Saying Goodbye to Samhain

Yesterday, the authors received word from Samhain Publishing’s President, Christina Brashear, that their doors were closing.

“It’s with the heaviest of hearts and a great sadness I bring you the news of Samhain beginning the process of winding down due to our market share’s continuing decline.”

The signs had been there over the past few months that this day was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier to hear the news. Samhain will gradually wind down this year. They’re not closing up shop right away. Books that are in their queue for publication, like my upcoming I Kill In Peace, will still be released. I just can’t tell you how long it will be available. I’m hoping for the remainder of 2016.

I Kill in Peace Cover

It’s truly sad to see Samhain go. They, and editor Don D’Auria, were the first ones to give me a chance. They nurtured my growth as a writer, giving me free reign to be as creative and twisted as I wanted, providing the means for my stories to be told and, hopefully, enjoyed by thousands of readers. I remember when I got my acceptance letter for my first novel, Forest of Shadows, way back in early 2011. I was over the moon. To be asked to be part of the premier of a horror line was just astounding to me. I mean, I was a total nobody, and they wanted to print my book next to Ramsey Campbell. What the fuck were they thinking? I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. But I’m damn glad they did it.

forest-of-shadows

 

Over the next 4+ years, I made it a point to write 2 books for Don and Samhain. I wanted Samhain’s horror line to succeed and grow. And grow it did. In the end, I’ve published 10 books with them. And I wasn’t even the most prolific! Samhain gave voice to some of the best new talent in the business – writers like Jonathan Janz, Kristopher Rufty, Brian Moreland, Russell James, David Bernstein, Frazer Lee, Catherine Cavendish, Aaron Dries, Adam Cesare. The list goes on and on. This gang is no longer the future of horror. They are the present.

Samhain gave you that.

It was an honor and a pleasure meeting my fellow writers at conventions like Horrorhound, Scares That Care and Horrorfind. We’ve formed bonds that I know will last well beyond the Samhain era. And the people who work at Samhain were top-notch. You couldn’t find a more likable bunch. There was Jacob and his kilt, Amanda, Kaitlyn, Tera, Tanya. All good people with enough enthusiasm to power a V2 rocket.

Unfortunately, the sales never matched expectations. I see it when I go to horror cons. Horror fans are devout and loyal as hell. They are the best people I know. But I also know that most would rather spend $40 on a terribly produced movie or signed headshot of the woman who guest starred in Maniac Cop 2 than buy a book or two.

I’m not complaining. I can’t complain. So many of you have bought my books, I’ve been astounded. Though I can’t count the number of times people have told me, “I don’t read horror” or “If they make that book a movie, I’ll watch it”. Really, it’s not just the horror genre. We’re not a nation of big time readers, especially in a world with limitless distractions. We never have been. Don’t believe me. Next time you go to the beach, count how many people lay on their towel reading a book. You’ll get an accurate percentage from just one visit. Last time I was at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, a one mile stretch of white sand with thousands of sun worshippers, I counted only 2 other people in my immediate area, which encompassed about 200 or more people. I made book lover #3.

Could Samhain have tried better? Sure. Maybe lowering the cost of books and working at better distribution would have helped. But then again, Dorchester/Leisure books were everywhere, and even they collapsed.

If you love horror, I encourage you to read more in the genre. Don’t just wait for the next insipid tits-n-zits slasher flick to pop on-demand. I guarantee you, any book you read from a Samhain author will be better than that $5 movie.

And now is the time to pick up print copies of the Samhain books you either love and have in ebook or have on your wish list. There’s no telling when they will be no more and maybe someday become collector’s editions.

samhainlogo

Thank you, Samhain, for the opportunities you’ve given me, and the career you helped me build. I can’t repay you enough for that (though my Samhain logo tattoo should come close). And for introducing me to a posse of wonderful writers and your amazing staff. It’s been a wonderful 5 years. I just wish it could have been many, many more.

 

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. You’ll also find him every week on the Final Guys podcast, available everywhere. He’s a bestselling author of over 25 books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

9 responses to “Saying Goodbye to Samhain”

  1. ANNN33 says :

    AWWW DUDE IAM SO SORRY

    On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 8:05 AM, Hunter Shea wrote:

    > Hunter Shea posted: “Yesterday, the authors received word from Samhain > Publishing’s President, Christina Brashear, that their doors were closing. > “It’s with the heaviest of hearts and a great sadness I bring you the news > of Samhain beginning the process of winding down due t” >

  2. jackiekingon says :

    You gave it your best shot and so did they.

  3. Pamela Morris says :

    Your accomplishments are nothing to sneeze at, Hunter. I’m sure you know that. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read of yours and hope to be able to read more. When the publisher of my first paranormal murder-mystery went belly
    up within two years of opening I was crushed. My book barely got to see the light of day and suddenly it was no longer available. But, I press on, as I know you will. We have to. It’s what we do. For me, writing is as much a choice as breathing. I can can quit any time I want, but not starting again would prove fatal. Write on, my friend!

  4. jmh says :

    Well said, Hunter. I wish I’d been with Samhain earlier, but I’m grateful for every single moment I got.

  5. rxena77 says :

    It is a stunning blow I know. I hope some of those talks with other publishers prove fruitful. Have you thought of self-publishing?

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