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Big Samhain News: Acquiring Linden Bay Romance

From the press release. (Doesn’t Lori James own Allromanceebooks.com??)

In a bold move, Samhain Publishing (www.samhainpublishing.com) announced the purchase of Linden Bay Romance (http://lindenbayromance.com/). In light of the downward spiral of the economy and the rapid consolidation of many of the larger publishers, Samhain Publishing has seized their chance to expand their market share by creating a new fiction line under the popular Samhain brand.

"From the beginning one of my goals was to create multiple lines within Samhain," says Christina Brashear, owner of Samhain Publishing. "With Linden Bay Romances’ excellent reputation, I made the offer in the hopes the owners would see this sale as a mutual benefit to both houses."

"We hadn’t considered selling Linden Bay and we were slowly making inroads with regards to increasing print distribution, but we’ve found, especially in light of the economy, neither sales teams nor buyers are very open to taking a chance on a smaller, less established press," says Lori James, part owner of Linden Bay Romances. "Samhain Publishing has the relationships in place that would take us years to develop." James continues, "The offer came at a time when we realized under the Samhain umbrella, Linden Bay Romances will be stronger and reach its full potential faster."

"For Samhain, it is a win-win situation," says Brashear. "We will expand our lines with an established name in the electronic book industry and we’ll acquire an excellent stable of authors, editors and artists."

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

23 Comments

  1. Crystal-Rain Love
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 17:03:12

    OK, so after I read this, I checked out Linden Bay Romance for the first time. Why is their site EXACTLY like allromanceebooks.com ? They’re not owned by the same company, are they?

  2. Cat Grant
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 17:24:23

    Yup, they sure are.

  3. Mireya
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 21:57:39

    Yup. Lori James is the owner or co-owner.

  4. Crystal-Rain Love
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 22:36:58

    Interesting. Well, in this economy, it’s good to hear something positive.

  5. Ann Somerville
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 01:46:42

    Grrr. I’ve been reading some ‘interesting’ reactions from people about this merger, with a lot of crap talked about Samhain – some implying that the LBR authors will be somehow tarnished by being part of Samhain. I won’t address that because it’s too puerile to be concerned with, but two bits of disinformation are floating around which are demonstrably untrue.

    1. “Samhain don’t publish novellas”

    News to me. I’ve had two novellas come out with them this year, and a third coming out in January. Says right there on their submissions page they take stuff over 12,000 words.

    2. “Samhain don’t issue print books”

    Again, news to me because my two novellas will be issued in print at the end of next year in a single volume. Samhain typically issue novel length stories or the equivalent anthologies ten months after the ebook release.

    I honestly don’t see why ebooks are being treated as inferior to print books in today’s market, particular with small presses, and particularly in the niche market of m/m fiction, which is heavily orientated towards the ebook/epublisher audience.

    Personally, I don’t know how this move will affect me, and I have some anxieties from the Samhain side, but the LBR authors should not consider they are lowering themselves by being taken over. Samhain is well regarded, and for good reason.

  6. Shannon Stacey
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 07:52:56

    Plus, ARe is a separate business from Linden Bay and wasn’t part of the acquisition.

  7. Crystal-Rain Love
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 13:20:54

    LOL! Anyone who thinks Samhain doesn’t publish novellas or print has never even visited their site.

    I’d think authors with LBR would be thrilled. Generally, Samhain books are among the best selling on ebooks sites. They have a solid reputation from everything I’ve read , and the majority of their authors do very well.

    Before hearing about this, I’d never heard of Linden Bay Romance.

  8. kirsten saell
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 14:30:29

    I honestly don't see why ebooks are being treated as inferior to print books in today's market, particular with small presses, and particularly in the niche market of m/m fiction, which is heavily orientated towards the ebook/epublisher audience.

    And especially in light of the fact that the Kindle is sold out until after the holidays, and Dell’s special on the Sony sold out in only a few hours. And considering how many readers who say “OMG, what an awesome idea! I want one of those!” when I explain to them what ebooks and ereaders are.

    I’ve heard LBR authors bemoaning the fact that they might now have to wait more than a few days between e- and print release, but it’s not like Samhain is sitting on its hands in those ten months. They’re using that time to get your book on actual store shelves. My sister was in her local Chapters (Canada’s version of B&N) last year and saw four Samhain books on the end cap of the romance section. I’ll happily wait ten months if it means I can get that kind of exposure in a brick and mortar store.

    Personally, I don't know how this move will affect me, and I have some anxieties from the Samhain side, but the LBR authors should not consider they are lowering themselves by being taken over. Samhain is well regarded, and for good reason.

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen other epubs who were happy to grab as much as they can get today and who cares about tomorrow, while Crissy has made business decisions that result in the steady, stable growth of her company. Until I have a solid reason to believe otherwise, I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about this one.

