The Edmonds Library plans to provide space for subscribers and members of EPIC Writer’s Group by featuring published books of local authors. If you, or someone you know, has a published book please contact Dave Gross (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the details of having the book included before Aug. 15, 2016.
Hi Everyone! Hope you had a great 4th of July and that your summer is off to a good start. I read this informative article by Susan Spann and wanted to share it with you!
June 20, 2016
The Legal Side of Writing for Anthologies
By Susan Spann
Anthologies offer writers an excellent platform for shorter works and create opportunities for reader cross-pollination. When managed and published properly, anthologies have many benefits and relatively few drawbacks for authors. However, authors do need to ensure–before submitting or signing a contract–that the anthology publisher is offering industry-standard contract terms and proper legal protection for the contributing authors and their works.
Today, we’ll review a few of the legal traps and pitfalls authors should beware (and avoid) when contributing work to an anthology:
1. Contracts Are Not Optional.
Every anthology should use a professional, written publishing contract (or release) containing industry-standard terms for anthology publication. If the publisher is taking only non-exclusive rights, and not limiting the author’s right to reprint and re-use the work in any way, a simple release will often suffice, but even this should be in writing. (Note: The author should always retain the copyright and subsidiary rights to the work, as well as the right to re-publish in other contexts. Also, the author should never have to pay the publisher any money or be required to purchase copies of the finished anthology.)
Anthology contracts and releases (sometimes titled “Permission to (Re)Print”) are generally shorter than contracts for book-length works, but they still need to address the relevant legal issues. Also, the contract (or release) must be in writing—emails documenting the parties’ “understanding” are not sufficient and often won’t stand up in court.
2. Never Sign Away Copyright to the Work.
Anthology publishers do NOT need, and should not ask for, ownership of copyright in the individual works that make up the anthology.
Anthology publishers need only a limited license to publish the contributed works as part of the anthology – and the contract should expressly limit the publisher’s use of the work to its inclusion in the relevant anthology or collective work.
If the author transfers copyright to the anthology publisher, the author no longer owns the work and cannot use or publish it in other contexts (without permission, which the publisher then has the legal right to withhold at will). Most anthology publishers don’t try to take ownership of the contributors’ works; don’t submit to anthologies that do.
One additional note: some anthology contracts state that the publisher owns the copyright on the anthology as a collective work. This is different from ownership of the individual stories. Anthologies actually involve two separate types of copyrights:
(1) the authors’ copyrights in their individual stories, and
(2) the “collective work” copyright, which includes only revisions, editing, and/or compilation (e.g., the selection of the stories that went into the anthology) – but not the content of the individual contributions.
“Collective work” copyright is a separate, lesser form that essentially exists to ensure that no one can copy and sell the anthology without the publisher’s permission. Many anthology contracts contain clear copyright language stating that the author retains the sole, individual copyright on his or her contribution, and the publisher owns only the “collective work” copyright (if any) which attaches to the anthology as a whole. Some contracts don’t mention collective work copyright; this is fine, as long as the contract is clear about the author retaining ownership of his or her contribution.
3. Know Where the Money Is Going.
Some anthologies pay participating authors for their contributions, either on a flat fee basis or by means of a royalty share. Other anthologies don’t compensate contributing authors financially; however, many non-paying anthologies donate the sales proceeds to charity or to the nonprofit organization that sponsored the publication.
There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with contributing works to anthologies that don’t pay fees or royalties, as long as you (the contributing author) understand and agree with the way the anthology’s profits will be handled. As long as the contract (or your communications with the publisher or sponsor) describes where the money is going—and you trust the publisher to follow through—the decision whether or not to contribute a story to a non-royalty-bearing anthology is a business decision for the author.
4. Submit Only to Reputable Anthologies.
Some anthologies have strong professional reputations, and offer broad exposure. Both traditionally-published and self-published anthologies (including those released by groups of collaborating author-publishers) have enjoyed fantastic success, when published and marketed in a professional manner.
Before submitting your work or signing a contract for anthology publication, consider the experience level and reputation of the publisher (or anthology sponsor), the editor (if one is named), the terms of the publishing contract, and all other relevant aspects of the deal. Select anthologies that match your plans for your work and also offer appropriate contract terms.
Remember: it’s perfectly acceptable to ask to review the contract or release before you make a commitment.
5. Beware of Mandatory Purchase and Marketing Requirements.
Most anthologies don’t require participating authors to purchase copies of the finished work or mandate author participation in marketing activities. Although many authors choose to purchase copies and to help with marketing for the finished work, these should be the author’s choice—and not required by contract.
An EPIC Wall is Built...
(Not to be confused with a wall a certain politician wants to build)
It was on a cold January morning in 2015 when I brainstormed with myself wondering how to reach our writers registered on the EPIC mailing list. Paid members and mailing list subscribers. There was a plethora of ever-changing information we (EPIC Group Writers board) were churning out about ongoing writing groups, new groups born, events coming up, celebrations of our members and subscribers who became published, or had a book reading, etc. Remembering my past life experience in a couple of corporations when one of my responsibilities was writing employee newsletters, my cold-dry-cracked-turning-blue fingers started clacking on my keyboard (just being dramatic, I do have central heating, but this was January and I just don't like being cold).
