Random House has made some big changes to the contracts it offers for its e-book imprints Hydra and Alibi.
They’ll let you have the standard model, with an advance and royalties. But also, their advance-free model now specifies that Random House will cover the costs for e-book editions (and if there’s a print edition, the author still splits some costs.) And it’s somewhat easier to get the rights to your book back.
Overall, I think this represents a significant improvement. I was impressed with Allison’s openness to discussion, and with what seemed to me like a sincere commitment to responding to criticism and making the digital imprints’ contracts more author-friendly.
No word yet on a response from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, but apparently they’re aware of the change.