I sure picked a poor time to try and cut back on my news consumption. Or…perhaps I picked a very good time indeed. See, I read something recently that said that if you pay too much attention to the news, by which I mean the ‘Big Picture’ stuff, which as a rule, is stuff you personally cannot do anything about, your stress levels go through the ceiling. Now I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a ‘news junkie’, and this sounded reasonable to me, so I have tried to cut way down on my habit of idly trawling news websites. Obviously this week has been a bit of a test for me, but luckily, I have resisted temptation thanks to a wide variety of very well-run hentai sites which carry no news content whatsoever.
That said, I do in fact have news. People have been asking about the whole Night Shade/Skyhorse thing. For those of you just tuning in, our prose book publisher, Night Shade Books announced that they were going out of business, and selling our contracts, as well as the contracts of all of their other authors, to a company called Skyhorse. Skyhorse, who had never worked with genre writers, or apparently any modern full time writers, then announced that they were rewriting everybody’s contract, and slashing our royalty rates as well as a bunch of other stuff. The implied threat was that if enough Night Shade authors rejected this, then Night Shade would go into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and all of the authors would find the rights to their books locked up in legal limbo, possibly for years, if not forever. Something that actually has happened in the past.
After I reported this, I was quite pleased to see that Skyhorse’s Facebook page got hammered by people who were outraged at their plans, and concerned on our behalf. Within days, Skyhorse announced that they were re-adjusting the royalty rates upwards for everybody, and we were back to getting paid a piece of the gross and not net. furthermore, in a communication with our agent, Skyhorse assured him that they would abide by the other codices that we had written into the original contract, which dealt with things like allowing us to buy books for convention sales, and other details that most other authors don’t seem to care about. Was the royalty rate as high as the one we had negotiated out of Night Shade? No. This was the one thing we could not get. They flat-out said that the rates we had gotten from Night Shade were too damn high, and would prove too taxing upon the company’s financial stability. It’s kind of hard to argue against this, when the company that gave you everything you wanted, tanked. I am sure that this was just a coincidence, but at the moment I lack the data points to prove it. Thus, we signed the new contract, and will be turning in the manuscript to the third Girl Genius novel (Agatha H and the Fixer-Upper of Doom [tentative title]), as soon as we finish writing it (125,000 words and counting).
We will give Skyhorse a chance, and ask that you do the same.
In a bit of travel news, next weekend I will be galumphing down to scenic, ignore the ever-looming volcano, Portland, Oregon for the 2013 Stumptown Comics Fest. (http://www.stumptowncomics.com/). Once there, I will answer questions, appear on panels, do readings, avoid lava, and sell stuff. Hopefully I will see you there.