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Thread: LitFire Publishing

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  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Exclamation LitFire Publishing

    Has anyone else been approached out of the blue by LitFire? They are based in Atlanta. I got a call from a woman who had read one of my novels on Book Country, and wanted me to sign on for their publicity/marketing packages (2000+ bucks for 3 months)--first red flag was she said she'd come to LitFire after leaving AuthourHouse (although she had no good words for AH) and second flag was, she immediately started getting all personal with me, asking me if I was married or had a girlfriend etc., giving me the impression she was interested in me personally. Now, in the back of my head I suspected it was merely a (sleazy) sales tool, to "woo" me... Anyway, I put her off and she and I kept talking off and on for 3 weeks or more, always hitting the package angle hard at the end of the call (which was always more personal than sales) until I finally said I was not going to sign. Now, I don't know if LitFire is a scam or not, but I wondered if anyone else has had any dealing with them? As I said, I DID NOT (and never intended to) sign with them. Comments?

  2. #2
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I've heard from several writers recently who got out-of-the-blue solicitations from LitFire, and I've been trying to find out more about it. There's certainly more than a whiff of Author Solutions about its website, but other than that, information is thin on the ground.

    Was the person who contacted you called Tori Mesh?

    Various web sources show LitFire's address to be (probably a PO Box) in Georgia. However, Whois shows that the website is registered to a Jennifer Cable in Albuquerque, NM.

    LitFire purports to have been around since 2008. A websearch on LitFire turns up a handful of books published in 2010 and 2012 (here's one example) but those books don't exist on Amazon, where only three books show up, all pubbed in 2014.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 11-04-2014 at 10:34 PM.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    I've heard from several writers recently who got out-of-the-blue solicitations from LitFire, and I've been trying to find out more about it. There's certainly more than a whiff of Author Solutions about its website, but other than that, information is thin on the ground.

    Was the person who contacted you called Tori Mesh?

    - Victoria
    No, Portia Peterson.

  4. #4
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    The red flag, surely, is that someone cold called you and wanted thousands of dollars?
    Emily Veinglory

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    The red flag, surely, is that someone cold called you and wanted thousands of dollars?
    Well, yes, but it was not put like that initially. In fact the 1st call was more personal and ended with her saying I probably didn't need their service, which I agreed. The 2nd call from her a few days later was a surprise and was again more personal, but with a hard sell toward the end. It was not until about 2 weeks in (with a few left message on my VM and a friend request on Linkedin in the interim) that she even told me how much the services were and even when I balked, she accepted --but called me again a few days later. Like I said, her entire approach was personal and not at all sales-ish, so very odd.

  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    That hard-sell approach is another similarity between LitFire and Author Solutions.

    Could you tell if the woman who called you was a native English-speaker? AS requires its staff in the Philippines to use American- or UK-sounding names.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    That hard-sell approach is another similarity between LitFire and Author Solutions.

    Could you tell if the woman who called you was a native English-speaker? AS requires its staff in the Philippines to use American- or UK-sounding names.

    - Victoria
    She's Australian, living in Atlanta.

  8. #8
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Two of the LitFire books on Amazon needed an editor, not a marketer/publicist:

    Lost from a wagon train headed west a ten-year-old boy is saved by a Indian from starving. The Indian having lest his family and son in a massacre, raises him as his own, giving him the name Chad'tu.
    Yes, there's a typo on the back cover and the rest of the blurb is littered with grammatical and punctuation errors.

    Gilbert and Jade despite their differences are the very best of friends. Gilbert is serious and aloof and fancies himself to be the world's greatest scientist one day.
    *facepalm*

    From LitFire's website:

    Back Cover Copywriting

    The back cover is one of the first things many people look at when deciding to buy a book. We will help you put your best foot forward from the get-go by offering a well-written, stellar back cover copy.
    https://litfirepublishing.com/servic...rial-services/
    If these two authors paid for this service they were robbed of $99.

    Here's Portia Peterson's LinkedIn profile:
    http://au.linkedin.com/pub/portia-peterson/4b/aab/b28

    Crikey! She was a Senior Marketing Specialist at AuthorHouse for twelve years. "Marketing" at AuthorHouse means, of course, selling overpriced services to naieve new writers - and then selling their own books to them. For this reason alone I wouldn't touch LitFire with a bargepole.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-05-2014 at 12:03 AM.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    Two of the LitFire books on Amazon needed an editor, not a marketer/publicist:



    Yes, there's a typo on the back cover and the rest of the blurb is littered with grammatical and punctuation errors.



    *facepalm*

    From LitFire's website:



    If these two authors paid for this service they were robbed of $99.

    Here's Portia Peterson's LinkedIn profile:
    http://au.linkedin.com/pub/portia-peterson/4b/aab/b28

    Crikey! She was a Senior Marketing Specialist at AuthorHouse for twelve years. "Marketing" at AuthorHouse means, of course, selling overpriced services to naieve new writers - and then selling their own books to them. For this reason alone I wouldn't touch LitFire with a bargepole.
    Indeed, LitFire smells rank.

