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Thread: Orchard House Press (formerly Windstorm Creative)

  1. #1
    Alison
    Guest

    Orchard House Press (formerly Windstorm Creative)

    Anyone have any experience with this book publisher? Just curious.

  2. #2
    racheln
    Guest

    velvet47

    Hi,

    I don't have any experience working with them, but have seen the 'quality' of one of their publications - and it was *appalling*.

    I ordered a copy as had been interested in the possibility of writing for them, as a topic of particular interest was on their current need list. But after seeing the publication - one which was written by their series editor and was listed as recommended reading for potential contributors - I'd never work with them (would be embarrassed to have my name associated with such a poor publication).

  3. #3
    RachelN
    Guest

    Windstorm Creative

    The subject title of the previous post should of course said Windstorm Creative!

  4. #4
    AlisonBurke
    Guest

    Windstorm

    Thanks for your input. Would you mind telling me which book it was you ordered?

    Sincerely, Alison

  5. #5
    Victoria
    Guest

    Windstorm Creative

    Windstorm Creative is the successor to a publisher called Pride & Imprints, which went out of business a couple of years ago. Internet-based publishers frequently vanish and then reappear in different guises, and since there's sometimes a cloud over the vanishment, it always pays to do some digging when a new publisher comes down the pike. I don't know why Pride & Imprints went belly-up; the usual reason for this to happen is financial overextension or poor sales.

    I've been told that Pride & Imprints offered at least some subsidy contracts, but I don't have any proof of this.

    I've never gotten any complaints about Windstorm, but I suspect that they don't do much in the way of marketing and distribution. They appear to publish quite a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but I've yet to see one of their books reviewed in any professional SF/F publications (including one that reviews a lot of books from independent and POD publishers), nor do they appear to maintain a presence at cons. Nor have I ever seen a Windstorm book in a specialty SF/F bookstore. IMO, a serious independent publisher should do better in this regard.

    - Victoria
    Writer Beware
    www.sfwa.org/beware

  6. #6
    RachelN
    Guest

    Re: Windstorm

    Hi Alison,

    The book I ordered was, "Farscape! The Best Websites and Factoids" (I was interested in the possibility of doing something similar).

    I've done a lot of website reviewing in my time, and was very, very surprised at the 'quality' of the reviews. For example, all one 'review' consisted of was, "One of the largest on the web" - hardly much of a review! (and couldn't people easily find that out for themselves just surfing the net, without actually having to read the book?!) Lots of others were very skimpy too, plus most of the pages were half blank, which I wasn't too impressed with either (certainly didn't feel like good value for money).

  7. #7
    Windstorm Creative
    Guest

    Windstorm Creative

    A couple of our authors came across this thread and suggested that I should respond. My name is Jennifer DiMarco, and I am the owner and publisher of Windstorm Creative.

    First off, let me please extend my apologies to RachelN for the book in which she felt disappointed. No publisher likes to have potential customers feel they are not getting their money’s worth. While we strive to make our Internet guides as complete as possible, we cannot always hit the mark every time and on every page. I take your concerns seriously, and I will personally review that title in particular for improvements.

    Additionally, if RachelN had contacted us directly regarding her dissatisfaction with the title she ordered, we would have refunded her money. No questions asked. If a book has imperfections, we’ll replace it. Free. This has always been our policy and will continue to be.

    I would like to address the points raised by Victoria. Windstorm Creative did indeed originally arise from Pride & Imprints. I was originally one of Pride & Imprints’ authors when the opportunity arose to acquire the assets of the company. Beyond changing its name, I was determined to create a publishing house that would be author- and artist- friendly. As an author, I’ve been published by a large New York press and I’ve been burned by them too. I didn’t want that to happen to anyone working with Windstorm.

    Just as every small business grows and expands, so have we. Windstorm is not an Internet-based publisher; we are a full-service, royalty-paying independent press with 150 authors in our catalog. We do not do POD or vanity publishing. As our resources have grown, so has our commitment to marketing and distribution. We attend regional conferences in the Pacific Northwest (we’ll be at Norwescon and Westercon this year, and have done other smaller cons as well). We work with all of the major distributors to increase the shelf presence of Windstorm titles. Are we on the shelves at every single Barnes and Noble outlet? No, but then try to find such a pervasive presence by any independent press. It’s not for lack of trying, believe me! I won’t bore you with the details of co-op deals and other industry hurdles that independent presses face in trying to compete with the major publishers. I can tell you that our titles are stocked by a great many independent bookstores throughout the country, and we are continually working at increasing our penetration into the major chains.

