Monday, 13 February 2012

Woman's Own have listened to us

I'm delighted to say that Woman's Own have taken on board the huge number of comments they had about their competition, and have decided to offer £200 to the winner. It's not a huge prize but it is far better than expecting any writer to be happy with just publication. I'm glad that they listened to us and that they were big enough to rethink the terms of the comp.

Go to the WO facebook page and scroll down to find the post beginning 'Calling all budding authors' for the full story.

We can remove Woman's Own from the blacklist now. Well done all for exerting enough pressure to get this changed.

Edited 20:17 to add - on another facebook page Simon Whaley mentioned he had emailed WO to ask about rights for this competition, and received the reply that they will only take First British Serial Rights for any story they publish. So rest assured, the comp is not a rights-hogger.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it still looks a bit messy to me. They could pay the winner £200 but still keep the copyright to every other entrant's story and print them later for free.

Has anybody ever entered a competition without first checking whether or not the organizers want to keep your copyright?

Old Kitty said...

Oh I truly detest Facebook! I went to the link and just detest how FB pages look - it's all zig-zaggy and messy with tiny writing and just horrendous... sorry, off-tangent there..!

So anyway, thanks lovely womagwriter for the update - hooorah!! Some prize money worth aiming for!!

Good luck everyone entering! Take care
x

Cathos said...

Well done in bringing this to writers and readers attention and putting the pressure on!

womagwriter said...

I think I saw somewhere on another fb discussion that someone (can't remember who!!) had contacted them and asked about rights - the reply was that they wanted FBSR so if that's true, that's ok.

Anonymous said...

I think somebody mentioned somewhere that some comps gather up all the rights even if all you've done is enter the comp. In other words they expect you to give your story to them.

It's a sneaky way to gain free copy.

No idea if that's WO intention or not.

Hope not.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad WO have moved on this subject.

Sally Zigmond said...

Result! Sort of. I suppose they couldn't totally back out now having publicised it but let's hope they rethink the whole thing for the future.

Alex G said...

Anonymous is right - a lot of competitions do ask for copyright as a condition of entry, and I won't list those on my blog, and have challenged some of those competition organisers who do ask for it (many other writers who care about copyright have done and continue to do likewise).

But I think it's important to make clear that those publishers who do this aren't 'keeping' the copyright - this implies it's theirs to start with when it's not. It's writers who *assign* their copyright by entering: it is we as writers who are in control of our copyright, and it is our actions which determine what happens to it.

The language we use I think is vital. So here’s a little plea for us to not talk of publishers ‘retaining’ copyright and instead talk of writers ‘surrendering’ it – because that’s what we do when we agree to copyright-grabby terms, and speaking of it in these terms communicates the importance of this subject much more effectively to, for instance, new writers who are less aware of copyright issues.

JO said...

Well done to WO for having the decency to accept they made a mistake.

Patsy said...

This is excellent news - by making this change they're accepting that stories good enough to be published are good enough to earn the writer some money.

Anonymous said...

Great result. More power to our combined writer's elbows. I did email the editor myself but no personal reply as yet! Well done Womagwriter for raising awareness on this and all the writers who commented.

Li said...

Glad they reconsidered, but it's a shame that we have to twist arms to get treated fairly. :-(

Anonymous said...

Too litttle, too late in my eyes - and WO only backed down due to the threat of losing readers.

So they've still lost this reader.

Diane Fordham said...

Thumbs up on that! It was inspiring to see what happens when we as writers unite and stand together. I am totally happy with how this turned out. :-)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

At least WO listened and understood the power of word of mouth among short story writers!

Laura Marcus said...

As I pointed out on the WO Facebook page, this actually makes better sense economically. If everyone who threatened to boycott the summer special now buys it, that's easily an extra £200! And could well be more. Ergo, paying writers makes more economic sense than not.

This is a good news story. Which makes a change. And they're only buying FBSR.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, but if the comp had no prize money attached, would it not have attracted novice writers rather than them now having to compete against 'professionals' who'd now be motivated to enter?

Dream it, then do it said...

It says the best entries (plural) will appear in the summer special. So it still looks like they can publish as many entries as they like for just £200 and the runners up will get nothing.

Caroline said...

Yay! A resut - at least we get listened too now. Caroline x

Maggie May said...

Well done to all responsible for getting our voice heard.

L said...

go women go! Well done for getting them to change their minds.

Carolb said...

It's great that WO have made this change after so many writers told them it was wrong.

Kath said...

I'm really glad they're offering a prize now (although it's not clear yet if every story they print will attract a prize). I just wonder though - as the intention seems to be that this is a competition for the magazine's readers, should "professionals" be entering? It's like we've all been up in arms about readers being duped into offering stories for no pay but, now that there's a prize, we want our share of the action. I know it's a moot point because how do you define who's a professional? Perhaps the answer is, anyone who would have to pay income tax on the prize because they already have an income of some kind from writing. What do others think?

Laura Marcus said...

So far as I am aware, prize money isn't taxable as it isn't income. So whether a pro or a beginner won, neither would have to pay tax on it.

Which actually makes it even more attractive for a pro if you think about it!

I imagine most competitions have professionals entering them as well as beginners. No way to stop that. I'm just glad we got them to change their minds and won a small victory for professional writers everywhere - and those who wish to be.

Kath said...

Laura, I'm sure there's something in this month's WF about competition prizes being treated as income. Will check it out.

Alison said...

Laura and Kath, from what I understand if you're a professional writer then the taxman does consider competion prizes to be income, but I think you can also claim your entry fees against tax.