Pricing Cont’d – Samhain Publishing

Welcome back to the pricing series where I look at various publishers (e-pubs) and do an in-depth analysis on the cost we readers/consumers are paying for our prized fiction. Being a lover of fiction I’m pretty much going to pay whatever a group charges but hearing grumbling, I’m attempting to show for good or bad if the pricing is reliable, consistent, and ultimately worth your money. The last is obviously something only you can decide.

Now I’ve looked at 3 publishers so far and found:
Dreamspinner Press (DSP) to be consistent but somewhat pricey
Torquere Press (TQ) to be inconsistent but somewhat inexpensive — depending on the line
loveyoudivine Press (LYD) to be inconsistent and expensive


So what about Samhain?

Well I found them to be both consistent and inexpensive! Hey, I’m as shocked as you so let’s break it down.

Usually associated with reader comments of excellent editing and a strong stable of authors, many have often lamented the m/m selection is too small. Now sticking with pricing, the website states the following:


Our pricing philosophy

Samhain believes the price of an ebook should be less than a print book; after all, it doesn’t need to be printed, stored or shipped! Why should it equal the cost of a print book? Samhain is dedicated to delivering excellent books at reasonable prices.

Short Stories:


12,000 to 18,000 words



18,001 to 35,000 words



35,001 to 60,000 words



60,001 to 100,000 words

Plus Novel:


over 100,000 words


Thanks Samhain! Like other publishers, this makes it pretty easy for readers. Now, as with other publishers I can’t just take their word for it. After all, sneakiness is rampant so let’s see what Samhain has to say for their books themselves.

Unfortunately Samhain doesn’t list word counts so I can only go by what I’ve found either on my own conversion or on FW, however I will clarify which is which. There is still some discrepancy with FW counts and I’m working on a solution.

But to continue on in the discussion of Samhain, they use a site called “MyBookstore and More” for their e-book sales when buying directly from the publisher. This works like Fictionwise or ARe as an e-tailer with several publishers. Unfortunately I found this site somewhat clunky and difficult to maneuver around with the print books mixed in with e-books and there is no way to separate genre within the subset of publisher. This site also doesn’t list word counts but there are quite a few discounts I found right off the bat that may be interesting. So like other publishers, you need to be aware and price shop to find the best price.

[Not sure when this turned into basement e-book shopping but it is annoying to pay more for the same product so let’s go with that.]

Checking word counts over at Fictionwise for range, it appears as though Samhain is generally right in their listings. I couldn’t find any listing for a book shorter than 14,000 words and all my personally bought books come over 20k words at least on conversion. The 20,000 to 22,000 range and 35,000 to 40,000 range seems to be a bit in flux as there are several back and forth at $2.50/$3.50 and $4.50/$5.50.


For example:

20,235 for $3.50 FW / My count is 20,250 /MbM lists as $3.50 Novella


20,637 for $2.50 FW / My count is 20,603 /MbM lists as $2.50 Short Story


20,716 for $2.50 FW / No count from me  /MbM lists as $2.50 Short Story


21,641 for $3.50 FW / My count is 21,701 /MbM lists as $3.50 Novella


37,231 for $3.50 FW / My count is 36,942 /MbM lists as $3.50 Novella


37,131 for $4.50 FW / No count from me /MbM lists as $4.50 Category


39,547 for $3.50 FW / No count from me /MbM lists as $3.50 Novella


39,310 for $4.50 FW / No count from me /MbM lists as $4.50 Category


Now is this because Samhain is inconsistent – which really is the key, consistency in publisher pricing – or is it as previously pointed out to me, a conversion mistake?

So far Samhain seems pretty good on pricing unless you get into the ambiguous ranges of 20k to 22k or 35k to 40k. You could be paying $1 more for your story for less words if we can believe the counts. But, can we? My own counts (taking a PDF and doing the word count in MS Word brings the counts very similar to what FW lists) say that these areas are gray and consumers may be overcharged or undercharged leading to quite a bit of inconsistency. You may not be getting your money’s worth in these areas. 


How does Samhain break down in pricing?

Well their shorter stories are pretty expensive (20k for $2.50 or $3.50) but they gradually cost less as the word count increases. The following is based on their internal pricing structure listed on the website.



