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News on Stardust Press

Cerridwen

Well, I had all of these fun things to blog about today, but an email this morning brought everything to a screeching halt.

It seems Stardust Press is closing as of Sept 30, 2007. This mean Bloodstained Innocence, which won their Creatures of Darkness contest (2nd place) will need to find a new home. I admit I am very disappointed, I had been hoping for a Halloween release, but it never made it to editing. I have to give SDP credit. Unlike other ebook presses that have closed this year, SDP is handling it all very professionally.

I am still trying to get permission to repost the entire letter from their senior editor Raine Richards, but here a clip that should explain things more.

Dear authors and editors,

After much discussion and negotiation and evaluation, it is with regret that we announce that StarDust Press is closing effective from September 30, 2007.

This would certainly explain the delay in getting editing notes on my novel and the reason getting an answer about it was so difficult. I feel bad for Raine and the other staff there that put so much effort into Stardust, and even more so I feel for the other authors that must now find new homes for their creations.

According to the email our rights revert back to us on Sept 30th of this year. Raine has given an email where publishers can reach her until the end of March to confirm the right reversal for the contracted authors. All royalties are being scheduled pay dates, and in truth everything seems to be quite well in order. The authors even get to keep the cover art Stardust paid for.

Now comes the daunting task for many of the Stardust authors to once again begin the submissions process. I am just glad we have the chance to do that rather then loosing access to our book rights like the authors of the recently bankrupt (or bankrupting) house have had to cope with.

To all the staff at Stardust Press…

Good luck in whatever you move on to, and thanks for handling a bad situation with so much class.

Moondancer Drake


Update…

I just received word from Raine and she had submitted a public acceptable letter to be shared with you all today.

Dear authors and editors,
 
After much discussion and negotiation and evaluation, it is with regret that we announce StarDust Press is closing effective September 30, 2007. We are saddened that despite all our efforts, SDP is bleeding, and the investors have decided to cut their losses.
 
We know that you would all be concerned with this development, so we address all your concerns one by one below.
 
1. Authors and editors would be paid the royalties/editorial fees due them.
 
2. All books would be taken off the website and Fictionwise by September 30, 2007.
 
3. From September 30, 2007 onwards, all rights to the published books revert back to the author, and as such, you can submit them to other publication houses for publication.
 
4. For unpublished books, you may send to other publication houses as early as now.
 
5. For authors whose books are currently under edits, we would send you a personal email on the matter. 
 
SDP was established to do legitimate business, however the environment wasn't conducive to its survival. And so, we have no choice but to take this step.
 
Thank you for all your support and we wish for the best for you all in your endeavors.
 
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reply to this email. Your question may also be the question of the others.
 
Thanks.
 
Raine
For StarDust Press management





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Comments

( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
rhonawestbrook
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
Ow.

Sorry!

moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC)
I'll live. I'm one tough cookie, though feeling a wee bit crumbly at the moment. They were my first signed contract, it kinda hurts to have it all go down like that, and I was so proud of winning the contest too.

Well back to the grind of looking for a new place for my book.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this so we can all get the facts rather than feed the rumor mill :)
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I thought that might be important to concider. With all the guessing I bet that was going on I thought a little dose of the truth would be a good thing.
julesjones
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Good to see that they're trying to close it down cleanly, rather than just dropping out of sight as some publishers have done. It must be disappointing, but at least you should be in a position to shop the books to other publishers.
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, I agree on that. If ya gotto go nothing beats doin' it with calss.
elfinecstasy
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
Recently the press that published my book, The Temple of the Twelve, Spilled Candy Books, restructured and downsized. They returned the rights to the books of several of their authors, I was one. The book had been out since 2001, and finding a new publisher - well, you know what it's like :-P :-) I just wanted you to know I understand some of what you are experiencing, wish you the very very very very best of luck finding a new publisher, and send a hug!
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you, the hug was much needed.
scifiwritir
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
SDP
I'm sorry to hear about that. Maybe this will all turn out to the good. A better more established press awaits you.
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
Re: SDP
I certainly hope so. Right now I am hitting the store for some chocolate and have a long bath and maybe a healthy cry or primal scream before the kiddies get home.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
sad
It is sad that another publisher is closing it's doors. This has truly been a rough year for epublishing and author's. I hope that all the people who are involved find a new home for their work...

