If you’re a regular in our corner of the publishing world, you’ve probably heard about Samhain Publishing’s recent announcement. Their upcoming closure—along with that of Amber Quill Press, announced early this year—saddens us all. We’ve had the highest respect for these companies and their business practices, and the world will be a poorer place without them.
This continues a concerning trend among small publishers that has been building for a couple of years now. Several elements are feeding this wave:
· the explosion of self-publishing
· Amazon’s domination of the book sales market
· Kindle Unlimited
· changes at subscription services such as Scribd and Oyster
· worldwide application of VAT taxes
Since we opened in 2007, we’ve been looking two to five to ten years ahead at the publishing market as whole, not just the small niche of gay romance, to anticipate what would be coming next while making plans for the future. It’s not easy, and it never will be. Eighteen months ago we saw indications of Amazon’s movements in the industry, and we put cost-savings measures into place that are carrying us through today’s sales squeeze. Yes, sales are down, across the board, just like at every other publisher in the country (or world). But Dreamspinner Press is stable and growing. Production continues to expand, royalty payments continue in full, we pay our bills, we’re not in debt, our overhead is low, and we’re making investments for the future. We see a lot of bright light on the horizon. Sales to date in 2016 are up 10% over 2015. However, we also recognize the need for caution and careful financial and time investment choices.
We have to make the best decisions we can to support the company and family as a whole. To that end, we have dedicated a lot of time and effort to refining Dreamspinner Press in ways that will help us build more opportunities. Some of these highlights include:
· A brand new Dreamspinner Press website, planned to launch in April 2016, with complete mobile integration, expanded promotion, marketing, and social media tools.
· A new partnership with INscribe Digital, a global distribution and marketing solutions company
· Expansion of promotion of DSP Publications and Harmony Ink Press to mainstream markets
· Redefinition of in-house marketing directives
· Stronger editorial focus on submissions quality
· Increased audiobook production
· Tapping the translations market to distribute paperbacks in French and German
· Expansion into foreign markets, including the launch of Dreamspinner Korea and the creation of a graphic novel line
Frankly, in the past decade, the publishing market has changed radically, and multiple closures of small presses reflect that. Dreamspinner Press has been riding the same wave. We can’t and won’t deny it. The difficulties inherent in today’s market are public knowledge.
Every time a publishing company closes, worry and doubt ripple through the Internet. All we can do is deliver the facts, continue to focus on making the best choices we can for our authors and our company, and keep making dreams come true.
Elizabeth North, Executive Director
Lynn West, Editor in Chief