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Thread: Soaring Eagle Books / Eagle's Branch Books (Penelope "Penny" Fletcher)

  1. #1
    Brutally Honest; No Filter GenGriffin's Avatar
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    Soaring Eagle Books / Eagle's Branch Books (Penelope "Penny" Fletcher)

    Hi,

    I've been trying to share my experiences with Soaring Eagle Books (aka Eagle's Branch Books) and its owner/CEO Penny Fletcher.

    A friend of mine recommended I post here.

    I'm here because I'm trying to prevent anyone else from going through the same publishing nightmare I'm currently dealing with. Penny Fletcher is still actively promoting her company (its been open almost a year now) and looking for new writers. She spoke at a Nanowrimo event in Florida last weekend, she says she's being included in next year's Writer's Market and she's even talked about trying to get on with RWA as a speaker.

    I was offered a traditional contract with Soaring Eagle Books in January of 2014. I thought I had finally found the help with editing, formatting and marketing that I believed I needed to succeed. I signed my publishing contract in February 2014 and moved full speed ahead, working with my new publisher to get my novel, Feeding Gators, released.

    My first sign that something was amiss came very shortly after I'd signed my rights over. Penny Fletcher had said SEB would be exclusively small press but just after I had signed to publish, she emailed out a document that said they would be doing both traditional publishing and pay-for-service publishing, aka vanity publishing.

    I asked my contact whether they were going into vanity publishing and was given an explanation that, in order for the press to afford the front end on their traditional publishing, they were going to offer services for-hire as well as the traditional setup. I was assured that my contract was traditional and would be fully honored. It seemed a reasonable enough explanation for a new, small business that was still trying to get on its feet.

    My novel went through editing. It was formatted. It went to the printer. My publisher was unable to give me an official release date but the book did become available for purchase in the time-frame when she said it would.Despite being edited twice, the final product has some pretty glaring typos.

    I don't claim to know what happened to introduce these errors to the text, but I do know that my own final copy doesn't have them. I very intentionally checked it specifically for these errors. I don't know where they came from or how they were introduced. What I do know is that my twice-professionally edited book reads like it needs an editor.

    However, at this point it was too late to do anything about the typos. We were on to marketing the book.

    While I have some PR and marketing experience, I was leery of trying to sell my book all by my lonesome. One of the main reasons I signed with Ms. Fletcher was because I wanted to know I had someone out there treading water with me in the scary sea of book sales.

    Ms. Fletcher talked about great things in terms of marketing. She said my book would be professionally reviewed by Atlantic Book Review prior to its release. She told me that the book would be available in several major distributors catalogs and could be ordered from any book store in America. She said it would have space on their website. She said press releases would be sent to local book selling venues and news outlets. She mentioned book signings. She also promised plenty of social networking and marketing.

    At the time of publication, I felt that what she stated was true. I desperately wanted that marketing assistance and I believed it to be worth sacrificing some profits for.

    On my part, I created a website (gengriffin.weebly.com) and try to keep it updated regularly. I created a page on Facebook and a handle on Twitter so I could connect with my potential readers on whichever platforms they preferred. I signed up for a new email address and created a Google Plus account. I try to spend at least an hour each day interacting in some way with potential readers and (hopefully) fans.


    On the publisher's part, well... Lets just say that I was in for a few surprises. First my review from Atlantic Book Review was canceled because my publisher claimed Atlantic Book Review was taking too long to get the review back to her. My book had to run without the fun review page and reviewer quotes you see in most books. The press releases may or may not have ever been sent, I certainly never heard a single word about them and was never contacted by anyone who saw one. The book signings faded into the mists of time.

    I was told that my book would also be listed in the major distribution catalogs (Ingram and Baker and Taylor). As of November 2014, the book has yet to actually appear in Ingram's catalog. Six months after release and I'm still waiting.

    My book is listed on the publishing company's website. For the record, there is no link included that allows the viewer to purchase the book. You can not purchase the novel from this website at this point in time (November 6, 2014).

