I’m a huge supporter of Publishers Marketplace, and I continue to believe it’s the best $25-a-month investment any serious writer can make. One thing however I’ve noticed of late is that Mr. Cader’s “Daily Deal’s” report is displaying placements to little-known independent imprints by well-known agents. In some cases, it appears that these publishers don’t pay advances. I don’t have the time to ferret out each incidence of this, and it should be mentioned that there is nothing wrong with an entity operating in this manner–as long as the publisher isn’t charging its clients editing fees.
I bring up this matter because when Shelfstealers launched I contacted Mr. Cader to ask if he would be kind enough to give Sheryl Dunn’s upstart a blurb. He wrote back something to the effect that he wasn’t always able to support this medium. I assumed this meant publishers who paid their authors solely on consignment. At least that was my takeaway. I was of course disappointed, as I’ve been one of his staunchest acolytes, but now I notice another case of a relatively unknown independent press, Fiery Seas Publishing, that Mr. Cader’s newsletter referenced via an agent who just placed a title with that firm.
It must be stated upfront that the book was represented by Jill Marr at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, and both the agent and this agency are above reproach in every way. Hence, this might have been the overriding issue that led to the notification in Publishers Lunch Daily Deals. And since this book is beginning its life in a digital format, this also could have played into why it received recognition in Mr. Cader’s recent broadcast, as there seems to be a concerted effort by his firm to fully acknowledge digital content. All of this is excellent in my opinion, but there is a potential dark side, and here’s where I’m going with this.
The “About Us” page on the Fiery Seas Publishing Web site says it “…is a full-service publisher with the reader in mind.” Geez, I hope so. But what really matters is that we all know what “full-service” means. Hence, if editorial services are indeed a component of the firm’s platform, it doesn’t take a wizened industry veteran to recognize the pitfalls for an eager writer going in with all sorts of anticipation, since the firm accepts unsolicited manuscripts. What furthers my concern about the firm is that two of its principals have, rightly or wrongly, been associated with Entranced Publishing’s mismanagement. This firm went out of business, the result of one miscue after another, but nothing seemed to have been illegal, just inadequate administrative skills (however, the firm was sold to a purported “ghost buyer” in what could be considered a method to deflect blame).
The company has published three authors since it’s launch in the spring of this year. I can’t imagine Jill Marr placing an author of hers if an advance wasn’t paid, but I have absolutely no knowledge of her writer’s contract. My point behind writing this entire section is that perhaps the management at Fiery Seas Publishing has learned from their mistakes at Entranced Publishing. And if this is so, anyone who has written a Romance that is not heavy on the romance side (read their Web site to develop a better understanding of this) might well find Fiery Seas Publishing worth submitting material.
Jill Marr, to my way of thinking, has given this publisher instant credibility, and the firm has rigid submissions guidelines (but not at all absurd, and the formatting is identical to what I’ve suggested for years), along with the requirement that the manuscript must be in a highly polished state. However, if any subscriber submits to this firm but is ultimately asked to buy editing services from Fiery Seas Publishing or anyone recommended by the company, my opinion is to run for the border with your draft, as paying for editing by a publisher or publisher’s agent–in every instance I’ve ever known of–is a sure road to heartbreak and a thinner wallet. But, for now, I’m willing to give Fiery Seas Publishing a pass until I learn otherwise, as the company might provide a legitimate opportunity. Hence, if an author has written an adventure with Romance overtones, this could be a publisher to consider. Just walk carefully with eyes wide open.