Saturday, February 25, 2006

Between the Worlds

Yesterday, while we were chewing the tires of the e-pub industry, along came an editor of Samhain Publishing
After I recovered from the vapors, I realized Angela James' post was simply to correct a misunderstanding about sales.

In response to her invitation, I decided to check out the company with a personal eye - particularly in view of my completed short.

Interest: all genres. Action/mystery/horror/inspirational/mainstream/western, etc. Not limited to romance. Promising - none of us are excluded.
Length: preferred 60,000 or longer, but we are quite happy to publish works with word counts no less than 12,000. Hot doggy!!!
Submission formats: RTF or Word.doc; TNR, 12 pt.; etc. ( I can do that) synopsis ( oh Lord) and sample chapters or entire manuscript.
Reply: auto responder on receipt; 4-6 weeks for accept/reject.
Terms: 40 % royalty; full rights (digital and print), negotiable.

Other points: Publisher, Christina Brashear, is a former editor of Ellora's Cave ( experience). Website promotes books and authors ( a good sign, they say.) New company ( so not much track record.) Lots of titles, including names I recognize (which says something.) Distribution???? Download information seems uncomplicated and accessible, but I don't understand that part anyway.
VERY interesting is a report that an imprint of Berkley has contracted for sequels of a Samhain author. Seems to be open to series.

So there are a few high-lights.
Both Savannah and Dennie have books coming out by Samhain.

Ballum rancum: a dance at which all the women are harlots; from ca. 1660. Pepy's mentions ballers. From buff-ball - dancers wear birthday suits.
Banchoot, beteechoot: A coarse Anglo-Indian term of abuse; late 18th-20 c. ;obsolete [in this form]. In Hindustani, choad is a male copulator; ban/bahn is "sister; betee is "daughter"; hence banchoad; beteechoat - a deadly insult. In late 19th-20th c., generally barnshoot.
Bandore: A widow's head-dress - the Fr. bandeau corrupted; ca. 1690-1750, orig. perhaps Standard English; by 1785 coll. if not slang.
Banged up to the eyes: Drunk; mid 19th-20th c., obsolete.


Savannah Jordan said...

Samhain is a good place to start out, Bernita. They have a great group of authors who share promotional possibilities and support and encourage each other. I hear alot about editors and cracking whips, but so far, I am on a hineymoon with mine. :)

I say submit to them. What's the worst that could happen??

Carla said...

I'd forgotten Samhain said 12K words was their minimum (I've wandered along to their website on occasion). Sounds like you could give it a go. You've got 99 synopses in the Crapometer to tell you how not to write one (!) and I'm sure everybody here would happily critique yours if you post it.
I wish they would explain how they stop people copying their e-books. That's the bit that puts me right off buying e-books; not because I want to pirate their copy, but I want to understand exactly what their file is and what it's going to do to my PC. Also wish they would explain how you get the file - do they email it to you? do you get a time-limited password to a secure page of their site where you can download it?

Bernita said...

I will certainly consider them, Savannah!
I think my main concern is that - while the short of "Tempest in Time" series contains some medium hot sex - the set-up first book, except for some suggestive tension/fondling or whatever, does not.

However, several companies do seem to be open to "shorts."

Have been amazed at how many e-pubs there are out there, some quite big - thinking Mundania and New Concept Publishing here - who have been in business for some time.

Bernita said...

Perhaps you should just email them and ask, Carla.
A number of the sites seem open to answering just that sort of question.

And I just might do that w/the bloody thing. Thank you.

Sandra Ruttan said...

That's great Bernita - more value of blogging!!!!!

Carla said...

Sure, but why can't they put the answer on the site in the first place? I don't imagine I'm the only person in the world who's thought about buying an e-book and backed off because it looks complicated or difficult or uncertain and there's no explanation. That's a barrier to potential sales they could easily get rid of.