    Please excuse the length of my post, but I was quite saddened to see Windstorm’s name in a thread dealing with things to “beware of.” I want to assure you that Windstorm is committed to those same ideals of fairness and responsibility to authors that SFWA believes in. It is what I founded the company on when I took it over! If you talk with any of our authors, I am sure you will find them quite happy to be a part of Windstorm.
    Let me add, particularly for Victoria’s benefit, that if you would like to contact me to get further details about Windstorm I would be happy to correspond with you.

    You may contact me directly at wsc@windstormcreative.com. We also encourage you to visit our website at www.windstormcreative.com where you will find information about who we are, what we publish, how we work with bookstores and how we work with authors.

  8. #8
    AlisonBurke
    Guest

    Windstorm Creative is a solid company

    Hi Jennifer,

    I feel compelled to let you know I am so sorry to have caused any sadness on your part by posting a question on the Bewares Board at Absolute Write. My intention was only to hear of anyone else's experiences with Windstorm, but I understand now that the location of my post was not a fair move on my part. I could have posted the question in a more neutral setting. I apologize for my inconsideration.

    When I first posted the question I was still in the process of researching your company, and with my first book contract I was perhaps over-cautious in worrying about the ramifications of 'signing on'. Perhaps most of us have been burned a little too often in the publishing industry, as you mention. At this point, however, I want to say that every experience I have had thus far with Windstorm has been extremely positive, and I am very impressed with your company's efforts as an independent publisher. I am sorry one person had a negative experience, but I don't want that to mar the excellent impression I have received on my own of your professional approach, high-quality product, open attitude, and informative website.

    I am thrilled to be a part of the Windstorm family, and I hope my inquiry and the subsequent posts that followed on Absolute Write won't hurt our relationship. I appreciate your interest in my book and have complete confidence in my managing editor. Thank you so much, and feel free to contact me by e-mail if there is anything else I can do to clear this up. This message will be posted on the board as well.

    Sincerely yours, Alison Burke

  9. #9
    RachelN
    Guest

    Re: Windstorm Creative

    Hi Jennifer,

    I'm sorry my harsh words offended you. I was disappointed with the book as it didn't live up to my expectations at all, so am glad you will be reviewing the title. I'd never even contemplated asking for a refund (didn't order it direct from Windstorm), but that's nice to know that such a friendly policy exists.

    Having read your informative post, and bearing in mind there have been no other complaints posted here, I'll keep an open mind and hope that was just a fluke.

    Rachel

  10. #10
    Patricia
    Guest

    Windstorm Creative

    Hello everyone,

    This is an old thread, but I feel I have to contribute! I signed up with Windstorm Creative about six months ago. My second book is in the process of being published, and I'm working on my third, also to be published with Windstorm. I have already published one book with Time Media, and I've been writing/editing for about twelve years, so I'm not new to the business. Like everyone here, I've come across some not-so-nice people on my travels, and I've become a little wary in my old age.

    I would like to say that my experience so far with Windstorm has been the best of my publishing career. I'm very conscious of our impact on the planet as individuals and as "the human race" so I love Windstorm's policy regarding resources. Everyone I've had dealings with in the company so far has not only met and exceeded my expectations, but has shown a willingness to go the extra mile with their writers. Regarding marketing, from what I can see they're working very hard at it! The design for the covers is exceptional, by any standards.

    I'm proud to be associated with Windstorm and to anyone considering making a pitch to them, I'd say go ahead. Frankly, you should be so lucky!

    Best wishes to all in their writing careers,
    Patricia.

  11. #11
    debra beauchamp
    Guest

    Windstorm Creative

    Jennifer:

    I realize this is an old post but I thought I might be
    able to get you to respond to me this way.

    I have sent various e-mail and faxes concerning
    the status of some manuscripts that I sent to
    your publishing house in early June of this year.

    To date, I have had not one response.

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Thank you,
    Debra MacDonald-Beauchamp
    workonly12@hotmail.com

  12. #12
    SteveS
    Guest

    Replies

    I have to echo the frustration of not getting remotely timely responses. A friend of mine recommended Windstorm after Jennifer picked him up for a 5 book series and he was delighted with things and recommended me for their young adult series as I have published 8 kids books and am working on something I tought would be up their street. I pitched a number of ideas, and after about 2 months got a sure, send it along, so I responded with an honest question, which idea would they like to see developed. 8 month slater I still don't know. A friend of mine has done a number of covers for them, and has a query about the contract which has gone unanswered for 5 months. I honestly believe Windstorm have the best intentions but they are frustrating when it comes to communication.

