As previously established, I don't like Penguin/Random House.
Apparently, neither does John Scalzi
If you are interested in writing as a business GO READ THAT POST. He is right on every single count.
It's official in my book, boys and girls. Unless and until Hydra posts a copy of its contract in a public form and/or sends a copy to the watchdogs, INCLUDING Victoria Strauss AKA Writer Beware, INCLUDING the folks behind Predators and Editors (WHICH YOU HAVE BOOKMARKED BY NOW, RIGHT?) they and anybody affiliated with them (Yes. I'm throwing the entire Random Penguin under the bus with this) are the LAST people you should be signing with.
The only thing I have to add here is a paraphrase of something I just said earlier today reguarding another, much smaller publisher who still thinks dicking around with its authors is the best idea in the universe:
AUTHORS DESERVE TO BE PAID.
A publisher IS NOT DOING YOU A FAVOR BY PUBLISHING YOUR WORK. Do I have enough emphasis on that? No?
A PUBLISHER IS NOT DOING YOU A FAVOR BY PUBLISHING YOUR WORK.
They are gaining an item that they can sell. If YOU had not written what they are putting on the pages then they would be selling blank journal books. People aren't buying Twilight because of the shiny, special paper. They're buying it because Stephenie Meyer wrote about sparkling vampires.
IF A PUBLISHER CANNOT AFFORD TO BE PAYING YOU A PERCENTAGE OF PROFITS WITH EVERY SALE, THIS PUBLISHER CANNOT AFFORD TO BE IN BUSINESS.
If you are selling macaroni, HEB does not charge you for floor space. HEB buys its product from you and gives you money, and then turns around and sells its product to its customer for more money. If you are renting space in a craft show, the craft show owners do not get to tell you "We get to keep the cash from the first 100 items you sell."
IF THE PUBLISHER IS MAKING A DOLLAR FROM SELLING YOUR BOOK, YOU FUCKING DESERVE A PERCENTAGE OF THAT DOLLAR. THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MONEY OFF YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND NOT BE PAYING YOU.
THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO PUSH THEIR OPERATING COSTS OFF ONTO YOU. THEY ARE THE ONES CHOOSING TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK. THEY ARE THE ONES INCURRING THE COSTS OF DOING BUSINESS. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.
THEY DO NOT GET TO ASK YOU TO PAY THEM MONEY AND THEN KEEP YOUR CUT OF THE SALES.
And if you can't get a publisher to do your book for you without having to pay them money? Bite the bullet and publish the goddamned thing on your own. No. You won't make a lot of money (I think I will FINALLY have broken $100 in sales when I get my next report from KDP, but it's taken me six months and six books to do so) No. Your books won't be of the best quality. But you won't be a couple thousand dollars in the hole, either.
YOG'S LAW. MONEY FLOWS TO THE WRITER. TATTOO THIS TO YOUR FUCKING EYEBALLS.