Sunday, February 28, 2016

Breaking My Bookish Heart

Last week, I went over to Samhain Publishing to look at their horror submission guidelines, but the page had a message posted that the company is closed to submissions (of all genres, not just horror) while they catch up on slush pile subs. They've done that before, so I didn't think much about it. I figured I'd go ahead with my project and keep an eye on twitter for when they reopen submissions.

Fast forward a few days later, I log in to twitter, and the first tweet I see is that Samhain is in the process of closing its doors. Of course I'm moving forward with my project anyway, but the news is still shocking and depressing regarding the company. I have a lot of friends published there, and Samhain has what I would consider one of the best horror imprints on the market today.

I have no idea how this has affected the romance editors up to this point, but it's clear where things are headed after the letter announcing the company's closure was posted to the site. At any rate, I did some further digging, and I guess the signs have been there since late last year that they might be facing closure. Editor Don D'Auria was let go in 2015, and he was the one who built their horror line. I followed his authors from Dorchester, and read them at Samhain as well. I'm crossing my fingers and waiting to see where he turns up next. The same with the authors who will be shut out by the closure. I'm curious where they will go once the dust has settled. I know a few people who have said that the Samhain closure is their cue to focus on self-publishing, but at the same time, I've heard others say their sales at Amazon are down because of the KU program. Now, Amazon has filed patents and has started the wheels turning toward the possible creation of a used ebook market on their site. This adds even more uncertainty to an already unstable ebook market.

After the Samhain announcement, I began looking into the larger digital publishing companies that are still standing. Keep in mind, I'm still looking for a stable publishing "home" myself. There are three companies that appear to stand apart from the rest: Entangled, which is still relatively new; Lyrical, which is under Kensington's umbrella; and Carina Press, which is an imprint of Harlequin. I'm curious to see if any of these companies cast their nets to catch the top tier talent left displaced by Samhain's closure. I'd also be interested to see what the ratio of romance writers vs non-romance writers in terms of those author acquisitions turns out to be.

Taking the current market into consideration, I can't blame any author who decides to go full throttle indie, but for me personally, I'm a fan of hybrid publishing. I like to have a traditional/digital publisher for some projects, and then self-publish the works that I know would sell better as indie titles on Smashwords. Because most of my sales come from foreign markets and their distributors rather than from Amazon, this works best for me. The problem with the ongoing market shrinkage is that there are now fewer reputable independent trads and epublishers for writers like me to send work to, so we end up being pushed, for better or worse, into self-publishing because there's no where left for us to go.

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