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Thread: NineStar Press

  1. #1
    Adri Nyme
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    NineStar Press

    http://ninestarpress.com/index.html

    I saw this new LGBTQA press mentioned on my twitter feed earlier, and I can't find any information on the people behind it. I'm hesitant about all new presses, even if I am excited to see a press that does more than M/M. Does anyone have the skills to dig deeper and find out who the owner/managing editor touted in the FAQ is? She's supposed to have 10 years of experience working with well-known romance presses. I don't know how to look for that, since her name isn't mentioned in their FAQ or their twitter/FB pages.

    Other things that makes me wary is that they pay 40% net royalties on a monthly basis, their paperback and audiobook publishing is based on conditions, and they also purport to publish romance, erotica, and literary fiction, which seems a wide scope, but maybe since it's all LGBTQA, that works with their marketing plan somehow. (I'm exercising what I've learned lurking here! )

    And they do have a marketing plan. From their site:

    Excellent publisher-led promo. We donít expect you to do all the work! We will organise a blog tour for your book, submit to reviewers, include it in paid advertising, blast it across social media, and so much more! We believe that maintaining a promo & marketing budget in the company finances is one of the most important things a publisher can do for authors.

    That sounds better than most new presses, though most of that seems to be free social media posting? I guess wait and see how they do. Their logo and website are quite nice, in my opinion, and they don't officially launch until November, though they also don't say what books they're launching with.

  2. #2
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin NineStar Press's Avatar
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    Hello! Owner here. Happy to answer any and all questions. My name's Lisa and in the past decade I've worked as content editor, developmental editor, senior editor, or editorial manager for the following:

    Totally Bound
    Samhain Publishing
    Dreamspinner Press
    Ellora's Cave
    Decadent Publishing
    Entangled Publishing
    Carina Press

    ...and more.

    I always worked under a pseudonym (as many editors in the erom business do), which sounds shady now, I do admit! But I'm happy to prove to anyone that I did indeed maintain senior editorial positions with many of these companies, if anyone would like to get in touch and ask for it.

    The net royalty -- it is *only* about third-party vendor fees. The author will receive 40% of ALL money we receive from vendors. No other expenses factor into royalties.

    Our marketing plan is more than I could sum up in a short paragraph! We have a marketing manager, and each author will receive a "promo schedule" no later than one month before release. This will include a schedule of an extensive blog tour, the advertising we've booked, release parties on social media, the reviewers we've submitted to, etc. We do all the promo work, not the author. And all underperforming books will be revisited by our marketing team. We have a motto -- no book gets left behind.

    Any other questions, fire away!

    We have a press release coming today explaining the what and the why and the how a bit more, and of course our full website (upon its launch later in the summer) will have a LOT more information.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by NineStar Press; 07-01-2015 at 04:17 PM.

  3. #3
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Thank you, Lisa! I'll be following you and NineStar with interest.

    Blog: Blue Night
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  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin NineStar Press's Avatar
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    Thanks, Filigree!

    Just to add for others browsing this thread -- we know a big factor in choosing a publisher is the quality of cover art (and promo graphics), so I'm linking the portfolio of our Art Director. Clicky. This is not a complete display of her work, but it certainly gives you an idea. Please note that these are NOT books NineStar Press will be releasing -- they're covers Aria has designed for self-published authors. I, personally, happen to think her work is stunning (hence why I hired her!) and I hope readers and authors will agree. As we all know, cover art is so important when it comes to catching the reader's eye, and we'll be putting every effort into beautiful presentation.

  5. #5
    Ships full of vampires are hell. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    Just want to make note of some of the info in this submissions call:

    Quote Originally Posted by NineStar Press View Post
    We’re launching on November 23 and already have 40+ titles in production – and what we need now is some delicious MM paranormal & contemporary to add to our spring/summer 2016 lineup!
    Opening soon. Lots of titles in production. The amount seems aggressive to me, which could be good or bad, I suppose...
    WIP: Syncopation -- Rockstars! Kink! Reunited snarky enemies to lovers!
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  6. #6
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I have a contemporary M/M/M novella R&R with them (expanding a short story to 12K). I'll let folks know how it goes. I normally do not touch new publishers before two years out, but...

    Nine Star seems fairly transparent.
    Staff bios and experience checks out on personal research.
    Contract reasonable for genre.
    I'm not married to the contemporary genre, so if this one fizzles I've not lost a lot of effort or worldbuilding.

