SFWA vs Hydra, Round Two

The wheel goes round. The SFWA has now responded to Random House’s open letter concerning the Hydra contract terms with one of their own on SFWA.com. They remain unconvinced.

You extol your business model as “different”; the more accurate description, we believe, is “exploitative.”

If Hydra is willing to assume the costs long assumed by publishers rather than attempting to shift those costs to authors, and is willing to pay advances in line with SFWA minimum rates at the very least, we will be willing to reconsider it as a qualifying market, and as a suitable home for writers. Until that time, however, we cannot do either, and will warn writers about Hydra.

I’m still interested in seeing more discussion about the reversion clause. While billing authors for publising expenses is the biggest concern, I think control of rights falls ahead of advances in the current publishing landscape as a concern for authors, if not for SFWA qualification. (I understand, however, that SFWA has always drawn their qualification lines at “reasonable advance” and that’s why their statement is phrased around that primary concern.)

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