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Addressing Some Serious Bullsh*t Talk about Samhain Publishing


Over the years I’ve seen a few negative comments regarding Samhain Publishing surface on social media sites and forums (natural, for any prolific company). But today I received an email, forwarded to a number of other recipients representing similar themed websites, and what I read was downright despicable (and quite frankly, awkward and mistimed… not that there’s ever a great time for negative chatter).

Let me give you an idea of what the email was about, to begin with.

This author, whose name I will absolutely never mention on this website, was attempting to submit a digital copy of his debut novel for review consideration. Right off the bat you should be realizing that this certainly isn’t the stage to shout out qualms with any specific company. This guy mentions the fact that another publisher (that I’m sure plenty of you are familiar with) picked up his work after Samhain rejected his manuscript.

Right there, is where the backstory should have ended.

But after mentioning Samhain’s rejection notice, things got really weird. This guy proceeds to then piss and moan for a full paragraph (I wouldn’t call it a full blown tirade, but it was one paragraph too many, just the same) about Samhain’s poor business practices and even worse novel releases. He dug in pretty deep there, and while he didn’t send any profanities my way, he may as well have included an extra nail. It was an extremely unprofessional, uncalled for message that accomplished absolutely nothing other than ensuring HNR will never, under any circumstances cover the man’s work.

Let me tell you about my experiences with Samhain. Any queries I’ve had have been answered in timely, polite fashion. They were happy to add HNR to their media list. They’ve never given me any reason to issue any form of complaint. Above and beyond all, they’ve published some excellent work from some excellent authors. And that’s an important issue because this guy said some very negative things about the authors (he generalized) being published by Samhain (amusing that he’d submit a manuscript to a company whose talent he so despises, eh?).

I’ll tell you right now, Samhain sends us a whole hell of a lot more quality novels than poor. And they’ve got a roster of talent that cannot be scoffed at. I can sit here and name you all kinds of talent being published by the company, right off the top of my head – with absolutely no problems. Hunter Shea, Frazer Lee, John Everson, Brian Moreland, Jonathan Janz, Eric Red, Rod Labbe, Tony Richards, Ronald Malfi – that’s nine excellent authors with no site referencing whatsoever. Those names immediately jump to mind. And those authors are really, really good. They’re not average. They’re not okay. They’re crazy good. Who does erotic horror as well as Everson? Who tells as thrilling a monster story as Shea? Who is as thorough with research as Moreland?

These guys are awesome.

These guys are having novels published by Samhain. The same Samhain that’s been a pleasure to work with, and have never once given HNR any troubles of any sort. The same Samhain that this clown felt compelled to berate mercilessly.

I’m not going to tell you that every genre fan is going to enjoy every Samhain novel published. That’s not going to happen because we’ve all got different preferences. I am going to tell you that in general, this is a reliable company worthy of the utmost respect. They’ve released some of the best novels I’ve read over the last few years. And most importantly, we here at HNR will not cease to support them. We’ll continue to wave the Samhain flag high, because that crew is worthy. I know what it takes to operate a business. While this business isn’t remotely near as established as Samhain, we’re growing in some wild ways, and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into this kind of entity is every bit as time consuming and exhausting as the front end work the site viewers see. It’s hard work, for all of us. And Samhain probably handles – literally – 10 times the load, if not more.

So here’s the deal: I won’t say your name dude, because you’re an asshole – flat out, and you don’t deserve the promotion. I marked your email address as spam, and I will not entertain any contact you attempt to make in the future. I chose to put this quick note together in the hopes that, at the very least, a few of you who received the same message will catch wind of this (you’re all likely savvy enough to know that this guy is a complete joker). I don’t know the status of any of your relationships with Samhain, but I will vouch for the company, 110-percent, all day – every day. Samhain has been nothing but professional, honest and reliable. They consistently deliver impressive packages that we work hard to get covered because they deserve it. They’re dedicated, they’re passionate and they keep the machine running as smooth as we fans could hope for. Unlike you, they conduct themselves properly.