The best of luck

Savannah Chase
www.savannahchase.com
ameliajune
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
Ugh, another one down. Sorry to hear it, I went through the process of a publisher totally vanishing so I can say I know how much it hurts.

But yeah, I think my experience turned out well in the end, and I'm sure yours will too.

Sigh, tough biz.
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it can be tough, but in a way I am releaved. For months I struggled with getting answers about when we would start edits. I started to think I was being blown off and it scared me. Now I know Raine was struggling getting the same answers from the editors she hired so it wasn't just me. I feel bad for her having all those writers (like me) bugging her about it, and she not being able to give them a decent answer.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
keep on writing
I'm sorry to hear this news, but at least the publisher is closing with dignity and with the author's best interest in mind.
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
Re: keep on writing
I can't argue with that. Raine and I talked today and see seemed very sorry they had not been able to publish my book. I'm just glad I finally know what is going on and can move forward from here. I have a couple places I think would be a good fit for Bloodstained Innocence, so we'll see.
b_sheridan
Sep. 17th, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
Came here via your post on an email loop
I've been there. It bites, I know.

*Hugs to you all at SDP* and best luck in placing your stories elsewhere.
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Came here via your post on an email loop
Thanks. There's some great authors at SDP, and I bet once they get over the blow of having to do the submission thing all over again they will have no trouble placing thier books in a good home.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
Another author's opinion
Thanks for letting me read what you wrote and so many comments from readers. As author I need to say that I admire the company and their professionalism in handling the closing.

I am thinking of to whom to send my book but I do need to wait for the letter reverting my rights back to me. Meanwhile I do hope that everyone do well in sales this last month and for our books to reach farther in the future.

About why so many small e-publishers closing, I can add a few cents to the topic. Have some of you noticed how many publishers actually are? There are many. What there is not enough, is readership. Most publishers are focused in erotic romance and think "sex sells". Yes, it does, but there are not enough readers wanting to invest in e-books they can't carry with them to bed that easily.

There is the problem that many authors and publishers are investing in promoting in the SAME places. That is why I saw how many groups had over 500 subscribers and not enough chat or sales. Many of those subscribers were other authors trying to promote their books.

I think that the e-book industry needs other approaches and techniques to promote itself. Without it we will see many more small companies closing down. There need to be a big effort to reach new readers and it needs to be done fast, before the industry fails. I think e-publishing has a future if we spread the word effectively.

Loraine Mer
http://lorainemer.com
lauraelliott1
Sep. 17th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
I agree with Loraine. There are many epublishers but not much diversity. Especially when it comes to promotion. Look out now, I'm about to brush off my marketing class skills. Here goes:

Think about chain restaurants. There are plenty of chain restaurants - Olive Garden, Red Lobster, McDonalds, Chichis, etc. At each restaurant, you are going to have a different experience. Sure the menu is different but so is the atmosphere and the culture. With epublishing, the menu is different but what else?

It is a problem that most of the advertising is being done on yahoo groups and myspace and very little outside that. And as Loraine said, most of the marketing is being done to other authors trying to promote their book. What would happen if Olive Garden only promoted itself to other restaurants?

A different track has to be taken. Maybe we should start marketing ourselves to conservation groups (save the trees! buy an ebook!) or to college students whose dorm rooms are too small for bookshelves. I think one of the larger epublishers has to step up and spend some money on an ebook marketing campaign. I hear Amazon is launching an ebook service soon. If they do it right, it could create more popularity for the industry.
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
All very good suggestions.

I am working on a TT (Thursday Thirteen) that all about ways to maket you work, many of which can work for ebooks. I'll love to see you all there to throw in your ideas. The who reason I started the author spotlight was to help writer to promote thier work in a broader spectrum.

If we want to keep ebook alive and growing, together seems to be the best way to me.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
It'd be great if Apple would hit ebooks like they have itunes! One thing I do, I don't know how well it works, but it's cheap... is to leave my business card behind in restaurants. :)

Madison
http://journal.madison-chase.com
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
Those are all some very good points about promoting techniques needing a big over hall. There is only so much authors can do without someone who really knows the marketing aspect to guide us.

On a good note I recieved a message from Eternal Press they have asked me to pass on the the Stardust authors. If nothing else they are work a look see.

