So– Got a call from our agent, telling me that Night Shade Books, the American publisher of the Girl Genius novels, is folding. This made me sad. I became markedly less sad when my agent assured me that our sales were sufficiently good that any number of other publishers should be interested in picking us up, so– Hurrah! Well…maybe hurrah.
You see, there’s the whole tedious business of disengaging ourselves from Night Shade, which has decided to sell our contract to another publisher in order to cover their debts. This other publisher, Skyhorse, is perfectly willing to buy Night Shade’s assets (our contracts). However, they will rewrite them and everybody now gets paid a flat 10% of net sales. Let me put this another way; If I was a monkey, I’d be throwing this.
However it gets even better. A certain percentage of Night Shade authors have to agree to this hose job before the deal goes through. Yay! We’re safe! You’d have to be an idiot to sign onto this! True– So let’s bring out a stick and threaten you! If they don’t get enough authors willing to eat this crap, then Night Shade has no choice but to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Then all the books in question go into a legal limbo. No one has the rights until the bankruptcy is resolved, which might take years- or possibly, NEVER! This has happened before to way better authors than us. This means that once said books go out of print, the authors can’t resell them. Can’t reprint them. Can’t sell any adaptation rights. Can’t write any sequels. And so, because a couple of wankers took two semesters of ‘Creative Writing’ instead one or two in ‘Business Administration’ before they started their little publishing house, a whole bunch of authors have the choice of deciding if they want to give their work away for free (scum who actually took Business Administration classes collapse in orgasmic joy when some fool agrees to get paid a percentage of ‘net’. Seriously, that’s insulting ‘amateur night in Dixie’ stuff) (Yes, I’ve been a freelancer for 30+ years, thanks for asking), or losing control of it, possibly for years, maybe forever.
So what’s going to happen? Don’t know. unlike many authors, I actually have an entertainment lawyer look over our contracts before we sign them, so I’m hoping we’re covered, but this is by no means a given. Even if we are, it still leaves a lot of other authors in a bad spot.
Does this seem like a Bad Situation to you? Then you should say something. Mr. Jeremy Lassen, Night Shade Books, and even Skyhorse Publishing are on Facebook. I’m sure they’d love to hear your opinions.
I’ll keep you posted.
Whenever I am faced with tribulations like this, I look for inspiration from creative people of the past. My latest Rock happens to be Christopher Lee, thanks to this handy infographic I found on the web. Be inspired!