A few days after announcing his next trilogy, The Song of the Shattered Sands, Bradley P. Beaulieu announced today that he has left his former publisher, Night Shade Books, and will be republishing eBook editions of The Lays of Anuskaya, as well as entirely self-publishing the final book in the series, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh. These new editions will feature new covers.

The Winds of Khalakovo by Bradley P. Beaulieu
The Straits of Galahesh by Bradley P. Beaulieu
The Flames of Shadam Khoreh by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Beaulieu gives reason to his decision to redesign the covers for their eBook release:

As part of the gear-up for the release of my third book, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, I’m also re-releasing The Winds of Khalakovo and The Straits of Galahesh. I have to admit some disappointment that the previous versions didn’t have a unifying theme. So I designed these around that basic premise, that they would look and feel like a series. I hope I’ve hit the mark.

It’s no secret that I, and most ardent genre fans, become supremely annoyed and irritated when a publisher changes the style of a series’ covers before completion. Though trilogies, by virtue of lower volume, have a better chance of coming through unscathed, tere have only been a few cases, most notably Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, where a consistent cover style is used for the entire series. It’s understandable that Beaulieu wanted to correct this with his own published versions of the novels. I’d say he’s done a decent job, especially considering each volume has a different artist.

More interesting, perhaps, are Beaulieu’s reasons for leaving Night Shade Books, the publisher that introduced him to genre fans and released his first novel, The Winds of Khalakovo. He explains:

There are a number of reasons for this. I’m not going to go into all of them. But I think it’s no secret that Night Shade has been having money trouble.

[...]

There were also scheduling issues. Night Shade Books is going through a contraction, taking their contracted books and spreading them over the course of a longer period. Basically this means that they’re going from about three books a month to two. What that also means is that some books won’t come out at the same time as originally planned. Mine was one of those. We were looking at a year or more delay on The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, which was frustrating because (a) I didn’t hear that news until only recently and (b) the book is ready now. Finding readers is hard enough without having a two-year gap between books, so this was obviously not an ideal situation.

When Beaulieu first announced that his next trilogy, The Song of the Shattered Sands, would be published by DAW Books, I began to wonder whether we wouldn’t be seeing an announcement like this. Night Shade has had its share of well-publicized issues, most notably when they stopped paying their authors and artists, but its a rather damning indictment to see Beaulieu, one of their most prominent and visible authors, jumping ship to not only a different publisher but self-publishing for the third volume in his trilogy. Despite this, Beaulieu admits that there’s no bad blood between him and Night Shade:

Night Shade gave these books a life, and I’m thankful for that, but the truth is I’ll be able to put a lot more effort into the release of the third book than they will right now. Let me be clear about this, though. There’s no bad blood between us. They’ll continue to sell the trade versions of The Winds of Khalakovo and The Straits of Galahesh, while I’ll release The Flames of Shadam Khoreh and also re-release the e-versions of Books 1 and 2.

Reading between the lines, though, one has to wonder. A lot has to happen for an author to revoke their contract and leave a publisher to take the alternative route of self-publishing the concluding volume in a trilogy. The Lays of Anuskaya is still available from Night Shade Books, in physical and eBook editions, but Beaulieu’s editions will be coming soon. More details about this release are available directly on the author’s website.

Discussion
  • Paul (@princejvstin) February 22, 2013 at 7:31 am

    There are sides to this we are missing, but I wish Brad success with his path.

  • Michael J. Sullivan February 22, 2013 at 7:43 am

    “A lot has to happen for an author to revoke their contract and leave a publisher to take the alternative route of self-publishing the concluding volume in a trilogy. ”

    Actually I think you’ll find a lot of traditional published “doing the hybrid thing” because self-published makes so much more money for the author. I actually counselled Brad on this move, and gave him some advice on the covers. I think it’s a smart move and I predict he’ll do much better monetarily. Stay tuned…I may have some related news soon.

