Have you officially copyrighted your work? I ask because it’s an issue I’m still debating for the work I publish myself.
Recently I read this horror story http://blog.triciadrammeh.com/2013/08/09/this-latest-disaster/ So definitely if I ever go through a publisher, I will copyright my work independently and officially through the US Copyright Office.
I’ve heard other horror stories from writers we know in bloggyland — one whose publisher folded and is having trouble getting the rights back, another who didn’t get paid correctly. Shudder.
It’s not just small presses either. An experienced writer friend recently fell victim to a rather predatory contract by a large publisher she’d worked with before. She assumed it to be the standard contract. It wasn’t.
Know what you’re signing. If you don’t understand the legaleze find someone who does or hire a literary attorney. I know something about contracts and rights [from my work in television -- I handled contracts with producers], and I would hire a literary attorney before I signed a contract with any publisher.
Key things to look out for:
When rights MUST revert back to you — dates and conditions. You don’t want to be stuck with a publisher going under. You don’t want to be stuck in limbo forever either. You do want your rights back at some point even if it sells well. You don’t want to sign them away forever.
Options for future work. You don’t want to have to submit all work you do in a genre, especially if it’s the genre you mainly write in. You may not want to commit the series either. This one book might be enough, especially if you never worked with the publisher before. You might not like them or how they do business, and you won’t know until you start working together.
Don’t let them copyright your work for you. Do it yourself. It only costs $35.
Don’t sign away rights beyond print or digital.
Contracts are always negotiable. I know this from experience. If it’s not negotiable, if you don’t like the terms, walk away.
Talk to as many authors in the publisher’s lineup as you can and don’t talk in a public forum. People are more candid in private correspondence. Do “deep” internet searches. Check Preditors and Editors. You can contact them, too.
Even after all these cautionary tales, I would consider going through a publisher for some of my work. With the state of publishing, I think diversifying is smart. Anyway, this is what’s been on my Indie Life mind lately.
The IndieLife happens the 2nd Wednesday of every month. Hosted by The Indelibles.
SM Boyce Lichgates
Fans of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon will enjoy this contemporary remix of the classic epic fantasy genre
Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things—Ourea.
Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict—a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.
For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.
Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.
Grab your FREE copy
The next installment of Writers4Writers is Monday, August 19th. We’ll be featuring Carrie Butler and C. Lee McKenzie. Check their sites for Tweets and FB posts to add to your feeds. Just copy and paste and you’re done.
For more information on W4WS, SEE HERE.
The voting is now open for the Tree of Life collaboration. [Hint, I'm #3].
They’ve given their voice to the music and now it’s time to cast YOUR VOTE for favorite chapter in the Tree of Life: Branching out story! Submit your vote via MESSAGE to Sam’s FB page until August 17th! Two lucky commenters will be selected to win signed Tree of Life albums.
Audiomachine will also choose their top three favorite excerpts! The writers of these winning posts will be awarded audiomachine’s new Tree of Life album, autographed by the celebrated composer, Paul Dinletir.
Winners will be announced August 18th! Visit Tree of Life: Branching Out Collaboration to read the epic tale in its entirety!
Awesome video by Elise Fallson
I’m taking the rest of this month off to get Backworlds #4 ready for the editor and to start on something new. I’m still around on FB and Twitter.