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Connect with Samhain Authors

Submission FAQs

Over several years of dealing with queries and submissions, we’ve found that some questions get asked more frequently than others. Here, in one helpful location, are answers to those questions. If you have a question, please look here first. If you don’t find your answer, or if you’re still confused, please feel free to email your question to us, and we’ll answer it as soon as we can.

Submitting to Samhain Publishing

1.1. Do I need an agent to submit to Samhain?

1.2. Does Samhain consider poetry/recipe books/autobiographies/”how to” books?

1.3. Does Samhain consider young adult romances?

1.4. At Samhain, you’re only interested in erotic romances, aren’t you?

1.5. My manuscript has a tragic ending but it’s still a love story. May I send it to Samhain?

1.6. My manuscript is unfinished/unpolished. May I send it anyway?

1.7. I’m not sure if Samhain would like my book. May I send just a query to begin with?

1.8. What plot elements are unacceptable to Samhain?

1.9. My manuscript was previously published. Will Samhain consider it for republication?

1.10. May I send a manuscript that I’ve also submitted to other publishers?

1.11. May I send several submissions to Samhain at the same time?

1.12. May I send the same submission simultaneously to different Samhain editors or different Samhain email addresses?

1.13. My manuscript is less than 12,000 words or more than 120,000. May I still send it for consideration?

1.1. Do I need an agent to submit to Samhain?

No. We welcome agented submissions, but we don’t require them. The only exception to this is during the rare periods when Samhain is temporarily closed to submissions. During these times we remain open only to authors who have received requests to submit manuscripts, current Samhain authors, and agented authors.

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1.2. Does Samhain consider poetry/ recipe books/ autobiographies/ ‘how to’ books? No. We only handle fiction: romance, erotica and fantasy/science fiction/urban fantasy with strong romantic elements.

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1.3. Does Samhain consider young adult romances? Not at this point.

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1.4. At Samhain, you’re only interested in erotic romances, aren’t you? Absolutely not. Although we do require romantic elements in all our non-erotic books, we’re interested in all heat levels, from no on-page sex at all, to all-out erotica, plus all the levels in between. We publish inspirational romance and sweet romance and have editors who enjoy reading all heat levels.

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1.5. My manuscript has a tragic ending but it’s still a love story. May I send it to Samhain? If a book ends tragically it doesn’t fall into the romance genre—which always requires a “happy ever after” or at least a “happy for now” ending—and therefore we can’t publish it as a romance. Even when it comes to our books in the genres of fantasy/urban fantasy/science fiction with romantic elements, as a primarily romance publisher we know that our readers really want happy endings. So although these books needn’t focus so closely on the development of a romantic relationship, we’re unlikely to contract a book in which the hero or heroine dies. Our erotica doesn’t require a romantically happy ending, but it does require a satisfactory ending. So, again, we’re unlikely to contract an erotica book where the protagonist dies.

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1.6. My manuscript is unfinished/ unpolished. May I send it anyway? Samhain does not consider unfinished manuscripts. It takes up our editors’ time, and we don’t like spending time on something when we have no guarantee it will ever be finished. Also, if we read your first few chapters and want to see more, it’s frustrating to be told we have to wait while you write it! You can send an unpolished manuscript, but unless you’re that rare writer who makes no typos or mistakes, you’ll improve your chances by not doing so! The more polished and professional-looking your manuscript is, the more favorable our first impression.

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1.7. I’m not sure if Samhain would like my book. May I send just a query to begin with? If your book falls into one of the genres we publish (Horror, erotica, romance or fantasy/ science fiction/ urban fantasy with strong romance elements) then there’s really no point sending a query rather than a submission. Our acquiring editors need to read the manuscript to make any kind of decision, so (assuming the book falls into one of the genres we publish) no manuscript is ever rejected on query letter alone. If you send just a query email, all you’ll get is a request to send in the submission itself! Of course, if you have a specific concern about your manuscript — for instance, a plot element that you feel might make it unacceptable to Samhain — please do feel free to email our submissions address editor@samhainpublishing.com for clarification.

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1.8. What plot elements are unacceptable to Samhain? Anything depraved or illegal presented in a positive light or as titillation: pedophilia, rape, incest, necrophilia, bestiality, racial intolerance. Please note that in our sexually explicit material all characters must be at least eighteen.

