Forum: Arts / Fiction

Fiction
Need Serious Advice (karma: 1)
By Celebrianmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7921, member since Thu Mar 31, 2005
On Fri May 11, 2012 07:21 AM

I got offered money by a small publishing company for my novel. The thing that's confusing to me isn't the fact that it's a pitifully small sum (I expected that as a first-time author), what's confusing me is the fact that they are offering a pitifully small sum for my COPYRIGHT and the novel itself. Am I nuts, or is this the dumbest offer I could ever get? Who sells their copyright with no hope of getting any royalties? Why would they offer such a thing?

6 Replies to Need Serious Advice

re: Need Serious Advice
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Fri May 11, 2012 07:36 AM
I'm going to do some research on this for you. I had two short stories published in Literary Magazines and I got to keep the copyright.

It is very confusing sometimes to know what to do with these issues. I'll talk to a few people and get back in a few days. Until then, just want to offer my heartfelt congratulations.

xoxo

Keep On Dancing*
re: Need Serious Advice
By schuhplattlerPremium member Comments: 3037, member since Sat Dec 23, 2006
On Fri May 11, 2012 02:46 PM
I would not sell. If someone buys your copyright, what is to prevent them from altering your work in your name?
re: Need Serious Advice
By Celebrianmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7921, member since Thu Mar 31, 2005
On Fri May 11, 2012 03:01 PM
I have now received a second offer. At this point I'm having a 'wth' moment and am wondering if this is actually happening.

A friend of mine has a friend (bahaha) who has relatives in the publishing industry and they are going to put me in contact with a literary agent, so hopefully I'll find out by Monday if I can have an actual agent represent me for negotiations...or whatever. My head is dizzy about this right now.
re: Need Serious Advice
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 15032, member since Thu Feb 14, 2002
On Fri May 11, 2012 03:43 PM
You should not expect to keep your copyright, especially not as a first-time author. That is what publishing companies are buying. What else did you expect? A publishing company buys the rights to produce your novel.

"Copyrights are property. They're treated like real property. Like you can sell your car, or you can rent your car. You can sell it outright and whoever has it can do whatever they want with it." - my dad, published author of several books

So yes, this is a completely valid offer. You should only expect to retain a copyright if you're an established author and some leverage to bargain with. My dad still doesn't retain full copyright on some of his works.

As an author, you are selling the rights to your work. That is what the company is paying you for. If you don't like the offer, reject it for one that will pay you royalties (puny though they may be), but do NOT expect to keep your copyright. That's completely unreasonable!
re: Need Serious Advice (karma: 1)
By Gioiamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3024, member since Sun Jun 20, 2004
On Fri May 11, 2012 10:55 PM
Regardless of what you decide you want to do (bargain for a deal to get royalties, etc), you should definitely wait for an agent, or even a lawyer if you know one who works with this type of stuff to help you go through the contract.
re: Need Serious Advice (karma: 1)
By Celebrianmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7921, member since Thu Mar 31, 2005
On Sun May 13, 2012 12:39 PM
Got a second offer from another publisher for the same story as well as another. Also seemingly craptastic as far as offers go, but strangely enough I am grateful that more than one publisher is interested.

I consulted with a friend of mine whose family is in the publishing business and they are connecting me with someone who is an agent sometime this week. They would also like to take a look at my story, now, since they are interested to know what it is these people want.

Also got advice from a different publisher from a forum I used to post on years ago to sharpen my skills not to relinquish my rights for such a paltry sum without any royalties or having my copyright reverted back to me at a future date. I'm doing research about all of this because when I go to meet the agent I kind of want to have a direction for the conversation.

I'm dazed.

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