As it is, I'll read a whole novel off a website, and would happily put $10 into a PayPal change jar if the author had one, but I've never yet nerved myself to buy an e-book. I may very well be weird but I doubt I'm unique.

Could be an interesting controlled experiment here in electronic publishing, if you decide to put the story up on a blog instead of submitting to Samhain - compare the number of readers you get with the number of copies sold by Savannah and Dennie through Samhain over a given period, say the first year after publication. Would be fascinating to see how much an e-publishing company adds to the number of readers an author can generate by herself. Ten times? A hundred times? No difference? I've absolutely no idea.

Savannah Jordan said...

Bernita,I think I might have mentioned this here before, but my manu that SP purchased has NO SEX in it. Sex is not a requirement for a good story. It's fun -- but not essential. If you want, you could email me a copy of ToT and I'll read it over for you.

Ric said...

Sex is fun, but not essential.


Ric said...

I think what Bernita might be looking for (and I know she'll correct me if I'm wrong) is that validation as a writer than can only come from an editor. A professional, someone with a checkbook, who says this stuff is good.

We all know it's good. And we can keep telling her it's good until we're blue in the face, but the boost she needs to get to the next step might just be an editor saying the same thing.


Bernita said...

Now who is trying to derail the conversation, Ric?

Thank you, Savannah,very much, my head is a-whirl with all this new information. Don't think I'll inflict 70,000 words on anyone until I've digested all these new possibilities and see if the first book needs any adjustment to conform to a deliberate series concept ( The Falchion was originally written as a stand alone, decided it was too long, chopped it in half, then realized it was definitely of series potential), but I might hold you to that a little later. The short, "La Belle Dame," I could, possibly, though I've come up with a few ideas to make it a little longer.
(Just decided this morning that "Tempest in Time" is the series name!)

Bernita said...

Getting closer to it every day, Ric.

Bernita said...

It's an extremely kind offer, though, especially from one who has her own deadlines, etc., but I think Ric is right, the only true way to discover if a project has professional merit is to submit it.

Savannah Jordan said...

Ric~ I meant that in a literary sense -- not literal. We're discussing the types of manu that SP is accepting, not actual intimacy. *waggles finger* Shame on you...

Bernita~ Offer stands for assistance should you so choose. :)

Ric said...

Bernita brings out the worst in me.

And I love her for it.

ivan said...

I think Savannah is onto something.
While teaching creative writing here at Seneca College (I was ultimately de-tenured WTF) three PhD's from York University took my course. I don't know why they took my course. They certainly did fair work, though here and there I had to tell them their novels would make good family heirloms, but probably wouldn't make it past a large publisher.
The sailent point is that they all put their work through me before submittin their novels, these books being out of their usual area of expertise. I did the best I could at editing, thoug felt a little squeamish, with my high school teacher's I.Q. when I knew these dudes were pushing l40 and they were street smart as well.
"Why are you people here," I wanted to know one day.
"Youve got a rep," they answered.
That being as it may, I think it would be a good idea for Bernita to have Savannah have a look at her script. And maby two or three other people.
If PhD's do it, Bernita might well follow suit. Put it through a friendly prism first, then submit.

Bernita said...

Ooooh,Ric, I do so like bringing out the worst in men...

Ivan, there's one difference.
You were paid to do that.
Savannah is offering out of the goodness of her heart in an effort to help another writer at some cost in time to herself.
For one thing, I have big qualms about so imposing.
For another, the story is, or will be, publishable - I'm not so ivory-tower/subjective/blind to my faults/incapable of strict assessment/ falsely modest not to know that - with all the usual caveats about luck, market trends, and that sticker - presentation - etc.
The big question is finding the right market/publisher - and, for me, particularly, the courage.

ivan said...

Way classy.

Carla said...

".....validation as a writer than can only come from an editor. A professional, someone with a checkbook, who says this stuff is good"
I'd say it's up to each individual to define what they see as validation, because I imagine it could vary enormously. Some people might not feel validated even if their book was top of the NYT bestseller list and/or won the Booker, while others might feel validated if one person reads their book or their story in an e-zine and likes it.

