Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Umm, Night Shade?

Nothing stays a secret for long on the internet.

Not that this was supposed to be one.

Over lunch today I ran across this post at Fantasy Book Critic noting that the future of the Detective Inspector Chen series from Liz Williams was very much in question due to issues she was having with her publisher. I didn't read the post carefully at the time, just skimmed it and thought, "that sucks, I like that series".

Until I got home from work and saw that there was perhaps a bit more to the story than I thought. Enter Rose Fox, at Genreville, shining some light with three short paragraphs. Both Liz Williams and Brendan Halpin (aka Seamus Cooper, author of Mall of Cthulhu) have had serious contractual, communication, and financial issues with their publisher, Night Shade Books.

Liz Williams' statement.

Brendan Halpin's statement

Now, if you check the dates of those entries, these aren't brand new statements. I think this may have been stoked by a different post from Williams regarding a short story sale she's running to help pay the bills while the financial issues with Night Shade are very much unresolved.

It is worth checking out the various posts to get the direct perspectives from Williams and Halpin. I might otherwise run quotes here but i don't want any context to be lost by poorly selecting exactly which passage to run. It is important to be clear with this and all the information I have is covered by the above posts.


I have to say that I'm extremely surprised by this. As I am not a writer, my relationship with Night Shade Books has been a) as a reviewer, and, b) as a consumer.

As a reviewer Night Shade was one of the first publishers willing to send me copies of their books to consider for review and, from this respect, Night Shade has been very easy to work with.

As a consumer I hold Night Shade in the highest regard. The books they publish are top of the line in terms of quality and production value. Shit, they've published Paolo Bacigalupi's first two books, Jonathan Strahan's Eclipse series, Alex Bledsoe's debut novel, a host of John Joseph Adams anthologies, republished Imaro, and...well...from a consumer's perspective, they rock.


Until today I would have assumed that Night Shade Books was an example of how a small press can get it right. I would have assumed that, yes, there were the minor hiccups, errors, and issues that crop up as a part of business, but also that those hiccups, errors, and issues were addressed appropriately. Because that is what good people should do.

So, as Rose Fox stated.
This is causing a lot of shock among people who have long seen Night Shade as an exemplary small genre press.
Exactly. This was very much unexpected and, without knowing a lick more than i do from the above linked posts, I am very much disappointed that these two writers are being treated in the manner they claim. I am even more disappointed that a publisher I held in high esteem is at the center of this and is the one harming Liz Williams and Brendan Halpin.


With the initial statements a couple of months old, this may be the extent of public statements from those involved and no other writers will come forward with similar stories. If so, I can only wish Williams, Halpin, and anyone else who may be affected or harmed a speedy resolution that is fair and equitable.

If not, well, this is something worth keeping an eye on.


Brendan Halpin said...

Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I would like to just add that as a consumer and a fan I too have held Night Shade in high regard. And I've said this elsewhere, but they hired a top-notch editor and cover artist and put out a beautiful edition of my book. They got the book out to a lot of blogs and got it placed in Borders. They also took a chance on a comic horror adventure that few other publishers seemed to get.

Which makes their business shenanigans that much more annoying.

Thanks again for writing about this.

Simeon said...

I was really surprised by this, as I too thought Night Shade was one of the best small publishers in the field. I am still hoping that the situation will be resolved in a civilized manner and that they will come up with some statement though...


Chad Hull said...

Sad news.

Ditto what Roland said.