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Thread: Samhain Publishing

  1. #1351
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Hmm. I know someone who might know more, but I can't ask her until later this week. By then, more might come out.

    I understand Samhain's need to maximize marketing avenues, but I really hope that this doesn't herald deterioration in their editing.

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  2. #1352
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    There seems to be a ton of anger over the decision to let Don go, and Brian Keene is calling for people to jump ship, boycott, and claiming Samhain is now more focused on things like Twitter than actual editing.
    Boycotting Samhain seems weird. If Samhain is making a poor business decision, then their business will suffer for it. If they're making a smart move, then they'll reap the rewards.
    Last edited by Viridian; 11-04-2015 at 11:50 AM.

  3. #1353
    AW's resident Velociraptor ShaunHorton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    Boycotting Samhain seems weird. If Samhain is making a poor business decision, then their business will suffer for it. If they're making a smart move, then they'll reap the rewards.
    Honestly, it seems like a lot of people are taking it personally. As great as he probably was to get such a devout following, he was still only one person out of the whole business. It's not like they're laying off half their editing staff of something. And if he's really that good, he'll be snatched up by another publisher before he cashes his last paycheck from Samhain.

    All the outrage I'm reading feels like "You screwed with my buddy! Let's burn the building down!"
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  4. #1354
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    I'm a Samhain author. Have been since 2003. While I've often wished they put more effort into promoting authors who don't write the favs or aren't best sellers, I get why they do. I've had three editors. My current editor is a fabulous editor and I see her on social media. I'm guessing they want their editors to help promo. The only way editing will suffer is if they overload the editors AND expect them to use social media. Chrissy's not dumb; she's not going to do that.

    When I read the update, I was like, makes business sense and yay, I'm glad they are going to continue to work in social media to help us sell our books. I think an editor and author working together along with the publisher efforts can make for a good team. Again, as long as they (or the editor since a lot acquire their own books) overload on editing.
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  5. #1355
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cassie Knight View Post
    I'm a Samhain author. Have been since 2003. While I've often wished they put more effort into promoting authors who don't write the favs or aren't best sellers, I get why they do. I've had three editors. My current editor is a fabulous editor and I see her on social media. I'm guessing they want their editors to help promo. The only way editing will suffer is if they overload the editors AND expect them to use social media. Chrissy's not dumb; she's not going to do that.

    When I read the update, I was like, makes business sense and yay, I'm glad they are going to continue to work in social media to help us sell our books. I think an editor and author working together along with the publisher efforts can make for a good team. Again, as long as they (or the editor since a lot acquire their own books) overload on editing.
    I find that happens a lot with many publishers. Only their top sellers get majorly promoted and the rest lay by the side doing for themselves. I do love Samhain though
    Last edited by brainstorm77; 11-04-2015 at 07:43 PM.

  6. #1356
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    I see this too. Everybody kicks in to promo and support their authors, and/or their publisher. I'm not saying this should be a steadfast rule, but I haven't ever seen a stealth editor before. I wouldn't hold it against them. So, I'm rather divided on this one, but mostly in favor of participation.

  7. #1357
    Gametrovert Shadowflame's Avatar
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    So here's some thoughts from Brian Keen.
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  8. #1358
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaunHorton View Post
    There seems to be a ton of anger over the decision to let Don go, and Brian Keene is calling for people to jump ship, boycott, and claiming Samhain is now more focused on things like Twitter than actual editing.
    Brian Keene was not calling for a boycott. It looks more like some people got confused and said he was calling for a boycott. Also, it seems people who were angry with Keene were claiming that he was calling for a boycott. There is more on the link that was posted up-thread:
    http://www.briankeene.com/2015/11/05...its-important/

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaunHorton View Post

    It kind of makes sense that they wouldn't be holding onto him, if their focus is on trying to get their editors on double-duty.

    Are people blowing this completely out of proportion?
    I don't know. It does seem odd that one day they asked his authors to use social media to post testimonials about Don D'Auria, and they next day (if not sooner), they fired him. And then they said it was because he wasn't on social media. That didn't help the response people had.

