“Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space” ~Orson Scott Card

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This week I’m continuing my look at the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America 2014 conference in San Antonio, Texas. The Spotlight on Samhain Books was presented by publisher Christina Brashear and Editor Tera Kleinfelter.

Christina kicked off the presentation by announcing that Samhain has hired LaToya Smith, formerly an editor with Kensingtron Books and with Grand Central Publishing, to oversee Samhain’s romance line. Her goal is to be innovative, find new voices and promote Samhain authors and their books.

Samhain will be creating a new GLBT line to include male/male romances and all GLBT romances. They will also be creating a new African American line. They will be launching a new website soon, which will be cover driven, showing off the book covers to entice people to look further into Samhain’s offerings. Browsers can make a wish list, read reviews, find books in a series, search by author or series and buy directly from Samhain.  

Samhain publishes romance, including erotica, GLBT romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, new adult, and science fiction/fantasy with strong romantic elements. They also publish horror, which does not have to have a romance in it. They do not publish young adult books.

Tera answered a question about trends she has seen as far as what is selling well. Samhain’s top sellers are “anything with BDSM” and contemporary romance. Romantic suspense is not selling all that well, and paranormal romance sales are down. In paranormal, shape shifters sell better than vampires. That said, she cautioned authors not to write to market, but to write what they love to write.

Samhain does a variety of types of promotion – online ads on a variety of sites, print ads in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Marie Clare, even ads in airports. They will split costs with the author if the author has some marketing they want to do. They also try to get lots of reviews for their books.

The minimum word count for Samhain is 12,000 and they will consider anything up to 120,000 words. Turnaround time is normally 12 to 16 weeks, but that is improving. Their goal is a six to eight week turnaround. You can find all their submission guidelines here.

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HarperCollins has a new digital first imprint devoted to thrillers and crime fiction. KillerReads will publish two or three titles per month — crime stories, detective fiction, psychological thrillers, legal thrillers, and almost anything that fits under the umbrella of crime fiction. To celebrate their launch, KillerReads is opening for a limited time to submissions of complete manuscripts from unagented authors. You’ll need to submit a complete manuscript, a 500-word summary of the story, a one-paragraph recap of the story, a list of the characters and an author profile. This reading period will close on September 14, 2014, so get your submissions in now. Find all the details here

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Penumbra Magazine is looking for speculative fiction stories on the theme of Arthurian Legends for its December 2014 issue. They’re open to stories up to 3500 words and pay five cents a word. The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2014. Find all the submission guidelines here. 

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Digital publisher Untreed Books is looking for crime fiction short stories for an upcoming anthology: Haystacks and Homicides — Short Tales of Farmland Crime. Submit your 1500 to 5000 word story by the deadline of December 31, 2014. Stories must take place on a farm or be farm related, and the editors prefer the crime of murder. Authors selected for inclusion in the anthology, slated to be published in March 2015, will receive a share of the royalties from sales. Find all the details here

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