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Thread: [ePub] MeeGenius

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    [ePub] MeeGenius

    I just learned about a contest opportunity for a children's (picture) book at MeeGenius (http://www.meegenius.com/challenge/welcome/#guidelines) Has anyone had any experience with them?

  2. #2
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Never heard of them.

    The pictures in their books are cute. Their contract and contest guidelines appear to be less cute: by submitting, you are agreeing to give them exclusive ebook rights, subrights, and derivative rights, in perpetuity, for little or no payment, whether you win the contest or not.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    That's what I thought as well. Thanks for the opinion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    Never heard of them.

    The pictures in their books are cute. Their contract and contest guidelines appear to be less cute: by submitting, you are agreeing to give them exclusive ebook rights, subrights, and derivative rights, in perpetuity, for little or no payment, whether you win the contest or not.

  4. #4
    Snakecakes cryaegm's Avatar
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    The only way I've heard of them is through twitter, and that's because they're following me (but I'm not following them back; just something about them felt off, but maybe a misjudgment).

    That's all the information I have. D: Yeah, irrelevant.
    BUTTERFLIES' SCORN ~ YA UF - 24,800/70,000 + RESEARCH
    KIEGAN [working title] ~ YA Paranormal Romance(?) - 30k/50k
    BENEATH THE CLOUDS ~ YA Fantasy - 45,000/60,000(?)

  5. #5
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    See the not-a-FAQ, comments 24-25.
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  6. #6
    Smoking Monkey Smart Arse Foinah's Avatar
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    They replied to my retweet. Heh.
    meegenius MeeGenius! @



    @foinahjameson MeeGenius only retains rights if your book is a winner. All submissions have full rights reverted back to you!

    Yeah. uh-huh.
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  7. #7
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foinah View Post
    They replied to my retweet. Heh.
    meegenius MeeGenius! @

    @foinahjameson MeeGenius only retains rights if your book is a winner. All submissions have full rights reverted back to you!

    Yeah. uh-huh.
    They told me that on Twitter, too. But I don't think that's what their Official Rules and Conditions say (that's a link to a PDF, by the way).

    There are no clause numbers in those conditions, but near the bottom of page 3 I found this:

    By submitting your story, you accept all contest rules and agree to be bound by the decisions of MeeGenius (including decision made in conjunction with popular voting as applicable), which will be final. You also agree that if you are a Grand Prize or one of the Runner-Up Prize Winners, MeeGenius reserves the right to publish and use all or a part of your entry as an eBook and for other uses as described and provided for in the MeeGenius Publishing Agreement (downloadable at http://www.meegenius.com/r/challenge...-Agreement.pdf). Even if you are not a winner, MeeGenius reserves the right to publish and use all or a part of your entry as an eBook and for other uses as described and provided for in the MeeGenius Publishing Agreement in which case you may be contacted separately with an acceptance of your entry for publication purposes only. If you are not a winner or separately contacted about publication by March 31, 2012, all rights in your submission fully revert back to you and you retain full rights to your submission.
    My bold.

    Now, I'm not the best when it comes to reading contracts, and I hope someone will step in and tell me if I'm getting this wrong: that seems to me that simply by submitting your work you're giving MeeGenius the right to publish or otherwise use all or part of yoru entry, even if you don't win the contest.

    The MeeGenius Publishing Agreement (another PDF) states,

    2. Exclusive Digital eBook Rights.

    Grant. If the manuscript is accepted, without requiring any further agreement or action by you and any co-creator(s), MeeGenius will receive, and you and any co-creator(s) agree to grant, and hereby grant, to MeeGenius in respect of such accepted manuscript, exclusive worldwide, perpetual rights, with the right to sublicense, to publish and otherwise “use” (as defined further below) the Work in digital or digitized format as an eBook, in all languages, in any format or medium, in all cases, whether such formats or media are now existing or hereafter devised (“eBook Rights”). Neither you nor any co-creator(s) may use the Work in relation to any such digital or digitized media or format on your own or through or with any third party except as MeeGenius may expressly grant its approval in writing of such use or exploitation. The right to “use” means and includes the right to adapt, display, distribute, publish, sell, edit, modify, perform, promote, reproduce, transmit, and, subject to the “Other Rights” (as defined below), create derivative works of the Work.
    My bold again.

