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Thread: Summerhouse Publishing

  1. #1
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    Summerhouse Publishing

    Just like every actor really wants to direct, it seems that every writer really wants to be a publisher.

    http://www.summerhousepublishing.com

    Owner is author Celia Kyle.
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

    Eat This.

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Heh. At least they've made an effort to answer Richard White's Questions to New Publishers: http://summerhousepublishing.com/new...her-questions/
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  3. #3
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    They are insisting that they can afford the 60% (on net) royalty rate because they only plan on accepting well edited manuscripts.

    They provide a few rules on the site and a self editing checklist... but most of that seems to be stuff that authors are already expected to do. Before the house does a full edit. I can't help but wonder about the level of editing that will be done when they're presenting that kind of information as some new way of doing things.
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

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  4. #4
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    They outline a model where the house doesn't do heavy editing. So the higher royalties could be seen as compensation for the author taking on more work and/or costs.
    Emily Veinglory

  5. #5
    Bemused Girl nkkingston's Avatar
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    Summerhouse Publishing

    I'm not planning to publish with this company, but I found the link through EREC and I thought I'd share.

    http://summerhousepublishing.com/

    Summerhouse Publishing’s intent is to assist authors who have determined that self-publishing is right for them get their romance and erotica books on the virtual shelves. We provide copy-editing, cover art, marketing and distribution for each and every work accepted. All at no cost to the author.


    While, at some publishers, the reviewing editor’s feelings in regards to the subject matter and saleability are weighed heavily in regards to the acceptance of the work, that is not the case with Summerhouse Publishing. Adhering to submission and editorial guidelines, utilizing the self-editing checklist that has been provided and making sure that your work can be classified as a romance (sweet to erotic) or erotica book is what is important. A well written book is a well written book.
    Is it just me, or are they offering more services and better terms (65% net royalties, for example) than a lot of the start-up so-called commercial publishers we see around here? That just tickled me, is all

    It's nice to see someone being upfront about what they offer and what's in it for the author. Honestly, if I was tempted to do something like this, I'd consider this over DellArte, since at least I wouldn't be shelling out up front. Of course, it would depend if you were looking for ebooks or print.

    ETA That's what I get for checking the index and not using the search as well!
    Last edited by nkkingston; 01-07-2011 at 01:19 AM.

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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Nadia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkkingston View Post
    I'm not planning to publish with this company, but I found the link through EREC and I thought I'd share.

    http://summerhousepublishing.com/

    Is it just me, or are they offering more services and better terms (65% net royalties, for example) than a lot of the start-up so-called commercial publishers we see around here? That just tickled me, is all

    It's nice to see someone being upfront about what they offer and what's in it for the author. Honestly, if I was tempted to do something like this, I'd consider this over DellArte, since at least I wouldn't be shelling out up front. Of course, it would depend if you were looking for ebooks or print.
    Just note that they do not provide content editing, just copy-editing to check for things like spelling and grammar.

