Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Think About The Writing Rights You've Sold?

Word from is that my very first published book (Blown To Hell, a western first published by Doubleday), will be released in large print very soon.  Pretty firm, some time in April.  I'm pretty excited.  It's great to have an earlier creation return to print again.  Great for the ego and for the pocketbook.  Blown to Hell is already available in trade paperback through Amazon as well as a Kindle Edition and a Trade paperback Edition.

So, aside from my own ego being fed and exposing this reprint to folks who read, what other point may I have here? 

Simple - writers, take my advice and negotiate contracts carefully.  Keep all the rights you can, or have specific dates when the rights you've sold expire and they revert to you so you can once again determine if and where and when your written creation may be produced again, perhaps in another format. 

Writers are so frequently focused on getting a book published - in print - that they forget about important things that may lurk in a contract.  Things that could prevent the originator of the work (that's YOU, the writer) from selling rights to reprint in Ebook format, in audio book format, in Large Print, Paperback, Hardback, perhaps even be considered as movie material. 

Contracts should have a timeframe, if they don't watch out.  Hesitate, consider before signing.  There are times when you, as the writer, will have to swallow some things that you don't particularly like, but others when simply questioning a paragraph can get big changes.  If you have an agent he or she should be looking out for you, but question anyway, there's more to your writing career than getting one book published right now, today.  If you don't have an agent, read the contract very carefully yourself and if you don't understand something, ask for intent and clarification.  You can also locate an attorney who specializes in creative arts contracts.  It could well be money well spent to have such a person look the contract over after you've read it.

Have some contracts already - a few years old?  Book sales have slowed to a trickle?  Then read them again.  Look for expirations or paragraphs that would allow you to exit the contract.  Once you comply with whatever requirements the publisher has put forth to get out of a stalled contract you can seek publication elsewhere or perhaps submit to audio publishers or send the idea to production companies.  Writers must train themselves to be business people in addition to their creativity - that is if they hope to make any worthwhile money from their writing.

Take my advice, set up a tracking system for everything you write and follow those expiration dates.  Doesn't matter if it's articles, novels or some other 'for pay' writing.  Know what's required of you and your rights and think creatively in the business world to make the most of anything you create.

Meanwhile I have To Hell And Back, published by Fictionworks as an Ebook and am definitely open to having ti go to paperback or Large Print.  Have to check into that.  Another western.  I love them and love to get them out there.  Stormrider, a great fantasy, deserves to see multiple venues as well.  It's in Ebook format now; I'll be looking into others

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