    That bit implies to me that if MeeGenius accepts your work you don't have to then do anything; they'll just publish it without having to negotiate a contract with you, or get your agreement to anything; and along the way they acquire exclusive worldwide perpetual rights.

    Of course, those two documents that I've linked to need to be read in full; but I'm not comfortable with this; and although MeeGenius has claimed that it only retains the rights of its competition winners, I don't think that's what these two documents imply.

    MeeGenius also told me on Twitter that they had signed up to AW in order to take part in this discussion. I do hope they say hello, and address my concerns. And while they're doing so they might like to make clear what experience they have in publishing, and what makes them a good choice for writers.

  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Old Hack:
    Now, I'm not the best when it comes to reading contracts, and I hope someone will step in and tell me if I'm getting this wrong: that seems to me that simply by submitting your work you're giving MeeGenius the right to publish or otherwise use all or part of yoru entry, even if you don't win the contest.
    Yeah, that's how I read it as well. The only "good" part is that if they haven't contacted by 31st March 2012 you to say they're nabbing, sorry, publishing your work (even if you're not a winner) then your rights automatically revert.

    Old Hack:
    That bit implies to me that if MeeGenius accepts your work you don't have to then do anything; they'll just publish it without having to negotiate a contract with you, or get your agreement to anything; and along the way they acquire exclusive worldwide perpetual rights.
    Yup, that's how I read it too.

    The good news is that if you're in the UK, that clause might not be enforceable because exclusive licences have to be in writing but personally, I wouldn't want to rely on that given that the agreement itself is stated to be subject to New York law.

    MeeGenius Publishing Contract:
    If the manuscript is accepted, you will be responsible for causing any co-creator(s) who contributed to its creation (e.g., author, illustrator, photographer, etc.) to formally accept the MeeGenius, Inc. Online Publishing Agreement for Co-Creators, available at http://www.meegenius.com/r/challenge...-Agreement.pdf Any failure to do so does not in any way nullify or otherwise affect any of rights granted to MeeGenius under this Agreement, though MeeGenius’ may withhold credit and/or payments from any co-creator(s) until such formal acceptance is executed according to instruction
    I'd also be interested to hear from an IP lawyer how effective this would be against co-creators.

    MeeGenius Publishing Contract:
    If MeeGenius fails to either (a) send you formal notice of its acceptance of the manuscript within one hundred and eighty (180) days after you submitted it or (b) publish the Work within twelve (12) months of such formal acceptance of the manuscript, then the sole remedy that you and any co-creator(s) may seek shall be to terminate this Agreement and any and all rights granted to MeeGenius under this Agreement, and MeeGenius shall have no liability or obligation to you and any co-creator(s).
    So basically, just submitting to MeeGenius means that you're giving them a 6 month exclusive on your mansucript. Exclusives suck.

    MeeGenius Publishing Contract: (BOLDING MINE)
    Neither you nor any co-creator(s) may use the Work in relation to any such digital or digitized media or format on your own or through or with any third party except as MeeGenius may expressly grant its approval in writing of such use or exploitation. The right to "use" means and includes the right to adapt, display, distribute, publish, sell, edit, modify, perform, promote, reproduce, transmit, and, subject to the "Other Rights" (as defined below), create derivative works of the Work.
    I'd be interested to know what "promote" means in this context but the rest of it is pretty appalling.

    MeeGenius Publishing Contract:
    In respect of eBook Rights to the Work, MeeGenius will pay a royalty of twenty percent (20%) of all Net Receipts (as defined below) actually received by MeeGenius from to time for sales of the Work. The term "Net Receipts" means all revenues actually received by MeeGenius specific to sales of the Work based on eBook Rights, less license or other fees paid to third parties, platform fees, distributor charges, discounts, charge-backs, returns, credits, and any sales, use or value-added taxes.
    Net royalties suck at the best of times, but this is particularly egregious IMO given that you're giving them the right to effectively sell on your work and all you get is a proceed of sales. In theory, they could sell a story of yours to an anthology for $1,000 of which they have no obligation to give you one cent because all you get is the royalties.