I'd add the caveat that an editor at any publisher that is, or would like to be, a for-profit commercial enterprise has to have as their final decision point not 'Is this good?' but 'Can we make a return on this?'. Those two judgements may be closely related but they aren't exactly the same thing. I work for a scientific publisher and we have recently closed one of our journals. Not because it wasn't good; the editorial board said they were proud to be associated with it (and we weren't paying them anything) and we had enthusiastic subscribers. But there just weren't enough of them to cover the costs, so we couldn't keep publishing the product even though it was good and there was a (small) market for it.
The sales threshold for 'Can we make on a return on this?' varies depending on the publisher's cost structure. Logically, the sales volume required could be lower for an e-publisher or a POD small press because they don't have the high set-up costs of offset printing or the overhead of a New York house. This is nothing to do with editorial standards (which may or may not be different, in either direction), it's just economics.

Savannah Jordan said...

*totally asied of current convo*
OMG I just noticed that I said I'm on a HINEYmoon with my editor!! *headdesk* Thanks to the rest of you for graciously not raking me over the coals.

Bernita said...

I thought it was intentional, you know, still at the hiney-kissing stage...

The commercial/check-book validation is the official one, I think, and applies both at the beginning and the end. The publisher has to believe he'll make money. The writer's sales also represent a checkbook validation.

Dennie McDonald said...

From my experience w/ Samhain - I'd have to say they are wonderful. There is an open rapor w/ the Publisher (she chats it up on the loop w/ us!) and my editor is super-nice! I have recommended them to two in my critique group that don't write romance - I know one submitted, but not sure about the other.

it's worth a shot!

Bernita said...

That's encouraging, Dennie, thank you.
They certainly gave you a nice cover.

alexandra said...

When it comes to short stories, there is nothing to lose using an ePub like Samhain and everything to gain. Until we embrace them, en-masse and support them, they are not going to be a viable option to print publishing and, the strangle hold will continue.

Just passing through...

Sela Carsen said...

I actually wrote Angela an apology for opening my trap without all the facts at hand and she was very gracious in response. I've got several friends on their roster and they seem very, very pleased to be there!

Bernita said...

Other writers' endorsements do mean something.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Oh, Sandra...the new picture is so cute!

Bernita...*she peeks through her fingers* sex!! It's going to make Ric's parts fall off if he doesn't stop thinking about it...LOL! Ric behave!

Good for you Savannah, I prefer leaving sex in the other room! (the one with the closed door)

Oh, oh..LOL...Savannah...I thought you meant hineymoon...being funny..LOL!

Bernita...I am so excited. This looks like it could go somewhere for you!

Bernita said...

Um,Bonnie, did you mean "parts" or "pants"???
There's stripping and then there's stripping the gears - so to speak.
Leaves me wondering about emasculation complexes here...

Anonymous said...

Clearly I'm coming quite late to this post, but I wandered over from Sela's blog after she linked to it in her submission to me.

One minor correction in your post, Christina Brashear, the owner and publisher for Samhain Publishing, is the former publisher at Ellora's Cave (you stated former editor). So she has more than just experience in the publishing world but in the actual position. Not to mention the connections with those in the book industry.

Samhain Publishing opened its doors January 3rd. Our first books are now available for pre-order in print, available in April. And Borders has placed an order for all three books. We're rather proud of this as we feel it shows booksellers and buyers are already recognizing the quality of our work!

Last, if you have questions about how the epublishing industry works, if your readers have questions, or if you specifically have questions about Samhain, I'd be happy to do a question/answer session. I have a passion for what we do and I'm always willing to help others understand why and maybe discover a passion of their own.

~Angela James, Editor

Bernita said...

~faints again~
Thank you, Ms. James.
She's open to questions, and happy to answer, so here is an opportunity, people!

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