    So if you'd like the full editing from your publisher, Summerhouse may not be the right one for you.
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  7. #7
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    While, at some publishers, the reviewing editor’s feelings in regards to the subject matter and saleability are weighed heavily in regards to the acceptance of the work, that is not the case with Summerhouse Publishing. Adhering to submission and editorial guidelines, utilizing the self-editing checklist that has been provided and making sure that your work can be classified as a romance (sweet to erotic) or erotica book is what is important. A well written book is a well written book.
    This seems to me to be contradictory. On the one hand, the final sentence here suggests that they're interested only in well written books (in which case, it's not a true self-publisher, which enables people to publish anything regardless of quality). On the other hand, they're perfectly open about not reviewing books in terms of their potential saleability, which means that authors are taking the risk that their book won't sell.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Celia Kyle, Publisher, has over fifteen years of experience in the accounting and management professions and is responsible for a billion dollar portfolio at her day job. In 2006, in her off hours, she began her writing career and has published over thirty works as well as created the “Strange Hollow” series currently being published with Liquid Silver Books and the “Dragon Kin” and “Big, Blooming & Wild” with Changeling Press. With this experience came the knowledge of the inner workings of various publishing houses allowing her to best discern how to set up Summerhouse Publishing to both benefit authors and the house.
    I very much doubt that being an author of books published by what seem to me to be only royalty paying publishers has given Celia the "knowledge of the inner workings of various publishing houses". You only get that knowledge by working for a publisher, which she patently hasn't.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    By focusing on certain aspects of the publishing process and broadening the type of content accepted, we’ve formed an environment that is tailored to the growing and demanding electronic book industry. We’ve raised the author’s royalty rate, decreased Summerhouse’s expenses by requiring a high quality manuscript, subsequently leaving us able to focus more on distribution and marketing.
    The fact that they're looking for high quality manuscripts means they're not a self-publishing venture. As for high quality manuscripts supposedly decreasing their expenses, I don't see how that works at all. The costs of preparing a manuscript for publication are the same regardless of whether the book is good or bad. Quality only goes to saleability and unless they're being open about how they propose to market your book (which, incidentally, true self publishers will not do as it's left to the author).

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    What’s your experience in publishing?
    I have been an author since 2006 with over thirty works published. In addition, I’ve organized three multi-author series’: Dragon Kin and Big, Blooming & Wild with Changeling Press as well as Strange Hollow with Liquid Silver Books. Several of my books have sold over 1,000 copies including Battered Not Broken with almost 4,000 copies sold, all in electronic format. While sales isn’t necessarily a good gauge for my ability to run a business, I do feel it shows that I have the ability to effectively promote and produce results.
    Actually sales figures here aren't the salient information here. What I'd want to know is how much was earnt from those sales figures as against the amount she spent to market and promote those books in order to get the sales in the first place. I'd also want to know how much time that all cost as well and whether that's a service being replicated for authors or whether authors are required to do that themselves.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Have you ever run a company before in any capacity?
    No. I am, however, an assistant controller with a large company and am responsible for multiple associates as well as managing a billion dollar property portfolio in regards to cash management, budgeting and financial statement preparation for both the properties as well as the parent company.
    Financial experience is good but none of it equates to actually managing a company from staff to sales and everything inbetween.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    What’s your business plan?
    Summerhouse Publishing aims to give readers a romantic vacation for their minds. We provide a middle-ground between self-publishers and other electronic presses without sacrificing quality. While there is strong competition in the electronic publishing market, specifically in romance, we believe our approach to be particularly attractive to authors who are leaning toward self-publishing but are daunted by the process or authors who wish to have a publishing house to stand behind and assist in broader distribution while providing quality editing and cover art.
    Can Summerhouse Publishing guarantee explosive sales? Absolutely not.
    Can we guarantee we’ll treat you professionally, fulfill our contracts to the letter and work diligently to get your book seen by the electronic masses? Absolutely.
    This isn't a business plan. A business plan would involve looking at placement of the company for sales as against the competition, an indication of marketing/promotional strategy to raise awareness and increase sales, a forward looking indication of the amounts that the company's hoping to raise as against operational expenditure and so on and so forth.

    This is a vague aspiration and promises that don't actually amount to much if they fail to deliver.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Have you secured sufficient funding to get this business off the ground?
    Yes, but a woman doesn’t deposit and tell.
    I don't need to know exact figures, but I would want to know how money was raised, rough ball park figures for those funding levels and an indication of how long that funding is estimated to last.

