Welcome to the Dragon's Pen, the blog of an aspiring kiwi author ... chatting about reading, writing, querying and publishing

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shooting Star Stories

Late last night I sent off the first two chapters of Princess of the Pigsty, my children's historical novel, to a publisher along with the query letter, synopsis and the requested author's bio and C.V.

I must say, I thought the request for a C.V. intriguing, I have never heard of a publisher asking for one before. Has any one else encountered this before?

The publisher is a very new one, just setting up in Australia called Shooting Star Stories.
They are so new in fact, their website is still under construction.

Of course there are pros and cons when submitting to a new publisher.

They will of course be reasonably unknown, so it's hard to get a gauge of the sort of finished product they will produce. There may be little or no feed back from others authors they have worked with about what they are like to work with. But, as new writers must start somewhere so must new publishers.

On the upside, a new publisher may be in a better position to build a more personal relationship with their authors and to put more resources into promoting their work.

We shall see. Whatever the result of this little exercise I shall post it here.


  1. Hi Pen, I love your blog.
    All the best with your publishing and writing, fingers crossed for you.

  2. Good luck! I hope this new publisher absolutely adores your work.

    (stalker from the Bloggoffee) :)

  3. Thanks guys! Loving your blog too, Ebony.

  4. Hi there - I'm also a writer and I saw that job ad too but I wondered if they were dodgy... and so am very interested to hear from you how it all went!

  5. Thus far I have only received an automatic reply to let me know they have received my query etc. They said to expect to hear within 4-6 weeks. I'll blog when I hear more.

    Fingers crossed!

  6. The company is also advertising on a New Zealand job site. I have emailed the editor seeking verification and will keep you posted.

  7. Thanks for that Anonymous.I'd be keen to hear what they have to say.

  8. Hi Ruth!

    A friend sent through an email this morning mentioning she'd seen our company on your blog - so for your sake and those that read your blog I thought I'd get in contact as I'm the Head Editor for Shooting Star Stories.

    Basically, yes it's a scary process submitting your work to people you don't know and whenever anyone is wary with us, we fully encourage them to hang fire and send a sample of work when our site is up and running (scheduled for early 2010).

    When you're a new company and you have a brilliant idea for delivery (ours is software based) you are wary yourself as a company with regards to protecting your own IP. That's why we don't have a huge amount of info on the internet about the delivery method etc. This will come online closer to our launch date, when we can safeguard against any copy cats.

    The company was started by myself (a full-time writer/ex-advertising copywriter) that wanted to sell my own work and found that in reality, I wasn't going to see much return on my effort with a traditional publisher. I started putting the wheels in motion to sell my work online, recruited the help of some good friends who were editors and had worked in the publishing industry, and all of a sudden, friends and family wanted me to help them sell their children's books TOO!

    The idea has grown and grown, and we thought, "I bet there are a million authors out there that don't know where to start in the whole process of getting published and want some decent return for their work." So we published an ad on seek and the response has been phenomenal - we receive over 100 submissions a DAY!

    So, as you can imagine, we've got a bit of a backlog. What we ARE trying to do though is manage people's expectations with regular email contact as to what stage in the process they're up to and also provide feedback where we can.
    In-depth feedback for everyone is unfortunately not possible, but we try to give as much help as we can.

    Anyway - just thought I'd send you this so that if any of your readers also are interested, they'll have some info too.

    Best of luck with the process and as with all our applications, we'll respond personally to you.

    Happy writing and have a great day!

    Camilla Jones
    Shoooting Star Stories
    email me @: editor@shootingstarstories.com

  9. I'm beginning to have serious doubts about Shooting Star Storeis. A month ago they said, "will be back in touch with contracts etc by the end of the week." I haven't heard a word since. Haven't had a reply to 3 emails. Have had some very negative comments from others too. I remain open minded but I'm having grave doubts about the who, what they are. They need to open up and tell me soon...