    MeeGenius Publishing Contract:
    No royalties will be owing upon any expiration or termination of the copyrights in the portions of the manuscript upon which the Work is based. No royalties are payable on sales of the MeeGenius app, publishing platform or associated service, even if the Work is accessible or featured thereon or therewith. MeeGenius may offer any products incorporating the Work at any price, for any amount of time in any market, in MeeGenius’ sole discretion. Notwithstanding the above, if the Work is bundled with other works or provided as part of a subscription service, MeeGenius will pay a pro-rata share of the Net Receipts attributable to the Work calculated based on metrics and formulae that MeeGenius may decide to use to measure, in an auditable manner, the value of including the Work in such bundle or service.
    I'd want this clarifying because it reads to me that the act of termination or expiry would effectively nullify their obligation to pay any and all outstanding royalties.

    MeeGenius Publishing Contract:
    MeeGenius will credit you and any co-creator(s) appropriately in the style, manner and format it determines generally for publications on the MeeGenius publishing platform or apps. You and any co-creator(s) hereby grant to MeeGenius the nonexclusive right to use, with the right to sublicense the use of, your and any co-creator(s)’s name (and, if applicable, any pseudonym) as well as your and his/her/their likeness, voice and biographical material, to advertise, promote and otherwise commercially exploit the Work.
    This for me would be a big hell no. No one should have the right to use your personal information, name etc without your right of approval.

    MeeGenius Publishing Contract:
    Without duplication of the "eBook Rights" above, MeeGenius receives in an accepted manuscript, and each of you and any co-creator(s) agree to grant, and hereby grant, to MeeGenius a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual rights, with rights to sublicense, to use the Work to create derivative works in any non-eBook format in any and all media, whether now existing or hereafter devised (the "Other Rights"). Some examples of Other Rights can include publishing the Work as a hardcover or soft cover print publication, adapting the Work as a video game, virtual environment, stage dramatization, movie, television, etc., licensing a character, title, illustration, or a portion of the contents for merchandising goods or services, or creating derivative works (other than eBooks) based on one or more of the story lines, characters, specific passages of text, actual illustrations or derivatives illustrations in the style thereof, or other aspects of any of the Work.
    The fact that this is non-exclusive is neither here nor there. You're basically signing away everything for all time. It's a sucky arse deal for any writer.

    MeeGenius Publishing Contract:
    In respect of "Other Rights," MeeGenius will retain or be paid fifteen percent (15%) of the aggregate gross proceeds actually received upon any such exploitation or disposal of any "Other Rights." All amounts owing to MeeGenius for "Other Rights" shall be paid within thirty (30) days of receipt and be accompanied by a statement of account of sufficient detail to allow verification of the calculation of the amounts being paid
    I love how they want 15% gross but will only pay authors 20% net.

    MM

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    We are very sorry for all the confusion we have caused with our contract and would like to address your concerns. The author challenge was meant as a way to help aspiring children's authors have a chance at a publishing agreement. We would encourage you to contact any of our past winners for their feedback on working with MeeGenius, but we assure you we are dedicated to the success of our authors!

    To answer your specific questions , if your manuscript is not chosen as the winner or we have not separately approached you with interest in publishing your work then full rights revert back to you. You are free to take the work and publish it elsewhere or enter it in other contests.

    If your title is published by MeeGenius then all digital eBook rights are exclusive to MeeGenius. Other kinds of rights (such as print publication, movies, etc.) may be developed by either or both MeeGenius and the author. The agreement spells out some procedures and conditions to make sure the parties are coordinated if any such so-called "Other Rights" are developed. The specifics of the contract can be found at http://www.meegenius.com/challenge/welcome/ under the Official Rules and Conditions.

    We hope this clears up some of the concerns and we encourage you to contact us directly at challenge@meegenius.com.

