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Compare and contrast: Samhain is closing its doors.

I just saw a couple of tweets about Samhain Publishing that confirmed what some people read between the lines in a news bits posted a while back at Dear Author; they had closed submissions at the time, and now they have confirmed that they are closing their doors.

The email is here, but I’m keeping screenshots at KKB for posterity.

This news hits me and many other readers hard, for many reasons. Samhain Publishing has always had a stellar reputation, and people like Angela James (Carina Press editor) started there. Best wishes to all the authors, editors, staff and all subcontractors at Samhain. May you land on your feet, at a good place.

edited to add: Bree Bridges (writing half of Moira Rogers and Kit Rocha) has stepped up with this offer:

For those not aware, most epublishers, and at least one traditional publisher, that have gone out of business in the past decade or so, do not, by far, do it in so professional, classy, and direct manner. If I started listing publishers who have imploded in disgraceful and hateful ways, on the way to shutting down, it would take a long while.

The opposite list only has one name: Samhain.

Full text after the fold (bold emphasis mine, red text from original)

Dear Friends,

It’s with the heaviest of hearts and a great sadness I bring you the news of Samhain beginning the process of winding down due to our market share’s continuing decline. We’re approaching the point where we cannot sustain our business.

We prefer to go out gracefully and not get to the point where our overhead compromises our ability to pay the authors’ royalties. That’s would just be wrong. We want to stay on the high road and keep your respect. This company was started with the purpose of providing a safe and friendly house for authors to publish and begin or expand their career. If we have to end, then we shall do so in the same manner.

This has not been a decision made lightly. The recent sales numbers are not providing any hope for recovery and none of our efforts have been successful. For the last two years we have tried many and varied types of campaigns to promote your titles and have had no success in reaching the new customers we need to thrive. Each month that goes by our sales continue to shrink and it would be disingenuous to keep contracting new titles.

We’ve tried to renegotiate terms with Amazon in order to buy better placement within their site and perhaps regain some of the lost traction from the early days but have been met with silence. Other retail sites are trying, but the sales have never risen to the level of Amazon and are declining as well.

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.

Here are the salient details

  • Titles that are completed and ready for their launch will be published on schedule, or an adjusted schedule.
  • The authors whose titles aren’t finalized as of today will have the rights reverted back to them.
  • Titles that are already published will continue to be sold in all of our sales channels and we will continue to promote them through social media.
  • Royalties will continue to be processed as normal on our regular monthly schedule.
  • The editors and artists are freelance and we encourage you contact them to work with you on your self-publishing ventures.
  • Samhain will not be attending any of the conferences. Though you will see me at Lori Foster’s event, maybe, unless I’ve retreated into full hibernation mode.
  • Support staff remaining during the wind-down period are as follows:
    • Jacob Hammer – production and distribution
    • Amanda Brashear – website and administration
    • Amanda Hicks – contracts and administration
    • Katherine Batty – royalties and administration

Saying goodbye is always hard. I will miss working with all of you. Samhain has been my greatest adventure and I’m bereft at having to give it up. Please accept my thanks for all the trust you’ve invested in Samhain and I hope you understand that this choice to begin the wind-down to close is made to honor that trust.


Contract changes and questions: Amanda Hicks at contracts@samhainpublishing.com
Statements and statement access, royalty amounts and sales details: Katherine Batty at royalties@samhainpublishing.com
Payment questions, missing checks or deposits: Christina Brashear at accounting@samhainpublishing.com

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done. I only wish I could have done more” ~ Mickey Rooney


  • Wow, I am so out of the loop! I can’t believe they’re closing!

    What happens to the people who have huge libraries full of purchased books I wonder?


  • I feel really sorry that I haven’t even ventured over to Samhain in the last 5 years, never mind bought any books from them. Then again, I no longer buy books direct from publishing sites anyway. Do you know why they’ve had to close?


  • I do not know anything more than what’s in the email from Christina Brashear, but I know the market has not been good to independent e-publishers in the past few years.

    It seems the process will take a while–I am guessing that anywhere between six months and a year. I don’t know what Samhain authors see from their side, but to me, it seems like a professional and honest way to do it.


  • […] is known is that, after announcing they were closing (and firing staff/editors/etc?), Christina Brashear is now saying that Samhain will not […]

  • […] I said a while back that Samhain’s announcement that they were closing their doors sometime this summer showed a lot of class (which, compared to EC-we-have-changed-our-name-ECforBooks, it did). […]

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