    Blog: Blue Night
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  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin NineStar Press's Avatar
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    We have a release schedule of 2-3 titles a week leading well into next year, which is fairly standard for a small press starting out.

    And the reason we have so many titles in our schedule already is because our editors -- knowledgeable, experienced, well-connected people that they are -- have spent the past few months reaching out to all their LGBTQA+ author connections and making plenty of excellent signings. But be assured -- we're not just taking on anything and everything for the sake of filling our schedule. Not even close. That wouldn't benefit anyone in the long run.

    We have an aggressive marketing campaign for our launch beginning in November, hitting heavily through our launch date on Nov 23 and into December and 2016, so you might be seeing our name around a fair amount soon. Happy to answer any questions!
    Last edited by NineStar Press; 10-23-2015 at 02:09 PM.

  8. #8
    Two cups sugar with a dash of crazy oceansoul's Avatar
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    Do you work with YA submissions? Just for future reference!

    Julia Ember
    http://www.julia-ember.com
    @jules_chronicle

    Unicorn Tracks (Harmony Ink Press, 2016)
    YA Fantasy Romance
    Buy it and Be Awesome

    The Tiger's Watch (Harmony Ink Press, 2017)
    YA Fantasy Romance
    Add to GoodReads!


  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin NineStar Press's Avatar
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    Currently, no. But we do hope to launch a YA line towards the end of 2016/early 2017 -- we've been receiving amazing LGBTQA+ YA subs and it's such a shame to turn them away! Just let us find our feet in the adult romance & lit world, get firmly situated, establish ourselves... And then watch this space!

    By "no YA" we mean characters under 18 years of age, just FYI! For anyone who wasn't sure.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW JulesJones's Avatar
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    A minor data point: I was pitching a novella and novel in the recent #pitmad on Twitter, and NineStar showed interest in both. I checked their favourites list, and they *weren't* favouriting everything in sight, unlike another small press who favourited me. I was looking for an agent rather than a publisher at that point, but the selectiveness and the initial publisher response in this thread meant I was willing to put the time in to run a basic check on the Companies Registration Office website and so forth. I haven't submitted yet, but like Filigree, what I found looked reasonable enough that I'd be willing to risk a novelette or novella.
    http://www.julesjones.com


    Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men. Stormy Nights - released by NineStar Press on 24 July 2017.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    I can vouch for the owner who edited me in the past with another publisher. She's great to work with. I never had any issues or problems.

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin NineStar Press's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulesJones View Post
    A minor data point: I was pitching a novella and novel in the recent #pitmad on Twitter, and NineStar showed interest in both. I checked their favourites list, and they *weren't* favouriting everything in sight, unlike another small press who favourited me. I was looking for an agent rather than a publisher at that point, but the selectiveness and the initial publisher response in this thread meant I was willing to put the time in to run a basic check on the Companies Registration Office website and so forth. I haven't submitted yet, but like Filigree, what I found looked reasonable enough that I'd be willing to risk a novelette or novella.
    Thank you, Jules!

    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    I can vouch for the owner who edited me in the past with another publisher. She's great to work with. I never had any issues or problems.
    You were a gem to work with! <3

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I'm considering submitting to them, but I have to admit, cruel as that might sound, I hate the cover art. It's all...buff dudes and people kissing. I suppose that appeals to many, but the prospect of having kissing people on the cover of my book seems rather horrifying to me.
    So, I'm just wondering how much freedom an author has with cover art with this publisher. I could only find 1 cover on their website that didn't have humans on it.
    If anyone who's published with them is willing to share their experience on that front, I would really appreciate it.
    Last edited by Demiurge; 05-09-2016 at 11:18 AM.

