A great discussion is going on right now over on Whatever, John Scalzi’s site, around publishing contracts. Specifically, Random House’s new science fiction imprint Hydra is (so far as has been determined) acting as a vanity press. No advance, signing over copyright forever, and the author pays for expenses. In sum, Hydra somehow manage to make the music industry’s often exploitative contract terms look more reasonable in comparison.
Read John’s excellent salvo here:
Random House recently started Hydra, an electronic-only imprint for science fiction stories and short novels. But, as noted by Writer Beware here, the terms in a Hydra deal sheet shown to them are pretty damn awful…
I’d say this is a must-read for all new or un-agented (i.e. unprotected by someone with industry experience or a lick of financial sense) writers. John’s right, there’s no justification for terms as bad as these.