If the authors have a signed release and there are no bankruptcy filings in the works, we would be happy to take on the authors of Stardust. Please convey this to them.

We are now slotted out through January with releases, but since we are still in our infancy stages, we should be able to get them published fairly quickly if they are acceptable manuscripts.

Once again, Thank you for your assistance in this regard. By the way, they would send their manuscripts to me at kcelestebryan@aol.com. Can you please post this?

Kat

Visit: http://http://www.eternalpress.com.au/
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2007 08:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
Here Loraine once more. I thought of a way to promote, maybe some authors or publishers might like to use it.

When I started thinking of promoting, I started looking at sites that were about the areas I wrote. Since mine was an erotic romance I looked at sites with information about sex. I thought of creating a banner and asking them for banner exchange. I just didn't have the courage to go on with the idea.

I think that, for example, Ellora's Cave, a known e-book publisher joining a company (if they haven't already) like Playgirl Magazine, could do a few sales from it. How? Asking their authors to write short stories from their longer works to be published in their magazines and giving the info about the full lenght story to be bought.

Cosmopolitan Magazine, a known magazine for the women could do with a few romantic erotic short stories and to be provided with the info of where to find more about the author, the book and the publisher.

I know this need to be worked really hard between staff and authors in the e-publishing industry, but it might get more readerships to their websites, even if out of curiosity.

Loraine Mer
http://lorainemer.com
moondancerdrake
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
You seem to have a good handle on this end of promotion. In general marketing like math hurts my brain. I will always agree the more your name is know the better it is. Flashfiction has been a huge boon for those who prefer fiction to article writing. That's also a great market to look into.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
To be frank almost an epress will take the 'orphans' of this closure right now. Why run to another small start-up? Yes there are closures and a limited readership. There are also epresses out there that sell thousands of copies of each title, have been around for years and will be around for many more--why not try them first? Here is a list of the 58 remaining erotic-romance-specific epublishers I know of: http://www.erecsite.com/PLIST.html

--veinglory
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
That should read: almost *any*
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Epresses
Veinglory,

I simply relayed a message I was asked to relay from the publiser. It is up to the author to do thier research and pick what is right for them. The only reason I even agreed to post her message was that I know authors with them that have been very happy with thier professionalism.

Is that where I will send my book? I have a lot of my own research to do about many publishers before I make that choice. No one should just jump on the next ship. There are many places (several I have listed in my sidebar) that will give you info about a publisher and their reputation if you look for it. It's up to an author as a professional to use the resourses they have avalible to make the best choice for them.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
Loraine Mer said: There is the problem that many authors and publishers are investing in promoting in the SAME places. That is why I saw how many groups had over 500 subscribers and not enough chat or sales. Many of those subscribers were other authors trying to promote their books.

Too very true! And while we're busy trying to survive on the same few readers' limited budgets, the outside world is forgetting how to read, in e- or in print.

(Actually, that incestuous promotional circle is how I ended up here--Moondancer's generous offer of a new place to spotlight was among the few new messages in my in-box.)

I think that the e-book industry needs other approaches and techniques to promote itself. Without it we will see many more small companies closing down. There need to be a big effort to reach new readers and it needs to be done fast, before the industry fails. I think e-publishing has a future if we spread the word effectively.

Out of curiosity, how many of you have ever tried to place your e-book in your local library? As an erotic writer, I can't, the community rules and all, but you fantasy/suspense/whatever folks...?

Interestedly,

Pearl X Jones
(not anonymous, just don't have an LJ ID)

Views from the Electronic Garret
http://pearlxjones.blogspot.com
(Anonymous)
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
I have my e-book in the MD digital library. The process was surprisingly smooth.

As to promotion - some of it has become so yawn of late. Let's chat here. Let's do a day there. I sit there, shaking my head, wondering if the authors realize that most of the readers are on digest or no mail for the Yahoo Groups?

My most attractive promo to date was an interactive game with several authors involved. All of a sudden, readers had something to do beside just sift through excerpt after excerpt. They actually got to participate. Though - this was highly promoted to begin with, and came down to a true group effort. It was also simul-cast on four different Yahoo Groups.

I wish the best to all parties involved with the dissolvement of SDP. This is never easy, but coming from this old hat - don't let it get you down. Bigger and better things are always waiting just around the corner.

