Monday, February 29, 2016

Samhain Slightly Un-Closing

So a follow up email to authors suggest they might not be totally dead, and authors should maybe hold fire on making other plans.

Like a lot of mid-level erotic romance authors my only plans would be to self-publish when the books revert and I get around to doing it.  Nothing very urgent given that my small press and self-pub books do about the same these days (a.k.a. "selling like cold cakes").

To those of you doing better, my hat is off to you :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Samhain Closing

Email to authors posted, for now, without any comment from me. Names and emails redacted and email shortened.

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.


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.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Is that you, Elsa?

The potentialtrademarkinfringment doesn't bother me anyway

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mantitty Cookie Monster

WTF is this about?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ShadowHunter in Court: Sherrilyn Kenyon vs Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare's ShadowHunter series has clearly been a success, most recently with its release as a television series.  However there has been ongoing conflict between Clare and Kenyon as to how derivative the series is of the Kenyon's also illustrious (but less multi-media)  Dark-Hunter books.

I have not read either series and so cannot personally judge whether there is much evidence of direct copying.  But to me the case seems weak. Paranormal fantasy and romance is replete with tropes that are far from distinctive. Claims such as "Both feature symbols reminiscent of ancient ruins, angels, and crystals" are pretty laughable to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the genre.

The fact that the Shadow Hunters had previous been called Dark-Hunters and were referred to as having "marks" does suggest that the resemblance between the two works was initially a good deal closer. But on the other hand the fact that Kenyon has trademark rights to “Dark-Hunter”, “Dream-Hunter”, and “Were-Hunter” regardless of font or presentation strikes me as pretty damn outrageous. What next, a trademark claim for "were-wolf"?  (Although I assume dispensing with the hyphen would prevent one for being sued?)

If you have read these books I would love to know whether you think this suit has substance.  FWIW my only direct experience of either of them is watching the new ShadowHunters TV series and found it rather insipid.  But perhaps I am not the target audience.

 See also:

Monday, February 08, 2016

Creative Online / Vasko

An outfit called Creative Online Publishing Inc (a division of VaskoBooks) has been soliciting authors of romance.  They seem to be particularly angling for previously self-published authors. Creative Online offers an eyebrow-raising US$1000 advance for only your digital Apple (iBook store) rights.  Honestly, I just do not see how that adds up.

See also:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A Few New(ish) Places

Baronet Press, founded in 213,  is seeking erotic romance and BDSM fiction. The owner of the press is spanking-specialist author Casey McKay.

Dark Hollows Press, also founded in 2013, is seeking all genres of romance. The press is co-owned by author Shannon West and Michelle Williams.

Crimson Romance, founded in 2015, is seeking romantic suspense, contemporary, paranormal, historical, and spicy romance. Crimson is F&W Media's digital romance imprint.