  9. J.K. Coi
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 19:19:20

    Hiya! I’m an LBR author who is very optimistic about this deal, as I think most of the other LBR authors are. To my knowledge, there’s been no talk about anyone thinking they would be “lowering” themselves to write for Samhain. Samhain has a great reputation and sturdy position in the ebook market, and their print numbers are strong too. LBR is/was a great publishing house with an equally good reputation and the principals are very good to their authors, but business being business, I think this can only be a good move for all concerned.

    J.K. Coi
    Immortals to Die For
    http://www.jkcoi.com

  10. roslynholcomb
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 22:48:40

    I’m happy about anything that indicates that e-publishers are doing well. I love them like buttercream frosting.

  11. Ann Somerville
    Dec 07, 2008 @ 01:25:33

    @J.K. Coi:
    I’m glad you’re approaching this so positively. I think that’s the way to make this work for all.

  12. ardeatine
    Dec 07, 2008 @ 12:31:25

    Does anyone know if the sale has already taken place? I have an urgent customer contact query and don’t know who to approach, LB or Samhain. Who’s in charge now?

  13. Shannon Stacey
    Dec 07, 2008 @ 12:58:00

    If your query is for Linden Bay, you should probably address it to their usual contact email. I believe the staffing remains separate for now. If that changes, I imagine they’ll change the contact info.

  14. ardeatine
    Dec 07, 2008 @ 14:35:32

    Thanks Shannon.

  15. ardeatine
    Dec 08, 2008 @ 07:41:07

    One more question, if I may. This time for Ann Somerville.

    You referred to this deal as a merger. others are saying it’s a buy out. I’ve also seen it referred to as a, publishing under the umbrella of, deal.

    Are you able to tell us exactly what has happened with Linden Bay and who owns it now? Are Linden Bay retaining an interest in the company? Thanks in advance.

  16. Ann Somerville
    Dec 08, 2008 @ 14:30:29

    @ardeatine:
    I know no more about it than the public statements you’ve read by Crissy Brashear. I believe Crissy will be happy to answer emails on the subject, so why not email her through Samhain?

  17. ardeatine
    Dec 09, 2008 @ 07:53:12

    Thanks Ann,

    I did that and received the reply I needed.

  18. GA Hauser
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 14:22:33

    I’m personally looking forward to being a part of their excellent group of authors. If anything, it’s a good thing!

  19. Lee Rowan
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 17:31:55

    I’m not sure where anyone got the notion that LBR authors felt we would be “lowering” ourselves by being brought aboard at Samhain Publishing. There was a certain amount of disorientation and a lot of questions asked because the first word most of us got was in an email sent out seven hours before the buy-out was announced. I got the email about the chat a bare hour before it took place, and it really wasn’t hugely informative–mostly “nothing’s changing for a few months, we’re working out details, we’ll let you know.”

    Publishing schedules and size limits on what would be printed or kept in print were two questions that were raised, and I think those were legitimate questions because SP’s formats differ slightly from LBR’s. Those questions were answered pretty quickly, but the short notice before the chat meant that many of us–myself included–didn’t even have time to formulate coherent questions.

    I was taken flat aback. I’d just signed contracts for a couple of books with Barb Perfetti, and the LBR management had been sending out enthusiastic communications about the company’s expansion. While I had heard of Samhain, ‘heard of’ was the entire extent of my familiarity.

    I admit, I was dismayed at the news–not because I thought being sold to Samhain was a terrible fate, but because there’s so much change going on in my life that any major upheaval was unwelcome. What I could deduce about SP from this event — the only thing — was that if any future change was likely to take place, the writers would be the last to know. (I still do not understand the point of the secrecy; this was not a transaction that involved crowds of stockholders and I think the LBR authors could have maintained confidentiality for a day or two.)

    Now, I don’t have the ‘bigger is better’ mindset; I do know that when a medium-size company buys a smaller company, sometimes it can’t digest what it’s swallowed and everything goes under. Obviously, I hope that’s not the case with this sale. It will probably turn out to be a good thing, but it was not something I’d have sought; I was happy with Linden Bay’s situation and its gradual but steady expansion.

    After a couple of weeks, though, I’m coming to see that Samhain is very well-organized, has its FAQs together, and has mucho good info readily available to us new arrivals. The management is being incredibly gracious and so are most of the SP authors–what I’ve heard from them has been very encouraging.

    But I won’t deny that getting up to speed with four new yahoo groups, a long list of new SP officers to learn, and a lot of extra activity is not what I’d have chosen to add to an already overloaded holiday season.

    I don’t know why anyone assumed that writers from the LBR stable were putting down Samhain authors; that sounds to me like somebody reading hostility into sheer startlement. If I was upset, it was with LBR’s management, not the SP writers, who were as in the dark as I was. None of the Linden Bay writers I know would gratuitiously trash another author, whoever the publisher might be. I don’t know every writer in SP’s stable, but I’ve read and enjoyed several–Ally Blue, for instance, who was kind enough to donate a cover quote for one of my books awhile back.