I’m very firm in the belief that you don’t share emails or personal messages with the masses. I was also very tempted to post a screen shot of that miserable email, but email should remain email. It’s obviously intended to be somewhat personal, and I’ve got a serious pet peeve about any asshole willing to take personal messages and make them public. You certainly deserve to field an onslaught of hate mail for your disappointing antics, but I won’t be the one to expose that with photographs. Posting pics of email exchanges is a major no-no. You just don’t do that.

And don’t get me wrong, I understand that we’re human beings, and sometimes we get worked up. We let our emotions get the best of us. I don’t know if you deserve a second chance or not. I won’t be offering that up, but I don’t actually wish to bury any potential future career you may have. I’m not the executioner. But in this case, I am acting as the judge.

You’re guilty of being a massive tool, and the babble you’re spewing is wrong. It’s completely wrong.

Samhain is a great company. We’ve long campaigned for them as well as many of their authors. We’ll continue to do so. We’ll continue to wish them success, and hopefully, help bring them a little bit more of that success by providing exposure for their awesome authors who continue to entertain.

My point has been made. I hope that those of you who received that same piece of shit email I received will not be fooled by the inane bitching of a sour author who had his novel turned down by a company clearly focused on delivering high caliber stuff, because that man (in my opinion) does nothing but come across as the literary equivalent of an immature, scorned lover. Samhain fucking rocks, plain and simple. One loser’s words should do nothing to alter any opinion of the company.

To all the HNR followers, I apologize for kicking off my own rant here, but that email really worked its way under my skin. The fact that it was sent to a sizable number of individuals just completely, completely set me off, and I felt compelled to address the situation. The last thing Samhain deserves is one douche bag planting an unnecessarily toxic seed in someone’s head that could – somehow (I hope that’s not the case; I believe my fellow recipients will see through it) – grow.

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

42 Comments on Addressing Some Serious Bullsh*t Talk about Samhain Publishing

  1. toddkeisling // June 23, 2014 at 11:09 pm // Reply

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about Samhain. Furthermore, I have a feeling this unnamed guy is going to learn the hard way that the horror community is relatively small, and word travels fast. Good luck to him trying to promote that debut novel of his; he’s going to need it.


    • the damn thing left me floored. Seeing a few people bitch here and there over the years about ANY company or product is to be expected (you’re probably not doing things right if you have no haters lol), but for this guy to say the things he said – to multiple people, IN A PRESS RELEASE FOR HIS NOVEL (WTF?!?!?!) – just… I couldn’t believe it. Really couldn’t believe it. Maybe he was having the worst day of his life when he put that message together… but it was a big mistake all the same. I hope, for his sake it was a mistake made in severe frustration, and he can somehow turn things around – his attitude first and foremost. I really don’t think many are going to entertain doing any work for/with that guy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Haters gotta hate. Thank you for flying the flag. We’re all proud to be with Samhain and to have our books reviewed on HNR, what is, to me, the best review site out there.


  3. Thank you for standing up, Matt. I agree with Hunter and Todd. Also, obviously it’s impossible for someone to like every single release from ANY company. I just don’t understand the idea of shitting on a company while trying to promote yourself. Good luck, bud.


  4. The only thing I disagree with is your fourth paragraph. The backstory should have never made it even that far. I can’t imagine submitting something for review and even mentioning it had been rejected, much less name the company.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been rejected by Samhain, and they were nothing but courteous and professional. This guy sounds like a major dick.


  6. Marcus Leighton // June 24, 2014 at 1:24 am // Reply

    I’ve received a rejection from them as well and it was nothing professional. If you can’t take rejection you really should unplug your computer and go back to bed…writing isn’t for you.


