Thursday 24 October 2019

Up to you!

I post information, on this blog in the hope that it will be of use or interest to others. I use information I've discovered, or am provided with, in good faith. That's it.

I'm not paid by the magazines (other than when they buy my stories – if they do). Making a post about a publication gains me no advantage with them (although it may do the opposite in some cases!). I'm not endorsing any publication, nor am I responsible for their policies, nor the opinions of those leaving comments.

Personally I don't give up all rights to my work and don't submit work to publications which receive money yet pass none of this to the fiction authors. If you wish to do either of those things yourself then it's entirely your decision. We're all different and write for different reasons and with different expectations.

As writers we can criticise each others choices, we can ostracise those who feel or act differently, and make them reluctant, even afraid, to express opinions in groups, blogs, social media etc and to write under pen names to avoid a possible backlash. Or we can accept that it's hard for all of us and offer support, advice and friendship. That's what I try to do. Again which route you take is entirely your decision.


Bea Charles said...

Thank you for saying this, Patsy. It’s a hard world in womag land and we all have some tough decisions to make.
It is sad when people are reluctant to express themselves and share the choices they feel they have been forced to make because of the risk of being vilified by others who have made different choices.
Supporting each other is surely the most important issue, even if we don’t feel able to support the choices made.

carrie said...

I agree. Well said Patsy and Bea. Supporting each other is the kindest thing we can do in this uncertain world. We're all different and write for different reasons. Nobody should feel scared to voice their own opinion. After all, we have to be ourselves - everyone else is taken!

Sharon boothroyd said...

I too, feel that decisions ought to be respected, no matter where you sit with all rights contracts.
As I see it, it's up the writer to proceed or not, as long as the writer is aware of it before -hand.
No womag writer should be judged by their decision on this, yet sadly some are.

Alex Gazzola said...

This is a subject about which my opinion just isn't settled. I nodded along to your post, agreeing with it all, but I know that had you made a strong argument for taking a stand against 'copyright grabbers', I'd have YES'd away to that as well.

I hope that doesn't make me a hypocrite. I just think the issue is vexed and difficult.

I think the decision has to be informed: people need to fully understand what they are signing up to. I'm not sure they always do.

I regularly vent on Twitter about writing competitions which copyright grab on all *entries* (not merely winners) and that is the only case where I will not give way. It is unacceptable, and I strongly feel writers should not participate in that. To me, it's theft by stealth.

Patsy said...

@ Bea, Sharon and Carrie – Thank you!

@ Alex – I hope I'm not a hypocrite either.

I do feel very strongly about the copyright issue. It's my opinion that no writer should ever have to give up all rights in order to have their work published (or enter it in a competition). The stories we write our ours and we should be able to continue to be able to make that claim, and to use them again in some situations, after they've been published. Those who take away those rights are not treating authors fairly.

However because they are our stories, I also feel that it's up to each of us what we do with them. Writers who give up their rights are not the enemy of those who feel that's a mistake. We can, and I feel should, check they understand what they're doing and bring potential issues and problems to people's attention (as I believe we both do) but the final decision should still rest with the individual author.

Kate Blackadder said...

The info you supply is much appreciated, Patsy.

Teresa Ashby said...

Well said, Patsy!

Carolb said...

The Womag blog provides an important service Patsy, so thank you for keeping it going.

This will always be a touchy subject. Each writer will make their own decision on what is right for them.

But it shouldn't prevent those who feel these all-rights contracts are wrong from saying so. It's about the magazine and their contracts, not the individual writers.

Maureen Brannigan said...

I absolutely agree with you Patsy and I can't imagine anyone thinking that you would promote any mags for your own gain. I'm still astonished by how helpful and unselfish you are and am sure all on womagwriter feel the same.

It's great to have so much information and opinions regarding magazines, editors, etc - especially for the new writers who will come along. There's no question that it's much harder now to make a decent amount of money writing for women's magazines than it was ten or twenty years ago. All we can do is pass on any info we come across and encourage each other without judgment.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well said. We each have our own paths.

