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Thread: Shadowfire Press

  1. #1
    Inarticulate Herb MumblingSage's Avatar
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    Shadowfire Press

    http://www.shadowfirepress.com/

    Anyone had any experience with them? I believe their editor is a member of this forum, but I can't find a thread here in the BR&B Check.

  2. #2
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    No sales data on EV's EREC site.

    The bookstore on the Shadowfire site doesn't list page/word counts, so I've no idea if their prices are competitive for e-books. And the cover art doesn't do anything for me. So as a reader I probably wouldn't shop there.

  3. #3
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    -covers are photo manips. I hope they have permission to use those photos!
    -Editor-in-Chief's only experience is running an ezine and publishing chapbooks of poetry by other poets. Is also a writer
    -Finance Offcier is also a writer, in charge of royalties, is the Customer Service Rep and is learning how to make cover art.
    -Layout and Design artist does cover art on a voluntary basis.
    -none of the editing staff has any editing experience.
    -pretty much the rest of the staff has little to no relevant experience. Many are authors probably published under Shadowfire. Editor-in-Chief's books are published by the company which kind of makes me wonder if Shadowfire initially was a self-pub venture.
    -common grammar mistakes on the website.

    Probably well-meaning folks, but I wouldn't send my book there. Unimportant, word counts and prices are here.
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  4. #4
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Okay to address a few points brought up.

    I started out as a first reader for a small press publisher back in the mid-1990s. I did editing after that for a publisher that is no longer in business. Yes, I ran a print zine and published numerous poetry chapbooks from various genre poets, mostly horror based.

    All the staff has relevant experience. Most hold degrees in English and have experience editing either from other publishers or do so in their daily jobs. We post the bios we're given. Only myself and Auburnimp are also published by us as authors.

    Tracy is both my business and writing partner. We started the company because a publisher where we had a lot of work placed closed their doors which left several of our series orphaned. Other books of mine at Shadowfire Press went out of contract elsewhere as have some of Tracy's series. She wears many hats and so do I. That's the nature of a small company.

    I didn't open Shadowfire Press to self publish. I publish the majority of my new work through other venues, right now I have books at Loose Id and I've ended contracts at a couple other publishers which didn't work out for me. (I do like to be paid on time.)

    We pay monthly, and have -never- been late with a payment since we opened in 2008.

    Sales vary widely depending on the genre. A lot of our authors are newer and don't have a reputation or following. Some books sell in the dozens of copies, other sell well into three figures. We currently have several books that have made the bestsellers lists at All Romance eBooks, including 'When a Pack Dies' by Gwen Campbell which is currently #3 overall in sales.

    I do all the image selection for our covers and yes, we have purchased the rights to the images used as does every other ebook publisher. Coyote does the photo-manipulation since he's the professional graphics designer. Most ebook publishers, including many of the 'biggies', also use stock images and photo-manipulation for their cover art.

    We have many loyal readers who return every release to buy our books. We have a very strong male/male readership.

    There is no data on the EREC site because we have just entered our second year in business. (We opened in August 2008 and the majority of the first releases were our orphaned books from that closed publisher.) Also, EREC is only interested in Erotic Romance and not all our books fit that designation.

    We pay for ads for our authors books. We do promotions for our authors which includes posting excerpts to various places, announcing releases on several sites--including Twitter and LiveJournal--and we send out books for review as they are released.

    As far as grammar mistakes, I write our web pages the way I speak, and that's not always grammatically correct.

    Also, unlike the vast majority of ebook publishers, we're not playing 'author mill'. We've selected a few authors and are working to help them develop a following. In fact, we have closed to all submissions for the remainder of the year, and will only be reading very selectively in 2011.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
    Last edited by michael_b; 10-17-2010 at 09:29 AM.
    Michael Barnette
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  5. #5
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.R.J. Le Blanc View Post
    Unimportant, word counts and prices are here.
    Ta. I'd missed that. But then, so might other casual shoppers if they go right to the bookstore as I did -- there's a link to the words/price page from the main page but not the bookstore page or the individual title pages. Webmistress might want to think about that.