    Is it really up to the editor of a fiction line to be savvy with social media? I'm trying to think about how many editors I "know" on-line. I know Ellen Datlow because she is on a ghost fiction group I belong to, but I don't follow her on Facebook. And if I buy something she edited, it's because she's Ellen Datlow, damn it, not because she is on the All Hallows list or on Facebook. Of course, I know some of the Tor and Baen editors from their presence. But I buy the books they edit because of the authors or because I'm familiar with the publisher. But there are many, many editors I never see, or rarely see, on-line.

    Most of the social media posts I see about a particular book come from either the authors or the marketing department. Not the editor. I don't think I've ever seen a single post from Otto Penzler. I would imagine he's too busy putting together another massive anthology. But I have seen lots of FB posts about his new Sherlock Holmes anthology -- and I surmise those are put together by the publisher.

    When Samhain's horror line started out, they were buying full-page ads in some of the horror magazines. Very noticeable ads. Come to think of it, they might have stopped doing that. Those ads might have a bigger influence than Twitter and FB. Sure, it's easier and cheaper to post on social media, but some readers will never see those, and will see something in a magazine.
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  9. #1359
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    I get that authors need to be their own promotion machines. I'm lackluster at it, and I hate spamming people as much as I hate being spammed. The best online book marketing I've ever witnessed usually ran tangent to the actual books, and involved ideas, conversations, and how those books fit readers' lives.

    If Samhain is asking their editors to do that now, that's a FT job in itself...for the marketing department. What will the editors be doing, as far as *editing*.

    Seems like Christina didn't learn from the Ellora's Cave meltdown...another case where a publisher couldn't figure out how to run her business, and then blamed her troubles on everyone but herself.

    I'm not boycotting Samhain. But I will follow its authors more than the company, and be very cautious about the work my agent might send there.

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  10. #1360
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    People need to realize that publishers are a business just like any other and that business will do what they think is best for them and their future. They're not a big ole family. The decisions they make are not personal.

    Most editors that I know do have a presence on Twitter and some on Facebook. If it is required of him in his job and he's not doing it... Need I say more. I'm sure he's a fab editor though. Wasn't he with Dorchester before Samhain? I was a huge fan of Dorchester's horror line.

    Screaming boycott every time a publisher makes a business move that you don't like is in my opinion not the thing to do. You are only punishing the other authors.
    Last edited by brainstorm77; 11-05-2015 at 07:08 PM.

  11. #1361
    Gametrovert Shadowflame's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with Filigree on this. Promotion is a full time job in itself! To push editors--who already have a full time job--into such a position is more than a bit mind boggling. You aren't going to get quality connections unless you have time to devote to social media. And social media should NOT be the center point of a promotional push. Sure it can be part of it, but not the focus. Brian Keene lines out some great suggestions on his post.


    Samhain has put itself into an uncomfortable position. Perhaps they will pull out of it. Perhaps not. Right now it's a wait and see.
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  12. #1362
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    People need to realize that publishers are a business just like any other and that business will do what they think is best for them and their future. They're not a big ole family. The decisions they make are not personal.

    Most editors that I know do have a presence on Twitter and some on Facebook. If it is required of him in his job and he's not doing it... Need I say more. I'm sure he's a fab editor though. Wasn't he with Dorchester before Samhain? I was a huge fan of Dorchester's horror line.
    It might depend on the genre. Not all SF/fantasy editors are "out there," and that is probably true of horror as well. When the Sad Puppies thing broke, it was revealed that DAW editor Sheila Gilbert did not know the Sad Puppies had pushed her on their slate -- because she doesn't "do" the Web, just e-mail. (Even now, there are authors who don't "do" the Web.) Also, some editors might be fine with message boards, mailing lists, etc., but not with Facebook or Twitter. ("Who is this person and why do they want to be my friend?") There should be someone in marketing to take care of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    Screaming boycott every time a publisher makes a business move that you don't like is in my opinion not the thing to do. You are only punishing the other authors.
    Is anyone of note really screaming for a boycott, though? People claimed that Brian Keene did so, but on every post I saw on Facebook, he was (ahem) correcting this view.
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  13. #1363
    Three of a perfect pair. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    FYI: I'm not pubbed by Samhain. I do have friends who are (with both romance and horror).

