If you don’t understand copyright and you consider yourself a professional writer, then you do not understand the business you are in. If you have published a novel, traditionally or indie, and you do not understand copyright, you are volunteering to get screwed over and over and over again. I say this often, and I’m saying it loudly again, because the trend for 2019 and beyond is that every organization you do business with will try to take a piece (if not all) of your copyright on each and every one of your projects.
I just had the most illuminating conversation. I had been consulting with someone about one of the TV deals I’m currently negotiating. I had run into a situation I had never encountered before, and I needed help evaluating it. No one I knew personally could help me. Either my good friends had not done a TV deal in years or they had let their agent […]
I have to berate writers to get an attorney. Writers are terrified of attorneys. Writers think attorneys are expensive and impossible to work with. Writers think hiring an attorney will harm them.
Writers are wrong.
I recently got an email that sent a chill through me. It was a newsletter from a traditional publishing organization. This organization is geared toward publishers and editors, not toward writers. The newsletter was essentially an ad for an upcoming seminar that will teach publishers to understand intellectual property and expand their rights business. Why did this send a chill through me? Because the one […]
I have come to the point where I can’t ignore the contractual changes in the industry any longer. The topic has become so large that I will probably end up with two books out of it: The revised Dealbreakers, and a book on contracts. When I start discussing contracts, most indie writers tune out. But they shouldn’t. Indie writers sign contracts all the time. Some are for foreign editions. Some are for short fiction. Some are with their cover designer. Some disguise themselves as terms of service.
Not everything I write here will apply to the indie writer, but much of it will.
Remember: the more you understand about this business, the better off you will be. And the harder it will be to take you off-guard….
As many of you already know, I write out of order. It is, perhaps, the most irritating part of my own writing process—at least to me. Fortunately, this new world of publishing really works for someone like me. Everything I write is not set in stone. I can move the pieces around when I’m done. Why am I starting like this? The clue is in […]
I have been down the rabbit hole, and it is labeled “Philip K. Dick.” I had a simple question: Who benefits directly from the Philip K. Dick estate? I found websites, wikipages, arguments, lawsuits over movies, and all kinds of other things, none of which directly answered my question. Until I located an interview conducted by the Library of America with Jonathan Lethem and Laura […]
First, an anecdote: It comes from the November issue of Vanity Fair. The magazine published an excerpt—if that’s the right word—from Truman Capote’s legendary unfinished novel, Answered Prayers. In an accompanying article, Sam Kashner describes the history of the novel, why it remained unfinished from the 1960s to Capote’s death in 1984, and how it became one of those legendary unfinished works, more imagined than […]
So, you want to be an artist. You want to be one of those writers everyone has read, even though you’re long dead. You want your work in libraries, on bookstore shelves, and in digital format. You want professors to assign your work, or kids to sneak that “crap” that everyone decries but everyone loves. There are two very simple ways to do this: 1. […]