Feb. 27th, 2016

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Woke up this morning to the news that Samhain Publishing is closing its doors. Neatly and tidily, and will be open for some time to come - but anything not ready to go will be released back to the author, and as contracts expire they will not be renewed. If you would like to buy any of their books, it would be a good idea to make it sooner rather than later. But not today, because I've seen something on Twitter this morning about a 40% off sale on Monday for purchases direct from their website.

I never submitted to them, in large part because I was reluctant to submit to a start-up with a 7 year contract term until they'd demonstrated they could stick around long enough to justify that contract length, and by the time they'd done that I wasn't writing because my health had dropped off a cliff. They've had a couple of wobbles over the years (the metadata copyright thing comes to mind), but in general have treated their authors and staff well, and I had some material in the pipeline I wanted to submit to them. I'm not surprised they're doing the classy thing, and planning to wind down the company in a way that maximises everyone's income, and the chances of the authors getting their rights back intact.

I've already seen some comments from the "self-pub rules, trad-pub sucks" corner of the internet about how evil Samhain is for not just letting the authors go immediately and going into bankruptcy, so that the authors can self-pub. That's not the way US bankruptcy law works, kids. The bankruptcy court can go after any assets deemed to have been transferred prior to the bankruptcy to avoid being seized as part of the assets, and that includes the book contracts - they are, after all, the primary asset of a publisher. It doesn't matter if you have a parachute clause stating all the rights revert back to you on bankruptcy - those aren't worth the electrons they're written on. The court can and does quash asset transfers going back months before the actual bankruptcy.

Oh, and as KJ Charles noted in Twitter this morning, any publisher gloating over Samhain's demise is a publisher you do not want to touch with a bargepole. They're demonstrating how they'll treat *you*.

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