    It just feels like there's missing information, like we don't know the whole story. :-/
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  14. #1364
    Romance with Kick-Assitude! Cassie Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    People need to realize that publishers are a business just like any other and that business will do what they think is best for them and their future. They're not a big ole family. The decisions they make are not personal.

    Most editors that I know do have a presence on Twitter and some on Facebook. If it is required of him in his job and he's not doing it... Need I say more. I'm sure he's a fab editor though. Wasn't he with Dorchester before Samhain? I was a huge fan of Dorchester's horror line.
    Agree 100%. There are a lot of romance editors for small press online. A lot. I don't know about other genres. If the editor, author AND publisher partner in the promotion, it's doable for all. When I edited for two small presses, I did take some time while I was already on with social media, to talk and share about my authors and the house. It's not a full time job.

    I was at a romance conference in October and each and every industry professional: agents from Donald Maass, Sandra Dijkstra and Kimberley Cameron agencies plus editors from Sourcebooks, Harlequin and Wild Rose Press and ALL said it is incumbent on authors to promote their own books. While they acknowledged the "my job is to write the next book" schtick I hear all the time, they said authors need to promote and PARTNER with their publisher. There's that word again.

    I didn't read anything into the message I got on this that Chrissy can't figure out how to run her business. What I got is that she has had to rethink some aspects of her business. As part of a government entity that is doing this same thing right now, it's just good business sense. I'm sorry for the horror line--I LOVE reading horror but if it's not selling and the editors aren't helping promote their authors and they are supposed to, those things forced her hand.

    No, I'm not a friend or work for Chrissy. I am a manager in my day job in business. Sometimes unpopular decisions have to be made, and if there is anything being "hidden" (as someone pondered) then it's the personnel side of it and that is none of our business. I might like it for gossip but it's none of our business.

    And finally, as I noted, I'm an author and I KNOW my job is to promote as much as it is to write the next book, and I'm willing to work with my editor (who is online and promotes as she can) and my publisher to figure out how to sell MY work. I don't like to promote, seriously, I'm with Filigree on that. But I have to. I'm competing against TONS of books in a heavily saturated genre. I've done nothing over the year and guess what? My sales have shown that. How do I expect my publisher to partner with me if I'm not willing to do the time?
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  15. #1365
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    I don't think it is a professional/personal attitude split at all--and no major player or stakeholder has suggested a boycott. I think it is about people who think it was a mistake that Don was fired at all given his credentials and record, people who disapproved of it being done so suddenly and outwardly perfunctorily when they were actively promoting his role at Samhain only a week before, and people who just don't care one way or the other.
    Last edited by veinglory; 11-05-2015 at 09:40 PM.
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  16. #1366
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin anne.arthur's Avatar
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    As a current and very happy Samhain author, I wanted to pop in with a few thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    Hmm. I know someone who might know more, but I can't ask her until later this week. By then, more might come out.

    I understand Samhain's need to maximize marketing avenues, but I really hope that this doesn't herald deterioration in their editing.
    While I cannot speak for the horror line (I'm a romance author), I don't think you can really assign "deterioration in their editing" to a collective whole. Samhain has many different editors for their various lines, and each editor is an individual person with their own strengths and weaknesses. My editor kicks my ass every single time I turn in a book. She wants the book to be the best it can be. She is also social media savvy and does go that extra step to help promote her authors. In this day and age, and with an independent press like Samhain, it's almost essential.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cassie Knight View Post
    When I read the update, I was like, makes business sense and yay, I'm glad they are going to continue to work in social media to help us sell our books. I think an editor and author working together along with the publisher efforts can make for a good team. Again, as long as they (or the editor since a lot acquire their own books) overload on editing.
    Exactly. For those of us who received the email from Samhain, it very much outlines it as a business decision. "the slow build of a paying audience" pretty much says it all. They want to keep the horror line open, but obviously what they're doing now isn't working. Publishing is a business. If what you're doing isn't working, you have to evolve and try something else. Obviously a highly-regarded editor who shuns social media isn't working and the lack of sales proves that.

