Monday 29 June 2020

A few words of caution

I'm posting this because of something I saw in an online group. Some members clearly misunderstood the situation, and if they did, it seemed likely others will too.

When you sell rights (any rights from single use to all rights) you generally sell them to the company who own the publication – not the magazine or the editor. The rights you sold will belong to that company for the term of the agreement (which is usually the whole copyright term, so long after your death). This will be stated in the contract.

You don't get those rights back if the editor moves on, or the magazine closes, or it was such a long time ago you think it doesn't count anymore. The only way you can regain your rights is to buy them back – and whoever bought them is under no obligation to agree.

Please, please, please don't sign any contract until you're sure you understand all of it completely, and that you agree with the terms offered. And keep a copy! Don't assume you'll remember, and don't assume you can ask another writer to check for you – they may well have been offered different terms, especially if they signed at a different time.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Couple of things...

Lucy at The People's Friend thought this post, on writers' rights, might be of interest.

I'm the latest guest on the Healthy Happy Writer Show. You can listen or watch here. I talk (and talk and talk!) about different writing related topics, including Womag and copyright.

Update. Three things now! I've just had an acceptance (from YOU) for a story which was sent three days short of two years ago!

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Guest post by Della Galton – Selling All Rights

Today's guest, Della Galton, is probably known to all of you as a very successful womag writer.

Selling All Rights

Long ago when I joined a creative writing class – which was what got me started as a writer – I was told by the tutor never to sell All Rights to my work.
All Rights meant that you no longer owned your work. You literally handed it over lock stock and barrel to a new owner, who could if they wished make a film script from it, put their name on it, sell it on to someone else, enter it in a competition, all without asking your permission, or, of course, paying you any extra fee.
For the above reasons selling All Rights was a financially unsound thing to do, especially in the days when you could sell the rights more than once. However it could possibly be considered as an option if the buyer paid handsomely. Not many writers did it though. Not ones who knew what they were selling anyway.
There was another very good reason not to do it. After all, if a few writers were to start selling All Rights to their work then what was to stop all markets demanding that all writers did it?
If this happened then sooner or later writers would be redundant. Why would a market pay for new work when they could simply reprint old work without payment?

Have things changed? Is it OK to sell All Rights now? Obviously it’s up to the individual writer what they do with their work, just as it always has been. But everything I’ve said above still applies.
I often hear writers say that it’s OK for well paid bestselling authors but that the poorer ones among us have no choice.
We ALL have a choice. Although not necessarily a very palatable one.
Everyone has bills. Lots of us – myself included – are self supporting with no partner to help and no other income but writing related earnings. When Woman’s Weekly decided to buy All Rights I made my choice not to sell them any more work. This meant I took on a cleaning job, to supplement my writing income. Not a choice I particularly relished. But a choice none the less.

So now Take a Break has followed suit and I know some writers will be saying, Oh no, but I have no choice. If I don’t sell All Rights I won’t be able to pay my mortgage/rent/bills.
There is actually still a choice.
I have now added an invoicing job to my cleaning job and my writing job. I think they call it portfolio working. This enables me to continue working for markets that don’t take All Rights for fiction. I’m very happy about that.

To end on a very positive note, I’ve been approached twice recently by publishers asking if I still owned the rights to my short stories. I now have an anthology of short stories aimed at teaching people English coming out in Russian and English. I can’t wait to see what my work looks like in Russian.
I was also approached and given a very good fee for a story to be reproduced as part of an educational course used by Oxford University Press. Neither of these things would have happened if I’d sold the rights to what is MY work. Please think about it before you sell the rights to what is YOURS.

If you enjoy Della's writing, you might like to take a look at her latest novel, Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff Hill. I've not read that one yet, but I've read and enjoyed several of her other books. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday 15 June 2020

Over To You

What's happening in Womag land?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Do you have tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Feel free to use the photo as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Monday 8 June 2020

Yours Fiction guidelines

Thanks to Alyson Hilborne for sharing these guidelines she spotted in Yours Fiction. Please note that although Yours and Yours fiction are sister publications, they have different submission guidelines and you must state which magazine your story is for.

Both Yours and Yours fiction are open to submissions from all writers. They both take quite extensive rights, but after discussions with myself and others they no longer take all rights.

Thursday 4 June 2020

Double quick

Just a quick note to say that two of my novels are on sale today and tomorrow for half price – that's 99p (99c) each for Firestarter and A Year And A Day.

And I've got two stories in the July issue of Take A Break's Fiction Feast which is out today. That'll be the last time, unless they rethink the decision to impose all rights contracts.

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Fiction Feast – all rights contracts.

Heres an email I've just received from Fiction Feast.

Dear Patsy
Thank you for continuing to submit your stories to Fiction Feast, we appreciate your contributions.

I am writing to let you know that from issue #10 this year (published in September 2020), both Take a Break Fiction Feast and Take a Break Monthly will be changing the basis on which fiction is commissioned. From that date we will require you to grant all rights for any commissioned work.

This is to bring Take a Break fiction commissioning in line with all other Bauer UK arrangements.

I have attached a copy of the commissioning agreement for your information. Clause 5 lays out the rights requirements. I have attached a copy of the commissioning agreement for your information. Clause 5 lays out the rights requirements. Please can you print out the Agreement, fill in your details and sign and date at the bottom, before emailing it back to us.

Please note that this change of rights applies to future commissions only.  Any work that we have commissioned from you previously will remain on an FBSR basis, as originally commissioned.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes


Helen Stables

And here's my reply.
Dear Helen,

I’m very sorry that you’ve taken this step as all rights contracts are very unfair to the writers. It’s entirely possible to have a contract which allows you to use the work multiple times and in multiple formats without taking away our moral rights and the ability to reuse our work in other ways, such as self publishing. I therefore won’t be submitting work under the new terms.



If you care about copyright, I suggest you do something similar. As I said in my last post, it is possible to make publishers think again, but for this to happen with Fiction Feast it will need a lot of us to work together.

All rights contracts – again.

If you came here because you're concerned about all rights contracts, then you can click on 'copyright' under this post to get my opinions on the matter. Those opinions are not favourable.

If you're here for my advice on the matter that's very simple – don't sign. Simply explain to whoever sent it that although you'd be happy to have your work published by them, you're not prepared to give up all your rights. They might listen – several of us asked Yours to reconsider and they did. 

The only way we can stop all magazines from taking all rights is if a lot of us refuse to sign any new all rights contracts, and if those who've already signed some contact the editors and explain they will no longer submit work under all rights terms, either in their own name or a pen name. We could achieve this together. I cannot do it alone.