    As far as social media marketing, my publisher's idea of social media marketing turned out to be mass-sharing (aka spamming) various author and book groups with an image of the book's cover. Sometimes these posts include links to buy the book. Sometimes not. Either way, I'm sure my novel really stood out among the 500 or so other novels that get spammed the same way in the same groups on a daily basis.

    In a recent communication, my publisher informed me that this social media sharing was a large part of her marketing, along with passing out postcards and/or flyers for the book during her personal public speaking engagements.

    At one point, I ordered a bulk order of paperback copies of my novel through Ms. Fletcher (I had to go through her to get the discount). She ignored my attempts to confirm my address and then shipped my bulk order the wrong address. When notified of the problem, she had the order re-shipped without correcting the typo in the address. This meant that my paperbacks were mis-shipped twice. I ultimately managed to get my hands on 2 out of 3 boxes that I had paid for. The third box was lost somewhere in the process and I wound up giving up in frustration.

    Unfortunately my frustrations with marketing and shipping have nothing on my problems getting my share-of-profits on my novel.

    My contract with Penelope Fletcher and Soaring Eagle Books entitles me to a share-of-profit from the sales of my books.

    Unfortunately, Ms. Fletcher doesn't see fit to track the sales of books. Or at least, she claims to be unable to track them despite working with IngramSpark for distribution.

    Ms. Fletcher sent my first "quarterly" check 2 months late accompanied by a post it note telling me to ask someone else how my profits were figured. I later learned that that check only reflected a single month of my eBook sales instead of paying me for the entire quarter (3 months) of both eBook and POD sales.

    My second check arrived recently (also over a month late) after I requested the rights of my novel be returned to me due to breech of contract for non-payment of share-of-profit and Ms. Fletcher's repeated and admitted inability to track the number of copies of my book that had sold.

    As of today, November 17 2014, Ms. Fletcher is still not complying with my requests for an earnings statement to explain the amount that she wrote the check for. She continues to fail to provide sales records for Ingram's sales of the book. She also openly admits that she refuses to send sales records for Feeding Gators on her own company stationary.

    Ms. Fletcher continues to refuse to return the rights to Feeding Gators to me, refuses to stop selling the book, refuses to properly account for the sales of my novel and refuses to pay me accurately for my sales.

    All in all, my experience publishing with Penny Fletcher and Soaring Eagle Books has been a nightmare and I don't recommend anyone use this company.

  2. #2
    Back in the black, & staying there! Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board, GenGriffin, and I'm sorry to hear about your experience.

    Soaring Eagle Books has an About page with the usual scare tactics and fallacies:

    The big publishing houses are closing fast, and those still in business are taking only those writers who have a track record of making large sums of money.
    The editing process alone would make me run:

    Although the manuscript is expected to have received a professional (quality) edit before submission, it will receive an edit by editors who have hundreds of testimonials and years of experience. Each author will receive a copy of the final edited version and have one opportunity, lasting 14 days, to accept or reject each individual change.
    The "Promotion, promotion, promotion!" on this page reminded me of the authors' mantra from the old PublishAmerica message board. Sure enough, Penny Fletcher has been published by PA. Her other books were released by BookSurge and Soaring Eagle.

    The Publisher's Bio has this odd sentence :

    Now Penny is no longer hostage to any agent or publisher; publishes her own works and others under tually find in books he SOARING EAGLE (traditional label) and EAGLE'S BRANCH (the fee-for-service division)
    The Marketing Programs page says :

    New marketing strategies being developed now. Please come back soon.
    Last edited by Marian Perera; 11-17-2014 at 08:20 PM.


    "The novel has a dark, eerie, fairy-tale feel." Washington Post's review of The Beast Prince

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  3. #3
    Keeper of the pace. popgun62's Avatar
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    Wow - what a nightmare, Gen! I'm sorry this happened to you Just know that all publishers aren't like that, but there are definitely some bad apples out there.
    Author of high-octane sci-fi, fantasy and horror!

    www.tobytatestories.com Amazon

    Represented by

  4. #4
    Brutally Honest; No Filter GenGriffin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marian Perera View Post
    Welcome to the board, GenGriffin, and I'm sorry to hear about your experience.