  14. #14
    Thick Skin Pre-Installed Zombie Fraggle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demiurge View Post
    I'm considering submitting to them, but I have to admit, cruel as that might sound, I hate the cover art. It's all...buff dudes and people kissing.
    Regarding concept only, their cover art is typical for the genre. I can't speak to how much input authors have regarding cover art at this press, but buff dudes and people kissing are extremely common on romance novels regardless of the publisher.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie Fraggle View Post
    Regarding concept only, their cover art is typical for the genre. I can't speak to how much input authors have regarding cover art at this press, but buff dudes and people kissing are extremely common on romance novels regardless of the publisher.
    Common, yes, but not always quite so invariably. I've dealt with other romance publishers before that had some variety in their cover art. In fact, most of them did. NineStar has buff dudes and people kissing on virtually all their covers, which I actually wouldn't say is entirely common. Or good, for that matter, because so many of their covers look the same, it becomes difficult to tell any of the books apart. Obviously most of their sales don't come from the website, so whether or not the titles look unique next to each other probably isn't that important, but it's still a bit disconcerting to see them all in a row, looking like a calendar.
    Besides, they do also publish non-romantic novels, since their theme is not actually romance, but rather LGBTQA+. But those too, apparently, have covers in the same style.

  16. #16
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demiurge View Post
    I'm considering submitting to them, but I have to admit, cruel as that might sound, I hate the cover art. It's all...buff dudes and people kissing. I suppose that appeals to many, but the prospect of having kissing people on the cover of my book seems rather horrifying to me.
    So, I'm just wondering how much freedom an author has with cover art with this publisher. I could only find 1 cover on their website that didn't have humans on it.
    If anyone who's published with them is willing to share their experience on that front, I would really appreciate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie Fraggle View Post
    Regarding concept only, their cover art is typical for the genre. I can't speak to how much input authors have regarding cover art at this press, but buff dudes and people kissing are extremely common on romance novels regardless of the publisher.
    (My bold.)

    I looked at the covers for all of their categories and as Zombie Fraggle mentioned, these are all pretty standard across the romance industry. However, a few did have models wearing jackets or shirts, so you couldn't tell what their muscular status is, and some of the duos weren't kissing or even touching each other. I'm not sure what's so "horrifying" about having a cover that represents the content of the book in the best possible light so if you haven't written a GLBT romance, it might be a better idea to sub elsewhere. Otherwise, if you do want to sub to this publisher, wait until you've gotten an offer and you're working them on the cover design. The two publishers I've had send out a questionnaire on what their authors did or didn't want.
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.


  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    (My bold.)

    I looked at the covers for all of their categories and as Zombie Fraggle mentioned, these are all pretty standard across the romance industry. However, a few did have models wearing jackets or shirts, so you couldn't tell what their muscular status is, and some of the duos weren't kissing or even touching each other. I'm not sure what's so "horrifying" about having a cover that represents the content of the book in the best possible light so if you haven't written a GLBT romance, it might be a better idea to sub elsewhere. Otherwise, if you do want to sub to this publisher, wait until you've gotten an offer and you're working them on the cover design. The two publishers I've had send out a questionnaire on what their authors did or didn't want.
    It's horrifying to me, and I do believe that I'm entitled to my emotions about what'd be on the cover of my book, seeing as it's my book and all. You might not feel the same way, and that's perfectly fine, but I don't like people on covers. Other publishers I've worked with, even romance publishers, had variety with their covers, while NineStar just has people on covers, and that's not something that appeals to me at all.
    I don't see why a person who's written an LQBTQA+ romance is just supposed to settle for a cover they don't like. No, not all covers in the romance world look like that. If NineStar has a style they don't want to veer away from, then that's that, but if not, it would be helpful to know. I don't want to dismiss them if this is not actually a problem, but I also don't want to waste my time and theirs by submitting if their cover art is more or less non-negotiable. Hence my request for someone who's had experience with them to share said experience. After all, that's what this forum is for.
    Last edited by Demiurge; 05-09-2016 at 05:42 PM.

  18. #18
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    NineStar has cover 'styles' they've formulated to have the most appeal to the majority of M/M and LGBTQ readers. I'm happy with the cover they picked for my novella, but it's contemporary. For some SFF works I'm considering sending them, I'd want something more painterly than a model composite...more like some of the stuff Dreamspinner or Riptide manages. It may be a moot point, as I'm trying Big Five routes first. Sure, I daydream about a Whelan or Palencar cover...not going to happen. And certainly not in an epub.

    For small press epub LGBTQ romance, you have to learn some acceptance of market forces. Your thumbnail cover image has little more than 5 seconds to tell potential readers: genre and subgenre, heat (in romance), gender of main characters, some hint as to setting and story, title, publisher, and author name. In that order, for anyone not a Name bestseller.

    The buff guys on the cover may have little to do with your actual story, but they are effective signals to browsing readers.