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1.9. My manuscript was previously published. Will Samhain consider it for republication? No. Samhain does consider re-releases, but only from authors who are currently contracted with Samhain — and then only on a case-by-case basis. Send us something new, and if we accept that, then you can talk to your editor about submitting your previously published manuscript.

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1.10. May I send a manuscript that I’ve also submitted to other publishers? Yes! Please just let us know your manuscript is being considered elsewhere. Also please let us know if you decide to withdraw it from consideration at Samhain.

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1.11. May I send several submissions to Samhain at the same time? No. One at a time, please.

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1.12. May I send the same submission simultaneously to different Samhain editors or different Samhain email addresses? No. Our editors are busy — we don’t like them to be reading the same manuscript all at once! Also, please don’t do this in the hope that if one editor rejects your manuscript, you’ll still have a chance with a different editor. All submissions are centrally logged, and finding out that an author has sent in the same manuscript to several different Samhain editors just makes us cranky. You don’t want your manuscript to be read by cranky editors, do you?

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1.13. My manuscript is less than 12,000 words or more than 120,000. May I still send it for consideration? Samhain doesn’t consider any material below 12,000 words or above 130,000. So if your manuscript falls outside those limits, we’re sorry—we can’t consider it. However, although we don’t publish books above 120,000 words, we are happy to consider submissions with a word count of up to 130,000, on the understanding that the author will edit out at least 10,000 words before a contract is offered.

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Formatting and Submission Requirements

2.1. What is a blurb?

2.2. What is a synopsis?

2.3. Do I have to send at least a two-page synopsis with a short story?

2.4. Do I have to send a synopsis if I’m sending the full manuscript?

2.5. I don’t have a synopsis. May I send an excerpt instead?

2.6. Samhain asks for three sample chapters. May I send chapters one, six and eleven?

2.7. I sent my manuscript as a WordPerfect file/a .docx file. Why do I have to resend it in a different format?

2.8. I can’t work out how to put my manuscript in rich text format or Microsoft Word format. Is it okay if I paste it straight into an email?

2.1. What is a blurb? A blurb is what you find on the back cover of a print book, or on the individual ebook’s page on the Samhain website. It’s a short, one- or two-paragraph description of the story, giving the genre and just enough information to “hook” the reader (or in this case, the editor) into wanting to read more. It’s not an excerpt, and it’s not a full plot summary or a synopsis.

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2.2. What is a synopsis? A synopsis is a summary of your book. It introduces the main characters, details the important plot points, and gives the conclusion. It is not an excerpt, it is not a collection of excerpts from the book itself, and it is not a blurb. It should not end with a “hook” or a cliff-hanger. Samhain’s acquiring editors read synopses to get an overall idea of the story: to see whether the plot makes sense and whether it ends satisfactorily. A synopsis should be at least two pages in order to do justice to the book but can (and should) be longer if the length of your book demands it.

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2.3. Do I have to send at least a two-page synopsis with a short story? Yes.

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2.4. Do I have to send a synopsis if I’m sending the full manuscript? Yes.

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2.5. I don’t have a synopsis. May I send an excerpt instead? No. Samhain’s editors don’t open up a synopsis to find out if they like your writing style, or to see if you can hook them into reading more. They look to the synopsis for information: on characters, plot arcs and conclusion. An excerpt doesn’t help with that!

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2.6. Samhain asks for three sample chapters. May I send chapters one, six and eleven? No. We want the first three chapters. Non-consecutive chapters are too confusing. But if you’re particularly proud of chapters six and eleven, by all means do send us the whole manuscript.

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2.7. I sent my manuscript as a WordPerfect file/ a .docx file. Why do I have to resend it in a different format? Samhain has several different editors, based in different states and even different countries. All their computers can read Microsoft Word documents and rich text files. Not all of them can read WordPerfect files, or files saved in Word 2007 (the .docx format). If you send your manuscript as a .doc or .rtf file, everyone can read it.

