Aside: The Hydra Contract was one of those Ludlum thrillers wasn’t it? One of the later ones in the series, right after The Pokemon Directive I think.
Publisher’s Weekly has printed Random House’s open (?) letter response, written by Allison Dobson, Digital Publishing Director, to the SFWA’s criticisms of the Hydra imprint contract terms. They, of course, disagree that this is a bad deal for authors.
Hydra offers a different– but potentially lucrative–publishing model for authors: a profit share. In the more traditional advance- plus-royalty model, the publisher takes all the financial risk up front, and recoups the advance before the author earns any cash royalties. With a profit-share model, there is no advance. Instead, the author and publisher share equally in the profits from each and every sale. In effect, we partner with the author for each book.
Anyway, from what I can see they fail to address pretty much all of the concerns outlined in Scalzi’s blog and on Writer Beware, but one would hope the requested meeting occurs and it results in some fundamental changes to the standard contract in the author’s favor.