    It's easy to say "yes I've got funding" but giving that answer is meaningles unless you back it up with some meat.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Do you have realistic goals (starting small, focusing on your strengths, adding new lines only after you get established, not taking on too many authors)
    Our primary objective is to produce quality romantic fiction in various sub-genres. We’d prefer to remain small, releasing one book per week in an effort to 1) not over-extend ourselves and 2) provide all of the support we can to our authors.
    So they're planning to launch 52 books a year. So much for starting small. A book a week makes me question how much commitment an author will get for marketing and promotion and if you end up having 52 different authors that's a hell of a lot of admin and management to keep accounts etc in order.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Do you have your distributors lined up before you open up for submissions?
    At this time we will be releasing via iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sony, Kobo, Diesel eBook Store, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks and Bookstrand. Fictionwise is not currently accepting new publishers and cannot provide an ETA as to when they will reopen that arm of their business. We plan to enter eBookMall.com once we’ve reached their maximum number of titles required for bulk uploading. Books on Board is currently revamping their system and we will be engaging them as soon as the redesign is complete.
    That seems to me to be a fairly good distribution list. Epublished posters here are better placed to comment.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Who’re your editors?
    We’ve hired Marisa Chenery, multi-published and bestselling author. She also works for both Lyrical Press and Liquid Silver Books within their editing departments. With her strong sales record and keen eye for detail, we believe that she’s an asset to Summerhouse Publishing and someone that will assist with finding what sells and polishing it until it shines.
    Only point I'd make here is that one editor for a list of potentially 52 books at 1 book a week seems like a recipe for over-work. I'd query whether Marisa would be able to do it all on her own.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    How many authors do you expect to publish a year?
    I anticipate keeping our author pool small in order to focus on each author’s needs as individuals. While we will not turn away a good story, we hope to assist authors in growing their careers with Summerhouse Publishing.
    This doesn't seem to tie in with the aspiration of releasing a book a week. Either Summerhouse is going to focus on a small number of authors each with multi books or it's going to need lots of different books from lots of different authors.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Who’s handling publicity for your company?
    At this time both I and my assistant will handle promotions and publicity. We’ve developed a marketing plan that I believe will be successful, yet ever changing, with today’s shifting market.
    I'd want to know what that plan is.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Have you established a realistic time line to release ARCs to readers/reviewers/etc. before the book is ready to sell?
    It is our intent to submit ARCs to review sites a minimum of three weeks prior to release date.
    That's a tight time frame for someone to read the book and get a review in on full length novels. I'd rather see a minimum of 4 weeks (and preferably 6).

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    Do you intend to use your authors as an unpaid sales force?
    Absolutely not. While we hope that authors will assist in the promotions process, we do not expect them to carry the burden of all of the marketing.
    I'd be interested in knowing what authors are expected to do in assisting promotions.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    What can you tell people considering your publishing company regarding reliability of reaching you / the company in the longterm? You (your company) is moving into a position of being in control of authors’ work and I feel this is an important issue to be addressed.
    At this juncture, the primaries in the company are my husband and I. While I will be the public face of Summerhouse Publishing, Craig will be the driving force. He’s working full-time as a Summerhouse Publishing employee and will mange day-to-day operations. I have the publishing experience, know romance markets and am plugged in via various contacts while he has over twenty years of retail managerial experience and excels at office and employee management.
    While I am a piece of the puzzle, I am definitely not the only piece of the puzzle.
    If Craig's doing all the operational stuff, what's his experience in publishing?

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    This might be the toughest (sorry) but do you (or your editor) plan on publishing your own work through SHP?
    Our editor (Marisa Chenery) doesn’t have plans to submit at this time. However, I will be publishing works through Summerhouse Publishing. I will never promote or publish my own works in the place of a contracted authors, and all manuscripts will be treated equally, regardless of the author. I know this can be a slippery slope for some publishers and it is important to me that this is understood from the beginning.
    Although it's laudable that they're being open, this would be a big issue for me. It's a conflict of interest when it comes to marketing and promotion because the temptation is always going to be to focus on your own books - especially when budgets and time are tight.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    We prefer not to receive multiple submissions and request that you do not submit simultaneously.
    I always laugh when a publisher that doesn't pay advances tells me they don't want simulteaneous submissions.

