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Solstice Publishing (formerly Hearts On Fire Books)

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Crystal Crichlow

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Are you signed with Solstice? And this question is for those of you who are. Are any of your print books actually in book stores? Do you make any money from that? Last time I checked you have to peddle your own novels to books stores to see if they would stock them and usually they don't. I also know that if by some miracle the store owner agrees to stock your books, you make absolutely ZERO dollars from it. But Solstice makes a great percentage. I've worked too hard on my book to have someone else benefit from it.

I've recently looked into Immortal Ink Publishing and haven't heard any negative stories about them. They accept very few novels at a time, which to me is a good thing because they focus all their resources on marketing , editing and making this book the best it can be. They also have a very good sales record and great marketing packages for authors. They also have a huge Twitter following. Right now they're closed for submissions, but once they're open again I will be submitting to them.

Immortal Ink Publishing only has four books released. They're obviously a brand spanking new publisher and will most likely go belly up in a couple years. Solstice books are print on demand and Melissa only suggests that we go around to local book stores IF we want the publicity. You don't seem very happy, Happy Novelist. Would you like a hug?
 

Mustafa

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If that's the case, they shouldn't falsely advertise or suggest to their authors that they can make our books available in book stores or that we should visit local book stores to have them put on shelves.


It's all in the wording, mate. "Your books will be available through all the bookstores across the USA" means that your book will be available for order, in the incredibly unlikely event that someone wanders in off the street with the ISBN number and orders it.

Getting your book stocked in one, two, ten, two dozen stores is not going to make you any money. Getting it stocked in the thousands of stores around the country is. To do that you need a distributor. Rather than looking up each publisher to see if they have one, just look at the shelves.
 

HappyNovelist

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Immortal Ink Publishing only has four books released. They're obviously a brand spanking new publisher and will most likely go belly up in a couple years. Solstice books are print on demand and Melissa only suggests that we go around to local book stores IF we want the publicity. You don't seem very happy, Happy Novelist. Would you like a hug?

Haha. I'm sorry if my posts come off as bitter. Maybe I am. I just feel duped or scammed. It's my fault for not doing my research before hand. Oh well...
 

Terie

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If that's the case, they shouldn't falsely advertise or suggest to their authors that they can make our books available in book stores or that we should visit local book stores to have them put on shelves.

It's not false advertising; it's weasel wording (with apologies to weasels). As someone else said upstream, 'available to book stores' means book stores can order it, not that it will be carried in book stores across the land. Companies that use that particular phrase count on writers not catching on to the distinction.

But don't kick yourself for falling for weasel wording. Lots of very capable people fall for it...that's why so many companies use it. You've learned a valuable lesson, and now you can more forward, smarter for the experience.
 

elindsen

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Novelist, like someone said, go to the bookstores and see who is publishing what. It is rare for an epress to get books on chain shelves. I could be wrong, so someone please correct me if so, but Samhain is the only one I know of that has books on shelves and they're only their top sellers, not all.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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Novelist, like someone said, go to the bookstores and see who is publishing what. It is rare for an epress to get books on chain shelves. I could be wrong, so someone please correct me if so, but Samhain is the only one I know of that has books on shelves and they're only their top sellers, not all.


I believe *all* Samhain titles that go over a certain word count end up in print.

All of my books with them have gone to print and I can definitely say that I wasn't a top seller.

Yet.

;)
 

veinglory

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They all go to print but pick-up by stores is extremely variable. Mine got into a few hundred stores and I thought that was pretty good for non-erotic MM. A few other smaller e/POD presses get onto shelves but not for every title.
 

elindsen

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It seems epresses just don't have the money, or maybe power? to get their books on shelves to match the big 6. Solstice didn't mislead in saying their books got on shelves. I've seen theirs available on B&N and such.

The important thing is to ask questions. If you want shelved, simply ask if titles are on shelves nationwide. If not, look elsewhere.
 

Mustafa

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It seems epresses just don't have the money, or maybe power? to get their books on shelves to match the big 6. Solstice didn't mislead in saying their books got on shelves. I've seen theirs available on B&N and such.
.

