1. adrianhayter
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    adrianhayter Member

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    Question about "publication first rights"

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by adrianhayter, Jan 6, 2008.

    New here-

    In the story forums, general fiction in particular, are the forums blocked from search engines and non-members? If not, it's my understanding that publishers will not accept a piece as "first rights".

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks

    Adrian
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first, this got double posted by mistake, so you can delete the contents of the other one, before anyone replies to it, so you won't have to be checking both for replies...

    as to your question, the forum threads are all open to search engines and anyone who comes to the site, so you don't want to post an entire work that you intend to submit to publishers...

    some sites have what they consider to be 'locked' sections where only members can go, but since anyone can become a member, i just don't see that it's any kind of a solution...

    yes, some publishers won't take a work that has been posted anywhere on the net, since it's then available for free and they want to sell stuff that can't be found anywhere else... there's a lot of controversy among folks who use these sites, re whether it really makes any difference or not, but my feeling is that it's way better to be safe, than sorry and erring on the side of caution is the wisest path to take...

    so, just post a small excerpt for help/review and never post huge chunks or an entire work here or anywhere on the net, if you hope to see it published one day...

    hope this helps... and welcome to the forums!... love and hugs, maia
     
  3. adrianhayter
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    adrianhayter Member

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    Thanks Mamma-

    I'm a refuge from another workshop where goblins have taken over. I do publish yet I need feedback and the kindness of writers.

    The issue is how to fool the spiders.

    I'm wondering if a piece's title is changed, and the publisher Googles the title you've submitted, and the two don't match...you can see were I'm going. Said editor would have to Google a paragraph before the spiders caught on.

    Maybe the goblins will leave.

    Meanwhile, I'll just wander around a while, check out the Jacuzzi and be on my way.

    Adrian
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As mamma says, if you post a substantial portion of your work, even in a restricted forum, it is considered published. Even if you fools the spiders, you are technically in breach of any "first publication rights" contract you enter into. That is not something I would recommend.

    I'd suggest posting only relatively short excerpts for review. The best choice is some section you feel you are having trouble with.

    You aren't going to get in depth reviews of an entire novel in any case. A short story is a different matter, but you're still going to get the most depth from an excerpt of digestible size. Reviewers are volunteers, with a great deal of material to cover. We do our best in the time we have.
     
  5. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    It is possible to get around this problem by posting only draft copies on the web for critique, not the final work that will be submitted to publishers.
     
  6. adrianhayter
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    adrianhayter Member

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    Thanks Cogito-

    Most of my trash, when it works, is short, tight ,quick pieces. It would be hard to parse them out in small portions. At best, a reviewer would be going, huh?

    I feel the chill of an attorney's cold lifeless breath on the back of my neck. LOL.

    Baron- what you say is interesting. My first drafts don't resemble a finished product - I revise 'em 'til the milkman cums.

    I'll keep thinking out loud. Thanks again.

    Adrian
     
  7. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    To clarify - all writing posted in the correct areas (currently called "The Review Room") should not turn up in the search results. They could about six months ago, but we changed it so all posted writing is only viewable by members.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Baron, a draft which looks essentially like the final product in substance would probably be a deal breaker for a publisher contracting for first publication rights.

    I'm moving this thread to Writing Issues -> Publishers. The Suggestions and Feedback forum is for questions and recommendations about the site itself.
     
  9. LinRobinson
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    LinRobinson Banned

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    There is a lot of paranoia about this, and it gets fueled by opinions from people who don't actually publish themselves.

    I have to go with Baron on this one. Excerpts are considered "works in progress". Workshopping is no more considered prior publication than rehearsals disqualify a performance as a "premier".

    But here's the thing. Can anybody cite a single specific instance of somebody losing a sale because they workshopped it on the internet?
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Part of the problem is that there is not an 'industry standard' one look to with this concern.

    Some factors to consider:
    1. Are you posting excepts or an entire project?
    2. Is the project searchable? )For example, can key phrases or titles or name be searched and found via google).
    3. Is the forum password protected, and what does it mean by "members only" viewing?
    4. What are your ultimate objectives for the project and what markets do you intend to submit to (if any)?