  7. Wayne C. Rogers // June 24, 2014 at 1:42 am // Reply

    A little over two years ago, I sent Don D’Auria a pitch at Samhain. He rejected it, and was pretty hard in the reply he had his secretary email me. I figured maybe he was having a bad day because I’d only heard good things about Don. Then, a few months later, I was at the Killer Con Convention here in Vegas. I was standing out in the hallway with a bunch of other people. I started talking to the guy next to me, and it turned out to be Don. He was getting ready to go into the book room and sell stuff from his table. He was a very nice person. And, I can’t say enough good things about him and what he has done with the horror section at Samhain. He gives new and existing writers a chance to be published. Not everything he gets is going to be accepted for publication. That’s just the way things are in life. If someone doesn’t like your book, you shop it around to other publishers. That’s the name of the game. Maybe the next novel you send to Samhain will be accepted. As a writer, it’s important to learn to deal with rejection because nearly everybody gets rejected at the beginning of their careers. You learn from it and get better with the craft of writing, or you stop writing all together. Hell, even Stephen King had five novels rejected before Doubleday finally accepted Carrie. No matter how bad things got, he didn’t quit, though he probably felt like it a dozen times every week. Enough said.


  8. I didn’t realize there was such Samhain-hating going on out there. They’ve worked hard to get where they are. If I remember right, W. G. Gagliani is published ebook editions of his werewolf novels through them…


    • I don’t think they draw all that much hate – a little is to be expected from any company doing big business. But this guy just so happened to be an extraordinarily big tool. If you’re an established author and you’ve never received a rejection letter, you’re damn amazing. We’ve ALL been rejected. You take it in stride and keep the pursuit alive, just like Wayne touched on.


  9. My perspective?

    I love Samhain, love Don D., and love Horror Novel Reviews. That is all.

    Thanks for your article, Matt. 🙂


  10. Vitina Molgaard // June 24, 2014 at 6:48 am // Reply

    As a reviewer here on HNR that has read a great many books sent by Samhain …I just want to but two cents in here. The quality of the company has brought me so much pleasure from the stories I have read…Just my opinion that anyone sending out something for a review and slamming the last company that rejected him is in for a definite need to adjust his attitude. Vitina Molgaard


  11. Never mind the rejection and how he took it, I’d like to share a story I have with an Indy publishing company. To try not to tell TOO much about it, they basically aren’t very good at what they do, and they do very little to begin with. I’m directly impacted by some of their decisions and while I’d love to call them out on it, I’m not going to because it’s not professional. And I’m not even a professional writer yet. If this guy actually got his book published by someone and he’s now a “professional writer” he should be ashamed of himself. That’s just not how you act. That’s like, professionalism 101. Just don’t do it. If his attitude stays like that, he’ll have a short career.


  12. I am about to send my second novel to Samhain, in an attempt to get my books selling better (or at all!!) in the States. They have an excellent reputation, even over here in the UK, so this is all a bit mystifying. I admire your decision not to name and shame Matt, you must have been tempted!


  13. Matt, thanks for supporting Samhain Horror, and i’m honored to be name-checked in your post with some writers i truly admire. Samhain Horror’s output is set to expand – Samhain’s latest press release states that Executive Editor Don D’Auria will double the number of Horror books for 2015. While the entire line will not please everybody (and the bitter taste of your emailer’s sour grapes aside) there is potentially something for every taste. To those submitting work to Don, i’d strongly suggest checking out this video in which he eulogises the genre, the community, and speaks so encouragingly about the pitching process:

    Cheers, Frazer


  14. I love the passion. Good read.


  15. Matthew J. Barbour // June 24, 2014 at 7:14 pm // Reply

    I agree the talent is there at Samhain. Also, it happens. Sometimes a publisher passes over something and it ends up being fantastic. That doesn’t mean the publisher sucks or that they are unprofessional. It just means that the piece either wasn’t the right fit for them or they made a mistake. Both things happen. Rejection happens. The key is not to let it get under your skin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said. You want to be a serious, full-time author? Be prepared for rejection. It comes with the territory. I tried hard not to bury this guy by using his name. I can only hope he’s read this and taken some mental notes, because you just can’t run around acting like a damn baby in this business. It’s tough. It’s grueling. It’s unforgiving. And you’re going to be knocked down more than once. The key is to get up, with some measure of dignity.