It was on that January morning when the Wall began laying its foundation. Naming it The Wall was because I recalled graffiti on the walls of buildings in Seattle, and even on the mirrors of the restrooms in the downtown college where I last worked. I wanted to offer a wall to post information. A wall with a mural. A wall not to keep anyone out but rather to gather everyone in. Not a wall to block feelings or ideas. Quite the opposite. It would be a wall for Writers And Literary Lovers who love sharing what they write or how they publish what others write. And, it's a work-in-progress.
EPIC Group Writers is also a work-in-progress and new ideas are percolating behind the scenes constantly. We welcome your ideas, accomplishments, and stories which add bricks to our wall with your name etched onto it. Sign up now to get your free copy of EGW's The Bi-Weekly Wall to stay in the loop with your fellow subscribers who are also lovers of the literary arts.
Hello, I’m Susan Ferguson, President of EPIC Group Writers, and welcome to EPIC’s terrific new website! After months of planning and execution, EPIC’s new website has launched with features designed to serve you, fellow writer, as well as features that connect EPIC Group Writers members to one another. Many thanks to board members, Joe Rice and Christine Pinto, and to Florence Coletta-Rice, for their talents and concerted effort in getting the job done so well.
Have you ever asked yourself why you are writing a particular piece? Writers are often attracted to an idea, feel compelled to pursue it, and begin researching and writing before stopping to analyze this question. The question has two distinct emphases: the “you” and the “piece”. Why are YOU writing this piece? What part of your life experience, core beliefs, or abilities are being tapped when bringing the characters, plot, themes and story to life? And, why are you choosing to write THIS piece? Out of all of the ideas being explored, why are you driven to work on this one?
When I was asked last year whether I was interested in running to become the president of EPIC Group Writers for 2016, I brought the same questions to bear. What can I contribute to EPIC, and why EPIC?
People might have many reasons for wanting to assume the presidency of an organization. Some people enjoy positions of authority. That wasn’t my motivation. I like to get things done and find solutions. I like it when people work cooperatively and take initiative, sharing the fulfillment and work of running an organization. I get excited by new ideas and am eager to support good ones.
But, why was I willing to undertake the job, knowing that it would take a lot of time away from my writing and other things I enjoy doing? The key lies in the second half of the question. Why EPIC? And that gets down to the essence of the importance of writing.
Being a writer is a lot like being a musician. Not everyone has the talent of a Paul McCartney, Carole King, or Paul Simon, but millions of songs are written and sung every year, in concert halls, at weddings, at graduations, and at bars, clubs and local performances. The importance of song writing is to share our life experiences together, often on an emotional level, because we feel a connection when the music and lyrics ring true.
The same is true of writing. People write at all levels of competency. What is important is that they do write and share their take on life and the world through their imaginations. We connect through shared experience, through what we learn from each other, from the worlds and characters we create that mean something to us. Whether writing memoir, science fiction, kid-lit, travel, romance or creative non-fiction, we tell stories…our stories…each through a unique lens, that connect us emotionally, creatively, intellectually, and sometimes, on an instinctive, deep-rooted level.
I’ve been researching and writing a historical novel for a while now. The letters, diaries and accounts written at the time reveal how people lived, what mattered to them, and what their lives were like. Someday, people will research what we, collectively, have written, and try to decipher what our lives were like and what mattered to us.
EPIC dedicates itself to fostering writing at all levels of competence and experience. EPIC stands for the idea that writing matters. People and their lives matter. The writing community matters. If writing is something you do, or want to do, and it matters to you, then you matter to us. We are here to support you and hope you will join EPIC and give back. By participating. By joining a writing or critique group. By donating. By helping EPIC find a space to call home. Because, collaborating together, a writing community can be a powerful thing.
Copyright 2016 Susan Lehne Ferguson
The owner of a local cafe said to me the other day how she wished the days were 48 instead of 24 hours long. The demands on our time are never-ending. How do we manage to find time to write as we lead such busy lives. Here are some helpful tips from the guest author Kate Moretti of Writers in the Storm online publication.
YA Author Laura Moe gave an engaging presentation to the Monday Morning Writers Group. Having self-published one book and created her new book (Breakfast With Neruda) through a traditional publisher, Laura discussed the pros and cons of each route, as well as the need for obtaining (and possible paying for) permissions for quotes. She also discussed the value of writing conferences and personalizing pitches to agents.
EPIC Board Member Gerald Bigelow shares his ideas on EPIC, poetry and writing.
Winners of the Fourth Annual EPIC Literary Contest!
First Place: Mikayla DeWid for “Red”
Second Place: Olivia Olson for "Wonder"
Abigail Heath for “The Old Woman”
Esaac Mazengia for “Darkness”
Alex Fawley for “Different Love”
First Place: Victoria Eborall for “Happiness”
Second Place: Kenneth Ash for “A Blade Won’t Cut It”
First Place: Chris Cantu for “Water”
Second Place: Mel McConnell for “There's More to May”
First Place: Mel McConnell for “Eddie Flynn and The Consolidated Love Affair”
Second Place: Kathryn Minturn for “White Lady”
Congratulations to all the winners!
Join us for a reading of the winning pieces at the
May 25, 2016, from 6:30-7:45 p.m.
We have such a variety of writers in our organization that we thought it would be fun, exciting and enlightening to have multiple blog post authors.
We will be sharing all sorts of writing-related topics!