    Steve

  13. #13
    Slayrre
    Guest

    I think Windstorm is spreading themselves too thin...!

    Regretfully...Windstorm Creative has been dragging
    their heels these past three months with regard to returning my communications regarding artwork, marketing, publishing dates, etc.

    Apparently, this is a common problem with Windstorm (as indicated through communications posted by others on this board).

    This leaves me questioning my commitment to Windstorm AND reconsidering the strong interest expressed by two other publishing companies early on.

    And...while Windstorm Creative may be a solid publisher, they may not be the right publisher for Creations End (an RPG gaming book I wrote).

    Gary Gygax, the originator of Dungeons & Dragons, communicated with me (via emails) suggesting that I go to White Wolf (a major RPG publisher). I however felt more comfortable with a smaller company because I (erroneously) believed that a smaller publisher would give
    more attention to their projects.

    In the beginning, Windstorm Creative supported this idea as they effectively convinced me of their intent to make Creations End a "shelf presence" in the RPG world, develop accessories such as comics based on the game, and seek a long term commitment by offering me a five-book contract.

    This level of interest & commitment was expressed particularly well by the CEO of Windstorm (Jennifer DiMarco) during our initial phone conversations and before signing the contract that Windstorm offered.

    However...since signing the contract (Nov 02)...the following has occured:

    A) communication has been extremely poor and non-existent (as of the past three months);

    B) when communication via phone last occurred... Windstorm continued to profess a strong interest in publishing Creations End but was very vague on providing specific dates; and...

    C) as of today...has communicated no real progress toward artwork, marketing, etc.

    Despite these unfortunate developments...the past year has provided me the time to strengthen, improve, and expand the game. There is no doubt that the current edition of Creations End is FAR MORE ENJOYABLE than the original submission which garnered the five book
    contract.

    So...at this juncture...I estimate that by the end of Jan 04... Windstorm will either re-affirm my faith in their commitment to publishing CE (a move I am willing to strongly support) or legal steps will have been taken allowing me to sign on with a different publisher.

    So...in closing...this is, undoubtedely, a very critical time for Creations End...a time that has been forced upon me by the lack of communication by Windstorm.

    Michael

  14. #14
    Cris DiMarco
    Guest

    From Windstorm's Senior Editor

    Hello, writers.

    I think I may be able to shed some light on what's happening in terms of response times and, in some cases, a lack of response from WSC to those of you who have submitted work.

    Steve and Debra – I’m sorry, I checked our logs and we have no record of your submissions. If you have not heard from us, I can only assume that your query or sample chapters were misrouted or MIA between your mailbox and ours. Additionally, I cannot imagine a question about a contract going unanswered for 5 months, but without more information it’s impossible for me to respond to that particular situation.

    We get thousands of submissions and in truth, we try and take a look at every one of them. This takes time.

    Every publisher has to put some guidelines in place in order to save everyone a lot of headaches. We spent a lot of time on our submission guidelines and we think they’re not only comprehensive, but will really give you a sense of whether or not your work is within the realm of what we publish. To that end, here are a few additional tips.

    1. All submissions must include the following: A submission form and submission label (available from the website) and a SASE. Any submissions which do not have all of these three essential elements are destroyed.

    2. If you haven't heard back from us -- or from any publisher -- after the designated waiting period (which is usually stated in the submission guidelines). It is okay to send a follow up letter. Include a SASE for response. Please don't phone, however, as that is generally frowned upon unless you're under contract.

    3. We have a small staff and do our very best to get back to everyone as quickly as possible. Books we know aren't for us right off the bat which have the proper forms are returned quickly. Books which we would like to review are generally held longer. Unlike other situations where a publisher's silence means rejection, ours means that we're reading your work and considering it.

    As a writer myself who has waited for both publishers and agents to return my calls, letters and queries, I understand how frustrating it is to wait. We honestly try to the best we can to get back to writers quickly.

    As far as Slayrre's comments go, I am going to address them because he posted them openly in a public forum and the issues he raised are important ones.

    Before I tackle his specific complaints, I will remind anyone considering working with an independent press or a small press that there are trade offs. The biggest pro for working with a smaller house is that you will hear from a real person with decision making power. Right now, I am the author/artist contact, so every single author and artist under contract with Windstorm who emails me with questions gets a response that I've either written myself or that my personal assistant has written from my notes to her. You get a lot of personalized interaction, but because of this, it may take me more than 24 hours to answer your email. It may take me a week or even two. But I will answer it.

