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Thread: 2 Do Before I Die Anthology

  1. #1
    Tish Davidson
    Guest

    2 Do Before I Die Anthology

    Under nonpaying markets there is a call for submissions for stories for this book.

    I was so disturbed at the way this was being handled by Little Brown that I sent them an e-mail. This certainly does not sound like a professional request for submissions. Little Brown is a subsidiary of Time Warner Books

    From the Website www.2dobeforeidie.com (guidelines)

    "Everyone has their own sense of what's important and what's memorable. 2DO Before I Die is currently collecting stories for the site and an upcoming book (to be published by Little Brown & Co in the US) to celebrate exactly that diversity."

    Okay, no problem with this. But at the end of the guidelines is the passage:

    "Note: Every submitted story will be read. We cannot promise, however, that it will be featured on the website, nor can we guarantee that - even if it is featured - that it will be selected for publication in the book. Should your story be selected for publication, we will, of course, do our best to contact you.

    Finally - and unfortunately it has to be said - we cannot pay for any submissions, no matter how well done. Not least because we're broke, having spent far too much time on this project already... Also, all submissions once selected automatically become the property of 2DO Before I Die. Sounds a bit mean, but we don't want to make any promises we can't keep. Thanks."

    This simply does not sound like something that would pass the legal department of a major company. And why would Little Brown allow stories to be posted on a Web site before their publication? Something stinks like 3 day old fish.

  2. #2
    Betty W01
    Guest

    Re: 2 Do Before I Die - A Scam?

    "Note: Every submitted story will be read. We cannot promise, however, that it will be featured on the website, nor can we guarantee that - even if it is featured - that it will be selected for publication in the book. Should your story be selected for publication, we will, of course, do our best to contact you.
    I've been in six antholgies so far, with a seventh coming out in June, and have made the cut-offs on several projects until right at the end, so I have some experience with these projects. This one sounds like bad juju - They'll do their best to contact you?? And then what, use it anyway? Not use it? What? They don't say.

    Finally - and unfortunately it has to be said - we cannot pay for any submissions, no matter how well done. Not least because we're broke, having spent far too much time on this project already... Also, all submissions once selected automatically become the property of 2DO Before I Die. Sounds a bit mean, but we don't want to make any promises we can't keep. Thanks."
    Then, they say they "cannot pay for any submissions" (so, where's the offer of a contributor's copy? that's the least anth. projects usually pay)

    ...and will keep all submissions anyway? I don't think so. Not mine, at least.

    Last, IMHO, if they had a solid offer and/or contract from a reputable publishing house like Little Brown, wouldn't they know exactly what they could and could not promise already?

    Y'all do what you want, but that's one project I'll be avoiding.

  3. #3
    RichMar
    Guest

    Surmising

    Little Brown might have cut a normal deal with the "author(s)?"

    The publisher (Big Little Brown) would discuss rights and royalties with the person(s) who offer them the product. The person(s) who enterred into contract with Little Brown, (and that, for sure, ain't for sure) wouldn't know they'd be able relying on a kind of slave labor.

    So, if this enterprising piece of turd of an enterprise is broke, there's no reason why they can't offer shares to the scribes in the event this Little Brown book shows up on the Times bestseller list, no?

  4. #4
    RichMar
    Guest

    Surmising

    Little Brown might have cut a normal deal with the "author(s)?"

    The publisher (Big Little Brown) would discuss rights and royalties with the person(s) who offer them the product. The person(s) who enterred into contract with Little Brown, (and that, for sure, ain't for sure) wouldn't know they'd be able relying on a kind of slave labor.

    So, if this enterprising enterprise is broke, there's no reason why they can't offer shares to the scribes in the event this Little Brown book shows up on the Times bestseller list, no?

  5. #5
    Tish Davidson
    Guest

    Re: Surmising

    I would think that Little Brown's legal department would require a written release from every author before publication unless the person collecting the stories is passing the whole thing off as all his/her own work. Lawyers in publishing like lawyers everywhere like things locked up in writing. Even if they were negotiating with one person for the book, the would still expect releases from the contributors.

  6. #6
    reph
    Guest

    Re: 2 Do Before I Die - A Scam?

    "This simply does not sound like something that would pass the legal department of a major company."

    Nor like something that would pass the editorial dept. of a major publisher. Too many grammatical mistakes in it.

  7. #7
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: 2 Do Before I Die - A Scam?

    This looks like yet another attempt to cash in on the Chicken Soup for the Vegetarian's Soul, Chocolate for the Diabetic's Soul, God Allows Parallel Parking projects. All of those share dreadful contracts. This one seems a little bit more abysmal, in that it's not a paying market at all.

