This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

11 April, 2013

THE NIGHT SHADE BOOKS SALE: IT'S NOT JUST THE AUTHORS WHO ARE OWED MONEY

   If you have been following what is happening with Night Shade Books (NSB), you probably caught this article by Rose Fox on Publishers Weekly's blog. In it she mentions an e-mail from Marty Halpern, an e-mail I got too. Here it is in full:

Hello,

Since you published a blog post on the Night Shade sale/fiasco, I thought you might want to consider the other side of the equation as well:

What you may not know is that I worked for Night Shade on a freelance basis as an editor/line editor/copy editor for **ten** years -- probably the only freelancer who stayed with NS throughout all that time. And for the past half-dozen or so years, it was like pulling teeth every month to get payment from them toward my growing unpaid invoices. But I had faith in Jason Williams and Jeremy Lassen that they would work this out, that they would do the right thing (eventually), and books would get sold, authors and freelancers would get paid.

But all the focus online this past week has been the deal that Skyhorse and Start are offering the Night Shade authors. Authors. Authors.

There has been absolutely no mention, nor commitment made, to all the artists, designers, editors (including myself), and others who are owed tens of thousands of dollars -- and seem to have been forgotten in all this "discussion" over the authors' deal.

And now that NS is essentially closed and in "escrow" for this potential sale, the money that is owed to me (for invoices dating back to October of last year) -- and all the other production people -- may never get paid.

There would be no books to speak of if there weren't editors, artists, and designers willing to work continuously for Night Shade for just the promise of pay. We are a dedicated lot and deserve to have our story told -- and responded to -- as well.

I'm afraid that when all is said and done, and the authors make their decisions -- some will join S/S, others will not -- those of us production people who helped put Night Shade books on the shelves and in ereaders, may be left holding a lot of empty invoices and bills.

Best,
Marty Halpern
 
   Marty offers up a very important point, there's quite a few other people involved in producing the books from NSB than just the authors. And they have been neglected in the coverage of the NSB deal, by myself included.
   Personally I'm very much for well produced books, and that of course includes editing, design and any art associated with them. And I very much want the people who do those jobs to make a decent living too, as well as the authors. 
   I hadn't really thought of the situation for the production staff, like everyone else I was caught up in the author's side of the deal, so I'm very thankful that Marty Halpern offered a gentle nudge to get me thinking about that side of what was happening. And I'm sad, but not surprised, to see that the freelancers who have worked on producing the best books possible for NSB are coming off as bad as they are in this deal.
 
   In the Publishers Weekly article, Rose Fox quotes Jarred Weisfeld at Start Publishing saying: "Nobody’s going to be left high and dry. The deal is contingent on those individuals getting paid." Something he later clarifies as: "...if the deal goes through, settlements for creditors will likely be in the 30%–50% range." Something that to my mind is a bit of backing down from the original statement.
   Personally I had gotten the impression that everybody would be paid what is owed them in this deal, but then again only authors were previously mentioned. As Halpern says on his comment on Publishers Weekly, 30-50% "better than zero". But it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth that the deal isn't really about making sure everyone is paid what they are owed by NSB. 
   I can't help but wonder, like Halpern does, if there is really a legal commitment to pay people. And again I have to state my wonder at  if there is such a deal, why it doesn't include paying everyone in full? Is there really such a high amount of money owed that it was impossible for Start/Skyhorse to offer enough to cover payment for everyone who have payments outstanding?
 
   I'll continue to follow developments on this deal, and will be posting more about it later. I'm already looking at one angle that could be worth a blog post.
 
NOTE: My previous post on NSB can be found here.  

1 comment:

  1. Halpern does have a very good point there, and I admit I feel a little bit guilty for overlooking the many other people who go into the making of a good book. I can't even say that I just figured they'd get the same deal. It just didn't even cross my mind to think about the rest of the team. :/ My serious bad.

    I think I can also relate a little to how many of those people might be feeling. It was only a few years ago that I worked for a company that suddenly shut its doors because it couldn't afford to stay open. They gave no notice, so they owed us all 2 weeks pay in lieu. But oh, they couldn't afford to pay it. And they couldn't afford to pay what we'd earned that past week. Or our banked vacation pay. And if they'd done the smart thing and just officially declared bankrupcy, then we'd all have been paid what we were legally due, but they didn't and so a large kerfuffle ensued in which nobody could afford to pay for a lawyer, so none of us got paid.

    And if NSB declared bankrupcy, everyone would be paid what they're due. And because the focus has entirely been on the authors and how rights to their books might get tied up in the legal system if NSB did that, now it really does seem like even more people are getting shafted on the deal. 30-50% IS better than nothing, but it's also, at best, only half of what they all worked for, and because NSB is handed everything over to someone else, they get to wash their hands of the situation.

    Ugh, this whole fiasco just ticks me right off. Even when it seems like things might be getting better, they really aren't.

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