Author Topic: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.  (Read 5960 times)

domenic

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Publishers want writers who can give them more than one book.
The question, "Have I given away first time right to my book?" has been kicked back and forth. Here's a quick check list-

It was published if....

1) You gave up your first North american serial rights.
2) Your book went through an editorial process.
3) It appeared in an online journal.
4) It appeared in print publication..even a small print run.
5) It appeared in a literary anthology (collection).

Unpublished if....

1) Won a prize but not printed.
2) In a workshop ( online writing workshop).
3) Appeared on a blog..But, this is changing.

Writers should read Shades of Gray on the WritersDigest.com    www.writersdigest.com/articles/rosenfeld_shades_gray.asp
Some publishers have said, "If I can't have first right,I won't publish a piece, no matter how much I love it."

Why should a writer give up his/her first book?

If you are unknown and building a following, you may want to give up the first book. Publishers do not want a one book wonder anyway. Your second, third etc will have a following you can show a publisher.
Read Rosenfeld's articale on the subject and determine what is best for you.
As for myself, I have chose to put first rights of my books with a publisher before giving free books away; if my books are well received by readers, my publisher will still have first rights.

           Domenic
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 01:37:14 PM by domenic »

Offline CQWeave

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Re: Have you given away first time right ?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2008, 11:31:18 AM »
   Well, Dominic, this is really interesting.  Now I have yet another thing to
worry about!  (The writers police!)

    Seriously,  I think this article that you recommended on Writers Digest
worthy of a look-see. 

     Here I am happily settling into MWC thinking that I have no concerns
about still owning what I write here; and, posting with abandon almost
anything that goes through my head. 

     Mostly all I have posted are Challenges.  However, on one thread
I have fallen in love with two characters that I began to use in every
challenge.  Now I am writing notebooks full of their escapades without
posting -yet.

    Does this mean that if the two characters show up in my work that
I submit for publication, somehow I would have legal problems?

     I really hope everyone who has knowledge about this joins in here.
     

     

   

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."  Shakespear in Hamlet

domenic

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Re: Have you given away first time right ?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2008, 12:06:26 PM »
CQW,
My understanding from Writers Digest is: If a work, or part of a work is posted for all to see (the public),it is published. There are some chat rooms where samples of works can only be seen by other members(an area where a code is needed to open it).
I have seen other opinions that differ from WD. The whole subject is so gray (no black & white) that if taken to court, a writer may find that different Judges may not agree.
None of this is to say a copy-right is in danger. Once you write something, it is copy-right. The only question being; are first rights lost?
In the past works on the Internet were not viewed as published. But, now with ezines who claim the same rights as paper newspapers, works shown(elect printing) fall into the published area.
I do believe just to be safe, a writer should view the Internet as a true book store.
I have had mixed feeling over the past several years as to who is and who is not published?
My feelings on the matter at this date; Anyone who offers a book on the Internet, be it ebook or POD, is published. The only question, and I do believe this matter will bring some sort of ruling by some agency, Is; People love to write..Most of the stuff written and put on the net is junk..Some agency has to deciede what makes a real book, and what is junk?
As for myself, I am treating the Internet as a true book store, and ezines, be they large or small, as true newspapers.
There are twenty one rights a writer has to safe-guard. Many of them can be in danger if work is posted for public viewing on the Internet. Each one of these right have real money value.
Your story about the women who repeates everything over and over, may have been view by everyone on earth! (I saw it).
This issue is the reason I have my dog Ruff as a published author. If anyone can put anything on the net, and say they are published, why not a dog who steps on the key-board of a computer?

                  domenic
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 01:29:38 PM by domenic »

PaulW

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Re: Have you given away first time right ?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2008, 12:26:07 PM »
There was some discussion on this subject recently on the thread below;

http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=11883.0

domenic

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Re: Have you given away first time right ?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2008, 12:38:05 PM »
Thanks paul. I just read the old issue. Seems most of the same points have been gone over. I recommend those who have not seen them follow the link you posted.
             Domenic

Offline CQWeave

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Re: Have you given away first time right ?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2008, 01:22:23 PM »
     I certainly feel better now.
     
     Now I understand.  Once written, copywrite is in place.

     This issue, on the otherhand, is whether First Rights have been forfeited.

     You covered it very well - and the link that Paul W posted also
clarified a lot.

     CQ
PS: I think I also saw the "repeating woman" story somewhere.  Not mine.
      (Although I did identify. . .)

     


   
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."  Shakespear in Hamlet

Offline CQWeave

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Re: Have you given away first time right ?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2008, 01:35:43 PM »
Hey dominic,
     
      Don't want to muddy up the thread but I do have questions
about your dog, Ruff.

       How is there a benefit to Ruff being published?  Maybe I am
dense (or just missing that it is a joke). 

      If Ruff publishes on line or whatever, doesn't Ruff own the
copyright; and, doesn't he forfeit his First Right?

     
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."  Shakespear in Hamlet

domenic

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Re: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2008, 02:28:29 PM »
Ha ha, this was an ongoing thing I had with a person on the net this past month. This person did not like the fact that I view a published author as one who is published by a standard publisher. That person said; "Anything put on the net is published, thus, they are a published authors." My reply to that person was; "If that is true, than my dog Ruff can be a published author," thus the book, A book for dogs," by Ruff. What my statment was, all the junk on the net does not make one an author. What are the standards? There are none. Writers work hard to become published authors. I see it as unfair that anyone can put junk on the net and claim the same title. It is the same with junk ebooks. They give a true book (in ebook form) the same bad name. This is not a plug, but check out Ruff's book on my site.. www.zootyandflappers.com
I'm a ghost writer for Ruff. I hold the copy rights. lol.
 Domenic
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 02:31:07 PM by domenic »

Offline Jethika

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Re: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2008, 02:44:33 PM »
 :D I read the interview with your dog; he's very eloquent for a canine.