Maureen Brannigan said...

Alex, I love your 'Keeping the Dream Alive' post on your site. It is true that when writers haven't published novels most of the non-writing public is going to think they are slackers:-)

I've had one novel published - co-written with a friend. Unlike JK Rowling and the few other millionaire authors, we did not hit the big time:-)

So sorry it didn't work out with Chris Evert:-)

Elizabeth McGinty said...

Thanks Patsy for the info in this blog.

As you say writers have to do what is right for them and their circumstances. It would be ideal if publishers didn't cause these copyright issues but it is what it is, at this time.

Life is too short and the market too difficult not to support each other.

Alex Gazzola said...

@ Patsy / everyone - maybe the law just needs to change. It’s in France, isn’t it, that the creator’s right is inalienable, and cannot be sold / transferred?

@ Maureen - thank you for saying so and that’s lovely to read! Perhaps the big time is yet to come for you … some ‘old’ novels are sometimes picked up by TV or film, and given a second lease of life …

Anonymous said...

Patsy, thank you for providing this platform for discussion. I value the opportunity to hear a range of opinions. I decided, based on the earlier debate around Woman's Weekly, no longer to submit to 'all rights' publications - I'd had two stories published on that basis previously, before I thought about the implications. As long as DC Thomson and Fiction Feast allow me to keep copywrite, this is something I am happy to do, but if that situation were to change, I don't know if I'd be strong enough to give up on the excitement and satisfaction of publication - would I? On a brighter note, it is surely a good sign that Yours have identified short fiction as something readers want. If this turns out to be the start of a trend, then who knows? Best wishes to you and the womagwriter community, from Eirin Thompson

Anonymous said...

Oops! I meant copyright, obviously. Brain-freeze. Sorry. Eirin

Anonymous said...

I would agree with Alex in saying the law should change, so the creator cannot have their creations taken from them. The rights issue with magazines seems, to me, to have changed the entire writing landscape. Kate Hogan

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for keeping this blog going, Patsy. It's such a valuable resource for womag writers.

Tara Westgate

Patsy said...

@ Kate and Teresa – thank you.

@ Carol – Absolutely. If/when friends say they're considering subbing to an all rights market, I check they realise that and understand the implications, and let them know why I don't think it's a good idea. But it's their choice and making it shouldn't mean losing friends, being kicked out of writing groups etc.

@ Maureen and Elizabeth – I agree – it's harder now, so the need to help and support each other is greater than ever.

@ Alex C – thanks.

@ Alex G – That would be good. Can't see it happening though!

@ Erin – One of the things I try to do with this blog is to provide information so people can make informed decisions. Unfortunately I can't do anything to make the decisions easier!

Yes, despite the downsides I do think it's a positive thing that more womag fiction will be published. (Typo totally forgiven!)

@ Kate – to be pedantic, our rights cannot be taken from us – we have to agree to give them up. If nobody accepted such terms, publishers would not be able to use our work on that basis.

You're right though, these unfair terms have made huge and unwelcome changes.

@ Tara – thanks.

Patricia G said...

Thank you, Patsy,for raising this issue. If we womag writers want to see ourselves as a community we should respect each others'decisions. Personally I've stopped submitting stories to WW etc: but then I don't write for a living. I'm concerned too about the potential dumbing down of a readership fed solely celebrity gossip.

Julie Day said...

Even though I don't write for womags, I have stopped because of the rights issue. I still read this blog for what is going on in womag land. Thank you for keeping this going.

Jenny Worstall said...

Thank you for all you do for writers, Patsy. It's much appreciated!

ados123 said...

I second that. Very much appreciate the site and the fact you keep it up to date, Patsy.


Lindsay said...

Never had any success with my womag subs but the fact that I've sent some in is mostly down to your blog so very many thanks for so generously sharing your knowledge.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for such a balanced post, Patsy, and for providing the information to allow us to make choices. It should always be up to the individual where they send their work.