  • Brad Beaulieu February 22, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I was very grateful to have the advice of someone like Michael in this transition. Thanks for your help again, Michael. Looking forward to the waters ahead, even if they’re choppy at times.

  • J.D. Hallowell February 22, 2013 at 8:16 am

    The new covers are beautiful, Brad, and definitely have a unified feel about them. Best of luck with the transition.

  • Brad Beaulieu February 22, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Thanks, J.D., on both counts. Much appreciated.

  • Gabriele February 22, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I can understand the move, but for someone like me who doesn’t read ebooks it’s bad luck since I won’t be able to get the third book. I hope the increase of self publishing will come to include more PoD print versions as well.

    Or I have to consider myself a dying species. :)

  • Brad Beaulieu February 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Gabriele, I’m going to have print as well as e-books for Book 3. Not only that, as part of the Kickstarter I’m going to run in March, I’m going to offer a limited edition hardcover for all three books. Keep an eye on my website if you’re curious to know more. I’ll announce more details about the Kickstarter in the coming weeks.

    The e-books were mentioned specifically because it’s a slightly weird situation. I got e-book rights back for Books 1 and 2 of the series, and *full* rights back for Book 3, but Night Shade is still going to be selling the trade paperback of Books 1 and 2 to recoup some of their investment in the series. Which I’m fine with. They have a lot of distribution channels that I don’t have, and that’ll get the books into more hands than I could manage on my own. That said, I will have The Flames of Shadam Khoreh available through Ingram, which means book stores can order it, it’ll be available through Amazon and B&N for ordering, etc.

  • Gabriele February 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Ah, that’s good news. :) I hate to be left hanging mid-series because of publishing problems.

  • Brad Beaulieu February 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    You and me both!

  • Gabriele February 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Lol. :) So far I’ve only experienced that as reader, but since my plotbunnies have this habit of bringing their families and friends and turning planned standalone books into trilogies, I may see it from the other side too, one day. :)

  • Shawn Speakman February 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Come over to the Dark Side, Brad!

  • Brad Beaulieu February 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Shawn, are you my father?

  • Dave February 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Wow I’m shocked, I thought once you agreed to publish books with a publisher than you are no longer be able to go back and self publish the same series later on.

    I think in general the hybrid approach will work well though: traditionally published series make it easier to get noticed but then once you have the fan following receiving a higher % of the sale price on new books you write must be attractive. I can only imagine how much someone like Jim Butcher would make for instance if he self published a new series.

  • Gabriele February 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Well, the Dark Side has cookies. :D

  • Brad Beaulieu February 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Dave, that’s true for *books under contract*. But once that contract is no longer in effect—whether that’s from a reversion like in my case or for new books in a series not currently under contract—an author can do what they like with those properties. For some, they choose to stick with traditional publishing. For others, a hybrid approach makes great sense. People like Terry Goodkind, Brandon Sanderson, Tobias Buckell, Michael Sullivan, and plenty more are experimenting with this approach to leverage traditional publishing along with self-publishing. Each has major advantages and disadvantages. It just depends on your goals, the particular project, your skills, and your bandwidth.

  • Shawn Speakman February 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    We will be seeing a lot more “hybrid” authors in the future. There is no doubt about it.

  • Wesley Chu February 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Big news, Brad! Good luck with the self pubbing. BTW, I can’t seem to wrap my brain around mustache-less Brad and mustache Brad.

  • [...] UK edition. These are important factors to consider when contemplating Bradley P. Beaulieu’s recent departure from Night Shade Books and his announcement that he will be completely self-publishing his eBooks [...]

  • Brad Beaulieu February 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I think it’s mustache-ful. Mustache-ful Brad…

  • John Anealio February 23, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Excited to hear that you are taking control of the series Brad! The covers look great! Best of luck with everything.

  • Brad Beaulieu February 23, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Thanks much, John. The support is definitely appreciated.

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