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icenine
03-04-2009, 06:45 PM
A new pdf based mag I just came across today. Paying 1 cent a word. Don't really know much about it yet, only that it's UK based (so I'm reliably informed), as is the editor. Apparently they take spec-fiction and cross genre. If you find out anything more about RPM, I'd be glad to know.

---

Moderator note about payment, quoted from the site (http://www.ruthlesspeoples.com/node/12) (since they flat rates other than 1-cent per word for other genres):


We can only make payments through PayPal

Currently we pay at the following rates:

* Serial Fiction and Short Stories - US$0.01 per word to a maximum of US$35.00 per piece
* Flash Fiction - a flat rate of US$10.00 per flash fiction piece between 500 to 1,000 words
* MiniFlash - for pieces up to 500 words, US$0.01 per word.
* Poetry - A flat rate of US$5.00 per poem

veinglory
03-04-2009, 08:16 PM
Link?

CaoPaux
03-04-2009, 08:57 PM
http://www.ruthlesspeoples.com/

icenine
03-04-2009, 09:55 PM
Oops sorry, I forgot that bit. Thanks CaoPaux.

MumblingSage
03-04-2009, 09:56 PM
I recieved a very nice and extremely helpful rejection from them about a month ago. They also seem to have a sense of humor...

icenine
03-08-2009, 02:11 AM
I have some news on this new publisher. Apparently, they have a dodgy indemnity clause in their contract. If you get an acceptance, ask the publisher to remove the clause, or at least to modify it.

A good indemnity clause should basically ask for warranty that you haven’t plagiarised the story etc. but that’s all. Check out Shroud Publishing's contract on this, it’s perfect.
A bad indemnity will ask for full compensation in the event of etc. etc. RPM has a bad indemnity clause.

And check that this publisher has made clear in the contract the rights offered by the writer. There seems a little problem there as well.

Just so you know. :)

More news when I get it.

RPM-Editor
03-17-2009, 11:59 AM
Hullo.

Dodgy? Dodgy?

"Dodgy" seems to go a little bit far. It's a comprehensive indemnity, to be sure, but let's have a look at this in context.

RPM's indemnity only comes into effect in very specific circumstances.

Here's the liability clause:

9. Liability for breach of condition

Should any of the conditions to this Agreement described in clause 2 be breached the Writer will indemnify the Publisher without limit for any loss costs damage charge or disbenefit it suffers as a result of such breach howsoever caused and howsoever remote and/or howsoever unforeseeable such loss costs damage charge or disbenefit may be.
The lack of commas is eye-watering, but clause 9 is expressed to only become operational for a breach of clause 2.

Clause 2 reads as follows (with my comment in [red]):


2. Conditions of contract

The following are conditions fundamental to this Agreement which the Writer by entering into this Agreement confirms are true:

2.1. The Writer has the greatest understanding of how the Accepted Material was produced and the all circumstances which gave rise to it; [you wrote it; you know best what went into it]

2.2. The Writer owns the copyright and has full title to the Accepted Material; [you own it]

2.3. No rights assignments or permissions have been granted by the Writer or other copyright and/or title holder(s) to any third party or parties which adversely affect the grant of the Rights to the Publisher or the ability of the Publisher to exercise the Rights; [you haven't given rights to anyone who would beat us up if we publish your story]

2.4. The Accepted Material is not defamatory and no person living or dead can be identified from the Accepted Material by name, physical description, caricature or otherwise. [the story isn't really about your ex-wife/child.]And that's it. You confirm the story is yours, it attracts copyright (which you own and you haven't given away) and it's not defamatory. The only person who knows the truth of this is you, the writer. I mean -- if you don't know this, who does?!

RPM isn't in a position to investigate whether you have stolen the work you are passing off as your own, whether you have signed up with Thug Co who get really angry about stuff, or whether the story is secretly about your next door neighbour...

Avoiding clause 9 is therefore easy: write something, own it, don't give it away in a manner which would shaft us and avoid defamation. That way, we can embrace as we were destined to do so and skip happily through the fields.

RPM V Shroud - FIGHT!

RPM is not Shroud. Shroud is a reader-pays publication. I don't know whether it takes adverts or not... I'm not prepared to pay for it, so I'll never read the many (probably) beautiful stories within. The point is this: Shroud has posh things like, oh, income or something.

