A Brief News Item

Posted: April 2nd, 2013 under the writing life.
Tags: ,

As some of you with an interest in publishing news already have heard,  NightShade Books is in the process of a potential acquisition.   NightShade published my short fiction collection Moon Flights.   The acquisition hangs on the percentage of Night Shade authors who agree to substantial contractual changes in existing contracts;  the terms are beneficial to writers only in that they may prevent works being dragged into the endless whirlpool of NightShade’s predicted declaration of bankruptcy.

Before I start getting questions about this, I have only one answer to give at this time.   My agent has presented a counter-offer that preserves to me rights not granted in the original contract.    We do not know if negotiation is possible and do not know when an answer might be given.   Many NightShade authors (on various closed listservs and other online venues) are discussing what they will, individually, decide, and it is the sum of those decisions that will determine whether the acquisition goes through.

So:  for anyone interested in owning a copy of MoonFlights (including the lovely foreword by Anne McCaffrey)  I suggest ordering it now.    Depending on the outcome of negotiations, and other authors’ decisions,  it may be unavailable very soon.  Unfortunately, I don’t own enough copies to offer to sell it to anyone who wants one (I’m not even sure where my remaining copies are.)    Completists will probably want it (they did a nice job on the hardcover.)    However, if you’re not interested, the stories in it will not disappear forever, because I can recycle them in a different arrangement with new material in another collection later.

This is a very sad occasion, the demise of a small publisher who had, at one time, a very good reputation.  I feel badly for friends whose outstanding newer books are caught in the trap–they must agree to unfavorable contract revisions or see their books disappear into bankruptcy courts as an asset of the failed company.   I’ve seen this happen to others with other small publishers: publishing is a very tough business, with very small margin for error.   Meisha Merlin’s collapse nearly undid Lee & Miller’s careers, entangling their Liaden books (which I thoroughly enjoy) as well as several others.   Enthusiasm and love of books are necessary, but not sufficient, as foundation stones for a publishing house.    In part because of bankruptcy laws, writers are particularly vulnerable to career-ending financial hardship, inability to get new contracts, and creativity-destroying stress when publishers go down.

Nobody wins.    But I haven’t lost nearly as much as others.    I am grateful to my canny agent.   I am grateful to have, for my other books,  publishers who have survived multiple hard times and are still solvent and showing no signs of trouble.

27 Comments »

  • Comment by Annabel — April 3, 2013 @ 5:53 am

    1

    That is sad! I have a Kindle version of Moon Flights which I bought a few months ago, but have not seen it in a dead-tree version. But it is always sad when a publisher goes under.


  • Comment by Mike G. — April 3, 2013 @ 6:28 am

    2

    NightShade published the HC. Did Baen publish the paperback?

    http://www.baenebooks.com/p-969-moon-flights.aspx

    thinks it’s a Baen book.


  • Comment by Sharidann — April 3, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    3

    Thanks for the Headsup… I ordered the HC right away, was cheaper than the Paperback, for some reason.
    Mike… TB-Publisher is listed as Diamond Comics on Amazon.de


  • Comment by elizabeth — April 3, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    4

    Mike G.: I don’t see any sign of a paperback on that page, just the e-book. (OTOH, storms kept me up almost all night, so my eye could have skidded past it.)


  • Comment by Daniel Glover — April 3, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    5

    I happened to find a pb version when Borders was liquidating I’ll look tonight when I get home. Dragon wasn’t such a shock having read MF beforehand. :-)


  • Comment by boballab — April 3, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

    6

    @2&4

    Mike’s link is to the new version of Webscriptions and as such is Ebook only.


  • Comment by Richard — April 3, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

    7

    I’ve had the paperback for over a year (from the usual online retailer in the UK) and commended it December before last: comment 20 in http://www.paksworld.com/blog/?p=1391#comments (resisting the temptation to write, “Give Gifts for Christmas”)


  • Comment by Daniel Glover — April 3, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

    8

    Yes, the U.S. pb version has a 2009 copyright by NSB.


  • Comment by elizabeth — April 3, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

    9

    I would add another suggestion: Stina Leicht, who’s up for the Campbell Award as best new writer again this year (second year of eligibility) has written two incredible books set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, both published by NightShade. Nothing like the Paks books, but for those of you who also like modern, fast-paced, a mix of old Celtic mythology with the politics of the period, and aren’t squicked by some very graphic violence, try Blood and Honey and Blue Skies from Pain. This is not about shock for shock’s sake–it’s about the soul’s survival (or not) in conditions of enormous stress. I read the first book in manuscript and it blew me away. Normally not my kind of book at all–but the power, the commitment to character–OK, I know her personally, but that doesn’t mean I’d automatically like her books. (I have writer friends whose books I just…can’t…finish. All of us have. I know some of my writer friends don’t like my books. I politely don’t ask; they politely don’t say. S’okay…they are friends for other very good reasons.) ANYway, if that sounds at all interesting, consider getting ‘em while you can.


  • Comment by Genko — April 3, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

    10

    Just ordered both of these for Kindle. Agree that violence is not ordinarily my cup of tea, but I’ve actually enjoyed a couple of very violent movies, for the same reasons you cite. So I’ll take a chance on these.


