Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Publisher: Caged Heart / Vanilla Heart

Caged Heart Website--two books by Jarod Lojeck (Author) and Michelle Devon (Editor), released August 22nd and by Olivia Faulker, August 2nd--Olivia also works on the website and Cafe Press items
Vanilla Heart Website--one book by by Michelle L. Devon (Author), Accentuate Services (Editor), released August 6th. That would be Accentuate Services: "owned and managed by author and editor Michelle L Devon."

Communications come from a "Kimberlee Williams" who ostensibly co-founded the company with "Steve Williams". I don't know but suspect there are more names here than there are actual people. Caged Heart is also a fee-charging BDSM lifestyle website. Which is an area that could use a niche publisher but I am not convinced that this is it. Caged Heart appears to be a small POD press not an epress so it won't go on the PLIST. But I thought it was worth mentioning the following:

1) On the main website there is an unnamed (non-existent?) parent press, unnamed owners, unclear if the owners and authors are the same people, yadda yadda. You know what we think about that.

2) From an email sent to an author: "If, however, you are not established, you have never been published, or your manuscript will require much work, rewrites, revisions and editing in order to make the book marketable, and if you are a book marketing novice, then Caged Heart Publishing may charge a fee comparable to the cost of the editing and printing of your book in order to publish it. But don't worry too much about that ..." Cough. You know what we think about that.

3) Lots of little things like errors in the web copy and classy Amazon reviews such as: Michelle L Devon reviews Michelle L Devon's book and gives it 5 stars! Wow! And 1 person rates the review as helpful! I wonder who!

My guess, self-publishers trying to get into the publishing biz. Anyway, from there I just get unjustifiably bitchy so I will stop now. And besides, the website has gone down--and not in a good way. It says: "We hope you will come visit our new and improved websites on Tuesday, September 5, 2007." [checks watch, thinks again, checks calender]. Damn, I will stop now.



Anonymous said...

As far as new publishers go, this is teh win as far as I'm concerned:

- Linda

Anonymous said...

Oh don't stop, you're so cute when you snark! *grin*

Yeah, that one shooting fish in a barrel.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and now she has another 5 star review. By a fellow Caged Heart author. Kinda reminds me of the PAvidians giving each other's books stellar reviews.

Michelle L. Devon said...

Hi there! Michelle L Devon here. Ran across your post and wanted to comment. Here’s what I know about CHP and VHP. Ms. Williams is the owner with her husband, Steve Williams, of Caged Heart Publications, which is, as I understand it, the parent company to both CHP and VHP.

From what I’ve been told, Ms. Williams is an active BDSM lifestyler who participates in writers groups in her local area and that is where she began the idea of making a publishing company to help the lifestyle writers become published. She recognized a need in the lifestyle community for quality writing professionally prepared (not porn, but real erotica outside of the mainstream) and thus she approached me through my company to edit on contract for her.

As far as I know, I am not her only editor, I am also not a lifestyler, and VHP and CHP are not the only places I edit for small publishers. I have edited for many small publishers on the same type of contracts (about 20 published books where I or my company is credited as the editor, and some ebooks too, but too many of those to count.)

Her business is, obviously, in the very early start up stages, and that means there’s not many titles out there yet. My company, which has been round for many years and is listed on P&E, was contracted by her to edit another lifestyle book that should be out this year, and two other non-lifestyle books through VHP. I do not know if she has other editors working on other titles, because it’s not frankly any of my business.

While my company worked with CHP to edit its debut novel by Mr. Lojeck and an upcoming anthology of shorts with about 20 different authors in it, Ms. Williams read my blogs on Myspace about a new book I was finishing up and wanted to sell to a publisher, and she asked me if I’d consider submitting the manuscript to her to publish with VHP, a publisher she set up because she had received so many non-lifestyle manuscripts and didn't want to turn them down. I did. She offered me an advance and a generous royalty contract, so I accepted. The book is gorgeous! I’m very pleased, and yes, I did act as my own editor on the book, at my request. I paid nothing to have my book published.

I have three other titles in print with other publishers besides the one book Vanilla Heart has published, and I have contracts on two other titles that will come out with different publishers in the next 12-18 months (don’t have slots confirmed yet), and a third contract for a book coming the summer of 2008. With a 2K advance on my book VHP published, The Path, I really can’t complain. If anyone wants to order the book themselves to see why it’s received a good review, I welcome you to do that. (Shameless plug, I know. I hate the marketing part of being a writer!)

Just wanted to let you know, I’m a real person, a real author, and you can Google my name and see that easily. I don’t work for VHP, but I do edit for them, and was fortunate enough to have a book published through them. I may, in the future, submit other manuscripts to them too. As I said, they are clearly in the start up stages, but I’m optimistic about the future of my book with VHP. My book just came off the printer and has been sent to stock with Amazon (they ordered 6 copies, whoo hoo!), and I just got word that I may have obtained shelf placement with a major retailer – so keep your fingers crossed for me! Before my book was even finished at the printer, it has already sold more copies than the initial order that was placed with the printer by the publisher, so I’m tickled pink over the potential. Kimberlee and her company works hard on promoting and I'm truly impressed by that (and it takes a lot to impress me anymore.)

If anyone wants more info from me, you can contact me privately. I’m always happy to help fellow authors. I completely understand being cautious and hesitant. CHP surely isn’t for everyone, because of the lifestyle element, and VHP is very new, so caution is warranted, but as I said, I’m optimistic.

Love and stuff,

veinglory said...

Hi there, Michelle. As you can see their website didnit make a super first impression with me. But do let us know how it goes for you :)

Michelle L. Devon said...

Hi Emily - thanks for the welcome! I will keep you posted, and sure, I get those first impressions. I'm just pretty optimistic about my book. I know the websites recently were updated, so hopeful this is just some startup 'growing pains' for them. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog though!

Love and stuff,