So– Got a call from our agent, telling me that Night Shade Books, the American publisher of the Girl Genius novels, is folding. This made me sad. I became markedly less sad when my agent assured me that our sales were sufficiently good that any number of other publishers should be interested in picking us up, so– Hurrah! Well…maybe hurrah.
You see, there's the whole tedious business of disengaging ourselves from Night Shade, which has decided to sell our contract to another publisher in order to cover their debts. This other publisher, Skyhorse, is perfectly willing to buy Night Shade's assets (our contracts). However, they will rewrite them and everybody now gets paid a flat 10% of net sales. Let me put this another way; If I was a monkey, I'd be throwing this.
Foglio goes on to explain the different scenarios, including one in which the prose books published by Night Shade might remain in a publishing limbo, out of his control forever. Let's be clear about the fact that the Girl Genius comic isn't published by Night Shade, and the property still belongs to the Foglios, so it's not like this is the end of Girl Genius; it just means that readers might not get access to the books that have been published by Night Shade for a long, long time. This is a shame.
Phil and Kaja Foglio are the kinds of working artists who have done everything right in their careers—they're great to their fans, they've contributed to Stranger charity auctions, they're out cheerfully representing their work at every local convention I've ever attended—and because they decided to be published by a smaller, quality independent press, their work (or, in the best-case scenario, their wallets) might suffer for it. This isn't how the publishing industry should work.