    Some publishers are specific in this area:
    Double-Edged Publishing:
    Here is another situation:
    Baen Books has Baen's Bar, a forum where writers post their works, receive crits and suggestions from members, and those that attract the attention of the Baen editors that regularly visit the site are occasionally considered/picked up from the 'electronic slush' for publication in the magazine or even novels. Baen's Universe (the publishers pro-rate paying ezine) in its guidelines recommends new authors to go through the Baen's Bar route, as they reserve a space in each edition for 'introducing new authors'. See: Jim Baen's Universe

    Terry
     
  11. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    I think that it should be mentioned that poetry can be viewed differently to short stories or novels. Compilations of poems that are published often include poems that have individually been published elsewhere. In fact the publication of individual poems in magazines, etc. is an aid to the sales of the compilation.

    Also with short stories, if a particularly story has brought attention to a writer through previous publishing then this will not rule out that story being used in a published collection.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    true, but collections of poems or short stories by unknown new writers will next to never be taken on by paying publishers, as there's just no market for 'em... though vanity publishers and other self-publishing venues will take on anything, as long as you pay the freight...
     
  13. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    As I said, allowing individual poems and short stories to be published in magazines or on the web can help to promote the work. If an agent or publisher sees evidence that they can get sufficient sales then they will publish a new writer, which brings back to the point of my post. I had no intention of entering into a debate about how possible it is to get published as a new poet or short story writer, and if your view is correct then all those who are trying mught just as well give up. My point was that using the web to promote work by publishing individual short stories or poems does not stop those works being included in published collections and therefore the chances of publication would not be prejudiced by the first rights issue, which is what this thread is about.
     
  14. LinRobinson
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    LinRobinson Banned

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    Like I said

     
  15. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe the question is where and under what conditions is the piece being workshopped? And how much of the piece is being posted. Not the fact that it is workshopped.

    The analogy of rehersals mentioned earlier--are those rehersals complete run-through performances, consistently open and easily accessible and to the public at large and for free without restriction? Or is it not regularly accessible, restricted access to seats to view the rehersal, individual scenes being practiced only as they're being devloped, etc.?

    Is posting a piece for comments on a blog, unrestricted, the same as posting on a blog with restricted access, or a forum that is not searchable and restricted to members?

    To better answer the question posed, what are the paramaters of "workshopped" on the internet.

    For example, my crit group is hosted on another forum. It requires a password to enter the forum, and access to the section of the forum that contains our crit group's posts (of members' works in progress) is limited to the administrator and the individual members of the crit group, not the forum members at large, nor is it able to be searched on the internet (via google for example)

    I've had three stories and ten articles published in paying markets that were workshopped through that group. So yes, something 'workshopped' on the internet can be sold for "first north american rights" and/or "first electronic rights". I am not sure it makes a difference but I will note that the sales mentioned were on the order of 1/2 a cent per word, $0.25 per anthology sold, or a flat dollar amount, as opposed to 5 cents or more per word/pro rates.

    On the other hand, I can list an example, where a short story that had been posted on an unrestricted blog was considered a reprint by a paying market for submission purposes, affecting potential payment for said work. The author decided not to pursue publication with that market.

    LinRobinson, I hope I am correct in concluding we basically agree, except for what is considered, or the parameters are, of a piece being workshopped on the intenet.

    Terry
     
  16. LinRobinson
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    LinRobinson Banned

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    My understanding is that password protected material doesn't show up. I think much of it depends on how anti-spider stuff is done in the site design.


    I don't keep posing the question to be argumentative, I think it's a really illustrative question: can anybody site a specific instance of this being a problem?
     
  17. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I answered in a previous post. More specifically it occured with respect to The Sword Review. I also quoted the policy of Double-Edged Publishing with respect to the issue, which thus clarified the situation for those who submit to the publisher's various ezines/magazines, but I will repost the exceprt from DEP's guidelines here:

    The situation was discussed in the The Sword Review's forum with the editors quite some time back, about a year ago if I recall accuratly.

