28-2010 at 08:04 PM.
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  16. #66
    USA Today Bestselling Author Jamiekswriter's Avatar
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    Brava!! Excellent post Katrina Those are a fantastic questions!

  17. #67
    I am a mighty viking! TheTinCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katrina S. Forest View Post
    If you are not contributing to the quality or distribution of the book, you should not be taking any of the profits either.
    This.

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairy Tales n Dreams View Post
    my email is also listed!
    Is this the e-mail on the website? I offered my services under the impression that it was new and a one-man business, but your reply suggested a hierarchy. Out of curiosity, who is above the editor-in-chief?

    My offer was genuine, by the way. I'd like nothing more than to see your company flourish. I think children's e-books are a good idea, and I think the problems people are pointing out could easily be remedied by an one or two on-staff editors and illustrators.

  19. #69
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairy Tales n Dreams View Post
    Why don't you spend some time writing the next best book in the world instead of bashing what some people are trying to do. Do you even realize how many peoples feelings might get hurt by these RUDE comments. Do something constructive with your time instead. If you have a question for me, my email is also listed!

    Before you post rude responses on a public message board, perhaps you should consider if it's really the most professional thing to do.

    You're not really giving the best impression here, and your response is very much like a young child.

    Lots of people read these forums. You might want to keep that in mind.
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  20. #70
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    And yet, they're now listed as a Brand of Solstice. http://www.solsticepublishing.com/br...nd-Dreams.html
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  21. #71
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    Not sure what to think of Solstice. I was offered a contract, but I couldn't find much on them. So I emailed 5 of their authors. 2 have responded, and its been mixed. Any thoughts?
    Last edited by elindsen; 12-25-2010 at 03:44 AM. Reason: Oops


  22. #72
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I think you probably shouldn't post the emails online, just paraphrase them.
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  23. #73
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    I'd like to see mention of who these 'publishing-savvy partners' are on the site. Who the editors are, cover artists, etc and what their experience is.
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  24. #74
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    those werent the emails they sent me. i rewrote them based off of what i was told. what am i expected to think when a former author said no good and a current one loves them?


  25. #75
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DaniDSmith's Avatar
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    Red face

    I am an author with Solstice Publishing. I was originally contracted with them in September of 2010 (I am also published with Liquid Silver Books, a leader in romance/erotica ePublishing with a great reputation). Just to (respectfully) throw in my 2 cents, I have been extremely happy with Solstice. Business with this publisher is always efficient, on the ball, and remarkably quick (many publishers drag their feet, so this, to me, is refreshing). I have published two novels with them, one dark fantasy and one erotic horror, both in print and ebook, and have found the editing staff, as well as the CEO, delightful to work with and extremely professional. Royalties are paid promptly and there is a good effort at promotion.

    I am also a cover artist--I did my own covers with them (as I have done with all my publishers, via their permission), and that work garnered a request that I freelance some of their newer covers. I am paid the SAME DAY each time I email a cover design in, and I have the money in my bank account immediately. (If you want credentials, I am an illustrator who has had work in national publications, a tattoo artist in an award-winning California shop, and a professional painter.) Melissa pays close attention to the desires of her authors re: their covers, but balances it well with what would appeal to that book's demographic. Overall, my experience has been very positive. My sales have been good and just keep getting better. Every week I see Solstice growing in leaps and bounds; upward growth is a good sign.

    As far as author promotion goes, a combined effort is always in order, especially with a small or mid-sized publishing house. Smaller to mid-sized houses, as many know, can be very high quality and offer an excellent selection of unique reads that the big houses would not normally offer. The big pitfall is budget--millions of dollars for promo may not be available to these companies. So the author needs to make an effort, too. A lot of newbie/wannabe authors think that when they get published, they should be able to just sit on their hands and let the pub house do everything. Not true. The author needs to at least have their promo site, their Facebook, etc. set up and ready to get the word out to more readers. It doesn't take much effort and the rewards are wonderful. If you have written a good story, the reviews will begin to pile up and more fans will find you. Many of my fave authors are "cult" status authors, not big names, because their offerings are more interesting and edgy than the "Twilight" fodder coming out of NYC.

    Again, just my personal experience. If Solstice (or Hearts On Fire, if you prefer) had a rocky history, they have certainly smoothed the road out since.
    Last edited by DaniDSmith; 10-16-2010 at 02:40 AM.

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