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Thread: Samhain Publishing

  1. #1
    edorothyb
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    Samhain Publishing

    Hi,

    Does anyone have any dealings with Samhain Publishing? They say their contract is negotiable...is it? Need information as soon as possible. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    http://samhainpublishing.com/

    They're an ebook publisher. What terms of their contract did you want to negotiate? Since "negotiable" doesn't equal "we'll give you anything you want", be sure you understand what rights you're willing to part with, etc., and don't be afraid to decline a deal you don't feel comfortable with.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 01-31-2006 at 06:04 AM. Reason: Godly Mod split thread.
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  3. #3
    edorothyb
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    Samhain Publishers

    They are also planning to go into print. What does grants to the publisher and its licensees "for the full term of the copyright available.... the following Primary and Secondary rights" mean?

  4. #4
    Gone
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    Quote Originally Posted by edorothyb
    They are also planning to go into print. What does grants to the publisher and its licensees "for the full term of the copyright available.... the following Primary and Secondary rights" mean?
    It means it would be a good idea to have a reputable agent or a lawyer familiar with publishing look over the contract. An inexperienced layperson is probably better off not trying to negotiate alone. Google Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and find your local chapter's info.
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  5. #5
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edorothyb
    They are also planning to go into print. What does grants to the publisher and its licensees "for the full term of the copyright available.... the following Primary and Secondary rights" mean?
    What Aconite said, because that might translate to "life of author plus 70 years". Make very sure your counsel is familiar with publishing contracts in particular, because many "contract lawyers" aren't.
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  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edorothyb
    What does grants to the publisher and its licensees "for the full term of the copyright available.... the following Primary and Secondary rights" mean?
    It means you're granting the rights specified in the contract for the full term of copyright, which is the life of the author plus 70 years. Primary rights usually means book rights--printing and distributing the book in various parts of the world. Secondary rights, also known as subsidiary rights, might include book club, dramatic, audio, film, serial, translation, and others.

    Before you get alarmed about "life plus 70", this is standard publishing contract language (though not optimal for an electronic or digital publisher--more on that below). However, it MUST be balanced by a clear and unambiguous termination/out of print clause, which specifies exactly how and under what circumstances a book will be declared out of print, and what steps you can then take to get the rights returned to you. Many small POD-based publishers, which are often run by people without publishing experience, have poor or unclear termination clauses, or may even omit a termination clause entirely.

    As I noted above, "life plus 70" isn't ideal for a digital or electronic publisher. This is true for a variety of reasons--their books typically sell in small quantities and for a short period of time, they often go bust after only a few years in business, and their lack of business expertise often makes for all kinds of problems, from nonpayment of royalties to nonproduction of books. Also, things in the digital universe change fast, and if there's a better option you want to be able to jump on it. All of this means that you don't want to be tied to an e- or digital publisher for too long. Either a time-limited contract (1-3 years) or a contract that allows you to terminate at will with adequate notice is far preferable to "life plus 70".

    Another issue: smaller publishers often aren't capable of marketing secondary or subsidary rights (many of them are aren't capable of marketing their books, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms). A publisher shouldn't demand rights it isn't able to sell. Yet many small publishers want a whole smorgasbord of subrights, and often aren't willing to negotiate this.

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  7. #7
    edorothyb
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    Unhappy Samhain Publishing

    Thank you, Victoria and Others.

    I have been going over this contract for days now wondering whether I want to be associated with a publisher that wants my baby before it's even a twinkle in my eye. But I sent it off to a lawyer friend of mine who may be able to help. If not, whether she can or not, I am going to check out the "Volunteers for the Arts" for help. Thanks again,

    Elena

  8. #8
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    If your lawyer doesn't have intellectual property experience, specifically publishing experience, the odds are she won't be able to help you. Publishing contracts are very specialized documents, and contain terms and clauses not found in other kinds of contracts. Unless you're knowledgeable about those terms and clauses, you may not be able to recognize an author-unfriendly contract. This is especially important when you're dealing with contracts from small publishers, which are often extremely nonstandard.

