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Thread: Wicked East Press

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Wicked East Press

    My short story was just accepted by the Wicked East Press for their Coffee House Flash Fiction. They are asking me to sign a contract and there are a couple of things I am not sure about. Are these normal practice?

    (1) They are not paying for the story yet this is what they ask to sign:

    Rights Purchased
    This use of the Work by the Publisher entails the assignment of exclusive First Worldwide Anthology Rights and Electronic Media Rights, for publication in the English language anywhere in the world.

    Exclusive right remains in effect for the first year (365 days) after the publication date. After the first year (365 days), the right becomes non-exclusive and the AUTHOR can sell the WORK to a market of his/her choice.
    Changes in Text or Title The Publisher reserves the right to make alterations to the Work's text or title without the Author's approval, including, but not limited to, copy-editing changes to conform the style of the text to its customary form and usage.
    (3) The anthology is supposed to come out in Dec 2011. But I did some searching and saw a similar call for submissions from them for the same anthology -- to come out in Dec 2010 (but no record of it ever coming out). So now I am wondering about the Dec 2011 publication date -- especially considering this bit in the contract:
    Reversion of Rights and Withdrawal of Offer to Publish In the event that the Work is not published within 24 months of signing this agreement, all rights revert to the Author, and the Author has the right to sell or arrange for publication of the above-named Work in any manner. The Author shall keep any payments made by the Publisher to him/her.
    The short story they accepted is actually selling electronically through Kindle so according to this contract I'd have to pull it off the market (not that it's making me much money, but it's just the fact that I'd have surrender my rights).

    Has anyone had any experience with this press? Or with anthologies? Is this common?

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. #2
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    My question: what's in it for you?

    I see a couple of Wicked East Press anthologies on Amazon, with sales I'd estimate at very low single digits at most.

    It is hard to see benefit in signing away rights even for a year on such thin grounds.

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  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  4. #4
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I've never heard of them, so I can't help you there.

    If they're asking for First Electronic rights, and you've already got the story for sale on Kindle, then the contract would have to be revised to reflect that they'd be getting the story as a reprint.

    Given the red flags -- a previous antho that didn't go to press, the length of exclusivity (up to three years), the (to me, unacceptable) right they have to edit the story without the author's approval, and the lack of payment -- personally I wouldn't think they were a market worth my time. If I were in your current position, I'd either say "no thanks" and move on, or, at best, I would tell them that the story was already published so first rights weren't available, and I'd likely offer then a revised contract: they'd get nonexclusive reprint rights for 3 years, limited to that particular anthology; they could not edit the story without my approval; a royalty statement and if applicable payment for shared royalties would be forthcoming at least once every six months; and the contract would be void if the anthology was not released within 12 months.

  5. #5
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    Thank you all for your replies. I guess to answer the question of what's in it for me... publishing credit? But at what cost? Especially if the anthology never comes out...

    Thanks, Unimportant, for your suggestions. I'll definitely try to get them into the contract if I decide to go with the offer.

  6. #6
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Most publishers want first rights; that's only natural. Why are you trying to sell something to a publisher that you're already selling as an e-book? If you want to get something published by a commercial publisher, you shouldn't e-publish it first. Did you tell them in your original cover letter or in subsequent correspondence that you're already sellling the work as an e-book? If you haven't told them this, they might retract the offer as soon as you do, which makes the rest of the questions here moot.
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  7. #7
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    Hmmm... I didn't realize that digital self-publishing counted as being published and may discourage traditional publishers. I thought there are plenty of cases of self-published authors being taken on by regular publishers. In fact, one of the agents who requested a full of my novel asked me specifically if it was self-published in print. When I said that it was available in e-format only, she didn't care. And so I assumed that digital self-publishing doesn't really matter.

    I didn't mention the digital availability in my cover letter in this specific case, but will of course do it in my follow up with them.

  8. #8
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS007 View Post
    Hmmm... I didn't realize that digital self-publishing counted as being published and may discourage traditional publishers. I thought there are plenty of cases of self-published authors being taken on by regular publishers. In fact, one of the agents who requested a full of my novel asked me specifically if it was self-published in print. When I said that it was available in e-format only, she didn't care. And so I assumed that digital self-publishing doesn't really matter.

    I didn't mention the digital availability in my cover letter in this specific case, but will of course do it in my follow up with them.
    First rights matter less (to the degree of nearly not at all) for novels, if an agent or publisher thinks the novel is good enough for them to take on.

    Short stories are an entirely different matter. You've used up first rights by e-publishing and all you have left to offer is reprint rights. Which can be fine; many writers have made more from reprint rights in the long-term than they did from the original sale of the short story or article. But the publisher (magazine or anthology) needs to be told you're only offering reprint rights right up front.
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  9. #9
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    Good to know, Terie. Thanks!

