Remember back when authors complained about Night Shade Books’s publishing practice and SFWA put Night Shade on a year’s probation? (If you don’t, context is here and here and here.) Well, it’s been a year–a bit more than a year, actually, but SFWA was waiting for numbers from the end of the year to be crunched–and according to this letter from SFWA, the probation has had its intended effect: Night Shade has shaped up and is back in good standing.
Dear SFWA members:
As many of you are aware, on July 8, 2010 the SFWA board of directors voted unanimously to place Night Shade Books on probation for a period of one year, following concerns about contractual issues with their authors.
SFWA asked Night Shade to meet a series of benchmarks as a measure of a good faith effort to return to a solid standing. After a review of Night Shade Books and after requesting information from our members about the publisher’s activities during the period of probation, based upon the information currently available, the board believes that Night Shade has met the following conditions for it to remain on the qualifying list after its probation period:
- That it examined its catalogue to ensure it is no longer offering fiction in formats for which it has no rights, and makes whole those authors whose rights it has violated;
- That it instituted procedures and hired sufficient staff to ensure accurate record keeping for contracts and payments, both for previously published and future authors;
- That there are no instances of contractual violations on the part of Night Shade Books against authors signed to publishing deals after the start of the probationary period.
- Night Shade Books fulfills its contractual and financial obligations to the authors it has already published, including full and accurate accounting of royalties per contract, with payment of any royalties outstanding.
Therefore, the term of probation for Night Shade is lifted. Fiction contracted during that term is acceptable for qualification for SFWA membership. It may remain on the list so long as it continues to fulfill its contractual obligations to its authors and meets SFWA’s qualifying market standards. SFWA remains interested in the health of Night Shade books and will act at any time to deal with a member complaint against Night Shade.
We look forward to working with them and are glad that SFWA is able to retain Night Shade Books as a SFWA qualifying market.