    Soaring Eagle Books has an About page with the usual scare tactics and fallacies:

    The editing process alone would make me run:

    The "Promotion, promotion, promotion!" on this page reminded me of the authors' mantra from the old PublishAmerica message board. Sure enough, Penny Fletcher has been published by PA. Her other books were released by BookSurge and Soaring Eagle.

    The Publisher's Bio has this odd sentence :

    The Marketing Programs page says :
    Agreed on all. I've seen that website and my only defense is that I swear to God it wasn't like that when I agreed to sign with them. They had a completely different website that listed them as a small traditional publisher ONLY. No mention of fee for service or vanity services ANYWHERE...

    Of course, that was also when she was just getting listed with IngramSpark and she had to have so many traditionally published books before they would let her claim to be a small press.....once she got that designation, she almost entirely dropped the traditional small press label and ran with the vanity.

    Rumor has it that she thinks she can publish the vanity books as subsidiaries of the small press and therefore dodge the vanity classification by Ingram and other distributors? Not sure how that would work but that is what I heard.....

  5. #5
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    GenGriffin, I'm so sorry for your experience with this very unprofessional-seeming publisher.

    Quote Originally Posted by GenGriffin View Post
    Ms. Fletcher talked about great things in terms of marketing. She said my book would be professionally reviewed by Atlantic Book Review prior to its release. She told me that the book would be available in several major distributors catalogs and could be ordered from any book store in America. She said it would have space on their website. She said press releases would be sent to local book selling venues and news outlets. She mentioned book signings. She also promised plenty of social networking and marketing.
    I did a websearch on "Atlantic Book Review" and could find no company by that name. There's The Atlantic magazine, of course--but if that's what she meant, she was shining you on, because the magazine picks and chooses, and reviews can't be guaranteed.

    I don't know if this will make you feel better or worse, but press releases are one of the least effective forms of book marketing, unless they're highly targeted and include followup by phone. Obviously the publisher should have fulfilled her promises--but even if the releases had been sent out, I don't think it would have made a difference for you.

    If it's any comfort, IngramSpark provides bookseller/retailer distribution, so even if your book wasn't included in one of Ingram's advance catalogs, it can still be ordered at brick-and-mortar bookstores.

    Again, I'm truly sorry for what sounds like a horrible experience.

    - Victoria

  6. #6
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Oh, what a horror story! And how is Fletcher "no longer hostage to any agent or publisher" when she's never been commercially published? The dismal Amazon rankings of her books suggest that they've sold hardly any copies. Anyone who can't sell her own books is unlikely to know how to sell books by other people. Yet another example of how learning about publishing via PublishAmerica can make you a danger to other writers.

    It's richly ironic that Fletcher is the author of An Editor's Guide to Perfect Press Releases: The Key To Free Publicity For Your Organization or Business, which has three poor reviews on Amazon.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-17-2014 at 11:58 PM.
    "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)

  7. #7
    Brutally Honest; No Filter GenGriffin's Avatar
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    Victoria, thank you again for responding. I could never find any Atlantic Book Review either, despite plenty of searching. I sent you everything she ever said to me about it via email. Also, I apologize for flooding your email inbox with all of those forwarded documents and emails. I really do appreciate your time.

  8. #8
    Brutally Honest; No Filter GenGriffin's Avatar
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    Aliceshortcake,

    No kidding.

    And can you believe that in one of her emails to me, she had the balls to tell me to BUY that press release book online.......for marketing help.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    People's lies

    People can say anything they want but it doesn't make it true.
    Sometimes people are motivated by something other than what they are venting about.

    What is written here about Soaring Eagle Books is a total fabrication and is libelous. It most likely written because Penny Fletcher redesigned her website,which was being built slowly by a friend of the person,Gen who wrote the article and was so slanderous to Penny Fletcher and Soaring Eagle Books. But it is not based in fact other than she grieves for a very sick friend . Because of my compassion for the sick ,I won't attack this person further . I know for a fact the the delay in getting listed on Ingram was a mistake by them and not the fault of Soaring Eagle books and Penny Fletcher. So all these grandiose allegations are not based in fact but motivated by personal pain. Penny Fletcher does not have a misleading bone in her body and these attacks are totally unwarranted. The "truth" always comes out in the end and the righteous prevail. Believe the truth

  10. #10
    Brutally Honest; No Filter GenGriffin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    People can say anything they want but it doesn't make it true.
    Sometimes people are motivated by something other than what they are venting about.

