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Thread: Soul Fire Press / Christopher Matthews Publishing

  1. #1
    Red fish, blue fish... J.S.F.'s Avatar
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    Soul Fire Press / Christopher Matthews Publishing

    In my Internet search, I came across SoulfirePress (SoulfirePress.com) and wondered if anyone had any dealings with it.

  2. #2
    Posting on AW instead of writing
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    From their publishing FAQ:

    Are you a self-publishing company or a vanity press?
    No, we are not. Self-publishing companies generally will publish whatever is submitted to them, regardless of writing quality, careless editing, poor cover design and unprofessional interior design. We have over 40 years of publishing and design experience. We know what differentiates a self-published book from a book that is well-written and exhibits professional quality publishing.

    Why do you charge for your services? I can do most of the work myself.
    You could also build your own house. However, the learning curve and the years of training and experience it takes to understand how to do it correctly, attractively and up to code, the expense of tools you have to buy, all these factors are why you hire a competent builder. While there is nothing wrong with self-publishing, the perception exists, rightly or wrongly, that self-published books are of lower quality than those published by a traditional publisher. If you have spent a year or several years crafting your manuscript, don’t you want it to have the production quality that best displays your writing?
    The "services and pricing" page (http://soulfirepress.com/get-published/services/) says,

    For a reasonable one-time setup fee of $750.00 we provide an author with a full-service package
    Either they don't fully understand the definition of "vanity publishing" (unlikely if they actually have 40 years' experience in the field) or they know what it is and are trying to avoid admitting that's what they do.

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  4. #4
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Also from Soulfire's FAQ page:

    What kind of marketing do you do?
    We promote your books to libraries and booksellers internationally through our own websites, the Ingram Advance Book catalog and via the internet. Your book will also be available through all the major online booksellers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com, Books-a-Million, etc. We focus on social media marketing via sites like Facebook, Twitter and others. Even the big publishers these days look to the author to do much of the marketing themselves. We regularly keep you posted on advice and tips to help you market your books and provide you with templates for promotional cards and bookmarks.

    What if I want to sell my own books?
    That’s great! We encourage it. Your return on each sale you make from your own stock will be the highest because we sell you your books at 45% off the list price, which means you make a 55% profit for each book you sell! We also sell your books from our websites at no discount, so you benefit from each sale we make.
    Templates for promotional cards and bookmarks? Selling books back to authors? This doesn't sound good.

    What if you don't accept my book for publication and I want to publish it myself?
    There can be many reasons we don’t accept your book for publication which may or may not have anything to do with your writing. Or you may simply want to have full control over the marketing and distribution of your books, retaining all the income from your sales. In that case you can publish the book yourself at the many self-publishing outfits that exist. However, preparing your manuscript for a printer requires much more than simply submitting a Word document. Or designing an attractive cover that doesn’t look homemade may not be your forte. We can provide the same high quality design and careful formatting for your book as we do for our own authors, at very reasonable fees. Need editorial help? We can put you in touch with one of our experts in your genre.
    Likewise.

    Soulfire is the YA imprint of Christopher Matthews Publishing, founded by Jeremy Soldevilla:

    Jeremy began his publishing career in Boston, copywriting and designing marketing collateral for the academic and trade book markets. His passion for the industry led him to become an acquisitions editor, marketing VP at two of the leading U.S. textbook houses and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. office of U.K. publisher, Blackwell Publishing. He was the first Director of Marketing for the American Mathematical Society and Director of Academic Markets for Independent Publishers Group, managing U.S. distribution and marketing for over 80 international academic and trade publishers from Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and the U.S.
    http://christophermatthewspub.com/who-we-are/
    Can CMP/Soulfire authors expect to see their books in bookstores?

    We are eco-friendly. Our books are print on demand and ebooks. No wasteful printing, warehousing or destruction of unsold books.
    No bookstore placement.

    Why "author run - author friendly™"?

    Besides having successfully shepherded scores of authors through the publishing process, Jeremy is an author as well. Having written several novels, he experienced the other side of publishing—the writer’s struggle to find an agent or a publisher and get published. Realizing that there are many excellent writers who have been frustrated with trying to find an agent, and publisher, the query process and maybe even given up on seeing their hard work published, he formed Christopher Matthews Publishing and its Young Adult/New Adult imprint Soul Fire Press, specifically with those writers in mind. After having his novel,overlooked by agents, he published the book through Christopher Matthews Publishing, and it has received excellent reviews. Our goal is to help talented writers see their work in print instead of giving up.
    As Richard Bach said: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
    http://christophermatthewspub.com/about-us-2/
    So essentially Mr Soldevilla couldn't find an an agent or publisher, gave up and self-published?
    "There is only one thing worse than being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass, and that is being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass near an ant colony"
    Oscar Wilde (citation needed)

