1. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    Selling your rights

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Mike Kobernus, Feb 20, 2015.

    Hello all.

    I have recently sold a story to a publisher, where I signed away all rights.

    I like getting paid for the story, but I am kind sad about not owning it anymore.

    I did it because I believed that it would provide some good exposure. But on the other hand, I regret that I will not be able to do anything with that story in the future, should I wish to.

    Has anyone else done this, and what was your experience?

    Regrets?
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have never sold all rights to a story to a market where they would never revert back to me. If I were to do so, it would have to be for a good sum of cash. Exposure would not be enough--not unless I had a host of other works, such as novels, that it would direct eyes to and increase potential readership in a significant way.

    While I've never made vast amounts from my stories (a couple pennies down to 1/2 a penny per word, flat rates of 5 to 50 dollars, royalties from 5 cents to 25 cents per copy where the anthologies sold only in the hundreds), I've sold most of the stories as reprints--sometimes multiple times (always earning less than the first sale), and now they're all part of a short story collection released by my publisher (released in print, ebook and audio).

    That would not be possible if the rights didn't revert to me. This usually happens upon publication, or up to a year after publication. Sometimes a market will retain anthology rights for an additional year, but will pay if they use the story. I had one anthology that wanted exclusive rights for two years, but I negotiated it down to one year. Never be afraid to negotiate a contract before signing it.

    Sorry, went a little off topic. But if I had sold the rights of any of the stories in the collection where they didn't revert to me, I would regret it.
     
    Mckk and Steerpike like this.
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Most short story market do not acquire all rights in the story. Not even the ones like Tor.com that tend to pay well. If I was given a contract like this, I'd try to negotiate it, and barring that I wouldn't sign it unless perhaps if it was for am unusually large sum.
     
  4. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    I would not say the sum was unusually large. I think I will just have to chalk this one up to experience. If I want, I can always write another short story with the same characters (perhaps as a prequel or something.) Still regretting the decision somewhat....
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You may want to re-check your contract, or have a literary attorney do so. Just the phrase "signed away all my rights" makes me wonder if you really assigned them for "life" or if there is a determinate time.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    As the contract is out of the norm (very few short story publishers {anthology/magazine/ezin} request all rights with no reversion) you might check for clauses that gives them the rights to the characters, even the setting/world, or a right of first refusal for anything associated with the first story. Some of the language is more for novel contracts, and questionable, but something you might look at before writing something with the same characters.
     
  7. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    I'd be interested to know who the publisher was. It seems unusual to request all rights to a story - I wonder if they have an unusual publishing model, or are doing something out of the ordinary for which they would require all rights to a given work?
     

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