Well, thanks to Liz Williams, Rose Fox at Publisher's Weekly, Niall at the Speculative Scotsman and all the other bloggers that picked up the issue, (Here, Here, Here, and Here and I'm probably missing some--apologies) there are developments in the dispute with Night Shade Books.
Here is Night Shade's apology.
Q: So, what do you think of Night Shade's apology?
A: It's pretty good. I am encouraged by the fact that they've hired someone new to work on royalties. I hope this will lead to improvements in this area. I also like the fact that they've acknowledged their need to communicate more. Those of us who write this kind of fiction are fans of this kind of fiction and want this publisher to succeed. It's easy to cut someone some slack when they tell you what's going on; it's difficult to interpret silence.
Having said that, I do take issue with a couple of points. "The issues that have come up today, at their core, are really ones of communication." Well, no. Communication is definitely part of the issue, but when the ebook rights thing was pointed out and an agreement was reached and no check was issued for over ten months, that's not a communication problem. That's a "not paying your bills" problem. I guess we could argue about whether providing accurate and timely royalty statements is at its core a communication issue. I wouldn't characterize it as such.
"That said, this has been a wakeup call for us." Ah. I know I shouldn't complain about an apology, but, I mean. My displeasure and my agent's displeasure have been clearly communicated. My original entry is over a month old, and my page views showed it was accessed from Night Shade's email system. So they were well aware of the problems on my end. I know Liz Williams has made no secret of her problems. So why didn't they wake up any sooner? I know, I know, I should be happy they're awake now. But this part feels disingenuous, as does the call for other writers with problems to step forward. I imagine if they check their email and voice mail, they'll find some that stepped forward a while ago.
Q: So, are you guys cool now?
I have email from Night Shade telling me, literally, that the check is in the mail. Given that this has become a high-profile issue, I'm inclined to believe it. As long as they're honoring the contract we signed, I'm cool with them.
Q: Are Night Shade still the good guys?
I've seen a lot of stuff about this. People who read the kind of fiction Night Shade publishes are inclined to root for them because they publish beautiful editions of really cool books, and because they are an independent publisher with an obvious love of the genre(s) they publish. And, whatever their intentions, they simply have not been running their business in a professional manner. It seems to be their authors who are affected most by this lack of professionalism.
As a reader and a fan, I will continue to buy from them unless an author or editor specifically asks me not to. We who care about this kind of fiction can and should root for Night Shade and other small presses to succeed. And, as I've said before, they took a chance on my book, hired a fantastic editor and cover artist, and put together a really stunning edition of it that I'm really proud to have on my shelf.
As a writer, I am pretty much of a whore, and I will never say never about working with anyone. After I took our dispute public, I kind of doubt they'd want to work with me again, but even so, right now, I can't see submitting to them again. The headaches of dealing with them are simply not worth it. Even to have your book be both widely available and beautiful.