  6. #6
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael_b View Post
    As far as grammar mistakes, I write our web pages the way I speak, and that's not always grammatically correct.
    As a writer, I don't necessarily expect the owner of a publishing house to have perfect grammar. I'm not even fussed if the acquiring editor doesn't. Like agents, they need to be able to pick good books, not necessarily do content or line editing. But I do expect anyone who is doing actual editing at a press to have perfect grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, and that should come through in the web content they write.

    Michael has been a writer since the mid-1990s, starting out as a poet and graduating to prose in 1997. He is multi-published in several genres including a few professional short story sales. Back in the 1990s he also published a small horror and poetry zine, evernight, under the Shadowfire Press imprint, which is where the company got it's name. In addition to publishing evernight the former incarnation published quite a few poetry chapbooks by different poets--and the current incarnation has published one poetry ebook, Michael's Children of Evernight which contains some of his vampire poetry. Michael is in charge of all submissions, some editing and acts as the art director as well as doing the bulk of website programming for Shadowfire Press.


    I can spot at least four errors in the above text. As Shadowfire has a copyeditor and two proofreaders on the team, I'd strongly suggest getting them to edit the web content.

  7. #7
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    As a writer, I don't necessarily expect the owner of a publishing house to have perfect grammar. I'm not even fussed if the acquiring editor doesn't. Like agents, they need to be able to pick good books, not necessarily do content or line editing. But I do expect anyone who is doing actual editing at a press to have perfect grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, and that should come through in the web content they write.

    I can spot at least four errors in the above text. As Shadowfire has a copyeditor and two proofreaders on the team, I'd strongly suggest getting them to edit the web content.
    Bios are written in a conversational and casual format by the person they are about. We don't enforce the rules of grammar on such personal, conversational pieces as they come out too stilted and dry sounding. There is a place for formal grammar and a place where conversational style is appropriate. Our authors are people, as are our staff and people do not always communicate in a formal manner.
    Michael Barnette
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  8. #8
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Michael, I'm not talking about voice or casual/formal. I'm talking about basic punctuation, such as understanding the difference between the possessive form of "it" versus the contraction of "it is". I'm talking about using gerunds and dependent clauses in a way that do not impair the reader's understanding or give the impression that you do not understand basic industry terms.

    ::shrug:: It's your company. I'm just giving you my impressions as a reader-shopper and as an author.

  9. #9
    USA Today Bestselling Author Jamiekswriter's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I've got a fantasy short story published on Shadowfire.
    http://shadowfirestore.com/index.php...roducts_id=126

    The contract was author friendly. The edits were professional and made sense. I loved the cover art. My royalty statements come monthly and on time.

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    Publishing is a two-pronged sojourn - editing and marketing. You can't be successful unless you know how to do both. I'm seeing the case made for the editorial side - though Unimportant points out the basic punctuation errors, which doesn't instill a lot of confidence on that front.

    However, what I'm not seeing is anything that says you know how to market and promote books. I'm the first to admit that I know squat all about e-publishers, but what I have noticed is the really successful ones have a big advertising footprint. I haven't necessarily seen much about their books, but they're very good at producing delicious ads about their companies, and this drives people to their site. Once they get people to their site, then the buyer can browse their online store.

    So perhaps an important question for those interested in Shadowfire would be what is your experience with selling e-books? How do you drive readers to your site?

  11. #11
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
    Publishing is a two-pronged sojourn - editing and marketing. You can't be successful unless you know how to do both. I'm seeing the case made for the editorial side - though Unimportant points out the basic punctuation errors, which doesn't instill a lot of confidence on that front.

