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Thread: Pill Hill Press

  1. #1
    Hates Marketing. Loves Writing. The Grump's Avatar
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    Pill Hill Press

    Has anyone here had any experience with them? Or, know someone who has?

    They appear to be new, publishing short story anthologies and have a call for science fiction/dark fantasy/horror/suspense novels.

    Url: http://www.pillhillpress.com/index.html
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  2. #2
    phoenix blazing Parametric's Avatar
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    Friend of mine asked me to look into Pill Hill Press back in August. I'll just copy and paste what I told him.

    • The owner lists no track record in publishing. I suppose she might have a deeply hidden one that she mysteriously didn't want to list, but googling turns up nothing. Editing and publishing are extremely specialised skills you learn through experience - experience the owner doesn't seem to have.
    • The covers are obviously clipart, and pretty eye-gouging at that. That suggests to me that the press has no money to pay for decent cover art and/or has no intention of actually selling a book to an actual reader, for whom cover art would be important.
    • They appear to be trying for print, but don't provide crucial information - offset or print-on-demand? Print runs? Distribution? Wholesalers? Are the books returnable, and what's the discount for bookstores? How exactly is a book supposed to make it through typesetting, through the printing presses, through the warehouse, into the bookstore and off the shelf into a reader's hands?


    No experience, no track record, no distribution. There are so many micropresses out there exactly like this that I wouldn't bother with this one. I suppose it's possible that they're secretly shifting thousands of copies of their anthologies, but I'd think it's more like double figures.

  3. #3
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    No experience, but I'm a bit concerned with their release schedule.

    Publication is going to take place one month after ceasing to take submissions?

    That doesn't exactly leave a lot of time for editing, printing, marketing or anything that makes me think these books are getting into bookstores.

    Plus payment of one author copy?

    I think I'd wait a bit before plunging in, unless you just have a burning need to send them a horror story.

  4. #4
    What happened? ChristineR's Avatar
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    I googled "Shadows and Light Tales of Lost Kingdoms" and found a number of posts to message boards by drive-by posters (people with only two or three posts total on that board) which said (more or less) "This was a great book."

    Hmm. It hasn't been out for very long though, so maybe I'm overly suspicious.

  5. #5
    Hates Marketing. Loves Writing. The Grump's Avatar
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    Thanks. I was sort of wondering ...
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  6. #6
    Likes picnic with roast beef. Eirin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard White View Post
    Publication is going to take place one month after ceasing to take submissions?
    That's hasty. Like, really hasty.

    Clearly they're not going for bookstore placement.

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  7. #7
    9 of 10 Overlords prefer Evil Pie! K_Woods's Avatar
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    They're soliciting novels, now.

    http://www.pillhillpress.com/novel-submissions.html

    I am definitely not experienced enough to tell, but the farther down I read, the more red flags were popping up. Am I the only one who thinks that some of those terms and conditions sound bad?

    Maybe it's because of the recent Horizons/DellArte brouhaha, but one look at the paragraph about PHP's distribution made me think of that and cringe.
    Nothing to see here...no, really. Not even in almost-invisible white text.

  8. #8
    Well, I submitted one of my stories earlier for their anthologies, so wish me luck!

  9. #9
    Banned for Spamming profen4's Avatar
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    I just did a quick amazon check of one of their books on their website "The Middle of Nowhere: Horror in Rural America" and the publisher is listed as Aventine Press - a self publishing outfit. I don't know if it is a branch of Pill Hill or if the author self-published first and then found Pill Hill. I don't see any information on distribution which probably means there isn't any.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 02-07-2016 at 04:27 AM. Reason: code weirdness

  10. #10
    9 of 10 Overlords prefer Evil Pie! K_Woods's Avatar
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    That's an anthology, not a single-author book. Not a good sign if you ask me...
    Nothing to see here...no, really. Not even in almost-invisible white text.

  11. #11
    What happened? ChristineR's Avatar
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    The likely reason Amazon would list them as Aventine (a vanity/self outfit) would be that they acquired their ISBN from Aventine. Amazon is just reading the ISBN database back to you. Once a block of ISBN is assigned, you cannot transfer it, even if the printer writes something else on the back of the book. I note that Aventine on their site says they'll sell you an ISBN or use yours.

