Samhain is closing its doors. This was the story that greeted me when I checked into my mm Facebook groups this morning. Many of my author friends have books currently with the publisher, so their shock and upset is understandable. Because Samhain is one of the big players in mm publishing. If they are finding things tough, if their profits are falling, if they have reached the point where to continue has no point, then what does the future hold for mm authors? I read the various comments with interest and then thought: thank goodness I'm indie.
The demise of Samhain is part of a wider trend. I am certainly no industry expert and this is my view based on my observations over the past year, but I believe that more and more publishers will find themselves in difficulty and will end up going to the wall. And that's not good, not good at all, because it's my belief that a mixed market is a stronger market. I think it a good thing that there are specialist publishing houses to whom I can submit my work, should that be the route I wish to take. For me, it's not. I made a conscious choice to publish as an indie but I know many who are not comfortable with taking that route. And I get that, I really do. The indie author is responsible for the whole kit and caboodle – finding editing and cover design services, formatting, promotion, decisions around pricing and where to sell and when to release. It's hard work and damn stressful at times, so no wonder those who have only been published via a publisher blanch and feel a little faint at the thought of doing all that themselves. But more and more of my fellow authors will have to do this if they wish to continue publishing.
The rise of the indie author has supplied a number of the nails for Samhain's coffin, as I am sure it will for other publishers. That's a hard statement, but an indie revolution is happening now, this minute. Indie published ebooks are taking an ever increasing market share. There now exists the technology and the support systems to allow people to publish that didn't exist just a handful of years ago. No longer do aspiring authors need to seek permission from publishing houses to get their words out into the world. Gone are the guardians of the written word. The palace gates have been stormed. The peasants have revolted. Publishing has become more democratic and thank God for that. But… and there is always a "but". If respected publishers like Samhain go to the wall there will be less choice for authors in terms of where to place their work.
So what's the author's option? You know my answer, it's to go the indie route – and this is where the "but" comes in. Until there is a viable alternative that's not yet even a flicker on the horizon, more power will be vested in the hands of The Mighty Zon. Yes, a monopoly. Nobody does well out of a monopoly – except the monopoly itself. Need I say more? This I believe is the longer term, and more worrying, significance of Samhain's demise.
A E Ryecart
This is my blog, where I'll keep you posted on the latest happenings, updates on my writing, previews and news.