    What arrangement Little, Brown had with the editors has nothing to do with what arrangement the editors make with the writers.

  8. #8
    HapiSofi
    Guest

    Re: 2 Do Before I Die - A Scam?

    The editor(1) of an anthology is just a person who had an idea for an anthology, and managed to sell it to an editor(2) at a publishing house. Note the numbers: those are two different editors. This is normally done on the strength of a proposal, though editors(2) are sometimes offered finished anthologies.

    The usual arrangement is that the publisher pays the editor(1) whatever amount was negotiated in the contract(1). The editor(1) then solicits submissions from potential contributors, and enters into a separate contract(2) with each one whose work is chosen to appear in the anthology. Again, note the numbers: those are different contracts.

    Practice as I'm familiar with it is for the editor(1) to pay the contributors out of the advance, and keep whatever remains after that. If the book earns royalties, they're paid out to the editor(1) under the terms of the contract(1). The editor may then pay a share of them to the contributors, if that's what was stipulated in the contract(2).

    Obviously, if the editor(1) can get contributions without paying for them, he or she can keep the entire advance. An editor(1) who frankly admits she's already spent the advance has no other option.

    I've seen more than one website set up to collect stories with an eye toward their eventual publication. Not all of these sites are candid about their purpose, which offends me. I particularly dislike it in cases where a conversation -- even, to some extent, a community -- has developed at that site. It's one thing to ask your readers for a contribution, but another thing entirely to trick it out of them; and we don't talk to our friends and acquaintances the way we speak for general publication.

    This person who's doing 2DO Before I Die is at least upfront about her intentions. On the other hand, I'd like to hear a formal opinion from a copyright lawyer about whether her airy assertion that "all submissions once selected automatically become the property of 2DO Before I Die" is a reliable grant of rights under the current copyright conventions. If not, and if she goes into print without securing formal permission from all her contributors, and if one of her contributors turns out to cherish litigious sentiments, she's going to be in an interesting position.

    Speaking only for myself, I wouldn't touch this one with a ten-foot pole. To me, she sounds like a complete flake. She's already run through her advance, and in her opinion she's "already spent far too much time on this project as it is." This bodes ill for the project. What resources can she possibly be bringing to it?

    I can imagine giving my writing away for free. I've done so many times, and no doubt will do so again. What I can't imagine is one good reason why I should give it away to her.

    (p.s. Is it just my irritable imagination, or does anyone else here think she sounds like Jane Austen Doe?)

  9. #9
    Mike and Chris
    Guest

    2DO Before I Die - copyright of story submissions

    We apologize for the confusion over story copyright for the ‘2DO Before I Die’ book. We've since checked with our publishers Little, Brown on the matter and changed the relevant website text to clarify matters.

    This is our understanding: the anthology itself would be protected by 2DO copyright as a piece, while all authors would retain copyright ownership of their own story submissions. If your story is selected for the book you would be requested to authorize a non-exclusive license for publication. In either case, stories can’t be paid for. That may or may not put off any professional writers, but that is the reality of this project. Note: the stories are an important element of the book, but only a part (about 1/2). The rest will include commentary, questions and graphics, all of which will be our own work.

    Some of you have suggested we don’t indeed have a contract with Little, Brown. This is not the case. Contracts are signed and the book will be published early next year. As for Little, Brown allowing us to have stories for the book online prior to publication, selected submissions are posted to provide a sense of the project's scope and encourage further stories. Pieces selected for the book will be removed from the site prior to publication.

    Our intention was certainly not to upset anyone, though we do understand – given both the copyright wording on the site and the nature of internet 'requests' – how it might have done. Hope this note and the ammended copyright text on our site goes some way to answer your concerns. We hope each of you would be interested in participating as we’d love to include a wide mix of voices in the book.

    Best wishes,
    Mike and Chris
    Co-authors of 2DO Before I Die
    www.2dobeforeidie.com

  10. #10
    sfsassenach
    Guest

    Re: 2DO Before I Die - copyright of story submissions

    In either case, stories can’t be paid for. That may or may not put off any professional writers, but that is the reality of this project.
    Little, Brown is a commercial publisher, and I'm assuming this book will be sold to buyers. So, what's going to happen to any profits? I can't find an answer to this on your site.

    Thanks.

  11. #11
    Tish Davidson
    Guest

    Re: 2DO Before I Die - copyright of story submissions

    Some of you have suggested we don’t indeed have a contract with Little, Brown. This is not the case. Contracts are signed and the book will be published early next year. As for Little, Brown allowing us to have stories for the book online prior to publication, selected submissions are posted to provide a sense of the project's scope and encourage further stories. Pieces selected for the book will be removed from the site prior to publication.


