After some authors, and agents, reacted poorly to specifics in a potential deal championed by science fiction/fantasy indie press Night Shade Books, which is hoping to sell its assets to SkyHorse Publishing and Start Publishing, the involved parties have come up with new terms. A letter sent from Skyhorse's Tony Lyons, and posted online, announced that it, with Start, now plans to offer Sky Shade authors 7.5% of retail on their printed books; 25% of net receipts on their e-books, with an escaltaor to 30% after 15,000 copies sold; and a 50/50 split on audio.
Even with the new terms, though, the deal still hinges on majority rule, so to speak, from Night Shade authors. A spokesperson from Skyhorse said: "The deal still depends on the authors’ approval, same as before. If the majority of authors accept the new deal, it will go ahead, if not, it will not."
The new terms, Lyons explains in his letter, came after the outcry about the potential deal, which he said surfaced "on blogs, on Facebook, over e-mail, and during several very long phone conversations." After more rounds of discussions, Lyons said he and Start Publishing decided "to make a strong attempt to see this deal through. We’ve decided to take the long view, the view that what we want to do is build a publishing company, build on the Night Shade backlist."
SFWA, which had been working on seeing the deal through and had, at first, come out in support of it, gave its seal of approval to the changes. A letter from SFWA president John Scalzi said the organization is "pleased that the companies have decided to adjust the royalty terms in their author agreement to be more in line with industry standards for Science Fiction and Fantasy."