1. CMastah
    Offline

    CMastah Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    43

    Question about publishers and short stories and full books set in same world

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by CMastah, Sep 9, 2015.

    So I've been reading some tips on a pro short story website that was saying that it's good to get to work on short stories before getting to your actual novel (for a number of reasons). I do have several ideas for stories that honestly I'm not sure I could flesh out into a whole novel anyway, so I got to thinking:

    If I wrote several short stories set in the same world as my actual novel, would there be any legal issues with getting the short stories published by one publisher and the novel by another?

    If I self published my short stories and wanted to publish my actual novel (all set in the same world) traditionally, would there be an issue in this?
     
  2. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    No. Magazines that publish short stories don't publish novels. And novel-length publishers generally don't publish short stories, other than possibly in collections, and that's not very common. So going with one won't hurt the other. The point that the pro short story website is likely trying to make is that by publishing with a pro magazine it will show that you're a very capable writer and that you're already beginning to reach a wide audience.

    The main way for short stories to have an impact on finding a publisher is either to:
    --Get them published in a major magazine/ezine (pro one like the website you were looking at).
    --Sell a lot of copies and get a lot of positive reviews if you self publish.

    Otherwise the short story route probably won't be all that advantageous when trying to find a publisher for your novel.

    I will note that getting short stories published in a pro short story market is very competitive. Probably as competitive as in the novel market. It's just that you can write more short stories faster than you can novels, if that makes sense.

    That's my two cents. Good luck and press on!
     
  3. CMastah
    Offline

    CMastah Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    43
    Heheh, I was hoping to use this opportunity to learn how to craft characters while still writing the small stories I have floating in my head. If I can get them published it'll be an excellent start for me.

    My primary concern though was if there would be any issues with either publishers (short story publishers and novel publishers) if I published short stories set in my fantasy world from one and a full length novel from the other (additionally if I used the same characters as well). It might be an amateurish question but I literally don't know my rights in this.
     
  4. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,075
    Likes Received:
    5,271
    Location:
    California, US
    Coming at it from the other side, why would you think you don't have the right to do this? Absent some kind of contract provision (which I certainly wouldn't agree to if I were you) you're free to do whatever you want along these lines. Your publisher isn't typically going to get the copyright in your characters etc.
     
  5. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    If you were coming at it from the other direction, novel to short story based on the same characters and world, there are come contracts for right of first refusal for a work that is within a series (world/characters). Those can be sticky clauses, and best to have removed or severely limited.

    But going from short stories first to the novel...that wouldn't be an issue as the works would've already been published, and the publisher (novel) in question would be aware of them (or should be). In any case they would predate the contract.
     
  6. CMastah
    Offline

    CMastah Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    43
    Ah, I see. I thought that if you publish named characters/worlds with one publisher they'd (at least temporarily) own the rights to them and hence you couldn't publish other stories with other publishers (I think I remember reading about a fictional world (and characters and such) who were sold to WotC and they controlled the fate of that setting and its characters).
     
  7. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,075
    Likes Received:
    5,271
    Location:
    California, US
    Not generally, though you have to read the terms of the contract. When you're writing for a shared world publisher, like WotC and their D&D or Star Wars books, then you're likely going to have to give up rights in the characters, etc. That's the price you pay for playing in their sandbox. If the world is your own creation and you're going with a regular publisher, you should be leery of contracts where the publisher wants to take all rights in your characters, etc. As @TWErvin2 it isn't unusual for publishers to want an option on future works, but they shouldn't be acquiring the copyright in your story and characters etc.
     
  8. IlaridaArch
    Offline

    IlaridaArch Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    170
    Hey, I want to revive this subject a bit.

    I have a fantasy story brewing, which seem to expand into a very large book or then I chop it into few pieces.

    While I make the story, obviously there are lot of worldbuilding behind. I thought about making the historical events into short stories. Trademark wise, is this a risk? Or any other trouble caused by this?
     
  9. Edward M. Grant
    Offline

    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Canada
    If they're published before the novel, there shouldn't be any problem. But the non-compete clauses in many publisher contracts for novels could be. I'm sure I remember a writer getting in trouble a few years ago when they self-published some short stories related to a novel, and the publisher claimed that violated the non-compete clause.
     
  10. IlaridaArch
    Offline

    IlaridaArch Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    170
    Hey Grant, thanks for your answer.

    So just to make sure; if I self-publish some short stories based on the same world and different time era, before the release of the novel, they should not be a problem if the novel ends up getting a contract with a publisher?
     
  11. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,075
    Likes Received:
    5,271
    Location:
    California, US
    Read your contract with that publisher. That's the only way to know. Otherwise, while prior sales won't matter it could be that leaving those short stories up after entering into the publishing contract could be a problem. Also, find out whether noncompete clauses of that type are enforceable where you are.
     
  12. Annihilation
    Offline

    Annihilation Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    What is the name of the site?
     

Share This Page