T.J. Killian
moondancerdrake
Sep. 18th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Another author's opinion
Hmmm I'd heard it was hard to get even print book into most librarys for smaller publishers. Glad you didn't have that problem.

Yeah, I am on digest for many of my author/reader groups so end up either way behind, or if I take it off digest drowning in emails.

I'd like to hear more about how that author event worked. I think things with multiple authors end up being more fun and getting more attention.

Thanks so much for the kind words, TJ. It means a lot.
jmsnyder
Sep. 17th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
Hi there,

Sorry to hear about the closing. If you're shopping for a new publisher, I'd like to recommend one of mine :) Aspen Mountain Press is really great to work with, pay monthly, and I've been very happy with them.

http://aspenmountainpress.com

Good luck!

J.M. Snyder
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, I'll have to check them out. Thanks for the heads up!

Moon
xakara
Sep. 17th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
Having heard the horror stories of other authors caught in an unexpected closing, I'm happy to see StarDust being so professional and forthcoming.

It's still a disappointment but at least its one where everyone is walking away with their heads up rather than slinking off.

I know it's only a matter of time until you find a new home for BI.

~X
moondancerdrake
Sep. 17th, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's the plan tomorrow, a read through (since I haven't read this book on about a year) and then I go over the publishers I think will best fit it and pick one.
jacquierogers
Sep. 17th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
My sympathies to you! It's such a disappointment to put so much work into your story, then not get it out there when you planned to--but it will surely be published soon. Have some cyber champagne and Godiva chocolate.
moondancerdrake
Sep. 18th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
Hmmmm sounds like just the medicine I need *wink*
(Anonymous)
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:19 am (UTC)
Stardust
wow, a publisher who is honest and decent about what is happening. One thing I remember about Stardust's opening was that they wanted to be totally professional -- unlike one other that recently closed it's doors, who not only made no effort to send royalties, but under reported the sales -- to all but one author who seemed to have everything handed to her on a silver platter....can you say "accessory to fraud".

I am sorry for you and the other Stardust authors -- count yourself lucky that they have ethics and are honest.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 18th, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
We are now slotted out through January with releases, but since we are still in our infancy stages, we should be able to get them published fairly quickly if they are acceptable manuscripts.

Having seen the number of small e-pubs that have closed down in recent times, why would you take the risk of joining yet another? Especially one that admits that it is still in its infancy?

I'm willing to bet that Eternal will probably be happy to publish any of the Stardust authors, but how long will they remain in business?

This really is a case of authors beware, and if writers are so desperate to be published that they ignore any early warning signs, then they shouldn't be surprised when they get royally shafted.

Karen Scott
moondancerdrake
Sep. 18th, 2007 12:19 pm (UTC)
Thinking of the Future
I would think most intelligent writers would do their research before taking the first publisher who comes along. I simply posted Kat's message by request. Yes, they are new. Yes, the business is risky as a whole, but in honesty all publishers started somewhere. Does this mean I am telling people to send their stuff there, no. They are an option like any other one might mention and have sympathy for what the authors are going through.

Any publisher that offers a message of sympathy and acceptance to the former authors of SDP (knowing many of the author’s might just visit here), I will add their message unless I think they are a scam. I also have done my research and am not an idiot. There are many good places out there, but I am not in the habit of doing referrals without even seeing the book in question. Different publishers have different niches they sell well in. The better a book fits into that niche the easier it will find readers.

It's up to an author to decide what is best for their work. I think is insulting to assume the authors are either desperate or stupid. Keep in mind a lot of the Stardust authors now face the challenge of submitting published works that many publishers will not accept. This means they will need to not only chose carefully what is best for their work, but also who is willing to take it after its seen print already.

I ask that no one use my chat to blast any author, publisher or editor especially if you don't really know anything about them. I have been on Eternal Press’ chat loop for months and have found them to be honest and well informed the business as a whole and the advantage of good editing. I have order books from them and found them much clear than many epubs out there, so that too will be an advantage for them I hope. Sure they have a lot to learn, but they are trying. Rather then assume they will fail, I chose to cheer them on and hope they do well.

