Ever have one of those weeks where everything goes wrong? Well, that has been the last two weeks for me.
It got so bad, I was seriously considering giving up writing–the first time I’ve hit a low that deep since my early twenties.
And then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I received an email from my publisher entitled The Long Goodbye.
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. We’re approaching the point where we cannot sustain our business.”
What? It felt like only yesterday we’d received an email assuring us that Samhain was not closing its doors any time soon (in truth, it was January 8th).
Suddenly Samhain was big news, and a flurry of blog posts followed, mostly a variation on the same theme:
- This is business.
- Everyone will find another job and another publishing house.
- It’s no big deal when a small publisher closes.
Maybe the first two are true, but I’d argue the third one is not. I think it’s a bigger deal when a small-er publishing house closes.
I know the guy who formatted my book. I know the two women who worked hard to promote it. Heck, I even know the woman who ships the author copies to me. It’s a huge deal to realize that at least a dozen people you really care about are now out of work.
And then there’s the authors.
Samhain Horror is like a sarcastic, super smart, dysfunctional family. We are an incredibly tight, supportive unit, and now the very thing that brought us together wouldn’t exist any longer. Some of us hadn’t gotten over the firing of our editor in November yet, and now the whole house is gone? The name of our private Facebook group was immediately changed to Samhain Horror Survivors.
I retreated from social media for a while, except for occasionally checking the Samhain group. The only people I wanted to talk to were my fellow horror authors. I wasn’t ready for people to entice me with new opportunities, however well meaning. Like a widow at her husband’s funeral, I wasn’t interested in dating. I also wasn’t interested in hearing about how I should be strong, or how it was “just business.”
Samhain gave me my start in this crazy industry. They took an unknown writer and treated her as well as those I’d consider celebrities in the horror field. They patiently answered my stupid questions, promoted everything I did, and got my little novella to heights I’d never dreamed. Somehow it even ended up on the Stoker reading list. They deserved a few minutes of my sadness, dammit!
Samhain may have been a business, but its closing was about people. Lots of talented, hardworking, kind, goodhearted people who received some devastating news last week. It was about a group of authors who’d become a family, bonded by the same kind of crazy. It was about the fault lines zigzagging across the publishing industry.
I’m insecure about what Samhain’s struggles mean for other publishers. I’m insecure about my future. I’m desperately sad for the good people I’ve come to know and love over the past year.
Most of all, I’m insecure about ever again finding a home for my work that truly feels like home the way Samhain did.
I’d like to thank Don D’Auria, Christina Brashear, Jacob Hammer, Lauren Moretto, Kaitlyn Osborn, Eric Red, Adam Cesare, JG Faherty, Cat Cavendish, John Palisano, Glenn Rolfe, Brian Moreland, Jonathan Moore, Ronald Malfi, Russell R. James, Aaron Dries, David Bernstein, Brian Kirk, Hunter Sheehan, Tambo Jones, Somer Canon, and many more for the opportunities, the support, the encouragement, the friendship, the laughs. I’ve felt damn lucky to have a seat at your table.
(And special thanks to Anita Siraki and Erik Smith for knowing exactly what to say in a time like this, which is a rare talent and most appreciated.)
The purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.