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.
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.