There are a lot of presses between "epresses" and "the big 6." If there were a picking order, Solstice wouldn't be immediately after "the big 6"
 

veinglory

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The very first step would be if they have a distributor, accept returns and offer standard discount. At this point being shelves in chain stores is at least possible. It would also whittle a very long list of small presses down to a handful.
 

triceretops

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The very first step would be if they have a distributor, accept returns and offer standard discount. At this point being shelves in chain stores is at least possible. It would also whittle a very long list of small presses down to a handful.

Exactly, I think I know of about 12 (maybe more) publishers so far that have this capability. A handful of them apply offset.

tri
 

Mustafa

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Exactly, I think I know of about 12 (maybe more) publishers so far that have this capability. A handful of them apply offset.

tri

Do you mean 12 outside of the big six? or do you mean 12 epresses?
 

Panican

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A friend of mine is an author with solstice and forwarded this letter he got recently. I'm pasting it in with his permission. Sounds like awesome corporate stuff: "Up to now we didn't do anything to market you, but from now on things are changing, and you'll be marketing yourself!" :) But on the other side, they say that submissions are on hold and they'll be reevaluating their approach, which could be cool.

Hello everyone!



As the new managing editor for Solstice Publishing, I want to take an opportunity to respond to some of the concerns that have been voiced here.



First of all, let me to thank you for your patience while we engineer what promises to be a massive evolution of Solstice; the way we interact with you, your readers, and within the publishing world in general. It’s very exciting for us, and, we hope, will be so for you as well.



Now, let me get down to specifics. The existing Solstice business model is a hybrid of traditional and vanity publishing. The company effectively offers light editorial services, help with electronic distribution, and some basic advice to authors for marketing. However, like most publishing houses today, the success of individual authors is left largely in their own hands. Some of you may feel that this is insufficient, and that the results are not meeting your expectations. However, I can assure you that we are working hard to dramatically improve this.



We have conducted considerable research exploring the world of modern publishing. Our intention is to evaluate what services are being provided, and how we can distinguish ourselves from the mass of other houses already out there. Having attended BookExpo America, and developed numerous contacts with people from around the industry, we have learned several key lessons that being considered in our new approach. These will be implemented, over time, in several phases, with the first phase schedule for release this summer.



At the core of this effort is an entirely new and unique web-based environment that provides the tools needed to successfully build a network of writers and readers surrounding the literary efforts and talents of our authors. However, we are still working though the specifications of this system and timelines for the features, and we will be providing updates as things progress.



Our intention is to start with you and your book, and build a web-based universe around them - allowing you to share your inspirations, processes, and other works with a community that supports and is inspired by you. This in turn will lead to increased reader loyalty, and increased book sales. When you figure in the additional publishing opportunities that this could create, it allows us to build considerably more exposure around your works. However, this will not be easy. For an author to thrive in this system, it will require regular, collaborative efforts; not just with us, but with your readers and your fellow authors. The model will offer the most to writers genuinely love what they do and are dedicated to engaging with, and improving their craft. Moreover, we are truly excited about offering a new and powerful tool to the art.



Many of you expressed concern about current marketing efforts. I think you will find that this feeling is common to authors industry-wide, and would plague you even if you had been published by one of the big six. The fact is that most publishing houses are unwilling or unable to really put the resources into marketing all but the barest handful of high profile books and writers. As one successful author told me, “you have to market yourself. The publishers know that they’ll make a lot more money getting ghost writers to keep making Robert Ludlum books (he’s dead if you don’t know) than risk the resources on new stuff.” In order to successfully market in this environment, we need to change the way we think about marketing. Our new platform and position will make this possible.



As we prepare to implement this new model, we will be placing certain operations on hold. Most importantly, we have put a temporary stop on all new submissions for publication. The reason for this is two-fold. One, we need to slow the rate of acceptance and ensure that thoughtful consideration is practiced in our editorial services. We simply publish too much, too fast right now. Second, we need to consider submissions more carefully. There have been a handful of books published under our label that really needed significant editing and improvement before being offered to the public. I understand if many of you might feel as though these problems together undermine the impact that your works might be able to have. As a result of these changes, we hope to ensure a level of editorial and finished quality that will benefit us all.