    Since the date on it is Sept. 9, 2009, I think it kind of unlikely that it was an earlier effort. Possibly after it went out they figured out how ISBN work, and got their own.
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  12. #12
    Inappropriate Charmer Saanen's Avatar
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    I know two or three writers who've had stories accepted to various of their anthologies. They seem happy with the contract and payment. I had a story rejected from one antho with a short but useful critique, for what it's worth.

    I didn't realize they were also accepting novel submissions. It seems like a lot of anthology/ezine editors are making the jump to book publisher lately, apparently without any real idea of what that involves.
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  13. #13
    Almost expert! jerry phoenix's Avatar
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    ive just submitted to this press. one of their new anthologies looks like a good home for one of my shorts. i am starting to think their payment is a bit light, because my story is sooo amazing its worth shed loads. :")

    there is no mention of royalties.

    this thread is a few months old now. has anyone had any recent response from pillhillpress?
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  14. #14
    has a hedgehog annetookeen's Avatar
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    I submitted to the werewolf antho and it's been three months, no response. They sure are taking their time considering they have a no simsub policy


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  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin iowawriter's Avatar
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    They have rejected two of my shorts and accepted one. I have to say, as far as the editing goes they are quick, but to be fair, quite good. She whipped the story they accepted into much better shape than it was when I sent it to them. Granted, they cut about 800 words from it, but it really was for the better. I would be happy to send something to them again. (and for the record the edits are done on this antho but they are waiting for the illustrator to finish before it goes to press and this antho includes at least one NYT bestselling author.)

  16. #16
    has a hedgehog annetookeen's Avatar
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    this is weird, I found their forum in lefora and one post said their slush pile for the werewolf anthology is empty. I didn't even receive any news of my story. The first work I submitted in a different antho, they rejected and addressed me with a different name :O
    kind of a sloppy job handling submissions...


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  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin iowawriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annetookeen View Post
    this is weird, I found their forum in lefora and one post said their slush pile for the werewolf anthology is empty. I didn't even receive any news of my story. The first work I submitted in a different antho, they rejected and addressed me with a different name :O
    kind of a sloppy job handling submissions...
    I have had stories lost, either coming or going, at many magazines/anthologies. I have had mail get lost and I have had e-mails just disappear. It has happened at small presses and large magazines. It happens. As far as the name thing- I got nothing.

  18. #18
    World Class Rambler EFCollins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annetookeen View Post
    this is weird, I found their forum in lefora and one post said their slush pile for the werewolf anthology is empty. I didn't even receive any news of my story. The first work I submitted in a different antho, they rejected and addressed me with a different name :O
    kind of a sloppy job handling submissions...
    These things happen. People make mistakes. I know a writer that hit send on a submission and as the email was sending, she realized she'd typed "Hell" instead of "Hello". The recipient thought it was funny, so no worries. I myself have sent outdated bios of myself, addressed the wrong person, accidentally sent a mass email, which means no one got my email but me cause I don't have any saved contacts in my list on my professional email, sent my Weird Tales cover letter to Silverthought online once. Humans are fallible. Laugh about it. I've had a publisher address me as Mr. Collins (though I've not met a man called "Ellen"--my name or "Effie"--my pen name). It happens. And it's funny because we (writers) tend to think of editors as some big, scary thing just waiting to stamp (hit) reject for simple mistakes and these instances remind us that they're just people... and they make them too.