    Summerhouse Publishing Website:
    1-400: 60% Net1
    401-1,000: 65% Net1
    1,001+: 70% Net1
    Those rates look attractive but according to their pricing page, books will go from $1.99 to $6.99, which isn't a huge amount.

    Summerhouse Publishing Contract:
    Author will be responsible for registering the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, including payment of any fees and the costs of preparing printed and/or electronic documentation of the work as required by the U.S. Copyright office.
    Nope. I'd want that to be the publisher's job.

    Summerhouse Publishing Contract:
    If the Work is sold as part of a “Buy One, Get One Free” or similar sale where this Work is chosen by the consumer or Publisher to be the free book, Author shall receive full royalties as if his/her book had been the one selected to be paid for in full.
    Good for the author, but I'd question how this will work in practice. Also, it's a cost to the publisher, which makes their funding even more important.

    Summerhouse Publishing Contract:
    Contract shall be in force from the date it is signed by all parties until 365 days from the actual release date of the first released format covered in Section I.
    This could cause the author problems if there are substantial delays between contract signature and the book's release.

    Summerhouse Publishing Contract:
    Author will be asked to produce proposed back blurb text and suggestions for cover art.
    The publisher should be producing blurb text.

    Personally, I admire the fact that they're being transparent but I'm not seeing enough experience there for me to want to submit a manuscript and personally, I'd see what the experiences are like 12 to 24 months from now.

    MM

  8. #8
    Outside the box, with the bunnehz KimJo's Avatar
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    Asking authors to do the blurb text seems to be commonish among e-publishers. I've been published with five romance e-publishers, and all of them asked me to do the blurbs for my books. At least a preliminary one. They tweaked; I stink at writing blurbs.

    There has been some concern expressed about this venture because Celia Kyle, as a web designer, apparently left some of her clients high and dry for several months and didn't respond to attempts to contact her. Which is probably the root of the Q&A about her/Summerhouse's "reachability." However, on another forum I belong to, all the concerns that have been expressed have been answered, quite professionally, by Celia.

    ETA: I think another thread was started here about this company a week or so ago...
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW mlhernandez's Avatar
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    From discussions on another forum for romance writers, I got the impression Celia Kyle meant for Summerhouse to be an alternative for established authors considering self-publishing. Kind of like Excessica but without the co-op aspect.

    If that's the case, it might be a good option for some. It would cut out the need to find a cover artist and editor and figure out the different formats required to upload to Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.

    As to writing blurbs and such, that's very common among epublishers. EC, Samhain, LSB and all the other biggies I've worked with require a blurb. Editors tweak them or rewrite them.

  10. #10
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhernandez View Post
    From discussions on another forum for romance writers, I got the impression Celia Kyle meant for Summerhouse to be an alternative for established authors considering self-publishing. Kind of like Excessica but without the co-op aspect.
    This. I'm concerned about Celia's lack of publishing experience, yes, but I think this is kind of a nifty little idea, to be honest.

    I also have to add that although I don't know Celia well at all, I do know that she's been making a serious effort to reach out, to discuss any concerns people might have, to get advice/information, and that she's very open and willing to answer questions. She personally contacted me about it looking for any thoughts I might have, and while I haven't replied to her message yet (just been so busy) I really, really appreciated that and found it impressive. So that's a big point in their favor for me; professionalism like that always is. (Not that I'm so special, just that she was looking for honest feedback.)


    If that's the case, it might be a good option for some. It would cut out the need to find a cover artist and editor and figure out the different formats required to upload to Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.
    That's my thought, yeah.


    As to writing blurbs and such, that's very common among epublishers. EC, Samhain, LSB and all the other biggies I've worked with require a blurb. Editors tweak them or rewrite them.
    And yes to this too. I've written all of my epublishing blurbs (well, Anna J. Evans and I wrote our blurbs together for our co-published books).
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  11. #11
    New kid, be gentle!
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    Good Afternoon AWers,

    I'd like to address some of the questions raised within this thread, if I may.

