Interview: Melissa Miller, CEO Solstice Publishing and Kate Collins COO Solstice Publishing

In late 2011, I received my first contract from Solstice Publishing. Since then, I've developed a great relationship with this Indie publisher, and hope to continue long into the future with them. To date, they have published four of my young adult coming of age books, including number 7 YA division of the P&E Readers Poll winner, The Wrong One. They've also published six of my shorts, and on March 17, 2013, will release my New Adult novel Evil Eyes.
Thanks to William Matlack, I am sharing an interview with Melissa Miller, CEO of Solstice Publishing, and Kate Collins, COO of Solstice Publishing. These two women are the tireless powerhouses behind this up and coming publishing company. It's thanks to their vision that I am happily content with staying there.

An interview with Melissa Miller, CEO of Solstice Publishing,
Are you a founding member of SP?
Melissa - Yes. I started Solstice Publishing on my own in 2008 under another name and in 2010 I changed it to Solstice Publishing.
Could you please tell us how SP began?
Melissa - Solstice began because of my love of books. I started out as an author and then became a publisher the following year.
Do you work with agents?
Melissa - Yes we work with or without an agent.
During the publishing process, how many people at SP actually read an entire book besides the assigned editor?
Melissa - The EIC who decides to accept the book, then the editor, and the proofreader also read the entire book. So three people.
Is there any disadvantage being characterized as a “Midwestern Publisher?”
Melissa - I don’t believe so. We are an E Publisher. Everything we do is online so I don’t feel that your address in any way helps or hurts you in today’s epublishing industry.
Do you have a virtual staff with everyone in different locations communicating via email?
Melissa - Yes. We use Go To Meeting for face to face video meetings, Basecamp for project management, Facebook for chats and messages as well as emails and text messages for everything else. With all of the technology available to us today it’s not hard to have staff in different locations of the world.

An interview with  Kate Collins COO of Solstice Publishing,
Are you a founding member of SP?
Kate – No, but I’m thrilled to be part of it now. There’s something very exciting about working with people who have a clear vision of the future and an idea of how to get there. Melissa knows where she wants Solstice to go, and it’s a privilege to be able to help her get it to that level.
 I see you are an author as well as the COO of Solstice. How and when did you make the transition from writing to publishing?
Kate – I was an author first, and then Melissa gave me the opportunity to work with her at Solstice. I think it’s given me a unique perspective on what happens on the business side that many authors don’t get.
Do you work with agents?
Kate – Yes, we have a few agents whose clients have signed with us. We have far more unagented authors, but that doesn’t matter to us. Having, or not having, an agent is a personal choice for each author.
 How many people are working for SP today?
Kate – We’ve got about twenty or more people, counting all our editors and proofreaders. There’s a whole amazing crew that works on the books that the authors rarely interact with.
 You’ve done some recent reorganization at SP. Can you describe the company’s current structure?
Kate – We’ve got an amazing staff now. Our Editors-in-Chief do a wonderful job in reading submissions, answering author questions, and the like. It makes it easier for me, as COO, to help Melissa grow the company. We can spend more time finding opportunities to promote the titles on a daily basis now.
 How would you characterize SP publishing today?
Kate – Growing, expanding, and thriving! Melissa’s done a great job in the recent changes, making it easier for all of us to get things done and help out the authors even more. We’re all big on communication, and the new chain of command really keeps the flow moving towards getting the titles released.
How do you attract new authors?
Kate – The normal venues of social media, and referrals by our authors. They’re our greatest asset, and best referral network.
On average how many submissions do you receive each month?
Kate – That varies so much! We really can’t put a number on it. One month can see three, the next have 20.
 How does your staff choose which to publish?
Kate – That depends on the EiC that reads it and what they feel makes a good book. We’ve got a general guideline to go by, but it’s up to the individual Editor in Chief to make the call.
 Is there any disadvantage being characterized as a “Midwestern Publisher?”
Kate – I didn’t even know there was such a thing! LOL. We’re a publisher. Period. Sure, we’re not one of the big 5 out of New York City, but we’re growing. Given the nature of communication now, it’s just as easy to email someone or ask them a question on FaceBook over sit down at lunch in Central Park and make a deal over a couple of drinks.
 Do you have a virtual staff with everyone in different locations communicating via email?
Kate – Yes. In some ways, it’s an advantage. Our staff is able to work at different times, making it so someone’s available to talk with authors outside of what many would think of as normal business hours.
 How many authors have you contracted with?
Kate – Probably around 200 currently, but the number fluctuates from month to month as new authors are accepted.
 How many books do you publish each year?
Kate – That varies so much! It’s impossible to give an accurate number.
 How many active books do you currently have?
Kate – Best estimate is around 400 titles out right now. We release new books almost every month, though, so it’s pretty fluid!
 Are your contracts for authors or for individual books?
Kate – We contract each title separately, instead of by author.
I noticed that you have a rather long list of books optioned for film. How do you work that, and what are the steps?
Kate – We’ve been approached by production companies who had interest in some of our titles. Due to confidentiality agreements, we can’t say more. 


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