I was just wondering, what would deviantART count as?  :-\ I have a tonne of half-done stuff up there. :-[
There are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting around and complaining about having a boring life. So I pretty much like to make it up. I'd rather tell a story about somebody else.
-- Kurt Cobain

domenic

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Re: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2008, 03:11:25 PM »
Something out of the norm; any of the art forms have to be protected. That is why you will see a copyright on reproduced art work, be it clay, wood, metal, paint or printed word. One need not file for a copy right. Put on the copyright mark, and find a way to prove you were first. I send myself a full manuscript via the mail, and do not open it. It has a post mark to prove a date. If I ever have the need to prove the work is mine in court, I will have a Judge open it. Some people on and off the net will steal your work. Protect it. Please do not take what I say as legal advice. I am not a lawyer, and laws change from day to day. If one is going to be a full time writer, they should have some sort of legal service as to the publishing industry.
 domenic
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 03:13:20 PM by domenic »

Offline Xerika

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Re: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2008, 08:11:20 PM »
Well, I think I've read all of the comments above and I'm still worried about posting anything anywhere if that's the situation. Yes, I understand about posting something that you will later change - but by how much? A few words here, a couple of paragraphs there?

Admittedly, I haven't posted much of my own stuff on MWC yet but this whole thing just puts me off posting anything else. Maybe I'll also just abandon my blogs.

I'm quite serious about getting into print one of these fine days but there are too many barriers to overcome already (e.g. personal talent, motivation) without adding additional hurdles.
http://rob-johnson.org.uk/ - writing, podcasting and reluctant olive farming

"I'd Rather Eat My Own Face" podcast. The truth about olive harvesting. http://wp.me/p2bC2C-8U

"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." - Elmore Leonard

domenic

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Re: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2008, 09:43:28 PM »
Xerika,
I understand how you feel. MWC can help one become a better writer. We should post and ask for criticism on our work. True, I would not post a book I wanted to get published unless it was in a member only area. But, I would suggest you write one or two page shorts that are not a part of a book. We all have things we don't mind putting at risk. Short stories are easy to write, and these we can use to build our talent on. Paul.W suggested this some time back. That's why it's good to read everything on the forum. I am going to give away two of my books just to build a following. I look at it like paying my way into the reader market. Give away two books, and have a following to sell all future books to. Besides, readers may tell me to get a job driving a truck or something. We all think we are good writers. Me, I want to know.."Am I good or not?"
In the past I have posted stuff on MWC that I would have to pay someone to steal...And I used to think it was great.
                      Domenic

PaulW

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Re: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2008, 10:04:42 PM »
I think it is easy to become too scared of this whole issue.

What you have to ask yourself is why you are posting your material here.

If it is to show it off, to get a gauge of whether it is any good or not, then you have to accept that it is a sample of your writing, a throwaway. If you explore a character that you later choose to use in a book, so what? It doesn't mean any later works including that character are void as regards first rights. Lots of characters in novels have their roots in earlier short stories by the writer.

If you decide to put your entire WIP up here for comments... well, that's just silly if you intend to take it for publication. This isn't a gallery site. We have workshop forums to help each other out with problems. You don't have to show your entire work for that, in fact the larger the piece you post the worse the critique you'll get generally. Of course a lot of people DO post their work to ask 'is this any good'. That's fine as it stands but if you're going to take your work to publication, you should have the self-confidence to know that it is good already.

Say you have a restaurant, you don't give people free meals to see if they like it. A sampler, yeah, sure, but not a whole meal. You have to have the confidence that your food is good enough to sell and not saturate the market by giving it away. This is a direct analogue of commercial writing in my opinion.  Now - if your writing is a hobby, then be honest about that, write for the buzz, and don't worry about publication. You have to make your mind up one way or the other though.

Just to give an idea, when I have a problem, I'll quite often write a small sample piece to show that problem and receive  advice. Not through 'publication fear' but usually to condense the problem into something suitable for getting critique. I get a response, I make sure I thank the people who've replied, and I delete the post. If I leave it up here, it's throwaway writing (and there's nothing bad about writing just for practice or fun).

You just need to be very clear about what your motive for posting your work is and what you hope to gain from it. Don't be paranoid about first rights, but don't be stupid either and be prepared to accept that not everything you write is for publication. 



domenic

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Re: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2008, 10:53:13 PM »
Good advice Paul. I have had a question in my head for the past two months and can't seem to get any info on it.
First rights..Before I sell a book, I own all the rights. If I sell or give a books away, I still own all the rights. So how are they lost?
(unless I let someone else sell or give them away).
Domenic.

PaulW

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Re: Have you given away first time right ? /Paul has a good link on this.
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2008, 02:42:19 AM »
I'm not expert on this, and it is an area that needs experts. What you are selling though is usually a variation on the right to publish something that you own copyright on. It doesn't mean they WILL publish it, they are just paying for the right to do so before anyone else. So, if you show your work on a public forum, it means they can no longer be the first ones to display it to the public. You've effectively consumed that first showing yourself.

If I was a publisher and I'd just bought the rights to a fantastic story but someone then pointed out a web site where it had already been serialised, or huge chunks of it had, I think they'd be within their rights to be annoyed and to feel conned. You've sold them the right to an one-off event. If you hold that event without them,  so they effectively just get a replay of it, you've ripped them off.

That's the best way I can explain my view of it. As I say though, I'm not an expert.