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.


Sherri Turner said...

I have just had the same, Patsy, and my reply will be similar. I also find it very confusing, given that Yours -also a Bauer publication - seems to have gone the other way. How disappointing.

Lynn Love said...

Well done and thank you for taking such a strong a stand over this issue, Patsy. It means a great deal that a women's fiction writer as high profile as yourself is willing to sacrifice earnings to support this principal. Writers deserve a better deal - end of.
I wouldn't submit to any publication that takes all rights - I've mainly written for The People's Friend so far. Sadly, I'm sure there are many writers - especially new writers keen to break into magazine fiction - who will assume this is the norm and sign the contract anyway, unaware of what a key issue this is.
Thank you again and thanks for sharing your news.

Anonymous said...

They operate a closed list, unless you're on it you can't submit work.

Carolb said...

Well done for taking a stand Patsy.

As a reader and writer, I'm angry that the publisher thinks it's acceptable to expect fiction writers to agree to sign over both all rights and moral rights when there is an alternative.

Sadly, all these type of contracts do is make new writers believe they have to accept this treatment to be published. They don't.

Anonymous said...

Very sad news, Patsy. I'd just sat down at my computer to write the synopsis for a story I was about to submit to Take A Break Fiction Feast. I won't be sending it now! Instead I'll be joining you and many others in declining this new contract to give away all rights for my creations. It was terribly sad when Woman's Weekly decided to take all rights. I declined then also. It cost me of course, but not as much as it would cost me to feel I no longer have connection to my creative work. Some may think it's just a short story, but a lot of heart and soul - as well as hard work goes into a story. I hope others will follow and decline, also. Time to start working on the short story collections, I think. I expect I'll be cancelling my subscription, too. Good wishes. Kate Hogan

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking a stand Patsy. I think it is madness to give up all rights to a story. I mainly sold to WW and was gutted when they changed their contract conditions, and then horrified to find out how little the other magazines paid. My feeling now, is that if I think my stories have a market, perhaps I should just work at trying to find it myself. There are more and more innovative ways of getting stories out to people and the traditional magazines seem to be ignoring them. As they are paying so badly, and are treating our work with such contempt, I feel I have little to lose. I'd be interested to hear if other people are thinking of (or have come up with) ways to by-pass the existing magazine world, or if there is anyone thinking of setting up some alternative source of Womag-type stories?

ados123 said...

I'm sorry for you and those others who submit to Take a Break and are unwilling to lose their rights. Well done for taking a stand and sending such a clear letter to them. I stopped submitting to Woman's Weekly because of this but wasn't on the TAB list...

JENNY DALE said...

Well done for taking a stand everyone. I only write for TPF, but would have loved to break into other magazines. Now it seems only TPF is left, and makes me wonder how long before they do the same. They will no doubt get writers who didn't sell under the old system. If I wrote for TAB I would be declining to sign a new contract too

Liz said...

Thanks for updating us on this issue, Patsy, and for the stand you take on it.

I only write for The People's Friend, partly because most other mags aren't open to new writers, and partly because most of them aren't available in Australia, making it hard for me to study the market the way I could with The People's Friend.

Take A Break isn't open to new writers, so if all of their writers stood together on this issue and refused the new contracts, then there's surely a strong chance that they will change their mind?

Marguerite said...

SO frustrating. Just when I had started to actively write short stories, TAB stopped accepting from any new writers. Since then, the market has shrunk so much. What's the betting they now (have to!) open up to new writers?! As all the above, thank you for the stance you are taking. I shall be writing to them reiterating how I feel about taking the moral rights of their band of writers. Unacceptable and unfair.

Celia said...

Oh, Patsy, isn't this just the way of the world? Appalling that Bauer have finally gathered TABFF into the 'all rights' corral along with all their other publications. For you particularly, since you write so much for them, it will be a blow. I would like to think that those (I stopped writing for them about 8 years ago!) who write a lot for them will ALL stop. Then they'll have to think again. Or close FF altogether and it's not without the realms of likelihood that that is the Bauer intention anyway.
Bravely done though, Tosh, to write back and tell them you're not submitting anything else.

Patsy said...

@ Celia – Bauer don't take all rights for all publications. When people challenged them over it with Yours and Yours fiction, they relented and brought in new terms which still allow them to use published material in any format and as often as they like, but don't deprive authors of absolutely all rights.

If they can do it with those two, they can do it for others.

Anonymous said...

This is extremely depressing - but well done for taking such a firm stand, Patsy. I'll be joining you.

Tara Westgate

Anonymous said...

On the WW front, Ti Media has just sold to Future publishing. They take all rights for non-fiction but any members of the SoA might want to contact them to see if they can send a request asking them to return all rights for fiction.


Sharon Boothroyd said...

I've asked them politely to explain the new terms in plain English with no legal jargon.
But they haven't done this, or they are not prepared to.
From what I've heard, this contracts gives them to right to change their minds about a sale , plus hang onto work,but not publish it and and not pay
Surely we have the right to have the terms of the new contract explained to us properly?
If they won't explain it, I won't sign. It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

It's back to payment on publication which they were using anyway. This also means if the mag folds at any point they don't have to pay anybody off. It's all weighted in their favour.

They hang onto subs for ages too. They seem to forget to reject anything.

If they didn't pay as much as they do who the heck would bother?


Geraldine Ryan said...

They actually used to pay so much better than they do now. I stopped subbing to them when they slashed their rates.

Patsy said...

@ Sharon – It's really worrying that they won't explain the terms to you. There are no possible good reasons for that and no reputable company would want anyone to sign a contract they didn't understand.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Geraldine. I remember £400 or more for a story a few years ago. Good wishes Kate Hogan.