    Terry
     
  18. LinRobinson
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    LinRobinson Banned

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    But that's not a paying market, is it?

    I think free ezines care about that stuff more than regular magazines.

    And my original question still stands. Has anybody actually lost a sale because of this?

    I ask that because people opine one way or the other, but I've never heard of anybody saying "I or somebody I know missed out on a sale because of something on a writing critique site" or whatever.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'll respond to your question with another.

    Would you like to be the one who finds out that a publisher killed a deal because in the publisher's opinion, the first publication contract had been violated?

    It may be an interesting question, exactly where the line is drawn in this matter, but wouldn't you agree it's much better to err on the side of safety?
     
  20. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Sword Review is a paying market (or was...it merged with Dragons Knights and Angels in January 2008--both SF/Fantasy focused magazines published by Double-Edged Publishing--to become MindFlights--which remains a paying market. Not pro rates (1/2 cent per word).

    I think that part of the reason that it is not a commonly encountered issue is two fold:

    1. Many writers who begin a piece or feel their writing is good enough to seek publication, they begin to become wary of such things, and avoid the problem to begin with.
    2. Editors are unlikely to take the time to explain that this piece has been previously published (if they did google an author's name, title, opening line, etc.) why they rejected a piece, they'll send out a form rejection.

    I am not arguing or even trying to imply that every editor checks for such things consistently or often, or that it is a common practice at all. I'd agree that the odds are against it. However with the ease and speed of such searches, it's not that much of an effort. Logically, it wouldn't be done for every piece that comes across the slush pile anyway, but only those that are on the final cut for publication...that the publisher is paying out to the author for first rights, be they print, electronic, North American, or any combination.

    However, isn't posting a piece on a personal and unrestricted blog, seeking comments for example, using first electronic rights? Even if one goes back and deletes the piece in question upon deciding to seek a market to publish it?

    Isn't it then an ethical issue as well? The author is signing a contract, stating that he is selling the first rights to the publisher, when he knows in essence, he isn't.

    Terry
     
  21. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    I'd rather err on the side of caution myself and thing Cogito has a rather valid point.
     
  22. LinRobinson
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    LinRobinson Banned

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    Do you know how many people are hit and killed by automobiles on the streets every single day? Yet despite the many anecdotes, and the statistics, I walk into the streets anyway.

    Here we are talking about something that apparently everybody thinks you should be afraid of, but nobody has ever had it happen or even knows anybody it happens to.

    So let's not be silly.


    The reason I ask the question is that writing advice, particularly from non-professionals is often repeated and sounds very heavily real...but there is nothing to back it up.

    Now we've reached the point of, "well, maybe it never happens but you just have to be really careful about this things anyway." I got past that one when I went to kindergarten.

    It's an abstract problem at most and people think it sounds "inside" to kvetch about it. I continue to hold that it's not something to freak out about.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Nevertheless, I will continue to advise caution. I also urge people to look both ways before they cross the street. And I'm not a professional crossing guard, either, but I still feel I have cause to advise prudence.

    If you will look back in the thread, you will see that TWErwin, a published author, went to some detail addressing your position.

    Even though you demand specifics, you are making some sweeping generalizations yourself: "everybody" thinks you should be afraid of it, "nobody" has ever had it happen...
     
  24. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    I am a published author. I've been writing professionally for more than thirty five years and so has Lin. So what is your point?
     
  25. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    An example was asked for, and one was given. It was at first dismissed, and then ignored. It just doesn't fit a premise promoted. That's okay. Others can read and decide.

    Sure, crossing the street is statistically safe. But doing so foolishly, such as stepping out from between parked cars on a regular basis greatly increases the risk. And one knows that. What folks here are suggesting about first electronic rights, is similar. And once asked, then one knows that.

    Again, I would bring up the ethical issue, unless one feels honesty and ethics carry no true value. Realizing what first electronic rights encompass, using them, and then attempting to sell first electronic rights even though one cannot truthfully offer them...

    Terry
     

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