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Romance house Samhain Publishing is closing on February 28th, so now’s a great time to ensure that you’ve downloaded copies of all the purchases you’ve made directly from their site.

Here’s their announcement:

Greetings, Samhain Readers.

It’s with a heavy heart that we announce Samhain Publishing will be closing at the end of February. Due to the declining sales we’ve been experiencing with this changing market we’ve come to the sad conclusion it’s time to call it a day.

The last of our new titles launch February 21st; I hope you will check them out and support them as you have so many other Samhain titles through the years.”

Our site will go dark at the end of the day, February 28th. Please take a few moments and visit, buy what you might have been planning on getting someday in the future, but download and back up your bookshelf because you won’t have access to it after February 28th.

Thank you for all your support through the eleven years we’ve been open. It’s been a pleasure to bring to market new voices in publishing and new works from familiar authors. From start to finish, we’ve always kept what the reader wants in mind and hope you enjoyed what we had to offer.

This really saddens me as Samhain was one of my very favorite houses. I’ve read between 1/4 and 1/3 of their total titles.

I know that the “We’re closing, no we’re not, why would you even say that” from last year was really tough on Samhain authors. Because of that, Samhain lost a ton of prestige with them, which led to established (and financially successful for Samhain) authors not submitting more books, which kind of snowballed the end. If they hadn’t screwed it up last year, I doubt they’d be closing this quickly.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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H. M. Ward Asks Fans How They Want New Book Notifications pie chart

There’s no doubt that H. M. Ward is an indie writer sensation. She’s sold six million books over the last three years. I previously blogged about H. M. Ward and some other favorite new adult romance books if you’re interested.

One of the first things I noticed about her books was her offer in the front matter: text a number to get new book release notifications. I’ve never seen anyone else do that. (Note: sending a text to that number gets a return text asking for an email address, so she’s not delivering book release notifications by text. Not yet, anyway.)

And I thought it was strange. Seriously? A text message?

But…many of us aren’t phone people. And some people are mostly phone people.

I should have realized something.

H. M. Ward Knows How to Reach Her Fans

Her model is unusual. While traditional publishing often has longer lead times, Holly’s lead time is super short. She finishes the book, it goes through editing, typically the cover has long been designed, and then it goes to beta readers. There are usually only a handful of days between the beta reader call and final release.

Because of that, the traditional pre-order model doesn’t work for her.

Amazon’s terms, for example:

Your final version must be uploaded at least 10 days before the release date you set, with the last day for upload starting at midnight, U.S. Eastern time. For example, if you were releasing a book on September 20, you would need to upload it before midnight Eastern time on September 9.

Recognizing that readers don’t want to wait ten days just so they can pre-order a book, Holly does live launches.

Her books are often uploaded at odd hours, and then take some hours to churn through the review systems at Amazon, iBooks, et al.

And her fans, myself included, we’re rabid when it comes to wanting that next book at the first possible second.

The Results I found Interesting

I would never have guessed that so many of H. M. Ward’s fans would have preferred to be notified by text message. In quite a few cases, fans said they would love to get a text message, but they can’t because they’re outside the United States. (I counted these under email, however.)

As writers (and, really, anyone in marketing), we’re often told that “the money is in the list,” meaning: the e-mail list.

No one ever seems to talk about a text message list.

Yet, clearly, Holly’s strategy shows that maybe we’ve been missing something all along.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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