  • Comment by Sharidann — April 4, 2013 @ 1:30 am

    11

    ordered both…

    My to read pile is growing wayyyy too fast…. Well something to look for by my retirement in 30 odd years or so. :)


  • Comment by Jenn — April 4, 2013 @ 10:16 am

    12

    Sharidann,

    Boy do I sympathize. My book pile is nearly as big as my yarn stash.

    I have decided that all the walls my dream home will be lined with shelves one side yarn and the other books. I think I may just invest in a quonset with a bed and a comfy chair in the middle.


  • Comment by elizabeth — April 4, 2013 @ 10:44 am

    13

    In my dream home, all the walls would be storage walls–mostly bookshelves, some closets and cabinets built in…both sides. All the windows would have window-seats with storage below, and bookshelves running up each side.

    Of course, there’d be a separate “library” room, as well, with stacks in the middle as well.

    Somehow I think this isn’t happening…


  • Comment by patrick — April 4, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    14

    I’m sorry to hear of any sf publisher falling on hard times, more so when I know some of their authors.

    I agree with the comment about Dragon and the short story Judgement to Moonflights. That story alone makes the book worth having for fans of Paks, but it is also available elsewhere. Others agree that the book is a worthy read: http://www.sfsite.com/01b/mf264.htm

    I agree that Stina Leicht’s Blood and Honey is worth the read. I did realize she had another in the same setting. I’ll have to see about getting Blue Skies from Pain before it becomes unavailable. Thanks for the notification.


  • Comment by Sharidann — April 5, 2013 @ 12:28 am

    15

    @Jenn and Elizabeth

    Hear, hear!

    I have the same wishes and also think they shall only partially come true. But heh, dreams, sometimes, can happen.


  • Comment by OtterB — April 5, 2013 @ 6:10 am

    16

    Another author I enjoy whose newest books may be caught in the Night Shade mess is Martha Wells. Her Books of the Raksura trilogy is wonderful, inventive fantasy. The first, The Cloud Roads, has apparently been shipping some back-ordered copies recently. Not sure about the status of the second. The third, released in late 2012, is The Siren Depths, and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read the first two.


  • Comment by Richard — April 5, 2013 @ 10:58 am

    17

    Jenn, may I suggest devoting your walls entirely to bookshelves, and hanging the yarn from row upon row of hooks in the ceiling.


  • Comment by Jenn — April 5, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

    18

    Richard,

    I could buy thousands of mesh bags and hang them all like hams and sausages and dried onions!!

    I would have a happy rainbow ceiling! :)


  • Comment by Jenn — April 5, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

    19

    Limmerick time!!!

    Elizabeth continues to write
    Her story’s ending in sight
    As soon as it’s done
    to the book store I’ll run
    Faster than the speed of light


  • Comment by pjm — April 6, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    20

    A lot of nightshade books including some bundles are still on http://www.baenebooks.com if you want them as e-books. I have no idea if they will last there or be taken down.

    Peter


  • Comment by Richard — April 7, 2013 @ 6:44 am

    21

    Jenn, if you’d teach the children a nonsense counting song next time you meet them in the extras’ breakroom, then they could adapt it to be even more absurd:

    This old gnome, he played one,
    He played nick-knack just for fun,
    With a nick-knack baddie-whack give-a-dwarf-a-comb,
    This old gnome came rolling home.


  • Comment by pjm — April 7, 2013 @ 7:12 am

    22

    Richard – excellent!


  • Comment by Jenn — April 7, 2013 @ 11:54 am

    23

    Richard,

    You will be pleased to know that through the exhaustive requests of the Verrakai children, with the agreement of the Wee-thieves, you have been granted a lifetime membership to the extras’s breakroom.

    The children are singing your song ad nauseum and the barmaids guild would like you to teach them another. :D


  • Comment by GinnyW — April 7, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

    24

    Jenn,
    Your ideal home reminded me of a friend of my grandmother’s. He lived in a Cape Cod house on a cliff above Christmas Cove in Maine. The upstairs rooms were garretts with bookshelves on all the walls. Downstairs he had a frame for hooking rugs and a shelves full of yarn in the living room. The first time I was there with my family, I thought it was heaven (I was 9).

    Richard, Verry good!


  • Comment by elizabeth — April 13, 2013 @ 10:54 am

    25

    Update on the NightShade situation. After some negotiating, my agent recommended that I sign on to the agreemen, so I have. If enough of the other writers have, it will go through and things will proceed in that direction.

    Remember, I’m not in serious difficulty because of this. Yes, they owed me some money but not enough to cause a problem if I never get it. Others are in a much more difficult and perilous situation with regard to their careers and will benefit a lot if this goes through smoothly and they get paid what’s owed them.

    It was a bit of a scramble yesterday when I finally got a copy of the revised letter, signed it, then had to drive down to the city to a friend’s house to get it scanned and emailed to my agent’s office: agent is in London, at the London Book Fair; his PA is holding down the office in NYC; I’m in the central time zone; the originators of the letter and recipients of the signed version are in California, two time zones behind me. Times like these I appreciate technology that works well. Yesterday it did, even the older car.


  • Comment by Genko — April 13, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

    26

    Yes, technology is so wonderful when it works. And such a pain when we rely on it and it doesn’t.


  • Comment by Fred Zebruk — May 12, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

    27

    I just finished re-reading Moon Flights. I enjoyed every short story, especially the story touching on the PAKS universe.


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