Exactly.Hydra is a vanity publisher, in sum.
The same kind of thought has occurred to me a few times over the past couple of years, sort of "collective self-publishing" enterprises. Reading Scalzi's blog last night (and Kristine Kathryn Rusch's, which he linked to) has almost convinced me that something like this has to be the way to go. If anyone gets an offer from Harper Voyager, it'll be interesting to see the terms offered in that. I know they said at the outset that it would be a no-advance deal, which Hydra also is.So in long run I expect to see artists forming their own "labels" and offering "safe-heavens" to those they admire
Indeed, if my worst enemy in the world was presented with it and had a pen poised to scratch his signature on it, I would smack the pen out of his hand and say to him, “I hate you, but I don’t hate you this much.”
They're probably going for writers who think that the main job of an agent is to get them a publisher, and so, having got a publisher by themselves, they think an agent will be a redundant drain on their income.My first move, if I got something from any publisher ie an offer would be to seek an agent. I can tell this is bad, but I'm not well enough versed to be sure. Surely, we'd all do the same? And if you have a publishing offer an agent would look at you?
And they also have an alibi....And also, just to clarify -- there's a small press called Hydra Publications, who are nothing to do with Random House and who aren't evil at all (as far as I know): http://www.hydrapublications.com/2013/03/06/we-are-not-random-house/
(also, they have a very cool logo)
This letter (extract?) appears here.Dear SFWA Member:
SFWA has determined that works published by Random House’s electronic imprint Hydra can not be use as credentials for SFWA membership, and that Hydra is not an approved market. Hydra fails to pay authors an advance against royalties, as SFWA requires, and has contract terms that are onerous and unconscionable.
Hydra contracts also require authors to pay – through deductions from royalties due the authors – for the normal costs of doing business that should be borne by the publisher.
Hydra contracts are also for the life-of-copyright and include both primary and subsidiary rights. Such provisions are unacceptable.
At this time, Random House’s other imprints continue to be qualified markets.
(Bolding mine.)Profits are generated once those costs are subtracted from the sales revenue. Hydra and the author split those profits equally from the very first sale.