  16. Wow. I’m mostly shocked to see my name included with all that great talent!


  17. D.S. Ullery // June 25, 2014 at 12:52 am // Reply

    I wasn’t even aware there was a Samhain Publishing out there. Now I’m going to have to check them out. So thanks, angry mystery guy, for writing the email which provoked Matt to write this rant which has had the (apparently) unintended effect of providing Samhain with another customer (and potential future author).


  18. Mick Ridgewell // June 25, 2014 at 1:11 am // Reply

    I can’t say enough about Don D’Auria and the staff at Samhain. Thanks, Matt for standing up. HNR rocks.


  19. Samhain is a class act. Super nice, bright, professional people with a passion for what they do and they do it very, very well.


  20. The problem with this entry is that I don’t know who Samhain publishing is and for most of the entry, I really don’t learn anything about them beyond you guys like them and you’re mad that someone else is slamming on them. Independent publishing being what it is, there is always the possibility that Samhain is an amateur company.

    The only part of this entry that convinces me that Samhain is worth defending (although whether it needs defending is another story) is Ronald Damien Malfi being published by them.

    Beyond that, it seems weird to write a blog about an unbalanced individual who sent out a bogus come-on for his novel by talking shit about another company – especially if your focus is to defend the company. Granted, this is an interesting subject but a letter that says “Buy my book, this other company is full of assholes” is pretty much announcing itself as moronic and none of the targets should need defending.


    • It’s about potential impact of that email. It was forwarded to a number of other individuals. I don’t know if anyone of those people will read this, but if they do, and say, perhaps that they too are unfamiliar with Samhain’s work, they’ll be sure to extend a chance before formulating an opinion based on the negativity of one specific email (I know we can all be impressionable from time to time). Samhain is a relatively large company (not huge by any means, but growing, quickly and already firmly established), and they don’t need me to be their cheerleader. But I do really support their product, and if someone who knows nothing about the company receives that email, they could believe some of that nonsense. I don;t want that to happen. And, I would like them to know that I think they’re doing a good job. I deal with a LOT of oublishers. SAmhain is always reliable. The goal wasn’t to introduce Samhain, and I admit I used this piece as a very… open platform. It was a major “blog” moment for sure in the sense that the direction is all over the place, and it is fueled by passion above all other things, really.


    • Rocky Wood // June 25, 2014 at 7:46 am // Reply

      Tim, there is NO possibility Samhain is an amateur company. They are one of the largest publishers of horror in North America. You can google them and discover their catalog.

      They have sponsored the Bram Stoker Awards (R) banquet for four years.

      They employ highly professional staff including the widely respected Don D’Auria.

      Rocky Wood
      Horror Writers Association


  21. I sure appreciate your standing behind Samhain and Don. I’ve personally known him for a long time, and he’s always been a pretty fantastic guy.

    Having just signed up with Samhain for a new novel next year, I will vouch for how professional and wonderful Don and the entire staff at Samhain have been. They really do things right. It’s been better than I expected. Truth.

    Sounds like a big glass of sour grapes, coming from someone who wasn’t a fit, saying, ‘Nyah, nyah! look at me! I did it without you, Samhain. And all your authors are terrible, and not as good as me.’

    Good luck, buddy. And mi familia de horror? We stick together. And it’s cold as hell outside. Hope you sell enough copies to buy a jacket. Maybe there’ll be a clue in the inside pocket.


  22. With every passing day I get slightly more disillusioned with the genre and some of the idiots who work in it. Good on you for bringing this to our attention. If it was me I would have named and shamed. But that’s just me I feel that anyone who acts like this should be named, I would hate to think that I am helping to promote an author who acts in this childish way


    • Don’t be disillusioned, GNOH, the genre is in a pretty good state. Loads of good authors around who all want to help each other. I’ve had nothing btu pleasurable and/or professional interaction with everyone I’ve been in contact with (including your good self!) Every industry has its share of idiots, but that doesn’t mean its a bad industry.


