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Angela James, Editor -- Samhain Publishing

In 2005, Angela James joined Samhain Publishing, Ltd, a small press company focusing on digital publishing, as its executive editor, where she has played an instrumental role in building the company from the ground up. In her executive position at Samhain, Angela is responsible for managing the publisher’s editorial services division. Her responsibilities include the management of editorial staff, quality oversight, networking and marketing efforts at regional, national and international writing conferences to promote the digital publishing industry as well as Samhain.

In addition to her administrative duties, Angela continues to edit more than 50 authors including national bestselling authors Lucy Monroe, Lilith Saintcrow and Deidre Knight.

For more information on Angela James, visit her blog: Nice Mommy – Evil Editor

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INTERVIEW

Angela James, Executive Editor for Samhain Publishing is responsible for management of editorial staff, quality oversight, networking and marketing efforts at regional, national and international writing conferences to promote the digital publishing industry as well as Samhain Publishing.  I visited with Ms. James to get a little more insight into her everyday world.

1)  How many submissions a day do you get? 

Oh, hm. Maybe…five to ten subs a day. Enough to keep us busy but not so many that we can’t keep up. But we always welcome more! 

2)  What percentage get bought and published?

I’ve never actually figured the exact percentage, but those we buy from the “slush” (unsolicited) pile are much, much lower. Under 5%. Returning authors’ submissions have a higher percentage. Probably around 30-40%.

3)  In your experience, what is the average amount of time an author should let pass in between book releases to stay fresh in the public eye?

We have an informal in-house policy of no less than 3 months between releases for authors (obviously it can be more). This isn’t a strict policy, and there have been more frequent releases, but they’re the exception. I’ve heard arguments both for and against frequent releases, and I think both sides have valid arguments. But for our purposes, we don’t want to flood our schedule with just a few authors, and we do have a limited number of slots each month. We also don’t want to burn out an author’s readership with releases too close together.

4)  Roughly, how many authors does Samhain have? 

Somewhere around 350 authors have published with us in the past 3 ½ years.

5)  Do you have a set number, or is your publication plan more flexible with the goal of producing as many good books as possible?

We have a limit on the number of books we’ll release in a week, but we don’t have a minimum number. If there are only three books contracted for a week, that’s what we publish. We don’t have any type of quota. We just want to produce the best books possible.

6)  What do you like to see from your authors in the way of promoting their books? 

We hope that authors realize that it’s not just enough to write (and edit) the book, but that getting the book noticed by readers is also very important. We don’t have any expectations of promotion, other than that the author does some, but we like to see our authors taking advantage of the promotional opportunities we offer, as well as taking the initiative to find other opportunities as well. I know some people will argue otherwise, but I have seen, time and again, proof that solid promotional efforts can pay off.

7)  How does Samhain help their authors promote?
I’m just going to steal the answer from our FAQ (http://samhainpublishing.com/faq) page because it’s more thorough than I could hope to be on my own:

Samhain displays advertisements in Romantic Times and at SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com, as well as other online review sites and unique online sites such as Icanhazcheezburger.com. Our staff attends numerous conferences and book fairs.
We have a blog on our website, where throughout the week authors are able to promote their books, maintain an online presence and connect with readers. We provide the Samhain Cafe, our open Yahoo group where authors can have fun and chat informally with their readers. We also run the Discover New Authors program. To read more about this go to http://samhainpublishing.com/news/discover-new-authors-from-samhain-publishing.
We provide many further opportunities for authors to get involved in publicizing their books, such as the monthly author-run Samhain newsletter, The Samhellion, and organized chats at other reader sites.
We also provide a marketing discussion group for our authors which provide help, advice and workshops on various aspects of publicity.
Our marketing department is always searching for new and innovative ways to market both the company and its authors.

8)  Will Samhain ever do mass marketing for books?

I think you’re asking if we’ll ever produce in mass market format (which is a little different than mass marketing so I hope you’ll correct me if I misunderstand) but yes, that’s one of our goals in the future. But we love digital, we believe in digital and that’s where our main interests lie.

9)  Do you believe that the deal with Kensington will be re-established in the future?  If so, do you think they will sweeten the deal with Samhain to include more books?

I really can’t say what the future holds. If I could, I’d have a winning lottery ticket and be surrounding myself with every gadget for digital reading known to man!

10)  What other exciting things can we expect from Samhain in the future?  Anything you can share with us?

We do have a few exciting things coming up for Samhain in the next year, but unfortunately we’re not ready to talk about them publically yet. But we’re always thinking and wondering what we can do next and how to improve.

11)  Are you looking for anything in particular right now?

We recently did a post that talks about what various Samhain editors are looking for. You can find that on my blog here: http://nicemommy-evileditor.com/blog/?p=2324

It’s true when we say it’s all about the story first. We’ll take a chance on a good book, we’ll work hard to promote it and we’ll cheer its success. There are always particular genres that we want to see, but the end of the day, a good book will win for us, regardless of genre.

12)  Anything words or wisdom or helpful tips you want to share with aspiring authors?

Every day, I think of something that I wish all authors would know but then I get an interview question and I’m suddenly blank. I guess I just think authors should know that publishing is a job like any other. It may be your hobby, or your side job, etc but it’s my business, and the business of every editor and agent you submit to, and you disrespect us and your peers when you treat it as less than a job. Authors, and I think often romance authors, want others to take them seriously but then do themselves the disservice of not realizing that they themselves are not taking it seriously—by not paying attention, not reading the guidelines, not following the directions, not meeting the deadlines, being rude to a reader, an editor, a fellow author, or by having an online tantrum. So as you become published, or pursue the road to publication, treat it like your business. Whether you think anyone is watching or not.

I would like to thank Angela very much for taking time out of her busy schedule to share these things with us.  To learn more, please visit Ms. James at www.nicemommy-evileditor.com or www.twitter.com/angelajames.

Join me next time when I’ll be speaking with Rae Monet, author, webmistress, among other things, when we’ll find out how she got started and where she will go from here.

Best,
Sloan McBride