RPM exists on love, for free.

I have read the Shroud contract and I'm not sure it really is that much milder than RPM's. Here's the relevant clause:

45 Authors' Warranties and Indemnities
46
47 4. The Author represents and warrants that he/she is the
48 sole author of the Work, that the Work is original, and that
49 no one has reserved the rights granted in this agreement.
50 The Author also represents, to the best of his/her
51 knowledge, that the Work does not contain any libelous
52 materials.

RPM's contract is governed by the law of England & Wales.

In the UK, punitive damages generally don't happen. New Hampshire law does have them -- and punitive damages are exactly the sort of thing that come into play when someone has stolen work or (especially!) makes out that Doris the Dinner Lady has an astonishing method of self-amusement after choir practice. So, if you have deceived either Shroud or RPM, I suspect you would be paying out more under the Shroud contract. Is that "good"?

(Also, what's that word "Indemnities" doing there? What effect will the heading have? I'm not sure. A judge may ignore it, or they may take the view that it puts the wrongdoing writer on notice on the consequences of breaching the warranty. That constructional uncertainty doesn't make me happy as a writer or an editor.)

RPM loves you

RPM does actually love you. But with a love this big, we won't be going forward without protection. This protection is non-negotiable. It can't be any other way -- we don't have time to get into unweaving the contract. It might seem big and important and feel all grown up and things like that, but let's also have a sense of context: these are $10.00 fiction pieces and I'm not going to spend 3 hours in 'negotiations'.

Sorry for the long post. I'll summarise:


RPM's contract is fair - you know your work and contractual arrangements best.
Don't steal or defame.
Shroud's contract is not automatically better
Kind regards


Editor
Ruthless Peoples Magazine

Ms Hollands
03-17-2009, 12:26 PM
Well, that sounded a little condescending. The contract wouldn't put me off writing for you, but that tone would, whatever your name is.

RPM-Editor
03-17-2009, 02:59 PM
That is a pity; I do hope you'll reconsider.

Best wishes


Editor, RPM

icenine
03-17-2009, 04:08 PM
I agree with April Hollands.
This smacks of unprofessionalism.

And I don't understand your issue here. I merely indicated the contract I've seen from Shroud, as a good example, IMO, of a good and fair contract. The Shroud contract can be freely downloaded from one of their sites but I'm not going to put the link here. I made a comparison with your contract (which I've also seen) as being not so good.


"Writer will indemnify the Publisher without limit for any loss costs damage charge or disbenefit it suffers as a result of such breach howsoever caused and howsoever remote and/or howsoever unforeseeable such loss costs damage charge or disbenefit may be"

That's the bit I was directed to in the contract I was shown. That's the bit that sounded a bit heavy to me.

You do seem a little paranoid about plagiarism. I doubt anybody would bother selling you a story they've stolen for what you're paying. Come on now, don't be silly.

Apologies to those coming to this post for market information. I'm sorry to see this thread descend into silliness. I'd happily end the discussion here and let the link stand. I could of course be wrong about the contract. It's only my opinion. I'm sure you are all adult enough to make your own minds up about RPM and whether you want to submit, without this load of rubbish influencing your decision.

RPM-Editor
03-17-2009, 09:36 PM
Icenine--

All smacking, spanking and name-calling aside, the issue is/was/will be the word "dodgy". RPM may be fun, exciting, thrilling to work for, diligent and caring about its stories writers and readers, but apart from those sins -- we're not "dodgy"!

Pound of flesh

It's a strong clause because if we have one substantial screw-up on copyright or libel, we're finished. That's all.

The part you've quoted -- for some reason, I'd hope a pasting error -- misses out the important bit about what has to happen for the indemnity to come into play.

That's the bit that sounded a bit heavy to me.
Absolutely. Heavy as hell. Proudly so. The only problem is that the stupid girly law doesn't let you take peoples' organs, which I would enjoy immensely: if someone has stolen work or slandered someone (acts which RPM can't possibly know about) why should RPM and its writers and readers suffer for that?

