About Writer's Rights and Romantic Shorts

I was called to task the other day on the Authonomy (from HarperCollins) writer’s forum. Seems a some writers had visited http://www.RomanticShorts.com and had taken issue with the issue of our stance on writers’ rights.

Their comments were clear:

“No, no, no. This is not good for writers.
You want the rights to a writer’s story. Get out.”
“Yeah . . . this really isn’t a good thing . . . Please don’t give up the rights to you work!”

“Here is the bit of fine print you need to be aware of if you choose to submit:
“If your submission is accepted, you will be notified of that, and will be required to submit your agreement to your story’s publication on Romantic Shorts. Once your story has been published online, it becomes the sole property of Romantic Shorts, with all rights being transferred to us, and we reserve the right to edit your work as needed to be included on our site. You will be credited online for the authorship of the original work.”

I wracked my brain trying to remember everything I could about writers’ rights and realized how very right they were to be upset by this, one of the most important issues writers face. I had set about making the appropriate changes to those guidelines, and while I was at it, I replied to the posts asking for additional info and insight. Turns out this was a good thing.

I heard this explanation back today:

“The writer Must retain all rights to what he/she has written. This is a huge deal. A one time right to publish, either on paper or on the internet is fine, but the rights must revert back to the writer as soon as the work is published.
If a writer doesn’t have the rights to a book, for instance, he/she can’t sign a publishing contract. That writer is in a real bind.”

Especially if Romantic Shorts isn’t in a position to pay its authors yet. I get it.

So the website has had a serious overhaul over the holidays. Our first New Year’s competition is set for announcing this Tuesday. I’ll go back and tweak those points some more in the morning.

I’m finding this undertaking of mine is starting to show its own momentum. Kinda like the first time you realize your baby is smiling at you for real – it’s not just gas!

Thanks Authonomy for the help! Check us out somewhere down the road. We may have something interesting for you!

Alex.

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