The news is out: Start and Skyhorse Publishing have closed a deal to acquire Night Shade Books. Or rather, to acquire the contracts of those NS authors who agreed to sign them over and accept new terms. And yes, I'm one of the folks that signed. It wasn't an easy decision for me, for a variety of reasons specific to my personal situation. But I'm hopeful going forward that I've made the right choice. It's definitely a relief to know that The Whitefire Crossing and The Tainted City will remain easily available to readers. Plus, I will actually get paid for Tainted City. (That's right: the book has been out & selling for 9 months now, and I haven't yet seen a cent for it. This is why it's good to have a day job.)
So far, Start and Skyhorse only own the rights to the first two books in the Shattered Sigil series, since that's all that was contracted to Night Shade. The fate of the final book, The Labyrinth of Flame, is still up in the air - but as I've said before, if things don't work out with a publisher, I'll suck it up and put out Labyrinth myself. Right now, I'm just concentrating on finishing the story (and having fun doing it! Yesterday, I had one of those wonderful moments that make all the hard work of writing worthwhile: after ages fiddling with a troublesome chapter, I figured out how to make it work. Not just work, but really shine: and oh, how amazing it feels when you read a scene back over and know you've made it a thousand times more awesome than it was before! Did I mention that I love to revise?)
Anyway, now that the whole Night Shade mess has been resolved (more or less!), I want to thank some people for their help in negotiating it. First and foremost, thanks go to Mary Robinette Kowal of the SFWA, who spent countless hours answering questions by phone and email and worked tirelessly to advocate for all of Night Shade's authors (whether SFWA members or not). Due to confidentiality issues, her efforts over the last few months have been very much behind-the-scenes, but she deserves a ton of public credit. Thanks also to fellow NS author Kameron Hurley, who organized a safe online space for all of us to discuss the offer, share information, vent our frustrations, and maintain our sanity. And thanks to all the NS authors who participated in that forum, for being so generous with advice and support. Publishing might be a crazy, crazy business, but it's full of awesome people.
One final thing I'd like to say: while the ride with Night Shade was pretty bumpy, I do remain eternally grateful to them for taking a chance on The Whitefire Crossing in the first place. You could have self-published, some people say. But you know what? Back then, I didn't have the confidence (or desire) to self-pub. And after the painful experience of having Whitefire get so-close-and-yet-so-far at bigger publishers - to have editor after editor say, I love your book! and all the marketing departments say, This will not sell, I wasn't so sure I had the mental fortitude to write a whole different series and try again. Thankfully, I didn't have to agonize. Night Shade was willing to take the risk; and they gave Whitefire a great cover, and got it into readers' hands, and I got to share my story with people who loved it, just as I'd dreamed of doing. Sometimes I still can't believe how lucky I am. So it's my firm hope that the new Night Shade imprint at Start/Skyhorse will take the best part of the old Night Shade (their excellent taste in books!) and combine it with better business practices, and all of us, readers and authors alike, will win.