    - Victoria

  9. #9
    New kid, be gentle! Carlene's Avatar
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    Samhain Publishing?

    Hi all - has anyone heard of Samhain Publishing? I went to the website and it looks like a ebook pub. I'm asking because I just got a solitation from them. An editor I had from another publisher is now working there and said she liked my book that she edited so much, she wanted to me send her whatever I have. She did say she couldn't guarantee publication. I won't even bother if it's strictly ebook, but she did say they do paperbacks and distribute through Ingram to Borders, Waldenbooks to name a few. I checked Preditors & Editors but they don't have anything. I'm just curious as I don't have a finished manuscript right now.

    Thanks,

    Carlene
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  10. #10
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    From their site [under 'Submissions']:

    Samhain is a royalty paying ebook company that offers 40% of the cover price (as set by Samhain Publishing, Ltd) for a single-author ebook.
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  11. #11
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    They are a new epublisher. If they have plans to move into paperback publishing there isn't much evidence of it.

  12. #12
    KPainter
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    Samhain was started by Chrissy Brashear, one of the Ellora's Cave co-founders. I don't think there are any plans at this stage to take their titles into print.

  13. #13
    American Aquarium Drinker pepperlandgirl's Avatar
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    Actually, there are plans to go to print, as far as I know. Their contract stipulates print rights, not just e-rights, and Christine has discussed it on the author loop as well. She specifically mentioned everything over a certain word or page count would be elgible for print. (I paid attention to that bit because it looks like my book with them will be my first officially printed and not just published online).

    I haven't seen any indication that her plans have changed.

  14. #14
    New kid, be gentle! Carlene's Avatar
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    Thanks Peppergirl!

    Carlene

  15. #15
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    'ere's where they've come up before: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26307
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  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ShannonStacey's Avatar
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    The first three Samhain titles (the launch books) are already in print and on the shelves at Borders! As things stand now, there's only a 3-month window between e-release and print release, and that---along with Borders real estate---is pretty awesome for a new company.

  17. #17
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    They do seem to be a great publisher but as they are primarily an epublisher I wouldn't assume that every book goes to print--I imagine that would need to be discussed upon acceptance.

  18. #18
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I stand corrected--Samhain go straight to print after a few months and their authors seem very happy with the deal.

  19. #19
    Print release:Sept.1,'09 Branwyn's Avatar
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    Hmmm, perhaps something to consider???
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  20. #20
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory
    They are a new epublisher. If they have plans to move into paperback publishing there isn't much evidence of it.
    I saw a couple of their books in the romance section of Borders today (along with the other trade paperbacks), but I'm pretty sure this was the first time I'd seen them. As far as I could tell, there were only two Samhain books there, one copy of two different titles. So even if they are showing up in stores, they probably won't turn up in mall stores, etc.
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  21. #21
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    The company has only been going a few months with 3 books out in print, so I think having two of then in any given Borders is an excellent result for what is, so far, a smallish press.

  22. #22
    Ciar Cullen
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    I even registered to post for the first time on this topic of Samhain. They are very new, and I have 7 books contracted with them. I'm not entirely new to epublishing, with books at four companies over the last two years. Samhain has been the most writer-friendly to date. As Veinglory points out, the books do automatically go to trade size into Borders and Waldens 3 months after release (if length qualifies them). Plan in the works for good sellers to go to mass market. C. Brashear and co. have moved very, very quickly. Who knows? All these start-ups have the potential to go belly-up (or to get very icky) at any time, but this company has been professional, communicative, supportive--all the warm and fuzzies along with the solid business stuff. Hope that helps.

  23. #23
    Print release:Sept.1,'09 Branwyn's Avatar
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    It's good to hear for a change
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  24. #24
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I liked the look of them enough to submit a novel that has just been accepted. So give it a few months and I should have more to report

  25. #25
    Print release:Sept.1,'09 Branwyn's Avatar
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    That's great! Congrats!
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