1. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Member

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    Some "online marketer" wants to buy the rights to my story

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by agentkirb, May 5, 2012.

    I consider writing to be a hobby, and I haven't made any money off of anything. I've written 7 stories, the shortest was 20K words and the longest 50K so it's not like these are insanely long novels but they aren't short stories either. They are all posted on another website that is set up to show off your writing and have other people review them and all that. Someone PMs me through said website and says he's an online marketer and he might want to purchase the rights to one of my stories. We talk back and forth and he eventually comes back with an offer of 250 for the first story I had ever written and posted on that website.

    Now, I'm not really worried about how much money is a story really worth. I'm not in this for the money at all. But I do worry if somehow I agree to this that there is some aspect of selling your rights that I'm missing that would make me want to just hang on to the story. I don't know how this sort of thing usually works and why someone would want to buy a story for 250... or even what would motivate someone to go look for stories to buy the rights to in the first place.

    On a separate note. The fact that he's contacting me through PM sounded shady at first, but since I don't attach my email or real name to any of my stories so if someone that didn't know me wanted to contact me, that's the only way they could do it.

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  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It sounds VERY shady to me. Legitimate agents and publishers simply don't do this. I doubt you'll ever see a penny from him/her, but will have to put up some up-front money or sign away rights.

    It sounds like a scam to me. They always sound good at first...
  3. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Member

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    Yeah... that's kind of why I posted it here. But to what end? I don't understand how the scam works or in what way am I being taken advantage of?
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Supporter Reviewer Contributor

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    Are your stories posted in full on that website or is it just a few passages? If you posted the whole story, I'm not sure why anyone would want to pay for it (which is why I think this is a scam).

    I'm thinking you'll sign some contract and never see any form of payment. I wouldn't do this if I were you. It looks like a scam to me.
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are too many possible ways to list. It won't be obvious at this point, they are just dangling the bait before you at this point. They'll let you run with it for a bit before they set the hook.

    In addition to "small fees" up front, there can be small print in the contract with obligations and penalties that will end up with you owing them. Or, they could be simple identity thieves - the information they collect to facilitate payment to your account, or contract information, can be used for identity theft.

    The bottom line is that the offer makes no sense from the outset. I smell menhaden that have been rotting in the hold for a week.
  6. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Member

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    Yeah, the whole story is on the website.

    Sounds like I was right to be suspicious then. I just couldn't for the life of me figure out the angle of the scam if there was one. I'm usually the most skeptic person there is when it comes to stuff like this, which is why I posted the question in the first place.
  7. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Member

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    I ask the guy what he plans to do with it, and he says that he might edit a few things here and there... maybe change the title and try to print it to sell in his local bookshop. I don't know how that plan makes money. I was under the impression he was going to turn it to an ebook and use some kind of marketing strategy he knows about to sell it online. So I'm 99.9% sure that this is a scam of some kind now.
  8. naturemage
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    naturemage New Member

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    I agree, sounds like a scam. If you really feel like continuing to waste your time, ask him what publisher he works for, or how to contact his agent, etc. Otherwise, I'd just ignore him. Especially if he wants to change the title... It's likely he thinks your story is good enough to go on market, and if he buys the rights to your story, then 250 would be all you ever see, even if it becomes a bestseller.
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I sincerely doubt that. Whatever the scam is, I doubt there would ever be $250 paid out. No one trying to run such a scam could count on recouping the $250.

    No, the $250 is just the shiny lure, and it will remain just out of reach. Whatever his payoff is, I don't believe it is from the story itself. I'm just as certain agentkirb is not the only one there to receive such a PM.
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis magnetismus Contributor

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    So, if he's an "online marketer" I guess that tells you he's not a publisher or affiliated with any agent or anything like that.

    If you want to follow up with him, you can protect yourself first and foremost by making sure that 1) no money flows from you to him; and 2) no rights are given over in any manner whatsoever until you have payment up front and verified (e.g. via Paypal, where you have received the payment, made the transfer to your own bank etc). If he has any legitimate interest, he'll understand that and be willing to wait for the number of days it takes for you to have verified payment.

    Next, if he wants to buy rights, he is then going to want you to sign them over in writing (I would assume; he'll have to if he also wants to acquire the copyright). If it gets to that stage, take a good look at the agreement. Is he buying electronic rights only? Is it only for a single publication on a single web site? If he wants you to assign copyright, then keep in mind that the full ownership of the piece will belong to him. He can do whatever he wants with it (well, virtually at any rate), and any monetary gains coming down the road will belong to him.

    But most importantly, I would not do a thing until a full and complete transfer of funds has been made.
  11. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Member

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    Yeah... see, I don't understand how the transaction would even work because lets say hypothetically this is legit... I can't even figure out how the transaction would work online. Because one of us would have to trust the other that they aren't going to just take off as soon as they have what they want. At least if he was associated with a website or magazine or publisher... the reputation of the entity that he represents would be on the line and I could probably trust him not to screw me.
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis magnetismus Contributor

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    Yeah, if he won't tell you who he works with or whether he works with anyone, that is a red flag. He's the one who wants something and approached you. If he doesn't want to pay up front, then you walk away and you are in no worse position than before. You could always write an agreement such that it is conditioned on your receipt of verified payment, I suppose. There are ways to protect against this sort of thing as best you can. But since this seems like an odd situation to begin with I don't know how much effort you want to put in.
  13. Trilby
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    Trilby Senior Member Contributor

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    I'd ignore it. It sounds iffy to me. Like he is 'dangling a carrot' don't be led.

    Don't give him any personal details whatsoever, is my advice.
  14. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Senior Member Contributor

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    If he hasn't offered a contract, I would be concerned. In the contract, it would specify the rights you're granting him for the $250, and for how long. It would also detail how payments are to be made and other pertinent information.
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Supporter Contributor

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    yup!... listen to terry and steer and cog and anyone else warning you off this obvious scammer...

    first and foremost, any time you post an entire piece of writing work anywhere on the internet, it's not marketable, because who's gonna pay to read something you can find for free online?

    and last, but not least, the more contact you have with him, the more at risk you are... put him on your ignore list on the site, add him to your junk mail blocking list on your email, and move on...
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