    Summerhouse Publishing is meant to act as a middle ground between self-publishing and a fully featured press. I attempted to mix the ideologies of a co-op writing experience with a royalty paying model that many electronic publishers operate under today. As mlhernandez pointed out, we are very similar to Excessica without the co-op aspect of the operation. I wanted to retain higher royalties, rewarding an author for being meticulous in the writing and editing of their manuscript, while still paying our staff competitive rates within the electronic publishing industry. We (SHP) will not get rich from the operations of the house.

    Our submissions and editing guidelines are very specific, again, similar to those adopted by Excessica. Are they unique to Summerhouse? Of course not. Many publishers request the same attention to detail, however I know, from personal experience early in my career, that some publishers will be very forgiving for the right story, premise or voice. Unfortunately, SHP does not have that luxury. It's not a matter of doing something different, but making sure that authors understand exactly what our expectations are and that in order to be accepted for publication, they should adhere to those guidelines as closely as possible.

    Our contract started as a carbon copy of the EPIC contract and was then modified to our specific model. We did remove a portion of their Insolvency clause related to filing for bankruptcy as the filing of bankruptcy by Triskelion proved that it is not honored by the court system. The sections describing copyright filing and blurb creation are standard in their contract as well as each one I've signed for my published works. I know the old saying "If Bobby jumped off a bridge..." can apply to this situation and if an author feels strongly about these clauses, I'm open to a private discussion. While I believe in transparency, contracts and their negotiation are a confidential matter.

    MM, you've made an excellent point regarding a specific limit between signing a contract and release. That's something to be reviewed.

    As for my sales figures, I promoted via yahoo groups, a website and blog and occasional ads on The Romance Studio's website when they were having a buy one, get two free sale. I've noticed that the best promotion for an author is another book and I focused on my writing and release schedule more than high cost (both in money and time) ventures. We do have a marketing tip sheet that I've compiled from various experiences that we provide to our authors to give them promotion ideas. None of that is compulsory. I've known authors who simply have a website and don't do any additional promotion whatsoever. It depends on the author's comfort level and abilities.

    And I do want to clarify that we are not a self-publishing venture, nor do we claim to be. We will not accept every manuscript that crosses our threshold simply because the author wants to be published. We've attempted to outline clearly what our expectations are and in the event that an authors work does not meet that criteria, they will not be accepted. I've also revised our website to more clearly reflect our stance.

    When mentioning saleability, my intent was to convey that simply because an editor at House A believes that your work will not sell to the levels they require and rejects it, does not make it a bad book, nor does it indicate that it shouldn't be published. Could I rearrange my structure to ONLY take books that I believe will sell well? Absolutely. But then I'd be a fully featured/"traditional" publisher which wasn't my desire when forming SHP. Are authors taking the chance that their book won't sell well? Of course. But so is SHP.

    How about an example? I've written a book, one that I'm proud of, excited about and love more than any other book I've written before. That book revolves around a couple, one who is a three-headed green alien and the other is a ferret shifter. Now, every publisher I've submitted this to has raved about my writing and the uniqueness of the story, but I've received many, "sorry, it's just not for us" rejections. It doesn't mean that it's a bad story, simply that House A weighed the potential return on investment and decided to pass, not seeing a market in three-headed aliens and ferret shifters. It's written well, has an intriguing plot and has been self-edited thoroughly, but it's being rejected and now I'm considering self-publishing, but there's so much involved... Summerhouse is the place for that story.

    A follow-up question to that statement may be "If an established house rejects that story, who's to say there is a market for such works?" I believe that there's a market for all types of books, not just what's released by the fully featured electronic and print publishers. Would it be a small market for the work I've described above? Possibly. I could also write a book that contains every hot genre today and sell next to nothing. I don't want to insinuate that we'll be the only kid on the block that takes chances with what they acquire. I'm published with a house that's taken many chances on me (and my off-beat imagination) which is part of the reason behind accepting well written works that adhere to our editing and submission guidelines, regardless of how "out there" or edgy they may be.