    • D.S. Ullery // June 25, 2014 at 11:25 am // Reply

      Author Ann Rice – who has become the defacto voice against the online bullying going on in independent publishing- made a suggestion that sites like Amazon and Smashwords require that people leave a real name and not a user name when posting reviews of books. The theory is that people woud be less likely to leave a spite review just to hurt sales when the anonymity of the Internet is stripped away.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Who gives a shit what some guy said in an email? This wasn’t worth an editorial, Samhain doesn’t need defending, and going out of your way to defend a publisher kind of damages this blog’s credibility.


    • I read it as more a criticism of the writer of the email and general unprofessional conduct. To be honest, you are right, Samhain doesn’t need defending, but surely Matt has a right to vent about someone being completely and utterly unprofessional? Judging by the fact this is one of the most (or most?) commented on articles here then it has hit a general nerve. A blog survives on traffic: this is one of the better ones and this really doesn’t damage its own credibility.


  24. Wayne C. Rogers // June 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm // Reply

    Thanks, D.S. I hope Amazon will start doing that soon. I get tired of seeing really short negative reviews with no actual name. It leads me to suspect the motives of the indivdual.


    • Matt Barbour // June 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm // Reply

      Short good reviews are equally as annoying. If you are going to say you dislike or like something, you need to take the time to articulate why that is. Adding names will make people accountable to some extent, but I want the reason you think it sucks or the reason you think it is fantastic. Sometimes the thing that makes one person like something annoys another. Kudos to Ann Rice.


      • D.S. Ullery // June 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm //

        I agree wholeheartedly Matt. That’s why my reviews usually have a fair amount of meat to them , positive or negative. I prefer to explain exactly which qualities either appealed to me or put me off.
        However, though a short, empty, positive review may be annoying, it doesn’t trash the work, humiliate the author or potentially drive away readers. Negative reivews bear that distinction,which is why there’s an increased interest in stopping the trolls. I’ve personally adopted a philosophy that I learned from author Terry M.West, which I think is genius: If I can’t honestly give a story or a book at least three stars, I won’t post a review.


  25. I had a manuscript rejected by Samhain for which I am still trying to find a home. At NO time were they anything but absolutely professional. I wish I could have had some feedback, but at the same time I understand that they have a HUGE amount of work with both current and new authors and can not take the time to comment on why they didn’t accept every manuscript that comes their way. I hope to one day submit another manuscript to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. There are two common themes to this post and its comments that I’m glad to hear. One is the passion with which Matt defended Samhain, and the other is that several of you have been rejected by them.

    I’ve considered submitting to them, but didn’t, I guess because I was unsure of them. I don’t know why, but I had doubts. But by being as passionate as you were, and seeing that they don’t publish everything that comes their way, I’m encouraged to give them a try.


  27. So….it’s March of 2015 and I’m just now reading this. My thoughts, Samhain is one of the top producers of horror out there. There are several publishers I enjoy reading from, but each time I get into a slump and burnt out reading, Samhain always brings the joy back to reading. Case in point, I’ve not done a review for over 4 months…..went to Horror Hound, re-connected with authors and met with some that I’ve not had the pleasure of reading yet, and it’s restored my desire to read! I posted something on my facebook page today talking about the people behind the work, and I’ve never met a nicer more passionate bunch of people in my life and their passion and drive and overall attitude towards others drives me to read and enjoy MORE from them than any other.


  28. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve had a novel rejected by Samhain. And I’ll try again with another one, because Samhain is a great company with great people behind the scenes as well as their excellent stable of authors. I tell everyone I can about Janz’ Savage Species – seriously fucking awesome thrill ride. I haven’t read all the company’s primary authors yet, but I am confident I will get there…


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