    What is written here about Soaring Eagle Books is a total fabrication and is libelous. It most likely written because Penny Fletcher redesigned her website,which was being built slowly by a friend of the person,Gen who wrote the article and was so slanderous to Penny Fletcher and Soaring Eagle Books. But it is not based in fact other than she grieves for a very sick friend . Because of my compassion for the sick ,I won't attack this person further . I know for a fact the the delay in getting listed on Ingram was a mistake by them and not the fault of Soaring Eagle books and Penny Fletcher. So all these grandiose allegations are not based in fact but motivated by personal pain. Penny Fletcher does not have a misleading bone in her body and these attacks are totally unwarranted. The "truth" always comes out in the end and the righteous prevail. Believe the truth
    Oh look. Penny's here.

  11. #11
    Back in the black, & staying there! Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    Because of my compassion for the sick ,I won't attack this person further
    You're a saint.


    "The novel has a dark, eerie, fairy-tale feel." Washington Post's review of The Beast Prince

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  12. #12
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    What exactly is the 'Atlantic Book Review', Penny?
    "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)

  13. #13
    E Conchis Omnia Helix's Avatar
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    Well, there appears to be something from the "Atlantic Book Review" on Penny Fletcher's author page. If it's from the Atlantic magazine, I'll eat every hat at the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  14. #14
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    There's an Atlantic Books Today but it only reviews works by Atlantic Canadian authors. More to the point, a Google search didn't turn up the quoted review anywhere else other than on Penny's own website.

    Penny Fletcher has created an intense, emotional novel with TRIAL BY FIRE.
    The book is well developed and will appeal to a wide audience
    http://authoreditor.vpweb.com/
    It could almost have been written by Miranda Prather. I'm just surprised that there's no mention of the book "resonating" with an audience or "fitting the publisher's specialty like a glove".

    ETA: Ha! She quotes the review on the back cover of Trial By Fire, where it's attributed to Atlantic Review. It has an Amazon ranking of 5,541,716, which doesn't exactly inspire much confidence in her ability to sell books by anyone else.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-18-2014 at 02:41 PM.
    "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)

  15. #15
    E Conchis Omnia Helix's Avatar
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    This might be it. If you have a look at the Amazon India page for Trial by Fire, you'll see that it's distributed in the Subcontinent by Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. Maybe the review is from their catalogue?
    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  16. #16
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Well spotted!
    "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)

  17. #17
    E Conchis Omnia Helix's Avatar
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    I don't know that it is. But it could be something as strange as that!
    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  18. #18
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    I've just emailed them to ask if they know anything about the review. Watch this space!
    "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)

  19. #19
    Brutally Honest; No Filter GenGriffin's Avatar
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    Okay, I don't know how to share screenshots here, but I received the following messages in my email from Penny last night:

    Yes, it is a real shame Atlantic Book Review did not honor their contract on Trial by Fire and all I got was the review- after paying also for a press release and promotions. Evidently "Ellie" the one I was working with, left the company brecause I wrote and wrote and never heard from them again. It was another of my $1,000 mistakes. I made them all on TBF.

    As you can see on the new website, I have a marketing page begun. I THINK I have a videogrtapher that can do the promos. We shall see. I paid for- and never got- mine.

    Penny
    My reply to her was this (Don't mind the invoice and accounting request in the center, I've been demanding those for weeks in every communication I happen to have with her):

    Yes - another promotions promise you never fulfilled.

    Where are my invoices?
    Where is your accounting for the amount of the check you sent me?

    And for the record, who is "Atlantic Book Review" because I can't find them on Google or anywhere else?
    Her reply was this:

    I lost out on that deal. I got my review but no press releases or video. I think this person left the company because mypromises for TBF were never fulfilled. I learned there never pay in advance. Another $800 + mistake (with TBF thaNK gOD)

    ellie@atlanticbookreview.com

    If you find them, please let me know.