    Are we all going to be one big happy family, with everyone madly fangirling everyone else? Let’s be real; in any group, there are some people who hit it off just right and some who grate like sandpaper. One can’t pick one’s birth family, and colleagues are another grab bag–but almost everyone I’ve been in contact with has been both cheerful and professional, and I think that the combined team is going to be stronger than either group alone. LBR had the biggest catalog of m/m historical I know of, and with the Running Press project coming up in April, anyone looking for more of same will now find it in Samhain’s catalog. That’s got to be a Good Thing.

    I can’t say I’m “excited” — I’m too busy to be excited — but I’m very optimistic.

  20. Ann Somerville
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 17:51:08

    hat sounds to me like somebody reading hostility into sheer startlement.

    Yep, there I go, interrogating your chums from the wrong perspective again. 2008 has just been one big old misunderstanding of the tewwibwy, tewwibwy nice.

    Can’t wait to see what 2009 brings.

  21. Jane
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 11:28:30

    @Lee Rowan I’m curious, Lee Rowan, if you would feel like you should have been informed of a merger/sale if you were writing for say, Simon & Schuster? While authors have a vested interest in the acts of their publishers, unless the contract gives you a right to take action in the event of a sale or something, why would authors think that they should be informed of a business deal taking place at the publisher level?

  22. Shannon Stacey
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 12:43:10

    Anybody who was upset by not being informed before the press release certainly shouldn’t try writing for Harlequin/Silhouette, that’s for sure. And as for not understanding the secrecy, most business mergers and sales negotiations are done behind closed doors and, to be quite frank, it’s not an aspect of the business the authors should have any involvement with. The author’s role is to evaluate the move, how it could affect her, and decide whether or not to pursue more contracts from that publisher.

    …and I think the LBR authors could have maintained confidentiality for a day or two.

    I don’t believe that’s true of any publishing loop anymore, and the longer the legalese prohibiting the sharing of the email, the faster it forwards. Heck, I think Karen gets EC and NCP emails before most of the EC and NCP authors have read them.

  23. Lee Rowan
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 13:58:00

    Reply to 21-22. Sorry, I’d said my piece and didn’t intend to return, but someone told me of your questions.

    No, of course I would not have expected any consideration whatsoever from a major publishing company. I don’t know any corporate publishing moguls, so I wouldn’t expect anything more from them than to be treated as a money-generating object. One of the benefits of being with a small press was being treated as an individual rather than a unit of inventory. When I had to deal with a major press, I took the contract to an intellectual-property lawyer.

    Linden Bay was small enough that there was always direct contact with management, and until the point of the sale they had always been extremely considerate about letting the writers know what was going on. It was a personal disappoinment, not a business one, and for those of us who were first published with Linden Bay, it was a bit of a shock since the management style had been very human-scale and interpersonal rather than distant and ‘corporate.’ Yes, to be surprised when that changed was perhaps naive. Live and learn. A single earthquake is an education in dynamic geology.

    My point, though, wasn’t “this is corporate SOP” or “that’s just the way it is” (thank you, Bruce Hornsby); I know that. I am genuinely curious as to what benefit the shock-announcement provided that overrode the impact on everyone below the decision-making level. When a negotiation is between corporations with intense competition and stock-market repercussions, secrecy is obviously in order. In a situation like this, the value of going from utter secrecy to full-out publicity mode in a handful of hours is less obvious.

    I was certainly not suggesting authors be taken into business negotiations, either. What I saw as unhelpful was the “as of midnight” rush, sent out when folks were coming home from day jobs and getting dinner for their families. I have been hoping that someone would explain what possible damage might have been wrought by a time-lapse of even one day, long enough to assure that the writers could hear the news from their publisher rather than other folks’ blogs, as happened to some of our people in the UK. I can’t see what good it did the companies, but I clearly saw the upheaval it created for many of the writers.

    Now, Samhain’s system is different. They put important announcements on the author loop, so that communication glitch isn’t likely to happen again. And as I said in my first post, most of this changeover seems to be going beautifully and I think the combination is going to make for a very strong team. I can only credit the snarking of a few to some peculiar sort of sibling rivalry. To sneer at people who’ve had the rug pulled out from under them–particularly with accusations that are mostly made up of whole cloth–does not strike me as either constructive or professional.

    I posted here in the first place because I think that attacking Linden Bay writers en masse, as though we were maligning Samhain authors, is just a wee bit much, and I felt some other point of view deserved airing. I don’t check this blog often (that’s not meant as a slight, I don’t watch any blogs regularly) and we’re coming on to Christmas, so please don’t think me rude for not responding on this thread. I don’t think further rehashing is likely to accomplish anything useful.

    Happy holidays!

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