    However, what I'm not seeing is anything that says you know how to market and promote books. I'm the first to admit that I know squat all about e-publishers, but what I have noticed is the really successful ones have a big advertising footprint. I haven't necessarily seen much about their books, but they're very good at producing delicious ads about their companies, and this drives people to their site. Once they get people to their site, then the buyer can browse their online store.

    So perhaps an important question for those interested in Shadowfire would be what is your experience with selling e-books? How do you drive readers to your site?
    From my prior post above:
    We pay for ads for our authors books. We do promotions for our authors which includes posting excerpts to various places, announcing releases on several sites--including Twitter and LiveJournal--and we send out books for review as they are released.

    I've been epublished since 2004 and none of my prior publishers did beans to help their authors promote. I've developed a marketing strategy during that time that made me a bestselling author with several of my former--and my current--publishers. It works for our authors as well and has helped them grow their readership.

    As a bestselling m/m author, my name helps draw readers to our company.

    We also have a person who posts our promotional newsletters (Judie) to numerous venues, and a review coordinator (Dawn) who sends out our books for review.

    Point of fact, we do more than the majority of epublishers to help our authors gain sales.

    In addition we have an anti-pirating team that helps protect our authors by sending take down notices to the download sites where pirated ebook files are hosted. Few other ebook publishers do this. They leave it to their authors to find the illegal downloads of their books and send the take down notices. If one of our authors discovers a pirate has uploaded their books, they can report it to us and we send the notice for them. We also proactively seek such illegal downloads and have them removed. This protects our authors in several ways: First, it gets illegal downloads off the net. Second, it protects their copyright. Third, it helps protect their power to earn money from sales of their books.

    As far as the editing goes, I don't do much of it. I select stories for publication and do a 'beta edit' marking up rough spots, plot holes and continuity based things I that may need to be fixed. The majority of all editing falls to our editing staff of Helen, Jeremy and Kathryn.

    Oh, and on the it's/its front, that's one of my most common typos. That's all it is, a typo. I do know the difference, but my fingers seem to be stuck putting 's at the end of any it needing an 's'. Thanks for pointing it out to me.
    Michael Barnette
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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
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    When will you be open to subs again?

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    Could I just step in here and thank Michael B for not being defensive? I've seen many agents and editors who've found in-depth discussions of how legit something is insulting and really made a bad name for themselves. Thank you for being professional.

    Carry on.

  14. #14
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamiekswriter View Post
    The contract was author friendly.
    That is definitely a plus!

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    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael_b View Post
    I've been epublished since 2004 and none of my prior publishers did beans to help their authors promote. I've developed a marketing strategy during that time that made me a bestselling author with several of my former--and my current--publishers. It works for our authors as well and has helped them grow their readership.
    Excellent! That's one area where I can see there is great value in the publisher also being (or having been) an author.

  16. #16
    Inarticulate Herb MumblingSage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan Watson-Morris View Post
    Could I just step in here and thank Michael B for not being defensive? I've seen many agents and editors who've found in-depth discussions of how legit something is insulting and really made a bad name for themselves. Thank you for being professional.

    Carry on.
    This. Though after reading michael_b's other posts on this site I wasn't surprised to see the professionalism carry over, it's a breath of fresh air.

    Oh, and on the it's/its front, that's one of my most common typos. That's all it is, a typo. I do know the difference, but my fingers seem to be stuck putting 's at the end of any it needing an 's'. Thanks for pointing it out to me.
    Oh man, me too--even though I know the difference, my silly fingers don't seem to get it! All the same, it does make me do a double-take to see it on a publisher's official site.

    Hi all,

    I've got a fantasy short story published on Shadowfire.
    http://shadowfirestore.com/index.php...roducts_id=126

    The contract was author friendly. The edits were professional and made sense. I loved the cover art. My royalty statements come monthly and on time.
    Thanks for sharing your experience--it is very lovely cover art; the colors are striking. If it's not too intrusive (and if it is, please shoot me in the foot or something), how do you feel about the marketing or promotional efforts for your story?