While this is happening, we will also be conducting a critical review of our current crop of books in order to better serve you, our current authors, and to make you part of the company’s future. Some of you will want to participate in this new model, and some of you may wish to go your own way. We understand, and will do everything we can to accommodate your needs and wishes. There is an enormous opportunity moving forward, and we hope that we can go together.
 

Mustafa

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Many of you expressed concern about current marketing efforts. I think you will find that this feeling is common to authors industry-wide, and would plague you even if you had been published by one of the big six. The fact is that most publishing houses are unwilling or unable to really put the resources into marketing all but the barest handful of high profile books and writers. As one successful author told me, “you have to market yourself. The publishers know that they’ll make a lot more money getting ghost writers to keep making Robert Ludlum books (he’s dead if you don’t know) than risk the resources on new stuff.” In order to successfully market in this environment, we need to change the way we think about marketing. Our new platform and position will make this possible.

.

This single paragraph is enough to make me not want to go near the press. It shows a real lack of industry knowledge in how major presses market books.
 

frimble3

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'Interacting', 'networking', 'sharing' and 'exposure' with only a minimal mention of 'selling'? Is this useful?
 

Scribhneoir

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Our intention is to start with you and your book, and build a web-based universe around them - allowing you to share your inspirations, processes, and other works with a community that supports and is inspired by you.

<snip>

However, this will not be easy. For an author to thrive in this system, it will require regular, collaborative efforts; not just with us, but with your readers and your fellow authors.

So... their great new unique idea is for author websites, blogs, participation in social media sites...?

Real cutting edge, there.
 

veinglory

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That entire buzzfest of an email overlooks the fact that most people just want to buy books. Good books. That have been properly edited.
 

HappyNovelist

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"Up to now we didn't do anything to market you, but from now on things are changing, and you'll be marketing yourself!" :) But on the other side, they say that submissions are on hold and they'll be reevaluating their approach, which could be cool.

This is exactly what I got from this email and to be honest, I couldn't finish reading this garbage when I received it.
 

Torgo

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Yeah. The 'shorter' here would appear to be:

"Things are going seriously wrong over here, so you have to do all the work of actually publishing your book. We hope you might think this is in your interests."
 

Torgo

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Oh, and, as an author: you know what the scariest phrase possible in an email from your publisher is? Besides "we're a hybrid of a vanity press and a traditional press"? (tr: "we're a pretentious vanity press"?)

"We have conducted considerable research exploring the world of modern publishing."

Yeah. So I get someone to install my new boiler and they say:

"We have conducted considerable research exploring the world of gas appliance installation."

I'm dead by Hallowe'en, easy.

(DISCLAIMER: If this actually is a genuine email, of course.)
 

HappyNovelist

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Oh, and, as an author: you know what the scariest phrase possible in an email from your publisher is? Besides "we're a hybrid of a vanity press and a traditional press"? (tr: "we're a pretentious vanity press"?)

"We have conducted considerable research exploring the world of modern publishing."

Yeah. So I get someone to install my new boiler and they say:

"We have conducted considerable research exploring the world of gas appliance installation."

I'm dead by Hallowe'en, easy.

(DISCLAIMER: If this actually is a genuine email, of course.)

They are clearly way over their heads here and that email proves it. Hopefully authors read this before signing over their babies to them.
 

Robinboots

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[[putting on bookstore-owner hat]]

I've been working with a Solstice author on setting up a book signing. I mentioned that his book is self-pubbed and he said, no; however, Amazon lists it as published by CreateSpace.

The next issue was cost - we pay our self-pubbed authors 60% of the cover price. His would have worked out to $9 per copy, yet Solstice charges him $10. Not a good proposition for him.

Is this common? I know publishers charge writers for extra copies, but it seems excessive.

ETA: there is no info on their site for bookstore sales
 

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