  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    It is still something that should be mentioned in a query.
    Emily Veinglory

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post

    Given the red flags -- a previous antho that didn't go to press, the length of exclusivity (up to three years), the (to me, unacceptable) right they have to edit the story without the author's approval, and the lack of payment -- personally I wouldn't think they were a market worth my time. If I were in your current position, I'd either say "no thanks" and move on, or, at best, I would tell them that the story was already published so first rights weren't available, and I'd likely offer then a revised contract: they'd get nonexclusive reprint rights for 3 years, limited to that particular anthology; they could not edit the story without my approval; a royalty statement and if applicable payment for shared royalties would be forthcoming at least once every six months; and the contract would be void if the anthology was not released within 12 months.
    Update: re-print rights were not the problem but when I asked the contract to reflect what you suggested above, they balked. So I guess it was not meant to be this time... but there is always another.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts/suggestions/advice.

  12. #12
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    As you said, there are more markets out there. Many of which pay up front, and which don't have onerous contracts. Since you weren't turning down any cash up front, and they don't seem to have a track record of selling lots of books and sending out fat royalty cheques to their authors, you probably haven't lost anything.

    Try Duotrope or Ralan to look for other markets -- many are open to reprints.

  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS007 View Post
    I thought there are plenty of cases of self-published authors being taken on by regular publishers.
    Yabbut....

    Depends on what you mean by "plenty."

    Depends on whether the commercial press is taking the self-published work, or a new work by the same author.

    Depends on how well the self-published work did.

    Depends on who approaches who.

    And "previously published" needs to come up sooner rather than later when you're talking to any publisher or agent. (Electronic self-publication certainly does count as published.)

    You don't mention how much these guys are paying, or when.

    And a publication in (let's be kind) a lower-tier market isn't much of a publishing credit. Start at the top and work down.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    As you said, there are more markets out there. Many of which pay up front, and which don't have onerous contracts. Since you weren't turning down any cash up front, and they don't seem to have a track record of selling lots of books and sending out fat royalty cheques to their authors, you probably haven't lost anything.

    Try Duotrope or Ralan to look for other markets -- many are open to reprints.
    I am already going through Doutrope but haven't heard of Ralan... will look now. Thanks for the tip.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Yabbut....

    Depends on what you mean by "plenty."

    Depends on whether the commercial press is taking the self-published work, or a new work by the same author.

    Depends on how well the self-published work did.

    Depends on who approaches who.

    And "previously published" needs to come up sooner rather than later when you're talking to any publisher or agent. (Electronic self-publication certainly does count as published.)

    You don't mention how much these guys are paying, or when.

    And a publication in (let's be kind) a lower-tier market isn't much of a publishing credit. Start at the top and work down.
    These guys (I mean the Wicked East Press) were not paying which is one of the reasons I didn't like the conditions of their contract.

    So here is a question: how does one know through Duotrope or others that any one magazine is from the "lower-tier" market (or not)?

  16. #16
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    RS007:
    how does one know through Duotrope or others that any one magazine is from the "lower-tier" market (or not)?
    It turns mainly on the payment rates - if Duotrope lists a publication as paying pro or semi-pro rates then that publication will usually carry more weight than a token or non-paying publication. (Note that this is not always the case - there are some respected non-paying markets out there but you need to research).

    MM

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    It turns mainly on the payment rates - if Duotrope lists a publication as paying pro or semi-pro rates then that publication will usually carry more weight than a token or non-paying publication. (Note that this is not always the case - there are some respected non-paying markets out there but you need to research).

    MM
    Thanks. What about online vs print?

  18. #18
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    If you look at duotrope you will see it allows you to search for markets in all different ways. But once you have shortlist there is no substitutions for looking up their specifics on their website.
    Emily Veinglory

  19. #19
    Turbofacepalming since 1996 Corinthianblue's Avatar
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    I saw this on my research of the Wicked East Press. This company has an anthology that I'm interested in submitting to. Seeing as how I'm previously unpublished, would having them publish a short story by me give me some credit, despite a lack of payment?
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  20. #20
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    The value of the credit would relate to how many people you want to impress know of and are impressed by this press.
    Emily Veinglory

  21. #21
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    How to tell a high-prestige market:

    Look at awards lists for major awards. Did they publish anything that's on the shortlist? Any award winners?

    Look for stories by major names in their genre.

    Look for reprints in "Year's Best" anthologies. Are their stories getting that kind of recognition?

  22. #22
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Not a word about their books on their website. Last publishing activity was a spate of Kindle editions in Dec '12. Supposedly another anthology in the works, though.

    ETA: No further activity.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 06-05-2016 at 05:49 AM. Reason: updating w/o bumping
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