  17. #17
    USA Today Bestselling Author Jamiekswriter's Avatar
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    @MumblingSage - Thanks for the kind words. Keep in mind that my experience is only for a short story. What Shadowfire does for novels is much different.

    I'm an absolute novice when it comes to marketing, so on my end I did the announce on the social marketing sites like my Facebook and Livejournal. I have 15 followers on Twitter and most of them subscribe to FB and LJ also so I'm not sure if I announced it on Twitter or not. I did the announcement to family and friends and then was at a loss at what came next. I probably should have put it on my website too, but no one comes there. And it's in serious need of an overhaul anyway.

    For the month of May (one month before the story came out), Shadowfire had it on their "coming soon" section of their front page and if you clicked on it, there was a teaser blurb. You can see a sample of how they do this on their home page. And then when it came out in June it was on the front page under "New Releases". I also got a cool author's blurb on their author's page with links to purchase my other short story anthologies (not pubbed with Shadowfire Press).

    So, for a short story they met my expectations for marketing. I was excited to showcase my story to a website that had more traffic than what I was used to and while my story wasn't erotica, I think I got some exposure (no pun intended) as an author. I would definitely publish a short story with them again. But this time I'd like to try erotica and see how it would affect my numbers and if the erotica story would bring interest to the fantasy story.

    As for novels, my goal is an agent and a big 6 pub for the novels in my signature. So epubs aren't on my radar. Although, I'm toying with the idea (maybe for Nanowrimo) of doing an erotic novel under a pseudonym for haha's. And maybe I'll try sending that around the epub circuit.

  18. #18
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Shadowfire/Michael, one of the things I've noticed is that Shadowfire is one of the few epresses who accept, and in fact actively encourage, lesbian (f/f) submissions. Given that you are a m/m author and that you're (quite understandably, and wisely) using your name-recognition status to pull readers to the Shadowfire site, have you found that your audience is transferring over to f/f? I appreciate that given the newness of the press you don't have much data yet in the way of sales figures. But, can you give us ballpark figures for, say, the first 3 months post-release for Shadowfire's m/m vs m/f versus f/f works? So many epresses say they don't accept f/f because it just plain doesn't sell, and I"m wondering if you've run into this as a problem.

    Thanks for being willing to answer our questions!

    As for typos -- yeah, we all make them, and we all have our own personal finger-flubbles that we're prone to. Which is why I always advocate having someone else proofread the website. Otherwise authors will mistake typos for lack of editing, and that's not a good look.

  19. #19
    Inarticulate Herb MumblingSage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamiekswriter View Post

    For the month of May (one month before the story came out), Shadowfire had it on their "coming soon" section of their front page and if you clicked on it, there was a teaser blurb. You can see a sample of how they do this on their home page. And then when it came out in June it was on the front page under "New Releases". I also got a cool author's blurb on their author's page with links to purchase my other short story anthologies (not pubbed with Shadowfire Press).
    That sounds very awesome!

    Thanks for the information, and good luck with the rest of your writing as well.

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    Thanks for the info, Michael. Sounds like you got it goin' on. Best of everything to you and your authors.

  21. #21
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    Shadowfire/Michael, one of the things I've noticed is that Shadowfire is one of the few epresses who accept, and in fact actively encourage, lesbian (f/f) submissions. Given that you are a m/m author and that you're (quite understandably, and wisely) using your name-recognition status to pull readers to the Shadowfire site, have you found that your audience is transferring over to f/f? I appreciate that given the newness of the press you don't have much data yet in the way of sales figures. But, can you give us ballpark figures for, say, the first 3 months post-release for Shadowfire's m/m vs m/f versus f/f works? So many epresses say they don't accept f/f because it just plain doesn't sell, and I"m wondering if you've run into this as a problem.

    Thanks for being willing to answer our questions!

