Saturday, 27 February 2016

Farewell Samhain

Yesterday a shockwave rolled through the MM world with the announcement that Samhain is closing, albeit with a protracted closure.  This is part of the email being circulated.

As it took time to grow to the size we became, it will take some time to shrink down and end our run properly. This means that we are NOT turning off all of the books and just closing down. It doesn’t work that way. We are going to continue on with selling our titles and launching the titles that are ready to go, but we are laying off about half the staff, and releasing all freelance people.
Many of you are going to ask for your rights back, I expect. Please be patient and understand it will take time to process those titles where rights are available to be returned. If your title/s haven’t yet reached the point to have your rights returned, we won’t be making any mass releases at this point. We need the income to continue while we wind down and ask that you understand that we will release the books when we can and we won’t be abusing your trust. I won’t drag this out any longer than I have to, but it isn’t going to be something that will be wrapped up in the next six months. Samhain has commitments to vendors other than writers and to turn it all off now would put me in bankruptcy. I hope you don’t want that any more than I.

The reaction from authors and readers alike is shock of course. Samhain published some wonderful authors and books. I wasn't published with Samhain. I was just an avid reader, but good friends of mine are now looking for new sources of royalties.

I can't deny this closure sends shivers down my spine. With the pool of publishers willing to take on MM shrinking rapidly what happens to our genre? It's important to remember not everyone wants to self-publish and yelling self-pub at authors who don't want to do it is not helpful. There are good reasons for authors to prefer the security of the published route.

I've seen my sales drop to less 2/3rds of what they were in the last five years, and I'm not the only one. If this is happening across the board it is no wonder established publishers are suffering. We are a niche genre. Like everyone else I dream of breaking out into the mainstream market but I'm also sensible enough to know it may just stay exactly that - a dream. No one can predict a breakout book.

Having been a minor victim of Silver's skulduggery, I have a lot of respect for the openness of the Samhain management team. I hope they can wind the business up as they wish without breaking the spirits of their authors. I am thinking of another publisher here. I won't say their name, but I am thinking it really loudly.

In the meantime I'm going to buy a few books from Samhain as a small way of showing solidarity. I wish I could do more. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing. I guess I'm more out of touch than I realized. I hadn't heard about this.