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2.8. I can’t work out how to put my manuscript in rich text format or Microsoft Word format. Is it okay if I paste it straight into an email? No, please don’t! Reading even three chapters in an email is wearing for our editors, and no one wants to read a whole novel that way. Also, different email programs format differently, and your manuscript may not reach us looking the way you want it to. In addition, if your manuscript is accepted by Samhain, it will have to go through a full editing process, which requires being put into a Microsoft Word document and emailed between the author, editor and other staff members. If you can’t operate MS Word, you’re not going to be able to manage the editing process.

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Hearing Back from Samhain Publishing

3.1. How long will I have to wait for a response?

3.1. How long will I have to wait for a response? As soon as you send your manuscript in, we send out an auto-response email to confirm receipt. Sometimes, this goes astray in cyberspace or gets caught in an author’s spam filter, so if you don’t receive it please feel free to email the submissions address to check we got it. Once a submission has been received, although a number of authors get a reply within a few days, responses can take up to 12 to 16 weeks.

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Rejections

4.1. I previously submitted my manuscript to Samhain and it was rejected. May I resubmit it? 4.2. I previously submitted my manuscript to a Samhain anthology call and it didn’t make the final cut. May I resubmit it? 4.3. I previously submitted my manuscript as part of a multi-author anthology and it was rejected. May I submit it individually? 4.4. You rejected my book but didn’t give me any feedback. May I email and ask the editor for advice? 4.1. I previously submitted my manuscript to Samhain and it was rejected. May I resubmit it? Sorry, no. Our acquiring editors do make editorial suggestions and request revisions on manuscripts that are not quite working for them. (If you receive a response requesting you to revise and resubmit, then that’s a big compliment — it means an editor likes your work enough to want to contract it, if you can fix certain things she believes need work.) Also, if an editor thinks a manuscript has merit, but it’s not personally to her taste, she will often pass it on to another editor for a second consideration. If your manuscript is rejected, it doesn’t mean it has no merit — this is a very subjective industry — but it does mean that, after careful consideration, one or more of our acquiring editors feel that Samhain is not the right publisher for it. And although the editor might want to see othermanuscripts of yours, she doesn’t want to see that one again.

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4.2. I previously submitted my manuscript to a Samhain anthology call and it didn’t make the final cut. May I resubmit it? Again, sorry, no. Our anthologies normally have specific themes, so if a themed story isn’t chosen for the anthology, it would be counter-productive for us to release the story separately, because it over-saturates the market with that type of story, and makes the anthology less “special”. Occasionally the anthology editor will pass on a stand-out story to another editor for consideration, but this is at the editor’s discretion, and she’ll let you know she’s done so. Once you’ve received a rejection letter on your manuscript, we’re afraid that’s it as far as publication with Samhain is concerned.

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4.3. I previously submitted my manuscript as part of a multi-author anthology and it was rejected. May I resubmit it individually? Again, no. Our editors’ schedules don’t allow for reconsidering manuscripts we’ve already rejected. Send us something new instead!

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4.4. You rejected my book, but didn’t give me any feedback. May I email and ask the editor for advice? Samhain used to give feedback on most of the manuscripts we rejected. Unfortunately, this led to our staff receiving a number of disagreeable emails from disgruntled authors. It’s depressing to spend time on a rejection email only to get an angry response, so we switched to a form letter and no longer require our editors to provide feedback. On occasion, an editor will give personal feedback, but this is entirely at their discretion — it’s time consuming (and unpaid!) — so if you don’t receive any feedback with your rejection email please don’t email and ask.

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Contracts

5.1. Will I have to pay to publish my book or for it to go to print? 5.2. What are your terms of contract? May I review the contract? 5.3. If I contract the first book of a series with Samhain, do I have to give you first refusal on subsequent books in the series? 5.1. Will I have to pay to publish my book or for it to go to print? Absolutely not. Samhain is not a vanity or subsidy publisher. We pay royalties (40% of the cover price on single-author ebooks sold directly through Samhain, 30% of the cover price on single-author ebooks sold through third-party vendors, and 8% of the cover price on single-author print books), and we require no money from authors at any stage of the publishing process.

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5.2. What are your terms of contract? May I review the contract? Our contract is for seven years, requires full rights, including digital and print, and is fully negotiable. All details are available for review when we offer a contract for your book.