    Our goal is to release 52 books per year, however we are not jumping out of the gate at that level. I can see how the statement can be mis-leading and have altered it for clarification. I realize that 52 books per year seems to be quite a high number, however, when compared to other electronic publishers, it is quite small. EC releases 5-7 per week, Samhain 4-5 and Liquid Silver Books 3. I'm not saying we are the next EC, Samhain or Liquid Silver Books, simply quoting their release volume for comparison purposes. And we do anticipate expanding our staff as SHP grows. At this juncture, it didn't seem advisable to contract editors and artists when there's no definitive need at this time. I would hate to hire someone and then not have work for them.

    I agree that publishing my own works could potentially be a slippery slope which is why I wanted to be clear from the beginning that my works would be published via Summerhouse. I'm committed not to show favoritism to my own works and treat each book equally. Obviously this will be a sticking point for some authors and they may choose not to submit.

    Our marketing will include yahoo groups (I know there's debate on their effectiveness, but I've found them beneficial), press releases, facebook and twitter, submitting to various review sites, wide distribution, loading our books on goodreads and maintaining our releases and Google AdWords. Some may say that wide distribution isn't necessarily marketing related, but I believe that maintaining a presence wherever possible leads to name recognition. If a reader sees the same book on Amazon, B&N and Sony, it's a constant impression on their minds. The more an author is in front of readers, the more they're remembered. (I know, it's stating the obvious.)

    I've had one author question why authors would "need" Summerhouse. They don't. If they're already treading the self-publishing path and are happy with what they're doing, we aren't necessary to them. If they'd like to get into other distributors, receive a final polish on their work, be provided with quality cover art and take advantage of the additional marketing we'll be doing, then they may consider us as an alternative to self-publishing. It's about evaluating your goals and best deciding for yourself how you'd like to attain them. Weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for you. SHP may not be your answer.

    I think one of the biggest concerns of all is my lack of publishing experience. You are completely right. I've read and approved manuscripts for the series' I created as well as worked as a cover artist and art director. Add my business experience and you've essentially got my credentials. This will likely be considered a "con" to many authors and I understand their hesitation.

    When choosing a publisher, each and every author must evaluate their goals, the amount risk they're willing to take on a publisher and whether what the publisher is offering is worth the size of that risk. Above all, be careful when choosing a publisher.

    Celia Kyle

  12. #12
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    A most excellent post. Welcome to AW, Celia.

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  13. #13
    Outside the box, with the bunnehz KimJo's Avatar
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    Celia, I've been impressed by your professional responses on another forum that you're on, and I'm glad you've found your way here to answer questions and concerns. I hope you'll stick around here to answer further questions.
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  14. #14
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Twitter's inactive, FB's gone, and site redirects to either Amazon store or Ms. Kyle's home page (http://celiakyle.com/). Given that the last score books are hers, looks like it's reverted to a purely self-publishing vehicle.
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  15. #15
    paranormal erotic romance gingerwoman's Avatar
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    Just noticed that books from this publisher are sometimes best sellers on Amazon and All Romance Ebooks.
    Paranormal Romance -Menage - Erotic Romance from Samhain Publishing 4th place for Best Published Paranormal in the Passionate Plume award.

    Read the blurb for Wicked Safari and buy it here.




    To find actively acquiring publishers and agents visit my blog
    http://lisawhitefern.wordpress.com/

  16. #16
    paranormal erotic romance gingerwoman's Avatar
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    Oh I see all those book by Summerhouse Publishing that are topping best seller lists are by the woman who runs it.
    Paranormal Romance -Menage - Erotic Romance from Samhain Publishing 4th place for Best Published Paranormal in the Passionate Plume award.

    Read the blurb for Wicked Safari and buy it here.




    To find actively acquiring publishers and agents visit my blog
    http://lisawhitefern.wordpress.com/

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