I just saw Boing-Boing’s tweet about Random House’s new Hydra digital imprint so I clicked through and read their post. It’s scary. Which is why I went to the website. Because the terms described at Boing-Boing are heinous.
OK, look, number one, that website? It’s ugly. And there’s a typo. I guess their crack-copy-editors and proofreaders are too busy working on other stuff and can’t edit and proofread web content.
For the first time in history, authors will be able to forge wide-reaching and long-lasting relationships with their audiences.
What the hell are they smoking at Random House? Apparently, they are unaware that readers can and do contact authors directly and have done so for, oh, a couple centuries at least. Surely they sat around the table laughing madly while they wrote that copy. That’s just so obviously wrong it’s not really funny. If they believe that, there’s no hope for traditional publishing. If they wrote that knowing it’s a lie, then they deserve to be exposed for the heartless goons they are.
Nowhere on the site does it set out the terms RH is offering, though it does say they’ll negotiate a contract. I would hope so! But it doesn’t say anything about production costs being deducted from monies due to authors. I hope they don’t, because if they do, I’m appalled. They’re not a publisher then. They’re a publishing service, which would be fine, except they’re pretending otherwise. A Publishing service had damn well better make it clear why their services are better than the other guy and worth what’s being charged.
If you’re going to pay for production costs, then self-publish. There is NOTHING RH can offer that’s worth the financial hit you’ll take. Nothing. Cover artists, editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders moonlight. And there are freelancers who do all that as good or better and for less money.
They sell your book, pay the digital vendors their 30%, leaving them with 70%. From that 70%, they, apparently, deduct ALL their production costs, and pay the author what? Nothing until the costs are recouped. The author funds this business 100%.
And then there’s the life of the copyright business? Are you kidding me? That means when you pass away, RH has 70 more years of rights. Your CHILDREN and/or grandchildren will be old before rights revert.
Wow. I’m getting mad just thinking about it.