    Since an email like that is pretty much always linked to the domain, I put www.atlanticbookreview.com into my browser....

    And got an empty dummy wordpress site. It appears to be a live template that was never filled out or edited.

    Thoughts?


    ETA: A friend just mentioned to me that "bluedog" may also be Penny Fletcher's live-in boyfriend Mark.
    Last edited by GenGriffin; 11-18-2014 at 04:31 PM.

  20. #20
    E Conchis Omnia Helix's Avatar
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    Some reviews come up for atlanticbookreview.com. Here they state they are "a full service author marketing and book publicity firm located on the Atlantic Coast, United States."

    When I look at the Google cache for atlanticbookreview.com, I get a site with the URL of kareemrahaman.com. Maybe I'm doing this wrong.

    A cached page with reviews of children's books is here.

    ETA: Atlantic Book Review appears to be affiliated with Penn Book Review, which, Alice will be delighted to know, has a package called The Wilde.

    A few other domains seem to be under the same umbrella -- novelpromotion.com, indiemirror.com, pennjournal.com and quistive.com are all live at the moment. Once again, I could be doin it rong.
    Last edited by Helix; 11-18-2014 at 04:41 PM. Reason: More info
    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  21. #21
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    You beat me to it!

    The Penn Review, what little there is of the Atlantic Review and a bewildering array of other websites are registered to the same person and organisation:

    Registry Registrant ID:
    Registrant Name: LAUREN HACKENBERRY
    Registrant Organization: URBAN LIFE CAFE
    Registrant Street: 141 COLD SPRINGS ROAD
    Registrant City: LEWISTOWN
    Registrant State/Province: PENNSYLVANIA
    Registrant Postal Code: 17044
    Registrant Country: UNITED STATES
    http://whois.domaintools.com/pennbookreview.com
    More about Ms Hackenberry here:
    http://www.guru.com/freelancers/lauren-hackenberry

    Dammit, leave Oscar out of this mess!
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-18-2014 at 04:47 PM.
    "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)

  22. #22
    E Conchis Omnia Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    Dammit, leave Oscar out of this mess!
    But the Wilde is the most expensive. It costs more than the Tolstoy and the Shakespeare together!

    ETA: There's also Atlantic Book Tours, which offers a range of packages named after U.S. writers, including Hemmingway [sic]. I wish people would spell his name correctly. Unless, of course, they mean Quentin Alphonse Hemmingway. In which case, carry on.
    Last edited by Helix; 11-18-2014 at 04:58 PM.
    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  23. #23
    Brutally Honest; No Filter GenGriffin's Avatar
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    Alice and Helix,

    I am officially in awe of your investigative talents. I would never have uncovered all that.

    May I also add that I just love this
    Will anyone ever find out that I purchased a review?
    No one will ever know that you paid for our time unless you would like to tell them. We value confidentiality and the privacy of our Authors.
    I never really looked into the canceled book review too hard, I simply took her word for it. Now that you guys have shown me all this, I feel like it speaks volumes about Penny's professionalism and her ability to effectively promote the books of others....

    I wish I had come here when she first started talking about "Atlantic Book Review" - - - maybe I would have caught on sooner.

  24. #24
    Brutally Honest; No Filter GenGriffin's Avatar
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    Also, would y'all like me to provide proof of my claims against Penny Fletcher? I am certainly prepared to do so if you feel it is necessary. I have already sent much of what I have to Victoria Strauss.

  25. #25
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    People can say anything they want but it doesn't make it true.
    Sometimes people are motivated by something other than what they are venting about.

    What is written here about Soaring Eagle Books is a total fabrication and is libelous.
    I've now seen documentation of much of what Gen described in her initial post--so, neither fabrication nor libelous. I've also seen a Soaring Eagle contract--a poorly written, unprofessional document with the one saving grace of extending for only three years.

    "Hackenberry" rings a bell for me, but I can't figure out why--I checked my records and I don't have any complaints or questions.

    - Victoria

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