  10. #10
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    Here's Portia Peterson's LinkedIn profile:
    http://au.linkedin.com/pub/portia-peterson/4b/aab/b28

    Crikey! She was a Senior Marketing Specialist at AuthorHouse for twelve years.
    AuthorHouse UK, that is. Tori Mesh, the other name I've heard in connection with LitFire was/is also at AuthorHouse UK; her title is/was "Senior Publishing Consultant". Here's her profile at ZoomInfo. And here she is acknowledged in an AuthorHouse-published book from 2011.

    From Litfire's About Us page:
    With hundreds of published titles and more than 50 publishing partners, we have learned how to succeed and soar in the eBook market.
    According to any evidence it's possible to gather, from Amazon, Google Books, and extensive websearches, this is quite simply a lie (unless LitFire was publishing under a different name). Amazon shows three (count 'em, three) books for LitFire. I was able to find two more with Google Books. That's it.

    They claim to have been founded in 2008. The two books that carry their name but aren't on Amazon were pubbed in 2010 and 2012. According to Whois, however, their URL was registered in June 2014.

    There is something more than a little smelly about all this.

    - Victoria

  11. #11
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    One of the two LitFire books found by Victoria on Google Books was Barbara Bergstrom's Don't Forget Your Keys, supposedly published by LitFire on 5th May 2010. Yet here it is in Trafford's bookshop with a publication date of 4th May 2010:

    http://bookstore.trafford.com/Produc...Your-Keys.aspx

    The other, Keith Steinbaum's The Poe Consequence, was published by Abbott Press on 6th March 2012 - the same day on which it was supposedly published by LitFire!

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Poe-Conseq.../dp/1458201635

    *scratches head*

    A Google search for 'Tori Mesh' indicates that it's a pseudonym drawn from mathematical/computing terms. Her Zoom profile doesn't make any sense:

    Tori Mesh
    Senior Publishing Consultant
    Authorhouse UK Ltd.
    Phone: (812) ***-**** HQ Phone
    Email: t***@***.uk
    Local Address: Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    She lives in Milton Keynes (home of printer Lightning Source) but has an Indiana phone number?

    AuthorHouse
    1663 Liberty Drive Suite 200
    Bloomington, Indiana 47403
    United States
    Ah, that would explain the phone number.

    That profile hasn't been updated for two years. I'd be very surprised if 'Tori' and Portia weren't the same person.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-05-2014 at 01:15 PM.

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Oddly, one of Author Solutions' self-publishing imprints is called Trafford Publishing.

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Portia and Tori the same person? Ah, the plot thickens. It's quite possible. Also, the address for LitFire in Atlanta is a shopping strip mall and could quite possibly be a mailbox only. Sure, their offices COULD be in a strip mall but why?

  14. #14
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Some more names connected with LitFire -

    Dominique Christobal, Fulfillment Officer:
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dominiqu...?trk=pub-pbmap

    Jill Bennett, Book Marketing Specialist:
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/litfire

    The LitFire website is registered to Jennifer Cabble (two b's). I couldn't find anyone of that name in Albuquerque.

  15. #15
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    Jill Bennett, Book Marketing Specialist:
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/litfire
    That's interesting. I did a reverse phone lookup on LitFire's 800 number, using several websites because you get different results. Most of my searches yielded no results, but one came back with Jill Bennett's name. Because it was just one hit out of several, I discounted it. Looks like I shouldn't have.

    I'm working on a blog post about LitFire--should be up tomorrow.

    - Victoria

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Look forward to reading about it.

  17. #17
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Ooh, ooh--just discovered something really juicy. Stay tuned!

    - Victoria

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Cool, most curious to get to the bottom of this. You are like Nancy Drew.

  19. #19
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Another name to associate with this company: Mark Advent. I just saw an email from him (or "him," since I'll bet this is another alias) and its odd blend of fractured English (the same kind of fractured English in Tori Mesh's email, and also in Author Solutions solicitation emails I've seen) and reasonably well-written passages intrigued me. So I did a little websearching...and discovered that big chunks are plagiarized from two different sources.

    - Victoria

  20. #20
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Ooh, ooh--just discovered something really juicy. Stay tuned!

    - Victoria
    Ooh, you tease!

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW Lauram6123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Ooh, ooh--just discovered something really juicy. Stay tuned!

    - Victoria

  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    I believe this is her, she lives in NV (not very far from NM) and works for InCorp Services which, among other things, helps biz's secure domain names.

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jennifer-cabble/68/99/a30

    Stranger still.

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheArchives's Avatar
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    Do you think there is a connection between Author Solutions and LitFire?

  24. #24
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheArchives View Post
    Do you think there is a connection between Author Solutions and LitFire?
    My hunch is that LitFire is an inevitable consequence of Author Solutions: former AS employee(s) starting their own AS-style company.

    - Victoria

  25. #25
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    My hunch is that LitFire is an inevitable consequence of Author Solutions: former AS employee(s) starting their own AS-style company.

    - Victoria
    Vanity presses are the hydrae of the literary world - you start off with one and they bud off at an alarming rate. We've seen this over and over again with Publish America.

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