    I find this interesting in light of the debate that has gone on in other threads about whether posting something for critique on the internet then removing it constitutes publishing and eliminates the assignment of first rights.

    I have to say these guys don't sound like they know what they are doing, and I would still stay away from this project, even if you are in the habit of giving your stories away to anthologies.

  12. #12
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: 2DO Before I Die - copyright of story submissions

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>
    Little, Brown is a commercial publisher, and I'm assuming this book will be sold to buyers. So, what's going to happen to any profits? I can't find an answer to this on your site.<hr></blockquote>

    It's pretty obvious. The editors will take any money after the book earns out (assuming it does), and keep it.

    In that way it's no different from the Chicken Soup books.

  13. #13
    HapiSofi
    Guest

    Re: 2DO Before I Die - copyright of story submissions

    Tish, I too am getting the feeling that they don't know what they're doing; viz.:
    We apologize for the confusion over story copyright for the ‘2DO Before I Die’ book. We've since checked with our publishers Little, Brown on the matter and changed the relevant website text to clarify matters.
    What they're explaining is pretty basic stuff. If they just recently got this info from their publishers, they started out knowing almost nothing.
    This is our understanding: the anthology itself would be protected by 2DO copyright as a piece, while all authors would retain copyright ownership--
    Not "as a piece"; it's called a "compilation copyright."
    --of their own story submissions. If your story is selected for the book you would be requested to authorize a non-exclusive license for publication.
    Approximately, "--you will be asked to sign a release giving us the right to use your material." They're fumbling for the terminology.
    In either case, stories can’t be paid for. That may or may not put off any professional writers, but that is the reality of this project.
    They've already spent the advance.
    Note: the stories are an important element of the book, but only a part (about 1/2).
    Then it's not exactly an anthology, is it?
    The rest will include commentary, questions and graphics, all of which will be our own work.
    This is definitely not an anthology, and that raises some issues. An anthology just prints material, with maybe a few words of intro on each story and an overall intro on the volume as a whole. "Commentary, questions, and graphics" create context. I'd surely be uneasy not knowing the context in which a piece of my writing was going to appear.

    Their wording suggets to me that they haven't yet generated all this additional material. It'll have to be coordinated with the submissions if the book's to be any good. This title is a long, long way from being done.
    Some of you have suggested we don’t indeed have a contract with Little, Brown. This is not the case. Contracts --
    Plural contracts for a single book? That seems odd.
    -- are signed and the book will be published early next year.
    Hold it. Early 2005? I don't know what the weather's like where you are, but outside here it's already April 2004. Books slated for publication in January 2005 should have been delivered to their editors some time ago, and the author-editor loop of the process should be over. The manuscripts should be finished and ready to go, complete with any rewrites and augmentations the editor has asked for, and all the little additional bits that go into a book (of which there are about three times as many when it's nonfiction) should be in hand in finished form. When were they planning to deliver this manuscript?
    As for Little, Brown allowing us to have stories for the book online prior to publication, selected submissions are posted to provide a sense of the project's scope and encourage further stories. Pieces selected for the book will be removed from the site prior to publication.
    Awkward, but plausible enough.
    Our intention was certainly not to upset anyone, though we do understand – given both the copyright wording on the site and the nature of internet 'requests' – how it might have done. Hope this note and the ammended copyright text on our site goes some way to answer your concerns. We hope each of you would be interested in participating as we’d love to include a wide mix of voices in the book.
    They'd love to have a lot of participants and a wide mix of voices in the book? I daresay they would. Any plausible manuscript delivery date has got to be coming up on them soon, and they've got no money to pay their writers.

    If you're any kind of a reasonable journalist, you could superglue your butt to your chair and write the half of the book these contributions are supposed to supply. What you can't do is pound out dozens and dozens of little stories, each with a different voice and worldview. That's killing. Unless you're wildly talented, it's impossible.

    So they have to get contributions. But they haven't left much time for accretion, selection, and editing. The way to get a brilliant book is to salt a website with some lively, engaging first-person stories, then sit back and watch other people come by and add to them. Story begets story. It's like that thing that kicks in when a lot of people are telling jokes, the one that causes you to be able to remember jokes you haven't thought about in years.

    Once that gets going, you let them accumulate, the half-assed with the good. You have to have the half-assed ones there, because looking at half-good writing encourages good writers to write. Looking at good writing just encourages them to read. When your accumulation is ten or twenty times the wordcount you need, you make your selections. Then you edit them and arrange them and turn the compilation into an organic whole, which is what your compilation copyright protects.