Paranoia

You do seem a little paranoid about plagiarism. I doubt anybody would bother selling you a story they've stolen for what you're paying. Come on now, don't be silly.
I know, I know. We're so small and new. But things happen. Someone makes multiple subs, accepts half a dozen contracts because they've just been credit crunched and the girls need shoes for school, the rights end up in a tangle and someone somewhere decides to be unreasonable because a coke deal went bad. Sooner or later people start dying and there's only one small girl in Tunbridge Wells who knows the secret.

Stuff happens. Contracts mitigate that risk.

The man in the mirror

In all honesty, the paranoia seems to be on the other side of the table. Oh my god evil publisher will take my house and cats! Nothing could be further from the truth.

Take the story from the writer who referred RPM's contract to you for your advice. It's a brilliant little piece. Really slick, clever, nicely dramatic... I took it because I was totally charmed by the way he mixed up repairman pornography, noir, Blade Runner, small town business, social structure and a fantastic dramatic twist at the end. I recommend it without hesitation to anyone and everyone. I love it, and you will too unless you are dead -- and it's that good I'm not even sure death would stop it. It's a great story. It has to be. It was accepted by RPM.

Do I think he stole it? No. Do I think it's libellous? It's about androids, repairman and an old man. It's impossible for it to be libellous!

But, following your advice about a clause which could not possibly have had any purchase upon the story because of its originality and nature, he declined to accept the terms. Well, there we are. It's a real pity because I would have loved to have had the story in there. Don't have time to negotiate.

The upshot is this: if you have written a good story, own it and want to get a little cash for it - pop it along to me and I'll be delighted to consider it. I accept things with joy and I reject things giving my reasons. This seems popular (in as much as turning anything down is popular). Edit: previous readers of the previous sentence will now find it rendered in English, for their comfort and convenience.)

This is fun. Just be safe out there.

Ed.

icenine
03-17-2009, 11:15 PM
Spanking? Anybody have a link for that? :)

Yes, the writer you speak of did indeed take my advice on the contract. But grown men can make up their own minds. He was concerned about more than the warranty clause. Rather two or three clauses. I was merely offering a "relatively" new writer my opinion. I suggested he do as I would have done: if you're unhappy about a contract, ask the editor if he'll consider making changes. I still stand by that advice.

RPM-Editor
03-18-2009, 12:02 AM
Oh absolutely! We're not gods and I'm dead against any holier-than-thou, as you can see.

I'm happy to explain why things in the contract are as they are, but I can't go around unweaving it -- one thing, then another thing, then another thing. There just isn't the time and it's not an unfair contract at all.

I must go; my poetry editor is telling me off for arguing on the internet.

Spoilsport.

Soccer Mom
03-18-2009, 01:04 AM
Easy there, folks. Everyone back to their corners and...er...come out NOT fighting.

As we say in Texas, y'all come back now. Ya hear?

Keyan
03-27-2009, 01:14 AM
I've written a couple of flash pieces accepted by Ruthless. So far, so very good. It's been an enjoyable process, and the first piece ("Anyways, I borrowed your body") was published in RPM #1.

I was a bit surprised at the length and complications of the contract, but whattheheck. It wasn't any deal-breaker for me.

icenine
03-27-2009, 02:23 AM
It wasn't any deal-breaker for me.

That's because you obviously didn't ask the editor to change it. If you had done so, I'm sure he would have refused, as before, and then you may have had second thoughts. As far as I'm concerned, an editor who refuses point blank to negotiate with a writer is an amateur and isn't worth the trouble.

Keyan
03-27-2009, 08:04 PM
That's because you obviously didn't ask the editor to change it. If you had done so, I'm sure he would have refused, as before, and then you may have had second thoughts. As far as I'm concerned, an editor who refuses point blank to negotiate with a writer is an amateur and isn't worth the trouble.

I dunno. The only time I've entered into contract negotiations was for a non-fic book with a well-known professional publisher, and while I got some concessions, that contract was a whole lot more one-sided than this one.

I had the impression that most short-story magazines have a take-it-or-leave-it contract. Since most editors are unpaid and therefore doing this as a part-time activity, how would they have time to negotiate contracts with every author of a poem or story they were publishing?