    Blog: Blue Night
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  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    The buff guys on the cover may have little to do with your actual story, but they are effective signals to browsing readers.
    Well, that's kind of the thing - what I'm planning to send to them would not be at all well-represented by buff guys, or even kissing people. It's SF, for one. Other epubs I've worked with had cover art options that involved scenery, objects, even just spiffy lettering. I suppose that might not be as immediately obvious, but that didn't seem to stop them, although I'm not well-informed enough to know whether that hindered their sales at all. A lot of their covers took subgenres into consideration rather than just the romance and the pairing. This is the first publisher I've considered for submission only to start seriously doubting this decision after checking the covers.
    I don't exactly expect an outrageously gorgeous cover, just something I would be more or less comfortable with. I do realize that there are requirements to be met as to marketability, but it's also important to know where to draw the line for yourself so that the publishing experience doesn't turn into something not at all pleasant.
    Well, everyone always talks about how important it is to find a publisher that's right for you. If I have no options here other than model composites, then maybe they're just not for me.
    Either way, thanks for the response. I appreciate the info.
    Last edited by Demiurge; 05-09-2016 at 07:23 PM.

  20. #20
    Ships full of vampires are hell. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    You could contact them and ask about SF romance covers.

    http://ninestarpress.com/contact/
    WIP: Syncopation -- Rockstars! Kink! Reunited snarky enemies to lovers!
    Latest Release: Daily Grind
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  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    You could contact them and ask about SF romance covers.

    http://ninestarpress.com/contact/
    I have, actually, before posting here. They haven't responded yet, but I'll give it some time.
    I just figured I'd ask here in the meantime. Writers' first-hand experience is invaluable.
    Thanks for the advice though, even if I have already taken it.

  22. #22
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I'd give it a few days; they're usually very responsive, but I know they are really busy now. It's a question I'd like answered too, since a more SFF-signaling cover would help me out, too.

    Blog: Blue Night
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  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hello there!

    Editor from NineStar here. We just recently hired a new cover artist, Natasha Snow. Only one of her covers is on the website at this point.

    Each author is able to fill out an art request form, in which they can describe what they want their cover to be like and provide some examples of covers they like. If you don't want people on your cover, no problem. Just make sure you note that in the form so that Natasha is aware.

    So if you want buff men or gorgeous women? Sure, we can do that, but if it's not your thing? We can also accommodate that.

    Hope that helps!

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjeller View Post
    We just recently hired a new cover artist, Natasha Snow. Only one of her covers is on the website at this point
    Thank you so much for the response!
    I have actually spoken to Ms Snow already. She sent me her portfolio. It's quite impressive and contains many of the covers I really liked from other publishers. And she did say she takes author requests into consideration, which is quite comforting, especially if you're planning to submit something in a genre or subgenre that wouldn't go all to well with buff dudes and smooching.
    Last edited by Demiurge; 05-10-2016 at 08:48 AM.

  25. #25
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Cool! Thanks for replying so quickly, Sjeller. (I was going to pester Lisa or Rae at peril of getting shoes thrown at me.) Is Natasha another composite whiz (which can be lovely with the right filters and tricks), or does she have some Painter & analog painting skills as well?

    Kind of like these folks: http://www.painterartist.com/us/pages/masters/

    I'm a few months away from querying a big SFF/fantasy romance arc, and having the chance at a very strong SFF-coded cover with even a vague Dos Santos, Whelan, or Palencar look would seriously skew my query direction away from the Big Five and towards an amenable small press (I have three in my query list, of which NineStar is one.) Yes, I know that those particular artists charge and get serious money for their work. But it seems that Dreamspinner is managing to get some painterly covers that go well beyond the buff headless dudes still populating the genre. I know that look draws a LOT of readers who associate it with certain kinds of reads...yet it can alienate many others. Having a more SFF or fantasy-style cover could very well bring a broader readership.

    Likewise with the 'Object' covers that showcase a theme design or artifact. Some of the most simple and effective in recent commercial publication are the covers for C.S. Pacat's 'Captive Prince' series, with a minimal but regal design that carried the look of her earlier self-published versions. So there is definitely room beyond composite buff guys, in an expanding genre.

    Added: I just looked at Natasha's site. She has some excellent covers, with wide range of looks. I'm intrigued.
    Last edited by Filigree; 05-10-2016 at 08:52 AM.

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