    This is Samhain trying to save the horror line by shifting things around. Only time will tell if it helps, and I don't think that any sort of online boycott (social media or otherwise) is going to be helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnneMarble View Post
    I don't know. It does seem odd that one day they asked his authors to use social media to post testimonials about Don D'Auria, and they next day (if not sooner), they fired him. And then they said it was because he wasn't on social media. That didn't help the response people had.
    This wasn't targeted, and it was probably an unhappy coincidence. As part of their tenth anniversary, Samhain asked ALL of their authors to promote and praise their individual editors on social media. It had nothing to do with Don specifically.
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  17. #1367
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    After reading some links it reads like their horror line wasn't that successful. Like someone else posted above it seems like the full story isn't out. Sounds like to me they've made decisions to try and make the horror line a success. Of course I could be wrong.
    Last edited by brainstorm77; 11-05-2015 at 10:27 PM. Reason: clarifying

  18. #1368
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    I get that authors need to be their own promotion machines. I'm lackluster at it, and I hate spamming people as much as I hate being spammed. The best online book marketing I've ever witnessed usually ran tangent to the actual books, and involved ideas, conversations, and how those books fit readers' lives.

    If Samhain is asking their editors to do that now, that's a FT job in itself...for the marketing department. What will the editors be doing, as far as *editing*.

    Seems like Christina didn't learn from the Ellora's Cave meltdown...another case where a publisher couldn't figure out how to run her business, and then blamed her troubles on everyone but herself.

    I'm not boycotting Samhain. But I will follow its authors more than the company, and be very cautious about the work my agent might send there.
    Are there any publishers left that you haven't condemned?

    Honestly, comparing EC to Samhain is ridiculous. Samhain pays its authors, edits its books, and behaves in a professional manner. They're nothing like EC, and as an author who has published with both, I think I have credibility when I say that.

  19. #1369
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    I think that expecting horror to match the per title sales of romance and erotic romance would be unrealistic.

    As far as genre goes, they are chalk and cheese. The only real similarity beyond 'using words' would be a tendency for readers to be publisher-loyal.
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  20. #1370
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captcha View Post
    Are there any publishers left that you haven't condemned?

    Honestly, comparing EC to Samhain is ridiculous. Samhain pays its authors, edits its books, and behaves in a professional manner. They're nothing like EC, and as an author who has published with both, I think I have credibility when I say that.
    Yeah. The difference between what EC did and what Samhain is doing is worlds apart. EC threw their editing out the window, refuses to pay their authors, and then blames the authors for the things they're doing.

    Samhain, as far as I can tell, released ONE person. Was he really the sole Horror editor? I understand he was pretty much in charge of the Horror line, in addition to being an Editor, but still, even if he was the best they could have gotten, it's only one person. Which makes me feel like it's a bunch of this guy's fans completely blowing things out of proportion.
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  21. #1371
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    The difference is that I'll still consider subbing to Samhain...even their horror line. EC, not so.

    My main worry is that I see too much emphasis on social media for book marketing. From a lot of publishers. Social media is just one part of effective marketing.

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  22. #1372
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    Agents get paid by taking 15% of your advance right? Samhain doesn't offer advances right? Why would an agent even agree to submit to Samhain? Or am I missing something?

  23. #1373
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Suspense Author View Post
    Agents get paid by taking 15% of your advance right? Samhain doesn't offer advances right? Why would an agent even agree to submit to Samhain? Or am I missing something?
    You are.

    First: agents receive 15% of your proceeds. This includes both the advance and any royalties you get. In this case, the agent would simply get 15% of your royalties.

    Second: agents usually do not work with small presses. Samhain is large enough that they do sometimes work with agents, but many of their authors don't have agents.

    Again, the ebook market is a bit different than the print market.

  24. #1374
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Suspense Author View Post
    Agents get paid by taking 15% of your advance right? Samhain doesn't offer advances right? Why would an agent even agree to submit to Samhain? Or am I missing something?
    You're missing a lot.

  25. #1375
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    This is all frustrating. (I have a book on sub to the horror line.) I had noticed when I was looking them over that the Horror side had very inconsistent quality on their covers. (And very few that seemed anywhere near the level of the Romance side.) While it might be unreasonable to expect Horror to sell as well as Romance, it does seem like they may not put the same resources behind the books in the different lines.
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