    As for typos -- yeah, we all make them, and we all have our own personal finger-flubbles that we're prone to. Which is why I always advocate having someone else proofread the website. Otherwise authors will mistake typos for lack of editing, and that's not a good look.

    My readers don't tend to read f/f, it's not their particular cup of tea.

    I won't kid you and say that we have huge f/f sales, but they are there and we do have readers interested in f/f stories. Our big problem is we just don't get enough of them. I'd really love to have at least one or two f/f releases every quarter--ideally every month--but the incoming submissions just aren't there. I really think it's because so many pubs won't consider f/f, that authors who want to write it are discouraged and either self-publish, go with a small GLBT only press, or give up writing f/f. I think if more pubs offered f/f there would be larger sales numbers, but they just don't want to take the risk. For us it's not about the cost of putting a book out, it's about offering books our readers ask for. They'd been asking us about f/f so we decided to offer some f/f titles. Unlike other publishers we're willing to help build an f/f readership if only we'd get more f/f authors and more titles to offer.

    We use the GLBT Bookshelf to bring in readers of both m/m and f/f, but, as I said, we just don't have enough f/f to build that readership the way we've built the m/m readership.

    We are bucking a bit of reader confusion regarding m/f stories. Most readers didn't realize we also published m/f, but I think we've overcome that misconception as evidenced by the fact Gwen Campbell's 'When a Pack Dies' is still selling very well at All Romance eBooks. It's (look I got it right this time!) also currently the top rated erotic romance ebook at All Romance eBooks. We've also seen some sales on her paranormal scifi backlisted stories.

    To answer another question, while we are officially closed to submissions right now, if you mention 'AWer Sub' in the subject line I'd be happy to read any submissions you'd care to send. We are looking for m/f, m/m and f/f erotic romances and, as a helpful hint, paranormal themed stories are the biggest sellers, not only with us, but with all erotic romance publishers at the moment.

    We're a bit different than the average erotic romance publishers out there. Most of them seem to want sex over substance, or ask that sex be the plot. We want the same strongly romantic stories you'd read at the big NYC publishers where love drives the plot, but where you also have some nasty baddies to overcome. Think of it as the story being the meal, and the sex is the dessert. Sexual content should be hot, the hotter the better, but the plot shouldn't suffer because of it. In other words don't worry that you don't have enough sexual content, write the story the way it needs to be told. If that means you don't get to the sex until halfway through the book--or farther--that's fine.

    I'll see if I can find someone to read the site and mark up errors for me. Most of our editing staffers are up to their ears in editing and their EDJs and I've been trying to hire someone to help with this and take over the uploads to the GLBT Bookshelf to no avail.

    If you have any other questions you can contact me here on the forum, or you can PM me if the questions are more private in nature.
    Michael Barnette
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  22. #22
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan Watson-Morris View Post
    Could I just step in here and thank Michael B for not being defensive? I've seen many agents and editors who've found in-depth discussions of how legit something is insulting and really made a bad name for themselves. Thank you for being professional.

    Carry on.
    Thank you for the kind words.
    Michael Barnette
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    Worth More than Words available now from Dreamspinner Press
    In the Heart of Love-Coming Soon
    SOLD: Nikki's Dragon-short story anthology to Fireborn Publishing

  23. #23
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    When will you be open to subs again?
    See my post in reply to Unimportant. AWer's may submit at any time, otherwise we'll officially be reopening in mid-January.
    Michael Barnette
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    I do NaNoWriMo
    Worth More than Words available now from Dreamspinner Press
    In the Heart of Love-Coming Soon
    SOLD: Nikki's Dragon-short story anthology to Fireborn Publishing

  24. #24
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Are there any writers on the planet who *aren't* AWers? Michael, I think you just opened to submissions again <grin>.

  25. #25
    Inarticulate Herb MumblingSage's Avatar
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    Thank you for answering our questions, michael_b, and for the invitation!

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