I wish I could say I was surprised that Random
I first heard the breaking news from the lovely Angie Benedetti when she spoke about the kerfluffle on her blog. I didn't have the chance to do more than skim her thoughts before the family and I had to leave to meet some associates for dinner. My first thought was the situation is pretty bad if it pisses off SFWA president John Scalzi.
Several of our dinner companions are SFWA members and expressed their thoughts, none of which I'm at liberty to repeat here. But let's just say they weren't flattering towards Random House.
When I got home from dinner, I read Mr. Scalzi's full post regarding Hydra, Random House's questionable SF/F line. By then, he'd managed to obtain a copy of the contract for Alibi, RH's mystery line. I have to agree with John that if the tems are that egregious with Hydra and Alibi, they are equally egregious for Loveswept (romance line) and Flirt (New Adult).
Both Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch talked a bit about the terrible terms. And today, a majority of The Passive Guy's headline gathering consists of stories regarding Random House's vanity lines, the scariest of which is RH's public letter to John Scalzi, the SFWA, and Victoria Strauss of WriterBeware.
HERE'S THE REAL DEAL, FOLKS-
If you want to be traditionally published, by all means, go for it. But a real traditional publisher DOES NOT FOIST ALL THE PRODUCTION COSTS ON YOU WHEN YOU HAVE NO SAY IN THOSE SAME PRODUCTION COSTS!!
Seriously, why are you paying Hydra, Loveswept or their ilk a huge chunk of your profits if they are doing nothing for you and you are paying ALL the costs?
Don't sign a contract with these assholes. Period. End of story.
If you really, REALLY want to pay the production costs, go indie.