Now when averaging the word count and cost, I had to go by FW numbers and it’s been shown FW sometimes counts differently than what the publisher would. So keep this in mind. But doing an internal comparison of FW numbers (my only source) you can at least see the averages of those books for the FW listed cost/count. 


Novels – AVG 78,040 words for $5.50

Category – AVG 52,600 words for $4.50

Novella – AVG 32,700 words for $3.50

Short Stories – AVG 18,800 words for $2.50


Now, how does that compare to other publishers?

As I have with other pricing comparisons, I use an internal standard of Fictionwise counts. So if they are all off, they should all be off by the same amount and thus the comparison still stands.



Since Samhain doesn’t produce shorter stories like the other publishers, they come late into the game count wise, let’s focus tighter on that. According to the data, it seems Samhain is actually your best cost wise.  




It seems Samhain is the best cost wise for books when comparing among the publishers (so far). They also have pretty good consistency which I personally find key to the whole process. No matter what the individual reader may feel is worth their money, it’s important to feel confident in your choices.

There does seem to be some variation in Samhain pricing to word count but for the most part this actually seems to play in the consumer’s favor in offering higher (by FW) word counts for a lower cost. On the flip side there are several up and down examples of paying the same cost or more for a lower word count book.* I’m going to say this is provisional since it lands in that mystery area that may be a conversion issue.

Either way the trend with the publisher is pretty much clear. Somewhat surprising since I really thought Samhain would come out as one of the more expensive and readers may pass this off due to the usually good covers and reputed great editing. In my own experience Samhain works vary from very clean to somewhat clean and a total wreck. They do tend to be more clean than not, from an average readers’ perspective.  

So from this perspective, you’re getting the most for your dollar at Samhain so far.

Is it worth it though?

Well only you can decide that.

As always.. your thoughts? 


11 thoughts on “Pricing Cont’d – Samhain Publishing

  1. I don’t have any salient comments this morning, but I am quite interested in what you’re coming up with here. (Oh, and Torquere Press sales are at )
    As a writer, this does interest me a lot, because it’s good to know if readers are getting their money’s worth out of a publisher. Obviously, being published by any given house is a tacit endorsement of that house.

    • It’s nice to know others find it as interesting. I’m not sure what it means TBH since I’m not sure if readers are publisher loyal or not. I tend to buy at ARe whenever possible and thus may or may not notice the publisher. However, if I do feel I am getting a good deal (as it were) from a publisher, that might inspire me to look more closely at their new attractions first.
      Other than that, I think all publishers have problems with quality so I can’t say I have favorites.

  2. I have always thought that Samhain’s prices were quite reasonable and I found their editing to be better than most. The other benefits are the discounts and the ability to download your books in any format at any time without any restrictions and best of all, no DRM (I believe). So in terms of VFM, I think Samhain is up there. My only beef is the one every m/m reader complains about: Not enough M/M books from this publisher.
    You’ve done a great job on highlighting the hidden additional costs that each publisher manages to insert when readers aren’t looking.*g*
    PS All of research must cut into your gaming time:-D

    • I find -some- of their editing to be better than most and some to be on par with some of the worst publishers. For example I just read 3 books from Samhain that I think were horribly edited and I wasn’t impressed at all. But I’ve read others that are very well done. So really, its like any publisher in that respect – a crapshoot.
      Thanks! All this research, which is incredibly time consuming actually cuts into my reading time and thus I don’t have as much time to read sadly.

    • While I stuck entirely to M/M titles for the first 3 publishers, which was easy since TQ and DSP are exclusively GLBT, unfortunately it was very difficult to stick ONLY to M/M titles for Samhain. So the overall demographics are for the company in general. While I wanted to stay to M/M titles, I knew that some of the discrepancies – while they are M/F listed titles – also had parallels to the M/M titles.
      -pats the cock- I promise to conslut you next time!

  3. *nods* The editing is surprisingly inconsistent sometimes. The first several books I bought from Samhain were awesome, and then I got one that was just… awful. I was shocked, to say the least.
    But yeah, you seem to run into that with any publisher. Some awesome editors, some not so much.

    • Yea it’s why I’ve been clear to say that about most every publisher. Cocktease asked me once if I could ONLY buy from one publisher who would I choose and I couldn’t decide. For every publisher that gives me a great book, I feel there are 3-4 more I dislike for various reasons. Thus I’m not really loyal to a publisher per se.

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