    Unfortunately, if these guys really do have an early 2005 publication date, they're not going to be able to do any of that good stuff. I'd say there's a good chance that they'll have to settle for anything they get, which is a lousy way to run a book.

    If they don't make their delivery date, the book will have to be rushed through production, which is a very bad thing for this sort of material, because it naturally tends to generate a complex, messy, and inconsistent manuscript. It's going to need its full complement of production time to turn out well. If they really don't make their delivery date, all the marketing and promotional plans and arrangements that have to be made far in advance are going to have to be dropped, and picked up again in some later month or season. Like beaten egg whites that've sat too long and now have to be whipped up again, the sales effort is unlikely to be re-achieve its previous heights.

    Finally, their come-on for authors is flat and uninspiring. It's like they haven't gotten the book's concept fully pinned down. That's bad. Even if you wanted to write them a story, you wouldn't know what it was supposed to be about. If you can't tell, you won't write.

  14. #14
    sfsassenach
    Guest

    Re: 2DO Before I Die - copyright of story submissions

    It's pretty obvious. The editors will take any money after the book earns out (assuming it does), and keep it.
    But they pay contributors around $300. These guys are asking writers to volunteer their work.

  15. #15
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: 2DO Before I Die - copyright of story submissions

    Who pays $300? The Chicken Soup folks? The way those thing sell they bloody ought to.

    As long as you're looking for $300 and no royalties, you can do as well with Reader's Digest's little Life In These United States fillers.

    Non-paying markets aren't necessarily a scam. It's just that absent special circumstances they're not a very good idea.

  16. #16
    sfsassenach
    Guest

    Re: 2DO Before I Die - copyright of story submissions

    Chicken Soup pays $300 per contributor. I think many of them aren't pro writers anyway.

    You're preaching to the choir with me, Jim. The only time I work for free is for a genuine charity.

  17. #17
    Betty W01
    Guest

    Chicken Soup et al

    CS pays $300, God Allows U-Turns pays $50, other works vary from $25 to zilch, and the reasons people write for them range from a desire to see a particular piece in print to a desire to add CS to their clip list. (And many of the authors are indeed pros, with many other publications to their credit.)

    Where these projects usually differ from Reader's Digest's Life in These United States's $300 is, RD buys all rights. CS et al usually do not, only one-time rights. This means you can resell your stories elsewhere, again and again, as often as you can find markets, you can use them in a compilation of your own work, you can sell to magazines, etc.

    If you sell a story to RD, they pay you once, they print it once, and then, you're done (unless maybe they want to reuse it somewhere else without notifying you or paying you, which they can do, since they own all rights.)

    I've written for seven anthologies so far, and been paid or not, depending on the project, and will probably write for others. However, this 2DO project doesn't appeal to me *at all*. Too much vagueness, too many unanswered questions, plus all of what Hopi pointed out.

  18. #18
    sfsassenach
    Guest

    Reselling CS pieces...

    Betty: How much of a market is there for reselling these pieces?

    And by "pro" I meant more full-time/earning a living writers. Sorry.

  19. #19
    Gala
    Guest

    CS reselling

    What! You mean you haven't read CS for the Writers Soul?

    :hat

  20. #20
    Betty W01
    Guest

    Re: CS reselling

    Not sure how much market overall there is; I know I've resold one of my essays three times so far. You can sell them to other anthologies, to magazines that use essays and accept reprints, and you can use them in your own books, too.

    And I knew that was what you meant (wasn't taking it personally) about professional writers and I say again, a lot of the writers are pros, even by that definition (which I'd rather not argue about - I understand what you meant). Go look at the credit list in the back of the book. Depending on the book's topic, there are a lot of pros who are writing for anthologies.

    I also understand the concern about not giving your writing away and I have turned down several anthology projects that were either poorly conceived or on topics about which I had nothing to say (yeah, there are a few...:b ) as well as several magazines that fell on my writing with gladness and an offhand "of course we don't pay - but we will give you a byline." Ummm... no. Show me the money.

    However, I am building up a platform and clips to use to pitch a book of my own, and anthology publication (on the topic I am interested in writing about) is one of the methods I'm using to do that. In this case, the money is a side issue.

  21. #21
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Well, they seem to have taken Hapisoft's advice. It looks like they've published their first book and are collecting stories for a second. They also seem to know more about what they're doing that described above.

    But they're still not paying for contributions. How quaint. Everybody makes money except the people who make the book interesting.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  22. #22
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Updated link: http://www.2dobeforeidie.org/

    Only published the one book, and the blog hasn't been updated since Feb '10.
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