  10. #10
    Is me. Monkey's Avatar
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    To answer your specific questions , if your manuscript is not chosen as the winner or we have not separately approached you with interest in publishing your work then full rights revert back to you.
    Does "separately approach" mean sending you a letter telling you that you've been "accepted?"

    Because, by the contract, if someone were to send in a non-winning entry, but you sent them back a letter of "acceptance," then you would have all their rights and there would be nothing they could do about it.

    If the wording in the contract is in any way inaccurate or misleading, that needs to be fixed. Just telling authors not to worry about what they're signing because you really don't want to nab their rights isn't sufficient. It won't hold up in court should anything go wrong.
    Last edited by Monkey; 11-01-2011 at 01:46 AM.

  11. #11
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Thanks for addressing our concerns, MG, and for changing some of the problematic language in the contract.

    Personally, I think an author would have to be barking mad to sign all derivative rights over to their publisher in perpetuity, but YMMV.

  12. #12
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    Language like this is why I don't do contest...
    Knowledge is learned while wisdom is earned.

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  13. #13
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
    Does "separately approach" mean sending you a letter telling you that you've been "accepted?"

    Because, by the contract, if someone were to send in a non-winning entry, but you sent them back a letter of "acceptance," then you would have all their rights and there would be nothing they could do about it.
    That's the problem, right there. Anyone entering this contest has to assume that all their rights in the work are being offered to MeeGenius at a 20% net royalty. The only circumstance under which that doesn't happen is if MeeGenius fails to contact you within six months, during which time you can't shop your work elsewhere. When you click 'send', you're at the mercy of MG.

    I'm not saying that MG is bad to work for - I'm sure their authors are happy, as they describe. However, as someone who has been both a picture book editor, and a digital editor, I would not wish to run my submissions policy like that.

  14. #14
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, MeeGenius, and welcome to AW.

    MeeGenius:
    To answer your specific questions , if your manuscript is not chosen as the winner or we have not separately approached you with interest in publishing your work then full rights revert back to you. You are free to take the work and publish it elsewhere or enter it in other contests.
    Yes, but MeeGenius still holds exclusive rights to that manuscript for 6 months as your contract is currently drafted and the effectiveness of the contract is entirely within MeeGenius's discretion so if there are clauses in that contract that an author doesn't like (some of which I highlighted in my post above), then there is no opportunity to negotiate them. So far as authors are concerned, this may well be a bad deal.

    MeeGenius:
    Other kinds of rights (such as print publication, movies, etc.) may be developed by either or both MeeGenius and the author.
    That's a rights grab and I would caution any author to be wary of it. There is nothing on your website to suggest that you are currently doing anything with film or print rights - everything is currently electronic - and at present (and with apologies) I don't see any evidence on your website that MeeGenius is qualified to do anything with subsidiary rights and if an author develops a film deal or print deal by themselves, I don't see why MeeGenius should get a cut. Therefore, it is far better for an author to retain those rights than tie them up with an entity that has no obvious desire or ability to exploit them - especially given that you are taking these rights in perpetuity (i.e. effectively for life plus 21 years depending on which jurisdiction you're in).

    In short and speaking as a lawyer, I believe that your agreement is seriously unfair to authors and I would counsel any author not to sign it without some serious renegotiation of the terms.

    MM

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by MeeGenius View Post
    The author challenge was meant as a way to help aspiring children's authors have a chance at a publishing agreement.
    Here's the thing, though. As an aspiring children's author, I don't need a "chance" at a publishing agreement. If quality of the publisher is of no concern to me, I can get a publishing agreement with little effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeeGenius View Post
    We hope this clears up some of the concerns and we encourage you to contact us directly at challenge@meegenius.com.
    I prefer when questions are answered publicly, where people who know more about publishing than me can respond.
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

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  16. #16
    Live, Laugh and Love N_Smith79's Avatar
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    Is anyone familiar with Meegenuis.com?

    Someone on another thread commented that meegenuis.com is a good start if you want to e-publish a children's book. I went to the site but it just lists a bunch of other sites about creating your own children's book and e-publishing it. Has anyone used the site? Would you be able to explain the best way to navigate the site to get the best use out of it?

    Thanks!