    Timely questions and requests are always addressed immediately -- email and phone messages are retrieved daily. Contract issues, readings, signings, tours, and other matters of this type are handled quickly. The writers and artists may feel that they're project is top priority, but they're not aware of the 50 other messages that also figure into a day's work.

    In terms of Michael's (Slayrre's) specific issues, he *was* given a timeline and a production schedule, which we followed. That production schedule included information on publication date. We also addressed his questions regarding marketing on several occasions and gave him concrete information about how and when the book/game would be marketed.

    His phone calls were returned in a timely manner. During the time the book was waiting in the layout queue, he didn't hear from us because we had no news for him and the project was on schedule. Additionally, we asked what he wanted to see on his cover and whether or not he had an artist/designer in mind -- which is completely unheard of in corporate publishing. Then we followed up on his ideas and suggestions.

    In the end, it was the writer's own antagonistic attitude which soured the relationship.

    We make every effort to be fair, to foster open communication and to provide an atmosphere where the writer has a lot of input into and control of the process. In some cases it's just a bad "fit" and the best thing we can do is release the unhappy writer and his or her project from the contract.

    This is what we did. He is now free to take his game anywhere he'd like.

    I hope this helps answer some additional questions about Windstorm. I can't promise I'll be able to post here regularly, but I will try and stop in now and then to address other questions and concerns. In the meantime, I wish all of you good luck in placing you work.

    Sincerely,
    Cris DiMarco
    Senior Editor
    Windstorm Creative
    www.windstormcreative.com

  15. #15
    Wryy
    Guest

    Windstorm Creative?

    I am new to the board, and am writing to find out if anyone has ever had any experience with Windstorm Creative?

    Wryy

  16. #16
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Windstorm Creative?

    Old-established Seattle area gay press, recently branching out into other genres. Why?

  17. #17
    Wryy
    Guest

    Windstorm

    Hi,

    I was contacted about writing something for them. They are offering compensation of 15% of "what they get" on the book. They are saying they have a very large (in my view... 80,000 dollars per novel) marketing budget for their books.

    I am wondering if anyone here has ever had any experiences with them, and what they thought. I have found a number of their books for sale, but wanted to check here before proceeding.

    Wryy

  18. #18
    HapiSofi
    Guest

    Re: Windstorm

    Wryy, royalties are normally paid on the cover price of the book, not the net profits.

    Eighty thousand dollars is a huge promo budget for an unknown writer being published by a small house.

  19. #19
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Windstorm

    We don't know that Wryy is an unknown writer. He or she could be a top expert in his/her field, with a dozen publication credits.

    But you're right, royalties are usually paid on gross, not net.

  20. #20
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Windstorm Creative?

    There's an earlier thread on Windstorm Creative, though it isn't coming up in the Search function--you may have to go back several pages to find it. Some of the comments, as I recall, weren't so complimentary.

    I've never seen a Windstorm book in a bookstore--which is odd, if their publicity budgets are indeed so large. I'd ask some hard questions about distribution.

    - Victoria

  21. #21
    Wryy
    Guest

    Re: Windstorm Creative?

    How do I find the search function?

    Wryy

  22. #22
    Wryy
    Guest

    Re: Windstorm Creative?

    Sorry.. I found it.

    Wryy

  23. #23
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Coastal Desert
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    Windstorm Creative

    Looks like they still pay on net. http://www.windstormcreative.com/

    The divisions:

    Blue Works (Young adult)
    Cheshire Pond Retreat (Writers’ retreat)
    Digital Leaf ePress (ebooks)
    Fandom Press (“shared universe” fiction)
    House with Bee (Art)
    Immortal Day (Role-playing games)
    Lightning Rod (Pop culture)
    Little Blue Works (Children’s)
    Orchard Academy (Educational)
    Paper Frog Productions (Theater & film)
    Windstorm (Fiction, music & poetry)
    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:

  24. #24
    Outside the box, with the bunnehz KimJo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    somewhere in Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,999
    So paying on net is a bad thing, right?

    Just asking because their YA division is looking for "mystery series with a magical realism twist" and I happen to have written one.
    as Jo Ramsey:
    My YA site
    My YA library
    COMING SOON:
    Midnight Chat, Harmony Ink, February 2017
    Dolphins in the Mud, Harmony Ink, August 2017



  25. #25
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Paying on net is a bad deal for authors because they'll get less money for each book sold than the standard pay-on-cover-price contract. It's also subject to book-cooking abuse by shady publishers.
    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:

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