Event report

Conference 2012 - Ask the Samhain editor

Report published 21 July 2012

This was an informative Q&A session with Heather Osborn, Editorial Director of Samhain, a digital first publisher.

Samhain started out eight years ago publishing erotic romance only but now most romantic genres are now represented. Samhain tries to stay ahead of trends and therefore accepts unusual time periods and locations. The romance remains the central focus of each story.

Last year saw the launch of two new lines – Horror, and Retro Romance (out of print titles from the 70s, 80s and 90s which are republished without any major editorial changes to the text).

Samhain accepts submissions between 15,000 and 120,000 words. Accepted stories (3-5% of all submissions) appear first as e-books. A year later those of 50,000+ stand a good chance of being released as a paperback. Novels over 120,000, given the high cost of printing, can price themselves out of the market. Series sell well and novellas may end up in print if joined with several others to form an anthology. The key to author success is to build a back list of titles.   

Four to six romance e-book titles are published every week, the cover price of each ranging from $2.50 to $6.50 depending on the length. The number of copies of each title sold varies.

Digital Royalties are 40% of the cover price if purchased on Samhain’s own website, 30% of the cover price if purchased on third party websites. Print royalties are industry standard. Authors are paid monthly.

Like all publishing houses, Samhain has its own house style. Submissions can contain British terms and spellings. If accepted for publication these may be changed but every attempt will be made to retain the flavour of the story. 

Samhain’s editors – twelve in all – are based all over the USA, in Canada, Australia, Israel and the UK - Hi Immi! Email submissions only.  Expect a decision within 12-16 weeks. These editors are looking for clean manuscripts. A messy manuscript would have to have exceptional potential to be accepted.

There is a marketing department which will give authors advice and help with advertisement design. 

Current trends? Erotic romance is holding steady but sexy contemporary stories are a little stronger. Drawing the line between the two can be tricky. The degree of sex and the language used seem to be the deciding factors. Romantic suspense has gone a little flat. Heather adores traditional regencies but she doesn’t see a lot of them. Not taking YA.

Details of the lines which Samhain publishes, and its submission guidelines, can be found on the website - www.samhainpublishing.com/submissions

Written by Eileen Hathaway

It's a fact

Readers of romantic novels buy more books than adult fiction buyers in general and also borrow more from libraries.