In place of Flash Fiction Friday, today’s blog entry will feature an interview with Melissa Miller, founder and owner of Solstice Publishing, one of the fastest growing independent publishing houses.
Hi Melissa, great to have you here! First, would you tell my readers a little bit about what prompted you to jump into the publishing business?
Thanks for having me here today John. The fast answer is my love of books. I’ve always enjoyed reading when I was a child and, as I grew older, I got interested in writing. One day I decided that I wanted to learn more about the behind the scenes part of the publishing world and I haven’t looked back since.
A little bit of background about Solstice: I opened my publishing company in March 2008. In 2010 I teamed up with a marketing company who suggested that we change the name. So we changed our name to Solstice Publishing. Solstice has been growing strong for almost seven years now and we plan to have many, many more to come.
Many publishers have different divisions and banners they publish under by genre. Does Solstice have such a setup?
Yes we do. We have several actually. We accept almost all genres.
Solstice – Mystery, Fiction, Westerns
Summer Solstice – Romance, Young Adult, Suspense, Thriller
Solstice Shadows – Paranormal, Sci fi
Solstice At Night — Erotica
Let’s toss out a scenario: I’m a writer who just cooked up a short story but I’m not sure what I should do with it? Does Solstice accept shorts and, if so, what’s the minimum length?
Yes we do accept short stories. We don’t have a minimum length. We look for a well written story with an interesting plot.
What sort of preventative measures do you suggest for submitting writers to prevent piracy of their work by unscrupulous agents and publishers?
Like I said I’ve been doing this for almost 7 years now and I’ve never come across the issue of somebody’s work being stolen by an agent or publisher. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened. I’m just saying I have not heard of any cases. However if the author is worried about that they could have their work copyrighted before submitting it to anyone.
What would you say is the biggest difference between Solstice and a “legacy” publisher – Random House, for instance?
The biggest difference is that Solstice is primarily an e-publisher. We do print on demand for our print books but ebooks is our main focus. We put your book in print but they don’t go into stores. A bookstore can order them and stock them if they want and we have had authors get their books into local book stores in their town, but that is on a case by case basis. The majority of our print books can only be bought online.
Understanding that many literary success stories are often “right place, right time,” what can aspiring authors and writers do to level the playing field?
Marketing is the biggest thing. An author needs to brand their name. The more they get their name out there the better their success will be. Writing the book is the fun part. After the book is published is when the work starts. Social media is one of the most important assets to an author.
Who are some of Solstice’s rising stars?
There are too many to name. Some of our best sellers are: Lanny Poffo, Tell Cotton, Elle Marlow, Mysty McPartland.
What would you tell a young person in school who wants to pursue a dream of being published?
I would tell them to stay in school and work hard. Don’t expect everything to be handed to you. Being a published author is hard work. I don’t want to scare them off but a lot of people think that being an author is no big deal that you put a book up for sale and then you sit back and get the big check. That simply isn’t the way it really works. I would like to encourage a young person to pursue this dream and do it but just know going into it that they have to put the work into it. It can be an amazing thing to write your story and then see it published, but then they need to know that they also have to market and promote their book or they will be disappointed and not want to continue their dream.
Many Solstice authors are unofficial “foodies.” That being said, where’s your favorite place to get a good cup of coffee?
I know this will be viewed wrong by so many people LOL but I’m not a coffee drinker. Now Dr. Pepper, that is a different story. I have to have my Dr. Pepper.
Finally, if someone wants to become part of the Solstice family, either by landing a contract or working for you, what’s the first step?
If they would like to submit their stories to us they can do that here: http://solsticepublishing.com/submissions/