I also am fully aware that like me, many of the authors are gun shy about submitting to a newer publisher after what happened with Stardust. This is a viable concern, and I acknowledge that. Just don’t want my own fears to get in the way of other people making their own choices. I will not make any referrals of publishers in this matter without much more knowledge about the book in question, nor will I cast doubt on any publisher either unless I know for certain they are a bad bet.

This is a time for us to come together. All the authors (and many of the staff) have been left shocked and grieving over the loss of Stardust. My intention is to make an offer open to any once they find a new home for their work to use my author spotlight to help them promote those books. Without some change many of the best intentioned epubs will fail simply do to marketing issues. If we work together we can work against the ebook marketing issues. We owe it to ourselves to at least try.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 18th, 2007 01:26 pm (UTC)
What I see are some very predictable reactions to a 10-day-old publisher actively solicting authors left behind by another press that, no matter how well-intentioned, lasted less than a year. Characterising this as blasting and banning it from you blog it seems quite counter to encouraging good research. In my experience good presses answer these kinds of questions openly and without rancor.
moondancerdrake
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Have I deleted the post or banned the user? No, I have not. Have I asked us not to jump to conclusions and let each author be responsible for their own research. Yes. Do I encourage people here to ask those questions of the publishers before they cast accusations? You betya.

If someone wants to know more about a publisher, rather then jumping to conclusions, they should contact that publisher and ask questions. If the publisher is vague in their answers with no wish to clarify, or resistant to answering questions about their publishing or marketing practices, then THAT is when I would say a big artist beware flag should pop up. Enter at your own risk.

What I hope to avoid here is rumor and conjecture based on no solid facts. I know with all the crap going on out there with the epubs that have behaved less admirably the Stardust, there’s a lot of fear. Fear can be very destructive emotion. The last thing I want is some damage being done because someone says something about a publisher without having their facts in order. If someone does the trouble of doing their research and brings facts to bear that cast a publisher in s different light then they profess to be, then yes, by all means, voice those. We need to protect each other from the predators out there.

It would take a lot of reading into my words to say I refused ALL comment on the matter. I was just politely asking for people to refrain from casting out opinionated insults that might hurt a new publisher’s reputation without having facts to back up their accusations. It’s all about discernment folks.

Would we want others casting doubt about our intensions without even asking us what we meant? I know I wouldn’t. Then I think its bad form to do that to someone else. If you want to know about them, then ask their authors, ask the publishers themselves. If at that time you have even the smallest bad feeling about those conversations, then trust your instincts and don’t publish with them.

If we let the events of the past colors our assumptions then they in turn prejudice us. If we cast aside discernment because of fear, then we will do the epub industry as a whole a great disservice and we cast a cloud over the authors who have chosen to publish with them.

Authors. Do your work. Get the facts. And then do what best for you and your creations no matter what I or anyone else says.


moondancerdrake
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
Marketing!
I would say the biggest stummbling block for epubs is marketing. The worst habbit I see is using thier own author groups for excerpts and contests and not coming up with new idea to get thier author's work noticed.

Madison (see post way above) said this...

"It'd be great if Apple would hit ebooks like they have itunes!"

I think making audio books out of ebooks is a amazingly good idea. They could do right in some ipod like devise (ok showing how little tech stuff I know with that sentence) where people can play then while working around the house, excersizing, whatever. Publishers get a person with a good voice these would do very well I think.

I think now creative marketing techniques along with a good solid product is the best shot any of these epubs have to lasting past the start up gate. That's what places like Samhain and Ellora's Cave did and look at them now. They've set the bar and many other epubs have accepted the challange.
lzclotho
Sep. 18th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
moving on
I would never wish a closing press on any author. I've been through it myself, but the positives since then have convinced me that the press closing was meant to happen to find the actual correct path for my manuscript.

So keep putting your work out there, and do research at outlets like Publishers Weekly and author networking sites to learn who's coming and who's going in this rapidly changing industry.

Lara
moondancerdrake
Sep. 18th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
Re: moving on
Hmmm I didn't kinow about the publisher's weekly having that into. Thanks for the heads up! Yeah, I believe it's for the best, at least I am reeeeally trying to.

Oh, and a reminder folks, Lara is our author spotlight so go on over and give her some love.
(Deleted comment)
moondancerdrake
Sep. 20th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Stardust
I agree completely. Now thier authors can move on and find new publishers without the hassle other artist have gone through.
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )

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