Oh, oh, I’m doing another Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post. Stay tuned, I have a hunch there will be more. And it’s time for me to redo some of the old ones as well. Things have changed.
Why this topic? Why now?
Over the last month or so I have been hammered by all kinds of writers bent on the belief, the myth, that giving a percentage of their work away is a good and smart thing to do. I went to the conference I talked about in a previous post and heard writers talking about giving away percentages. My wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, on her blog every Thursday has been pounding on how horrid traditional publishing contracts have become, detail by detail.
And the common thread on her posts is that writers are determined to give away control of their work.
And lately I’ve seen a couple of contracts that are flat horrid from epub companies (meaning companies that claim to “help” writers get their work into print while taking 15% or more forever).
And the key to all of this is that they take these rights FOREVER.
So what am I saying exactly?
Simply put…Writers should hold onto 100% control of their own work.
Period. No exceptions.
Sure, license a right to a publisher or a magazine or an audio company for a short use time, but keep 100% control of the underlying property. (If you do not understand what I mean by license your work, the you need to learn copyright. A great place to start is the Copyright Handbook from Nolo Press.)