Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps make sense of one small area.” Nadine Gordimer

This week I’m reporting on the Spotlight on Samhain Publishing from the Romance Writers of America annual conference.

The Spotlight on Samhain Publishing was presented by:

Lindsey Faber, Managing Editor

Chris Brashear,  Publisher

Marty Matthews, Author Liaison

Samhain is a digital publisher that releases titles in trade paper also after digital publication.  They publish romance, all sub-genres, both erotic and non-erotic, as well as fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction with strong romantic elements.  At this time they no longer publish women’s fiction or young adult. The books are widely distributed, both online and in traditional book outlets.

They are interested in all kinds of romance, including cross-genre stories and stories that don’t fit into a convenient category or niche.

They prefer manuscripts of 60,000 words up to 120,000 words. They do publish some shorter works of 12,000 words. Chris said she though the “sweet spot” for many readers is 60,000 words. At that length, the price point is lower. Find all the guidelines for submitting on the Samhain website. http://samhainpublishing.com/submissions

Like most e-publishers, Samhain pays royalties but no advance. Royalties are 30 to 40 percent of the cover price, paid monthly.  Though the contract specifies Samhain owns the rights for the lifetime of the copyright, but Chris said there is a clause that after 7 years the author may request reversion of rights. The contracts do not have an option clause. The contract is negotiable. You do not have to have an agent to submit to Samhain.

They do a lot of online promotion at reader blogs, social networking, and giving away free books for Kindle, Nook and other e-readers. They’ve found this increases demand for the author’s other works. They may do this with the first book of a series when other books of the series come out. This has been very successful for them.

Lindsey also talked about how e-publishing offers you the opportunity to continuously sell your backlist. your backlist is always available. Readers who discover your new book can go buy other books by you in your backlist.

Right now, in addition to romance novels, Samhain is looking for shorter submissions for two anthologies: A Spring Romance anthology, to be released in May 2011. These are sweeter stories about budding romance, first loves, etc.,  20,000 to 25, 000 words. The deadline for submissions to this anthology is November 30, 2010.

They’re also looking for stories for a Cyberpunk Romance anthology to be released in August 2011. These are stories set in a post-industrial dystopia, dark and gritty (think The Matrix or Bladerunner. )  All stories must have a happily ever after romantic ending. Stories should be 25,000 to 30,000 words.

Deadline for submissions is February 1, 2011. All the details for submissions for both of these anthologies are on the website.  http://samhainpublishing.com/submissions

Lindsey talked about the money to be made in digital publishing.  You earn more money per book. Their books sell for an average of $5.50. 30 percent of that is $1.65 per book.  They pay 8 percent royalties on print books. Every book varies, but she did give examples:  A high-selling erotic title sold 12, 800 e-book sales and 14,000 print sales. Another erotic title sold 11,000 e-book copies and 29,000 print copies. A mid-range erotic book sold 1800 ebook sales and 5400 print sales. A high-selling non-erotic book sold 4100 e-book sales and 8200 print sales. Another non-erotic book had 3100 ebook sales and 3500 print sales. A mid-selling non-erotic title sold 1200 ebooks and 3200 print copies.  But she did point out they had one book that sold only 28 copies. So anything can happen.

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