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Susie
11-04-2008, 08:16 PM
I am wondering if anyone heard of the above website. Thanks much.

wyntermoon
11-11-2008, 06:51 AM
Susie, I'm going to move this to the Bewares and Backgrounds Check forum and see if we can find some answers for you. :)

CaoPaux
11-11-2008, 07:14 AM
Here's the FAQ from their blog: http://blog.storysomething.com/?page_id=56

Susie
11-11-2008, 07:05 PM
Susie, I'm going to move this to the Bewares and Backgrounds Check forum and see if we can find some answers for you. :)

Thanks so much, Stace & Cao.

CaoPaux
11-11-2008, 08:24 PM
In actually reading said FAQs, I note it's a work-for-hire deal. But only paying for the first 100 stories (?!).


5. Will Authors be paid if they are selected?

Yes, but only for the first 100 stories. We are currently paying $60 for the first 750 word story and then $200 for the next 3. Authors will also be featured and promoted in our community with bio pages, etc.

6. Who owns the submitted stories?

Since these will be original stories commissioned and paid for by Story Something, Story Something will own the rights to this content. But again, authors will be featured, promoted, etc across the community and it is our hope that they receive accolades, joy and perhaps a career boost by participating in the Story Something community.

victoriastrauss
11-11-2008, 08:52 PM
I just got an inquiry about StorySomething, and had the chance to read the contract they are issuing for the stories they are buying.

They're paying a flat fee of $60 per story, with no further remuneration. $60 sounds like a small amount, but the stories are only 750 words, so it works out to 8 cents per word, which is competitive with rates paid by many ezines and print magazines. On the other hand, ezines and magazines are paying for one-time use and possibly for archiving rights. With StorySomething, the stories will be permanently on the SS website (writers cannot terminate the agreement or remove their work from the site), and will be downloaded repeatedly. It seems to me that writers ought to get some share of that revenue.

Also, SS seems to be paying only for the first 100 stories. After that, it sounds as if writers won't be paid anything at all, though I could find no info on the SS blog or website to illuminate exactly how that will work. That's definitely a concern.

Writers do not have to surrender their copyrights. The grant of rights demanded by the contract is similar to other grant-of-rights clauses for online content sites, allowing the company to display writers' work on the Internet and, in this particular case, to distribute it via email to computers, cell phones, BlackBerries, etc. Only only online and electronic rights are taken, which would appear to leave print rights with the author--though I'd want to clarify that, and add something to that effect to the contract. Another thing to clarify: whether SS is taking rights exclusively or nonexclusively. That's not stated in the contract, and it definitely should be.

I could find no info on who is behind StorySomething. That's another question I'd want to ask, because it does have bearing on the likelihood of the site's success.

- Victoria

Susie
11-11-2008, 11:45 PM
Thanks so much, Cao & Victoria. That really helps a lot. Most appreciated.

story something
11-12-2008, 07:40 PM
Hi. My name is Jon and I work for Story Something. Hopefully i can clarify a few things:

There are a ton of quality writers and stories out there. Our focus right now is simply getting the community seeded. Hence the need to pay for the first 100 or so stories. Once a writer is accepted, we're paying $60 for the first story. And if that goes well with the writer, we'll commission up to 3 more for $200. For that fee, we get the rights to post on the website and distribute through other digital means (email, etc). The writer keeps all the other rights. If fact, we hope our community becomes a place for publishers to source new talent.

In hindsight, we could have done a better job of explaining all of this. We're moving at 100 miles an hour right now but that's really not much of an excuse. We'll try and clarify on our website (www.storysomething.com) and blog (blog.storysomething.com)

Thanks.

Jon

victoriastrauss
11-12-2008, 08:47 PM
Jon,

Thanks for visiting Absolute Write, and for the explanation.

Two things that, in my opinion, would improve your contract:

- Adding a paragraph stating that all rights not specifically granted in the contract remain with the author.

- Clarifying whether the grant of rights is exclusive or nonexclusive. It's an important distinction that has serious implications for writers.

A question: after you've bought the first 100 stories, will writers be paid--either by a flat fee or getting a share of the income stream from the use of their stories? If you don't plan to pay writers to contribute stories to your site, what incentives can you offer them to provide content for free?

Thanks!

- Victoria

story something
11-13-2008, 12:06 AM
Hi Victoria

I will revisit the contract. thanks for the feedback.

Our hope is that authors use Story Something because they first and foremost wish to share their gift and delight children. That said, if we do this right, it will be the best way for children's authors to reach their audience of parents, publishers and media alike.