    Now: If they say there are no subs to their werewolf antho, most likely their email address isn't working. Someone should contact them at an alternate address and state that they submitted a story to the email for the werewolf section. Then they can make sure it isn't something on their end, like a mis-typed word in the contact email address on their site (like werewolfantho@blahmail.blah] that should actually be typed with another (dot) like: werewolf.antho@blahmail.blah [not actual addresses]). Most likely, things are getting lost in the ether.
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  19. #19
    has a hedgehog annetookeen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EFCollins View Post
    These things happen. People make mistakes. I know a writer that hit send on a submission and as the email was sending, she realized she'd typed "Hell" instead of "Hello". The recipient thought it was funny, so no worries. I myself have sent outdated bios of myself, addressed the wrong person, accidentally sent a mass email, which means no one got my email but me cause I don't have any saved contacts in my list on my professional email, sent my Weird Tales cover letter to Silverthought online once. Humans are fallible. Laugh about it. I've had a publisher address me as Mr. Collins (though I've not met a man called "Ellen"--my name or "Effie"--my pen name). It happens. And it's funny because we (writers) tend to think of editors as some big, scary thing just waiting to stamp (hit) reject for simple mistakes and these instances remind us that they're just people... and they make them too.
    LOL, that always happens to me! I accidentally press "enter" and the message flies! Grrr, I also sent a query to the wrong publisher, but the editor replied anyway, didn't seem angry, but now I'm shy to submit to them again


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  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Lol, this has happened to me too. I just published a novel called "Bloodmaiden", but the first two times I emailed the publisher, I called him "Ms. Schenning", then proceeded to call him by entirely the wrong name! He never mentioned it though, and my book is happily published! ^_^
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  21. #21
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    One serious issue is the track records of the writers editing their anthologies. Where they have published anything through other outlets, it's self- or vanity-publishers (Aventine Press and PublishAmerica). Of course, that doesn't imply anything about the quality of their books: they could be excellent works that simply slipped through the cracks of mainstream publishing. But I can't say that this publisher fills me with enthusiasm, based on what I've read.

    Ultimately, though, it's the way they propose to remunerate authors that raises the biggest red flag. The "editor's favorite" in some anthologies receives a one-off fee of $50 plus a free copy, the second placed story gets $25 and a free copy, the third placed story gets $10 and a free copy, and the other contributors get no money and no free copy. For other books, nobody gets anything at all. Yet doubtless they will buy copies for themselves, as will their friends and families which is clearly how Pill Hill Press makes its cash.

  22. #22
    Inappropriate Charmer Saanen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Falk View Post
    Ultimately, though, it's the way they propose to remunerate authors that raises the biggest red flag. The "editor's favorite" in some anthologies receives a one-off fee of $50 plus a free copy, the second placed story gets $25 and a free copy, the third placed story gets $10 and a free copy, and the other contributors get no money and no free copy. For other books, nobody gets anything at all. Yet doubtless they will buy copies for themselves, as will their friends and families which is clearly how Pill Hill Press makes its cash.
    I agree completely. In fact, I just came here from Duotrope where I noticed Pill Hill has announced a few new anthologies with this "pay scale." Their first anthologies paid a token amount per word to every contributor, but they seem to have gone to the contest type of payment now for everything. That tells me they aren't selling very well and can't afford to pay everyone, which says a lot about their distribution.
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  23. #23
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    Editing is a key issue with any publisher, but even more so with a POD because their financial foundations are a lot more shaky. This means they don't have the editing background necessary to finesse a book into a marketable product. A month to "edit" a book? At that rate, they could mow over my daughter's stereo and never even hear it.

    Most authors have the intent of creating some kind of literary footprint with their writing, so it doesn't sound like a wise decision to give it away to a publisher who isn't in the position to take it anywhere.

  24. #24
    I wish I'd thought to look here before I sent Pill Hill Press a request to look at my book. Just emailed it. Reflex--referral from another publisher.

    Anyway, has anyone had recent book publishing experience with PHP? Their terms do seem severe.

    Any info appreciated.

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I was thinking of sending them a short story and noticed that their pay scale ranged all over the place. One of my friends is a member of their forum, so I asked him about it. Apparently they announced their paying anthologies at the start of the year and these new ones were requested by forum members. When the forum members were told that Pill Hill did not have it in their budget, the forum members actually asked for low/no paying anthologies.

    I haven't been in the writing business all that long but is it a good or bad thing when a press caters to its forum members like that? My friend thinks it’s awesome, and will drone on and on about how much he likes them. But I am still not sure. He is getting a contributors copy of one of their anthologies. I will post again once I take a look at it.

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