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW girlyswot's Avatar
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    Are you looking at the author page: http://www.meegenius.com/faqauthor

    It looks pretty clear to me. You submit the book in manuscript format and if they want to publish it, they handle all the technical stuff.

  18. #18
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I'm going to move this from our E-Publishing room and merge it with our existing thread about MeeGenius in BR&BC.

    Please note my post at #7 and Momento Mori's reply, in which we point out that by simply submitting your work to MeeGenius you give them the right to use it however they want, for a period of time. Which is not good.

  19. #19
    All worth doing is worth overdoing ___Mag's Avatar
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    Mercuryval, don't do it. Do not give away the rights to your ebook. Format and self-publish an epub through Lulu.com, which will get it in Barnes and Noble and iBookstore.

    Then, format your book as MOBI for Kindle and upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing. You will own all the rights to your book, change the royalties, the design, the text, take it off the market, etc., whenever you feel like it.

    Successful previously traditionally published authors are now flocking to ebook self-publishing world. Some of them are my contacts on fb and are listing their earnings--which are staggering.

    Others have written books detailing the difference in income between publishing themselves, and having full control, or letting someone else publish for them. The greater earnings, by far, are those from the self-publishing route.

  20. #20
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ___Mag View Post
    Successful previously traditionally published authors are now flocking to ebook self-publishing world. Some of them are my contacts on fb and are listing their earnings--which are staggering.
    A self-selecting sample which probably doesn't reflect the actual average earnings of self-published authors.

    Others have written books detailing the difference in income between publishing themselves, and having full control, or letting someone else publish for them. The greater earnings, by far, are those from the self-publishing route.
    I often wonder why people want full control of aspects of publishing they aren't experts in. It always strikes me as wanting full control of, say, the aircraft you're travelling in.

    Also, you may find that the industry springing up around selling advice on self-publishing doesn't necessarily have your best interests at heart, any more than a trade publisher does. At least with the latter their interests align with yours to the extent that they'd like to sell as many of your books as possible.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW girlyswot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ___Mag View Post
    Mercuryval, don't do it.
    Mercuryval hasn't been in this conversation for 2 years. I think your advice may be too late!

    Then, format your book as MOBI for Kindle and upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing.
    Have you tried doing this for a children's picture book? That is what MeeGenius publish. It is not straightforward at all and nothing like formatting for a novel or a text-based work of non-fiction. I think this is one area where it is really worth investing either time to learn, or money for someone else to do the work.

    ETA: Which is not to say that I endorse MeeGenius. The other problems mentioned earlier in the thread are very serious concerns. But in principle, this is a thing I would strongly consider outsourcing to an expert.
    Last edited by girlyswot; 09-11-2013 at 07:47 PM.

  22. #22
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    Maybe I'm too cynical but the name put me off.

    Anyone who calls themself a genius should be avoided like the plague.

    Especially when they do it in a Tarzan voice......

  23. #23
    All worth doing is worth overdoing ___Mag's Avatar
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    Even if she isn't here, perhaps someone else searching can benefit from the conversation.

    Children's e-books are easy to make and self-publish. One needs only follow the specifications for each ebook distributor.

    And anyone can learn that about which they know nothing.

  24. #24
    A cat may not look at a king kellion92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ___Mag View Post

    Children's e-books are easy to make and self-publish. One needs only follow the specifications for each ebook distributor.
    Seriously? Writing children's books is hard. Illustration is hard. Laying out a picture book is hard, and creating an app or e-book from a picture book is another matter. For writers who are not illustrators, book designers, or app creators, these services are expensive to hire.

  25. #25
    All worth doing is worth overdoing ___Mag's Avatar
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    Hi Kellion,

    Selling a lot of children's books is hard. The rest is doable.

    You can hire an illustrator or find someone you know who can draw. You can learn how to do the layout for a print book, learn how to prepare an epub for iBookstore, a MOBI for Kindle, and learn how to upload it to POD sites.

    Or, you can hire someone who has moderate prices to do the print book and ebook preparations for you. They likely also have illustrators on hand.
    Last edited by ___Mag; 09-13-2013 at 09:04 PM.

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