Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's the Same Samhain


I realize this is not going to be my most popular post, but I have a slightly different perspective on Samhain's recent trouble.  Specifically, the problem is not that Samhain publishing has changed, but that the world has changed around it.

Samhain in it's heyday, and now, is pretty much synonymous with Chrissy Brashear. Chrissy Brashear, like many entrepreneurs is a idiosyncratic and rather pugnatious person.  She has a particular dogmatic style and a general tendency to give zero fucks about other people's opinions.

This style worked well for people when she was playing David to Ellora's Cave as Goliath.  Her quirks were charming when the money was rolling in. And if it led to some ambiguity of expression, and some delayed reports and messed up payments, ain't nobody complaining so long as they are getting paid in the end. And we sure were getting paid.

But no entrepreneur is on top forever.  The winds of change have blown through the crowded halls of Erotic Romancelandia.  In this new climate, the ambiguity of Samhain's official communications is a little harder to deal with: is Samhain's closing or not (apparently: not, but a lot of authors got messed up during the hokey pokey).  Is Chrissy Brashear's unwillingness to admit she ever said they were closing quirky or crazy? Is her humorous tone in official communications suitable when discussing the serious matter author's incomes and futures?

Maybe, maybe not.  But for Samhain authors, this is the horse we rode in on.  She may have trotted us right into the quicksand, she may or may not be able to trot us back out.  And I certainly don't blame anyone who decides to grab a passing branch and try to climb to more solid ground. It's a publisher, not a cult, and any author would probably be well advised to get out while the getting's good.

But in this case, as with any other publisher, what we saw is what we got.  The Brashear brand was working through the good times, but now--not so much. And this is where it got us.  Maybe not all that terribly rosy right now, but our bank accounts much better off for having taken the ride.

The authors annoyed by recent developments at Samhain are 100% justified, but also should not, perhaps, (if they were paying attention to Samhain's management style right from the beginning) be 100% surprised.


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