As a newer publisher on the block, the official position of Indie Artist Press concerning the closure of Samhain is one of nostalgic foretelling. In our official opinion, it's only a matter of time before most, if not all, of the e-presses (as they used to be called) fall by the wayside under the mighty hammer of Amazon's KDP self-publishing platform.
From a less professional and more personal position, we are sad to see the closing of an esteemed company that stood guard at the gates of quality literature for more than few passing years. We remember when Samhain was born. We remember watching them grow. When we were part of the founding team for another successful e-press around the same time, we watched Samhain with great care, a little envy, and a lot of good wishes as competition within a field of business is always a good thing!
They will be missed even as time moves forward into the new world of publishing in both print-on-demand and digital fashion.
While it's hard to imagine a publishing house as established as Samhain "not making it," it is important to note that they did, actually, "make it" in a really tough business. The fact that times have changed, platforms have changed, and readers have changed should not erase the fact that Samhain was one of the pioneers in the ebook revolution.
Remember when we all carried Palms to read our ebooks, and none of the people we lived or worked with could really understand why? Remember when ebooks were just PDF docs on a computer? Do you remember the arguments and the debates surrounding what made a "real" book and what made a "real" publisher? I can remember when publishing in ebook format wouldn't get a romance novelist recognized as published by the RWA. I can remember when any publisher that didn't pay an advance was simply a scam! (Even though they weren't.) And I'm sure you can remember those days, as well. Today, nobody can claim that Samhain was not only a "real" publisher, but a damn good one!
The question is: where do we go from here?
If quality publishers like Samhain closing down is a reflection of the industry, can we expect more closures? If quality publishers like Ellora's Cave, the first greatest success in ebook publishing, can suffer from growing pains and transitions within the industry, can we expect more and more authors to go directly to self-publishing? We believe the answer is yes to both questions.
Self-publishing is a valid and honorable form of publication. It always has been. The difference between the old vanity presses of the past and self-publishing now is the cost of self-publishing. Now, it is affordable. Just as the dawn of the home computer spurred everyone who's ever wanted to write a novel to actually write one, the affordability of self-publishing has made it possible for each and every one of those books to make its way to the reader.
Sometimes, this is a very good thing! Look at a title like The Martian for verification of that fact!
Sometimes, more often than not, it's not a very good thing. Quite the opposite. Sometimes, it's a very bad thing. Look at a great many books listed on Amazon right now to find innumerable examples. Some books simply should not be published.
Without stalwart gatekeepers like Samhain and other small publishers setting the bar high, how will the self-published author make his or her way? How will their work - their well-crafted, honed, edited, proofread, professional work - be noticed as exceptional among the millions of books crowding Amazon right now; not to mention the tens of thousands that are added every single week?
Self-publishers need a gatekeeper. They need a brand that says their work is steadfast, worthy and not simply "another" book on Amazon, or any other platform. The IAP imprint is a mark of excellence. A symbol of quality that the reader can trust no matter what the genre. And is assurance to the author that their work is of the highest possible quality and meets industry standards.
If you're looking for someplace to call home; if you're looking to self-publish but you understand the importance of investing in your work, we invite you submit your book for consideration. (Our submission guidelines are on our website and please note that we do not accept every book submitted.) Please browse the options we offer here at Indie Artist Press. If your book has already been edited and it's ready to publish, there is NO investment. And if it does need a little work, we are happy to enter into a traditional contract that allows you to make NO investment up front. Once your investment has been met, we'll pay 100% of net royalties forever. You can also choose to invest in your work before publication and take advantage of significant discounts.
That's the balance. That's the way self-publishing can and will succeed as the self-publishing craze moves forward, and that's the way we'll keep the craze from sweeping talent to the side.