You'll see when we go live in the new year.

Thanks!

Jon

roseangel
11-13-2008, 11:10 AM
What about royalties?

story something
11-13-2008, 10:00 PM
Hi Rose. For those first few that we do commission, we're only requesting and paying for the electronic/digital rights. We aren't a publisher and we aren't selling the stories. We're offering them on our website for parents and children to enjoy. And hopefully publishers to discover. All the content will be accredited to the Authors.

Thanks.
Jon

victoriastrauss
11-14-2008, 12:18 AM
Even if you don't consider yourself a publisher, by placing the stories on your site you are publishing them. And even if you don't sell individual stories, presumably there will be some sort of revenue stream from StorySomething--membership fees? Advertising revenue? It doesn't seem fair to expect authors to contribute content for free to a website that hopes to realize a profit from those contributions.

Publishers expect authors to come to them--they don't typically comb the Internet for new talent. Whether writers would be able to cite a story published on Story Something as a professional writing credit when making a publisher submission is an open question at this point.

- Victoria

story something
11-15-2008, 12:26 AM
Hi Victoria.

I certainly respect your point of view. We aren't a publisher in the traditional sense.

There are lots of examples where content creators have put their expressions online for the pure joy of finding and reaching their audiences. But like any good relationship, there needs to be value for all parties. We just need to create the kind of experience that children, parents and authors will love. In the end, authors are free to make their own choices.

But we certainly don't have all the answers right now. We'll just have to see how it plays out.

Thanks very much.

Jon

Susan Gable
11-15-2008, 03:50 AM
But we certainly don't have all the answers right now. We'll just have to see how it plays out.



In other words, you've slapped this idea together without much thought or business planning. Those are basic questions.

:Shrug:

Maybe you should only CARRY 100 stories if that's all you can pay for.

Why is it always the writers who are supposed to do this for love and creative outlet, and everyone else wants to make a living off it??

Susan G.

story something
11-15-2008, 04:05 AM
Hi Susan.

I'm certainly happy to answer any questions that i can, but given the tone this is taking, this will probably be my last post on this thread.

First, you should know that probably 75% of the companies out there today - apple, microsoft, etc - started as one business but within a year or two course corrected into some other plan. Its not that they didn't know what they were doing, it's simply that by starting a business, you're essentially testing a hypothesis. And invariably, that hypothesis is wrong. It's either 5% wrong, 95% wrong or somewhere in between. So when i say we're not sure, it simply means we will adjust as we see the experience play out.

Thankfully, we're all able to make decisions about how to spend our time and where to invest our talents. I truly hope the experience will deliver value to writers, publishers, parents and children. If it doesn't, we'll course correct and change. But right now, it's way too premature to make any decisions about any part of this. Especially given the overall response of both the writer and parenting community.

Thanks again for the dialogue here everyone. But i'm signing off this thread for now.

Best,

Jon

www.storysomething.com
(http://www.storysomething.com)

Alphabeter
11-15-2008, 06:44 AM
Yes, make that your last post.

To my eyes, you have proven that storysomething.com is a poor website whose founders are unresearched in business basics. There have been several reasonable questions asked of you to which you responded with less than helpful, truthful and/or accurate answers.

Successful businesses don't piss all over the people they want to work for them and/or be their customers. Sites I value and either seek to, or do contribute to, have business plans with solid contracts and practices that don't need defending.

Thank you for clarifying that storysomething.com is not behind their contributors and will not be carrying content that will be worth seeking out. I will be pleased to let all my writing loops know not to waste their time with such a site.

victoriastrauss
11-15-2008, 07:10 AM
Alphabeter, I think the tone of your post is uncalled for. Yes, there seem to be some serious questions about StorySomething--but much is speculation at this point, since the website hasn't even opened for business yet. And maybe Jon will take some of our concerns and advice into consideration--though I suspect he'll be less likely to do that if we start making harsh judgments before we even know all the details of his business model.

- Victoria

Ol' Fashioned Girl
11-15-2008, 04:57 PM
Why is it always the writers who are supposed to do this for love and creative outlet, and everyone else wants to make a living off it??

Quoted for truth. If there's one thing I've learned in my 55 years, it's that there's always someone wanting to make money off of my words or use my talent for free.

happywritermom
11-15-2008, 10:43 PM
I don't see how this is different from journals that pay in copies or eZines that pay nothing at all for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. If we're going to bash these folks, why not bash them too? I am not a children's author, but I know that is a hugely saturated market. For some folks, any exposure is good exposure. Any kind of publication makes for a better query letter. Storysomething is likely to get submissions from writers who are just starting out and need to build their portfolios. How is that a bad thing? The people who can do better, will do better. The negative reaction to this seems grossly unjustified to me.