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5.3. If I contract the first book of a series with Samhain, do I have to give you first refusal on subsequent books in the series? No. Samhain contracts one book at a time. We hope you’ll love working with us enough to send us all your other books, but we want you to be free to make that decision for yourself.

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Publication and Print

6.1. How soon after acceptance will my book release? 6.2. If Samhain accepts my manuscript will it be published as a print book as well as an ebook? 6.3. Can I submit my book and have it go straight to print? 6.1. How soon after acceptance will my book release?This depends on a number of factors: your editor’s schedule being a main one. Books can be released within two or three months of being contracted, or they can take up to a year. Releases also depend on other factors such as the publishing schedule for other books in the same genre, and of course other books by the same author. We don’t like to crowd our release schedule with too much of the same thing.

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6.2. If Samhain accepts my manuscript will it be published as a print book as well as an ebook? If your manuscript is around 50,000 words or above, then yes. Approximately ten months after its electronic release, it will be produced as a print book. Sometimes shorter books with similar themes or genres are combined for print release. But this is a decision made later in the publishing process. If your book is too short to go to print by itself then Samhain doesn’t guarantee it will ever go to print. Our print books are all fully returnable, and can be found in Borders, Barnes & Noble and Chapters as well as other chains and independent bookstores.

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6.3. Can I submit my book and have it go straight to print? No. While Samhain does produce print books, we are primarily a digital publisher. All books are first produced as ebooks, and later on (depending on size) as print books.

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Cover Art and Illustrations

7.1. My manuscript includes illustrations. Can they be included in the final, published book? 7.2. May I provide my own cover art? 7.1. My manuscript includes illustrations. Can they be included in the final published book?If we include too many illustrations they make the electronic book file too big for easy downloading, and can too greatly increase the cost of the print version. However, we can include some illustrations, and this would be something to discuss with your editor if your book is accepted by Samhain. If it isn’t possible to put the illustrations in the digital edition, due to file size, they can still be later included in the print edition. Please be aware that the responsibility for acquiring artists’ permission, and for arranging payment for artists’ work, lies wholly with the author, not with Samhain.

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7.2. May I provide my own cover art? Samhain has a full staff of cover artists, who work hard to create a coherent, identifiable look for our book covers. If you’re an author and artist, you can talk to your editor about creating your own cover art, but generally we prefer to use our own staff.

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Money

8.1. Does Samhain offer an advance?

8.2. How are royalties paid?

8.1. Does Samhain offer an advance? No.

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8.2. How are royalties paid? Samhain pays royalties of 40% of the cover price on single-author ebooks sold directly through Samhain, 30% of the cover price on single-author ebooks sold through third-party vendors such as Mobipocket, Fictionwise and All Romance eBooks, and 8% of the cover price on single-author print books, with a 3% reserve against returns. Multiple-author books will split the above royalty percentages equally. Royalties from books sold at Samhain are paid monthly, via posted check or Direct Deposit. Royalties from other vendors, such as Fictionwise and Mobipocket, are paid to Samhain — and hence to authors — on a quarterly basis. Print royalties are paid biannually.

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Marketing

9.1. What will Samhain do to market and promote my books? 9.1. What will Samhain do to market and promote my books? Samhain strives to be anywhere online that discerning readers of the best original fiction like to gather. We are proud advertisers on sites such as Romantic Times and SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com, as well as on Romance blogs, online review sites, and unique online sites such as Icanhazcheezburger.com. Our own website offers the opportunity for authors to engage with their readers via blogs and book promotions, and we have an open Yahoo! Group, Samhain Café, where authors and readers interact in a fun, informal setting. In addition, authors can take advantage of our monthly author-run Samhain newsletter, The Samhellion, and organized chats at other reader sites. Behind the scenes, we offer a marketing discussion group which provides help, advice and workshops on Marketing, Branding, Publicity and Book Promotions. And Samhain isn’t only online! Our staff members attend numerous conferences and book fairs, including the Romantic Times conference, RWA National, and the Readers & Writers Get-Together, and are invited speakers at writing chapters around the country. We actively interact with readers, authors and members of the publishing community to share the story of Samhain, and to brag about our extraordinary authors. Our marketing department is always searching for new and innovative ways to market both the company and its authors. Have an idea? Just let us know.

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