Monday, February 13, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust

Last week, Samhain Publishing announced it will be closing at the end of February.

The Digital Reader and several other outlets announced the news with suggestions that customers download and back up their libraries since they had time, unlike the three-day warning/debacle of All Romance eBooks back in December.

Wait! Haven't we heard this one about Samhain before ?

Yeah, we have. A year ago in fact. Publishers Weekly, along with several other media outlets, announced Samhain's closing from a letter sent to the publisher's authors. However, some time later, principle Christine Brashear wrote another e-mail to the authors to "clarify" the situations. It was only a "misunderstanding" and Samhain was "downsizing", not "closing."

Um, okay?

Several Samhain writers were marketing their releases well into July of 2016, many stating all's right with the world. Others said they had their contracts terminated.

Is this a better fuster cluck than EC or ARe? If writers get their rights back without Samhain having to file for bankruptcy, then I'd say yes. But that's just me.

On the other hand, anyone who didn't get paid will probably never see a dime of that money. It's long since been spent on overhead, contrary to what the conspiracy theorists believe.

Later on Friday, a couple of Alter Ego's Facebook friends/readers lamented the end of so many publishers. Unfortunately, they blame Amazon. The real problem is that any business is cyclical. A good business person knows you have to put some money aside for the slow time. Since e-books were so new, many publishers and writers thought the gravy train would last forever.

Hell, I'm impressed it lasted for nearly ten years before the first downturn. And I'm sorry, but this downturn was inevitable.

I hate seeing any publisher go under (well, almost any), but we writers have a lot more options that we did when I started this bizarre journey nearly twenty years ago. Don't fret just yet. Take a good, hard look at your business plan and make whatever adjustments you need to make to survive.

Good luck!


  1. Business plan? Wait, we're supposed to have a busines plan?!?


    I think at least half the problem (all right, probably more like 80-90%) is that, since the indie writing thing is so new, and even the concept of a small, mostly-online, e-primary tradpub that can actually make good money for some writers is pretty new, there are a lot of newbies doing this pro writing thing, and many/most of them haven't yet figured out that this is a business, and that you need to learn about business and act like you're doing business. And I'm including way too many of the people -- who are still business newbies -- who've set up small e-primary presses in the last fifteen years or so. Certainly the folks who might've bought one, all turnkey, and thought they could just take over and do fine. [eyeroll]

    One of the things Dean's always griping about is the writers who don't treat writing like a business. I think the whole small-e-primary-romance-press end of the business is suffering from that problem. People who were new to writing/publishing jumped onto what seemed like a good thing, treated it like a magic box that spits out books and money when you press a button, and didn't bother to wonder what was inside or exactly how it worked.


    1. Yes, my dear, everyone should have a business plan. And while I started with a five-year plan six years ago, I've had to update it every year because things are changing so fast. LOL

    2. Yes, I was being snarky. :P My business plan is currently in the form of a big to-do list. Close enough for the moment. :)