  10. I'm sorry some of you have had or are having issues and concerns about Shooting Star Stories. There has been no change to the website as noted by someone else on another post here about them.

    I heard from them shortly after Christmas to kindly say they were rejecting my MS, but I don't know anything more. Other than people are begining to question whether of not they things are actually coming together for them.

    I gather from you comment they accepted your MS, Anonymous. If I were you I'd be asking questions too. Do let us know how things play out. I hope they get in touch with you soon.

  11. It seems my last comment didn't come through. I think we might have all been quite nieve sending stories in to a company that had no address or phone number and no information about itself. An open, honest company would have provided these wouldn't they. I'm beginning to think we have been taken for a ride. Was it a by a deliberate, scumbag intent on stealing our works? Or was it somebody genuine who over-reached themselves. I'm still hopeful of hearing from them, but in the event of not doing so I intend getting someone with a lot more "hacking" skills than me to find out what's happening.

  12. There are a few posts here about Shooting Star stories, perhaps your last comment was at the end of another post?

    Anyhow, thanks for commenting and let us know what you discover. I contacted them myself and asked for comment on the concerns being raised here, but as yet I've not heard back.

    I'll definitely post a comment when I do.

  13. I too have misgivings about this enterprise. There has clearly been no information forthcoming for any of the respondents here which leads one to speculation concerning the veracity of their comments and claims.
    As a business owner myself I appreciate their keenness to keep their idea and intellectual property intact, but the time comes when they have to show their true colours. We've seen plenty of smoke and mirrors thus far and now it's time for them to "put up or shut up". I'm sorry that your m/s was rejected, Pen, but in hindsight it may prove to be a blessing! There are many others who have submitted their work in good faith and I believe it is time for them to issue some sort of missive providing an update, from a professional point of view. They are not doing their business or their credibility any good by sitting on their hands.

  14. Write Owl: I whole heartedly agree.

    I have already approached Shooting Star Stories and asked them to provide information (any information) that will let people know what is going on. I have had no response.

    The more time goes by the more damning this silence appears to be.

    As a writer I honestly feel for those who have had manuscripts accepted by this company and have been left in limbo.

    It is time Shooting Star Stories fessed up!

  15. Hi Pen,

    I'm a soon-to-be-has-been advertising copywriter from Auckland.

    I submitted half dozen of my picture book stories to Shooting Stars over a period of a couple of weeks from the time they posted their ad on Seek.

    They responded within a few of days of getting my first story to say it had been short-listed.

    Then early this year they responded again to say another one of my stories had been short-listed.

    All seems very promising... but I guess we'll just have to watch this space for further developments.


  16. Hi Simon,

    Yes. Do let us know how you get on and if you hear anything more from them. As you see many people are finding their silence disconcerting.
    Do keep us posted. For now I'm reserving judgement.

  17. Hi Pen,

    One more thing. Regardless of whether Shooting Stars makes good on their plans or not, I have to thank Camilla for providing the initial stimulus that opened the floodgates of inspiration for me.

    For that, I'm very grateful.


  18. A good point in one respect, Simon. I'm just sorry that your inspiration (and that of others) was inspired by a group that apparently do not have the wherewithal to back their claims. Maybe you can use the inspiration and confidence to apply to other mainstream publishers.

  19. I too received an email from Camilla saying my story had been short listed and they would like to see more of the series. I too would hear from them in 4 to 6 weeks. That was on Dec 25 and Camilla explained they were so busy her team were working on Christmas day. Since then I've emailed twice for an update. I'm very disappointed to have heard nothing but thankfully we should all have the original emails we sent to Shooting Star Stories with the manuscript attached. Email can now be used as a legal document so if any of our stories appear without our consent we can take the necessary action. It may just be they are so overwhelmed they cannot keep up with demand but if sending a reply email is beyond a publisher who we are expected to trust with our careers as writers I fear they may not be the best option. I for one am not waiting around for Camilla and her team. In the meantime I'm getting my stories completed and out to other publishers. Good luck guys, whatever the outcome. MJ