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VeggieChick

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New Publisher: Free Style Publishing - Any info?

They have an ad in Craigslist, which could be a bad sign. However, the website looks very professional. Any info on them?

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Start-up publishing company is now accepting fiction and nonfiction submissions for the early 2007 editorial calendar. The subject – the use of yoga other health-related strategies to work through struggles and roadblocks in life. More specifically, we are looking for work that aims to inspire our readers, and show the value of living a healthy and positive lifestyle.

While we are a small publisher, and at this time cannot afford tremendous advances, we do provide our authors with competitive royalty rates and publication with a legitimate independent publisher.

For more information, or to submit your work, email us or visit www.freestylepublishing.com.

Freestyle Publishing, the latest addition to the emerging community of small, independent publishers, utilizes modern data transfer technology and grassroots marketing techniques to effectively compete with the industry’s large, New York-based publishers. The Baltimore-based company publishes innovative works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Freestyle’s initial titles are expected to release in early 2007.
 

JennaGlatzer

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Taken at face value, some of the statements on their site would give me more confidence in them than in your typical "Hey, publishing looks like fun!" POD start-ups. This, primarily: "Our Publisher is both a published author and trade publishing veteran." (Even despite the fact that "publisher" should not be capitalized and there are some grammatical errors throughout the site.) However, I can't find mention of this person's name anywhere on the site. If I could verify who he/she is, that would be helpful.

Then, the fact that they're "mostly" specializing on a particular area of self-help and health is a good sign. Adding in that they'll also publish fiction and poetry is not a great sign to me (normally, it's better for a small press to figure out their niche and develop it before branching out to try to market everything else), but not a deal-breaker.

The fact that they list their "primary retail distributor" as Baker & Taylor is worrying. (See http://www.freestylepublishing.com/FAQs.html .) Pretty much every vanity press in the world claims distribution through Baker & Taylor and Ingram-- it really doesn't mean anything. They're wholesalers, not truly distributors, which means only that IF a store places an order for a book, Baker & Taylor can send it to them. However, it doesn't mean that there are actually sales reps going to the bookstore buyers and actively trying to place the books.

According to the articles they link and the general commentary throughout the site, it *seems* clear to me that they plan to use print on demand technology and market primarily online.

However, I'd like to hear all this straight from them, so I'll e-mail them and see if they'll participate in the discussion.
 

FreestylePub

Freestyle Publishing

Thanks for the invite Jenna. After reading the thread, I'm realizing how difficult it is today for a start-up publisher to differentiate themselves from the myriad of "vanity" and "pseudo-vanity" publishers. Hopefully I can better define Freestyle for everyone.

First off, a little about a few of us who started Freestyle: My name is Joe Latta, the Marketing Manager for Freestyle. As you discussed, we are a small start-up (five primary staff members). My mentor, and our publisher, is my father, Edward Latta, whom spent over 30 years in the publishing business - over 20 as the CEO of Raven Publishing and Aspen Publishing, the later having roughly 300 employees and over $130 million in revenue. As for myself, I've worked in publishing and marketing for seven years, as an Editorial Assistant, Managing Editor and Marketing Manager, both in the nonprofit industry and for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a large healthcare publisher, where my industry focus was massage and alternative therapy.

As for some of your concerns about Freestyle, I can definitely understand the worry about "vanity publishing" when a new face comes around. I've been struggling with how to most effectively seperate ourselves from others that pose as legit publishers, but in the end are simply a mill. The truth is that we are absolutely a legit publisher, and while we admittingly have a low operating budget, we hope to effectively apply our knowledge in a way that generates respect, and hopefully some significant sales, for our imprint and authors. We will never sell information or charge any reading fees, contest fees, etc. And while our advances won't be great to start, royalties will be competative and fair.

We will be using POD. I know there are varying feelings on this topic, but as people who have visited several offset and POD printers, talked with the staff, and have really examined the quality differences, we honestly feel that the sacrifice in quality is not significant. And for a small publisher, it has really opened the door for money to be allocated on the front end for other needs, such as marketing.

Speaking of, the term "grassroots marketing" in our sense refers more to our theory of successful marketing. For example, I think time spent visiting independent bookstores, yoga studios, and small health markets, and providing free articles, seminars, etc. for hopeful authors is far more fitting for our market and goals than spending a large amount of money on advertisments, promotional items, etc. That may come in time, but for now, we are not a big publisher, so we're not going to pretend to challenge them.

Oh, and as for a posting on Craigslist, I was worried about that being taken as vanity-esque, but we just launched and I'm just trying to get the name out there in any way I can.

I understand what you mean by the impression people get by us having Baker & Taylor up as our distributor. I'll be taking it down and will take a look for some of the grammatical errors on the site.

Sorry to be long-winded, but I hope that helped answer some of your questions. We are just a group of passionate people who love publishing, and who are hoping to use our knowledge to carve out a niche, inspire the bodies and minds of our readers and provide a legit publishing opportunity to select authors. I'd be glad to answer any other questions, and feel free to take a look at our Henry Latta Memorial Writing Contest. Its not only a vehicle for us to get our name out there, but a resume builder and pocket change for some writers. And of course I am always open for suggestions on how we can improve as a publishing company.

Thanks, Joe
 

triceretops

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Hi, Joe, and thanks for dropping by to give us your imput. Now, I'm aware of your primary focus with the non-fiction end, and BTW, I think it is a very worthwhile niche market you're aiming at. I'm sure you'll find great success here.

My question regards fiction. You admit that your fiction gate is admittedly small, and I can understand this. But I was wondering what type of fiction work would tweak your attention. Do you have genre preferences? And what do you believe will do well on the fiction end?

Triceratops
 

CaoPaux

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Website is currently a "check back for our relaunch" placeholder.
 

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