Alphabeter
11-16-2008, 12:18 PM
Answering questions with real honest answers is always a sound business practice. If it isn't something they thought of and/or didn't cover, there is a better way to stall and change than "I don't like the tone of this thread". But its a great way to deflect good questions they don't have brown answers ready for.

If they didn't have problems, they wouldn't need to seek out every thread on several major writing messageboards which question or merely bring up their site and its practices to deny, avoid and then run when they can't convert the "locals".

They're not being upfront about who they will pay, how much and for how long. Those sites that mention upfront that they can't pay or just in issues and exposure might not be great, but they're honest. To me, storysomething are aiming to appear as if they're a legitimate site whose contributers will get paid and have good exposure--and they are not.

Storysomething will get submissions from writers who don't know any better. But the real crime will be writers who submit because the site had people go around and quell/deflect questions---before the site even opened--and still get raked.

victoriastrauss
11-16-2008, 07:32 PM
If they didn't have problems, they wouldn't need to seek out every thread on several major writing messageboards which question or merely bring up their site and its practices to deny, avoid and then run when they can't convert the "locals".

Jumping to conclusions before a site is even open for business and you've had a chance to fully evaluate its policies and procedures is just as problematic, IMO. You have no idea what changes SS may implement between now and next year, when they open for business, or to what degree the feedback they find here and elsewhere will influence them. If they open and there are still issues, we can make a fuss about them then. In the meantime, you're just speculating.

- Victoria

Alphabeter
11-17-2008, 05:20 AM
So far the feedback I've seen consists of people going "what is this site" and "are they legit" with the answers being less-than-satisfactory and the ss.com poster getting offended by the questions and disappearing. For not being open, they're generating a lot of bad buzz with these actions.

However, I didn't realize they weren't going to officially open until next year. I will give them a few months after that to see how they fair. But specific to storysomething.com, pretty much only because Victoria said so.

Susan Gable
11-17-2008, 10:21 PM
The point I was trying to make is this:

No one ever tells an editor they should edit books because they LOVE the written word, and therefore they shouldn't expect to make a living at editing.

No one tells the MAIL CLERK at the publishing house that they should hand out the mail, etc. because they LOVE BOOKS, and thus should be honored to be working in a publishing house, and thus they shouldn't expect to make a living wage at their job.

The head of the art department, the receptionist, the CEO, the janitor, the agents -- they ALL expect to make a living wage. How they live varies, yeah, but nobody tells them they should do their job because they love books, forget that nasty MONEY thing.

It's only WRITERS who are told that we should shut up and be grateful that people are reading our work, that we should not expect to make a living doing something creative, something we love.

(And before anybody asks, there have been major players at a MAJOR publishing house who actually said that to a roomful of his authors. Who needless to say were less than pleased with his remarks.)

And yet -- without us, none of those other people would be making a living wage at all, because we supply the product.

Susan G.

happywritermom
11-18-2008, 07:08 AM
Unfortunately, however, we do have to prove ourselves in this profession before we can get paid. Even editors (successful ones) often have to work unpaid internships. Before I got my first job as a journalist, I interned for a semester (I paid for that one through the school) and worked for next to nothing that following summer. I also worked an unpaid, semesterlong, 50- to 60-hour-a-week internship at a television station. I'm sure we all know we can't just take daylong job-training classes to become established writers. And the writing does not always speak for itself. Nonfiction writers have to show that they are credible as well. It's a craft and we have to prove that we are good at it by building portfolios. In that sense, sites like Storysomething can be helpful. I would think that anyone who has the confidence that he/she can get paid for a children's story wouldn't submit to Storysomething. From what I can tell, those are not the writers the site eventually plans to target. It's quite possible that they will find that the stories they get are not worth publishing. Then, they might change their business plan and pay authors. But they won't know what's out there until they get going.
Why can't we just wait and see?

victoriastrauss
11-18-2008, 07:42 AM
Once again, this is all speculation, because Story Something hasn't opened yet. But whether it will help a writer build a professional portfolio...that remains to be seen. It will depend on the quality of work, the success of the site, and--yes--whether there is payment. For writers, payment is one of the markers of a professional market.

Susan, I hear you. I see red whenever someone pulls out that old "True artists don't care about money" crap.

- Victoria