Eighty-nine kinds of BAD IDEA

Just about all of you who read me are very likely people who also read John Scalzi. If you are a Scalzi reader, you’ve probably already seen his post about Hydra, Random House’s new self-pub imprint.

If you haven’t, however, you should go over here and read it. Right now. Note also that he links off to Writer Beware’s post on the same topic.

Executive summary: if you’re an aspiring author, run far, FAR away from these deal terms or anything like them. Don’t let the allure of being published–and believe me, I get it, that’s a REALLY SHINY ALLURE–blind you to contract terms that would completely screw you out of getting any actual money. Go self-pub before you go Hydra. It’d be harder work for you but then you’d actually get to keep your money.

Spread the word. Boost the hell out of this signal.

ETA: Scalzi’s put up a followup post analyzing a contract from Alibi, the sister imprint of Hydra. (Hydra is the SF/F imprint in this clusterfuck, and Alibi is the crime/mystery imprint.) Go read his analysis of the contract terms if you haven’t already. And I reiterate: if you are ever faced with a contract of this nature, SET IT ON FIRE AND THEN RUN AWAY.

Obligatory disclaimer: yes, I’m aware that my current publisher is not an advance-paying publisher, which is the big opening beef Scalzi’s got against this contract. However, I also note that before I signed my contract with Carina, I read the hell out of that contract, and I landed an agent who also understood the contract and who negotiated with Carina on my behalf on the things that could be negotiated upon. And another agent also gave me feedback on what Carina’s contract terms were like, so I understood going in what I’d be doing.

So obviously, I do not have a problem with working with a non-advance-paying publisher. I do have a problem, though, with everything else Scalzi points out about that contract.

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