Thursday, 8 July 2010

'Mall of Cthulhu' & What is happening at Nightshade Books...?


These days I don’t get to float around the internet as much as I used to; you all know the reason why by now (and she’s doing fine thanks) so I won’t go into it again! The bottom line though is that I miss out on a lot of news and goings on unless some kindly soul sends it directly to my inbox; irritating (especially when I want to keep up to date with what’s going on in the genre) but there you go.

Luckily for me, a kindly soul sent me a link to a post on Seamus Cooper’s livejournal account on the basis that I’d enjoyed ‘Mall of Cthulhu’ and I might be interested to see what was happening with the sequel. That kindly soul was right, I had enjoyed ‘Mall of Cthulhu’ (although not without a couple of small reservations) and I was interested to see what was happening with the sequel. So I clicked on the link...

I’m not going to rehash Seamus’ post at length, click Here for the nitty gritty details, but suffice it to say that he’s fallen foul of his publisher and has found himself out of pocket. Niall found this post a long time before I did and posted in greater detail Here if you fancy a look.According to the post, Liz Williams (author of the brilliant ‘Snake Agent’) is having similar difficulties and a quick glance at her livejournal account tells a tale of her agent having to call the publisher from an unlisted number, just to get them to pick up. Not exactly stuff that will inspire confidence in a writer that their publisher is on the case and looking after their best interests is it? One author coming a cropper could well just be poor luck. Two authors though? Something clearly isn’t right here...

Now, the internet is full of stories of disreputable scammers, looking to part would be writers from their cash, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the case here. The thing here though is that the publisher in question is Nightshade Books. You know, Nightshade Books. The ‘actually quite large for a small press’ publisher churning out those beautiful looking books that look damn fine on the shelf. I’ve got a few myself and they look gorgeous. Having read through the post (and seen that it’s not an isolated case) all I can say to Nightshade Books is, “I thought you were better than that, I really did...” It may well be that there is a reason why Nightshade aren’t on the ball at the moment but surely it’s just professional courtesy to keep the guys that you signed contracts with in the loop? If I ran a business like that, I’d be keeping one eye open for angry legal letters all the time! One of the comments below Seamus’ post suggests that the question of e-publishing rights may have been sorted out (from Baen’s side) so at least that’s something I guess.

Still, those are the breaks right? Writers fall foul of their publishers all the time and it’s not exactly like we can do anything about it, right?

Well actually, there is. If you haven’t already got a copy of ‘Mall of Cthulhu’, and you’re thinking of purchasing a copy, have a serious think about getting the free copy via Seamus’ site and then paying $2.99 for the Kindle version. This way, Cooper not only gets paid for his work but he knows exactly what he is getting as well. If you’re following the sequel on Seamus’ site, spread the word and talk it up wherever you can. It can’t hurt and, if Cooper ever gets the rights back, it may help ‘Mall’ find another home in the future.

For my part, I don’t really receive review copies from Nightshade but have been known to ask for copies in the past. I’m not really up for supporting a publisher that’s shoddily run, to the detriment of it’s authors, so I won’t be asking for any more review material from them, at least until they sort themselves out. I'm sure they're quaking in their boots at the thought of this... ;o) I still want to support certain authors though (if not the publisher) so will be working with them directly where I can.

P.S... It looks like Elizabeth Moon is having difficulties with them as well (click Here for more info.

EDIT: It looks like things are on the mend. Check the comments to this post for the link. Fair play to NightShade for holding their hands up and admitting fault.

ANOTHER EDIT: Now things are on the mend, Seamus shares his initial thoughts over at his Blog. 'Cautiously optimistic but still not entirely impressed' seems to be the vibe here.

6 comments:

Roland said...

I'm still hoping that there is a reasonable explanation. I'd like to see NS's side on this too.

http://rolandscodex.blogspot.com/

Graeme Flory said...

Blogger ate the last few words of the post (dammit)... I'll edit this when I get home tonight.

I'm with you Roland, hopefully there's a reasonable explanation why this has happened and I'm sure Nightshade will weigh in at some point and clear things up. Hopefully.

Erik said...

I had to cough up $3.51 for his book on Amazon. Should be pretty good value for money anyway :)

heloise2nd said...

Looks like there finally is a reply from Nightshade on this.

Graeme Flory said...

Fair play to Nightshade for holding up their hands and admitting they dropped the ball here; that can't have been easy to do. It sounds like their company grew a little more quckly than they were expecting...

Hopefully Cooper, Williams and Moon will be pleased with the outcome and we'll get to see a sequel for 'Mall of Cthulhu'.

Roland said...

It is just what I was hoping for, and I'm glad NSB did it.

http://rolandscodex.blogspot.com/