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[Publisher] Night Shade Books

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eqb

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I just heard from a Nightshade author who isn't ready to go public yet. They asked me to post here. In their experience, Nightshade still has problems paying their authors on time. Part of that's due to difficulties NS is having with their distributor, but while they are moving over to a new one, it might be wise for authors to wait until the move is complete, and to see if NS's track record improves. (And stays that way.)
 

brainstorm77

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It sucks to hear they're having trouble. I've bought some of their books and liked them.
 

IceCreamEmpress

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As a reviewer, I really honor their choices in writers, editors, and cover artists. As a writer, I would be leery of submitting to them because they seem not to have the financial resources/cushion/strategic plan (I don't know which of these, if any, is the key) to keep from having recurrent issues in compensating the people who work for them.

My wish for them is that they would find an angel investor and/or a brilliant strategic entrepreneur to add to their team so that they could support the good work being done on the creative side with reliable compensation.
 

Gary Clarke

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As a reviewer, I really honor their choices in writers, editors, and cover artists. As a writer, I would be leery of submitting to them because they seem not to have the financial resources/cushion/strategic plan (I don't know which of these, if any, is the key) to keep from having recurrent issues in compensating the people who work for them.

My wish for them is that they would find an angel investor and/or a brilliant strategic entrepreneur to add to their team so that they could support the good work being done on the creative side with reliable compensation.

They really do have wonderfully great taste in authors. Breaks my heart to see them floundering over the business end of things.
 

HapiSofi

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It's sad. They're talented guys who've worked their tails off and published some first-rate books.

Times are rough. The great slow-motion distribution collapse has hurt everyone, but it's been especially hard on the smaller publishers. They don't have a lot of choice about distributors, and they don't have anything to fall back on if one of their distributors goes into receivership owing them thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

If you're looking for someone to blame, that would be Safeway and other national-level big-box retailers. They started the collapse when they put the squeeze on the small regional distributors who'd always handled paperbacks, comics, and magazines. Safeway et al. gouged a couple more percents discount out of the distributors, who were as usual running on very narrow margins.

(Publishing is characterized by relatively small, fragile, low-cashflow, inordinately complicated systems. Like bumblebees and early biplanes, the remarkable thing is that it flies at all.)

The small regional distributors started going broke and folding into one another, like an ecosystem in collapse. Almost every distributor that went out of business owed substantial amounts to their publishers. A lot of the publishers that are still in business are basically trying hard to not look like they're bleeding to death.

On the other hand, if you're making your living as a writer, you can only afford so much sympathy.

I don't blame anyone (except Safeway and its ilk). It's just hard times.
 

Eva Lefoy

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My first introduction to them came a week or so ago with a free book download tweet off SF Signal. I went to the site, and it had you put in your email address so that they could send you news, else no free books. So what the heck. I put in my email addy.

Next come marketing - from a book publisher mind you - with grammatical errors and mispellings. Hmmm.

I sent than an email back re these but received no reply.

But they are still sending me emails.... sigh. Which is it gonna be? Marketing or we know how to print good books?
 

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This blog post by Bradley P. Beaulieu gives some insight into the current situation at Night Shade Books. Looks like they are still having financial problems.
 
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Jamiekswriter

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I'm sorry to hear about their financial troubles. Jeremy Lassen gave me some wonderful R&R feedback and while they ultimately passed on my book, his editorial suggestions were invaluable and made my book stronger. I hope they can pull out of this. I wish them all the best.
 

Weirdmage

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Here's the boilerplate that NSB has sent their authors. (I got it from an author friend on Facebook who prefers to remain anonymous for the time being.)

As you probably know, Night Shade Books has had a difficult time after the demise of Borders. We have reached a point where our current liabilities exceed our assets, and it is clear that, with our current contracts, sales, and financial position, we cannot continue to operate as an independent publisher. If we filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or liquidation, the rights to your books could be entangled in the courts for years as could past or current unpaid royalties or advances. However, we have found an alternative, which will result in authors getting paid everything they are due as well as finding a future home for their books, subject to the terms and conditions stated in this letter.

Provided that a sufficient number of Night Shade authors agree to certain changes to their contracts with Night Shade, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. and Start Publishing, LLC have agreed to acquire all Night Shade Books assets. To be clear, this is an acquisition of assets, not a purchase of the company as a whole. The revenue received from the sale would go towards paying off the debts of the company. If you sign below, and a sufficient number of other Night Shade authors and other creditors also agree to these terms, you will receive full payment to bring all royalties and overdue advances current.
 
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amergina

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Here's the boilerplate that NSB has sent their authors. (I got it from an author friend on Facebook who prefers to remain anonymous for the time being.)

There's a thread about Skyhorse here:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=242720

The only thing I could find from Start Publishing is some hits on Kobo that seem to be republished works in the common domain.

...is this *really* the best Nightshade can do? What a crying shame.
 

eqb

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Start Publishing is a subsidiary of Start Media, which according to Google results "operates as a media company and offers services such as exhibition, feature film production and financing, content discovery technology and publishing."

Like everyone else, I dislike that they charge fees for accelerating responses to submissions. At the same time, Skyhorse has real distribution in the US, Canada, and the UK, and it's run by people with genuine publishing experience.

But even if they turn out to be decent companies, I still feel horrible for the authors caught in this mess. Nightshade has been jerking them around for months, if not years. If by chance the partnership continues to exist after this "sale," I'd recommend staying well away from them.
 

EMaree

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Heard about this on Twitter and hopped over here to find out more.

I appreciate that Night Shade is trying to avoid writers' copyrights being lost in bankruptcy. I've seen a few writers lose their reversion rights this way and it's awful... I think if I was one of their authors I'd sign just to avoid that.

It's tragic it wasn't a more reputable publisher that's stepping in, but maybe they'll clean up some of their policies in light of this new media attention?

I don't envy the position Night Shade authors are in right now. Good luck to everyone wrapped up in this.
 

Chasing the Horizon

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This is a real shame. As a reader, I've loved the quality and unique content of Night Shade's books for years. They used to have a great bookstore presence around here too.

I'm not as much of an expert as the regular posters around here, but the deal they're offering doesn't sound very good for their authors. I feel really bad for all the people caught up in this mess. :(
 

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James D. Macdonald

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It looks like the contract posted at scribd is for 25% of net. But I also read (paragraph 7) that Skyhorse/Start can assign the rights to any third party without the author's consent.

I'm glad that I'm not faced with having to decide whether or not to sign that contract.
 

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