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.