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Dear JSF et al,

    I belatedly just came across this posting and wanted to respond to clear up questions that were raised.
    First, I am Jeremy Soldevilla, the founder of Soul Fire Press and its parent company Christopher Matthews Publishing.
    I understand and appreciate the cynicism expressed in these comments and applaud and encourage writers to carefully research any publisher they are considering working with.
    Laylah Hunter--Yes, I actually do have over 40 years of publishing experience and was COO of the US office of a major British publishing house. So yes, I fully understand what a vanity press is, and we are neither a vanity press nor a self-publishing operation.
    A vanity press or a self-publishing company accepts any manuscript sent to it regardless of quality and produces a book at a fairly exhorbitant price. They may or may not provide any marketing, but if they do, they will charge dearly for it.
    We are pioneers in an emerging breed of publishers we call hybrid publishers. That is, we apply the same professional standards of quality, design and distribution as traditional publishers, but take on the unknown writers with real talent who have been rejected or ignored by busy agents and publishers. We vet the submissions we receive carefully and accept only those we feel exhibit good writing and deserve to be published. Less than 1/3 of the submissions we receive fall into that category.
    Alice:
    Templates for promotional cards and bookmarks? Selling books back to authors? This doesn't sound good.
    Yes, we provide these, ongoing marketing and writing tips, review copies, a professional web page, etc. to our authors, and it is appreciated by them. As any author big or small can tell you, whether you are with a giant NY publishing house or are a lonely self-published author, the bulk of the marketing will fall on your shoulders. Most neophyte writers have little or no idea how to market themselves and their books. We help them with that, as well as providing social media marketing, displays at book shows, international distribution both online and off and lots of personalized help. For those authors who want to sell their books and keep the profit from those sales we provide them deeply discounted copies for their own use. In addition, though, their books are sold on our websites, in brick and mortar stores as well as virtually all online booksellers worldwide and to libraries.
    Can CMP/Soulfire authors expect to see their books in bookstores? . . .
    No bookstore placement.
    Actually, yes our authors can see their books in bookstores, unlike self-published authors. Our North American distribution is handled by one of the 3 largest distributors in the country, Independent Publishers Group whose sales force of 50 reps cover the booktrade (bookstores, gift shps and libraries) throughout the US and Canada, as well as to all online booksellers as well. Our international distribution is handled by Ingram, perhaps the largest wholesaler in the world and our library sales are handled by Baker and Talor, the leading library wholesaler. For a partial list of where our books can be purchased worldwide visit:page.
    So essentially Mr Soldevilla couldn't find an an agent or publisher, gave up and self-published?
    That's absolutely correct, Alice. Once I finished my first book and tried to get it seen by agents, I learned the frustrations and obstacles that any new writer does when trying to get published, and I had decades of publishing experience and contacts behind me. Everyone who took the time to read my book absolutely loved it, but trying to get a busy agent of publisher to give my query sample a fair read proved depressingly frustrating. So I spent a great deal of time learning the new technologies of book building and ebook conversion, web development, etc, and produced my own book. I also recognized that there is a huge community of writers who have true talent, but neither the wherewithal of money, time or experience to get their manuscript born into a book, and that is sad. The traditional houses won't give them any attention so some give up or some turn to self-publishing. The self-published books for the most part, are poorly edited or not edited at all, have amateurish covers (and yes, readers DO indeed judge a book by its cover). Some are well-written, but many are not.
    I started my two companies to provide GOOD writers with a foot up and to help teach them the craft of writing and getting published. Many people can write well, but understanding the craft of fiction writing --POV,style, plot etc, are things that must be learned. The hard reality is that new unknown writers are not likely to make a fortune with their first book or two. We spend a lot of time working closely with each of our authors and provide them with services and experience that they would otherwise have to spend many thousands of dollars on, even if they are self-publishing. We will not make enough money back via sales to cover our costs for all the services we provide, so we have to charge a small fee to keep us afloat. Those authors who have gone with us have all been pleased with the results and the hand-holding we've provided them.
    Incidentally, my first book of my own that I published has done quite well and gotten great reviews in spite of the rejections I got initially from publishers who never bothered to look at it.
    We are very open to answering questions from writers and guarantee that we will respond to every submission sent to us. That's something you will not get from other publishers big or small. If you have any questions feel free to write me at jeremy@soulfirepress.com.

  6. #6
    Inarticulate Herb MumblingSage's Avatar
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    We vet the submissions we receive carefully and accept only those we feel exhibit good writing and deserve to be published.
    That sounds well enough--but there are other publishers an author can shop their manuscript to, ones that will give them all the services Soul Fire offers and without needing to charge any fees. What, then, does Soul Fire offer that makes it worth $950 to an author?

  7. #7
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Vanity in this forum is generally defined as 'fee charging' -- so in that context the term was being accurately used here
    Emily Veinglory

  8. #8
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Soul Fire no longer a separate site: http://christophermatthewspub.com/soul-fire-press/
    ICAO
    ---------
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Soul Fire and CMP

    Soul Fire Press has always been an imprint of Christopher Matthews Publishing. When we rebuilt our website last summer we combined the two imprints into one website.
    If anyone has specific questions about our company, I would be happy to respond to an email.

    Jeremy Soldevilla

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