The requirements are minimal and fairly standard, but one thing caught my eye and took my breath away. It was this:
"We do pay a modest advance as well as royalties if your book is chosen; in return, we receive all rights to your book."At first glance, this perhaps doesn't look bad. Look more closely, especially if you are a writer considering this offer. The newspaper pays a "modest" advance and "royalties" -- on what? Number of copies of the newspaper sold that contain each section of the novel? And what percentage? While that's too vague for my taste, it's the final clause that's the kicker: "we receive all rights to your book." That means, you no longer will have foreign rights, film/TV rights, audio rights, e-book rights, etc. as well as paperback and hardcover rights. Wow, what a GREAT deal for the newspaper and what a TERRIBLE deal for the writer.
This is an example of a big media outlet trying to take advantage, perhaps, of writers who are inexperienced and don't know about copyright and what rights they own as the creator of their intellectual property. The first thing I learned was NEVER sign away all your rights! Not unless the publisher was offering you thousands of dollars for them, which I doubt very much the Minneapolis Star Tribune is offering. They are also not offering the option of negotiation.
So what rights would be appropriate to sell here? The writer could offer North American First Serial Rights and retain all other rights. There could be also something about reprint rights for the serialized version of the novel, and licensing for website publication also. All of which could include a specific time period that the newspaper has those rights, and when the time period ends, the rights revert back to the writer.
Is there any benefit to a writer to accept the deal as offered? Hmmmmm..... Well, the writer will receive a modest advance and royalties. Perhaps the writer will also receive a certain level of exposure for his or her other books or writings by having his or her novel serialized in Minnesota's primary print news source. I am assuming also that the newspaper will include the serialization on its website which increases exposure for the writer. Will that increase sales of her other books? What if this is the writer's first book? This publication could be a boost to a writer's career if he has other writing to send out to take advantage of it. At any rate, it becomes a publication credit, and one that could capture the attention of agents and publishers.
|From Huffington Post|
You see? Know what is being offered and the ramifications, insist of negotiating the rights, and find a good entertainment lawyer to help you....