For me, I guess I didn't find a 500-word piece that paid $10 worth contract negotiations. I did suggest that some of the other places I've sent work to had simpler and shorter contracts, and offered a sample.

Almost all the contracts I've entered into have an indemnity clause. Here are two examples from different contracts (one e-zine, one a charity anthology and both in the US):

"Author warrants and represents that she/he has the right to grant the rights listed herein; that the rights granted are free and clear, and that the Work will not violate any copyright or other right of a third party contrary to law. Author agrees to indemnify Publisher, and any licensees thereof for any loss, damage, or expense (including reasonable attorney’s fees) arising out of any claim inconsistent with any of the foregoing warranties or representations that is finally sustained in a court of law."


"The Author represents and warrants that he/she is the sole author(s) of the Work, that the Work is original, and that no one has reserved the rights granted in this agreement. The Author also represents, to the best of his/her knowledge, that the Work does not contain any libelous material, and is not in violation of any rights of privacy or any other rights of third persons, and does not violate any existing common law or statutory copyrights, and has not been published before in any form. The Author agrees to hold the Anthologist harmless against any judgment finally sustained that the Work contains libel, plagiarism and/or invasion of privacy."


What about the Ruthless contract did you find so problematic?

Ugawa
03-27-2009, 10:35 PM
I sent them a short story yesterday and got a lovely rejection saying that he was thrilled by the piece but can't publish it as he doesn't feel it works as a sort story and he'd be very interested to consider it as a series.

I read everyone's posts, but different people have different opinions about this site.

I'm going to do it, I've only ever had short stories published on little non-paying sites, so to me, it's another step on my ladder to publication, and another great credential.

Does anyone feel this is the wrong choice?

X

Keyan
03-28-2009, 01:42 AM
I sent them a short story yesterday and got a lovely rejection saying that he was thrilled by the piece but can't publish it as he doesn't feel it works as a sort story and he'd be very interested to consider it as a series.

I read everyone's posts, but different people have different opinions about this site.

I'm going to do it, I've only ever had short stories published on little non-paying sites, so to me, it's another step on my ladder to publication, and another great credential.

Does anyone feel this is the wrong choice?

X

I'm happy with them. I'd certainly sub more work to them, whenever I have anything that seems to match their tastes.

What I like about them is they're still small enough to be prompt and personal in their responses. While I sympathise with the reasons the bigger magazines take so long to respond, I do find it refreshing to get prompt feedback. And then they publish online, so I can tell people where to find a story if they want to read it.

I've had some pieces published in larger and better-known places as well, but I still like sending work to places that will respond in hours or days instead of months.

colealpaugh
03-28-2009, 04:07 AM
Oh absolutely! We're not gods and I'm dead against any holier-than-thou, as you can see.

I'm happy to explain why things in the contract are as they are, but I can't go around unweaving it -- one thing, then another thing, then another thing. There just isn't the time and it's not an unfair contract at all.

I must go; my poetry editor is telling me off for arguing on the internet.

Spoilsport.

I wish my news editors were more like you.

Good luck with RPM!

icenine
03-28-2009, 01:31 PM
I've never submitted to them, not because of what I discovered about the contract but because they don't pay enough. Sorry, I know that sounds snobbish but I've been there and done the few bucks thing. Once you have been published a fair bit, you'll understand where I'm coming from.
Well if you're a new writer and your experience with RPM is a good one, then good luck to you.

Keyan
03-28-2009, 08:59 PM
I've never submitted to them, not because of what I discovered about the contract but because they don't pay enough. Sorry, I know that sounds snobbish but I've been there and done the few bucks thing. Once you have been published a fair bit, you'll understand where I'm coming from.
Well if you're a new writer and your experience with RPM is a good one, then good luck to you.

I don't think it sounds snobbish at all. If you can get your work into better-paying markets, that's great. Short fiction is poorly paid as it is.

My own take on it is that except for the very best markets, the amounts paid are pretty trivial anyway. So I personally tend to submit to markets that (a) accept e-subs (b) give me a quick turnaround and (c) publish the kind of thing I enjoy writing. I do submit only to paying markets, because I think a magazine that puts its money on the table is different than one that doesn't.

However, the traditional wisdom is to submit a piece to the best-paid markets first, and work down the list. If your stories never get down to the 1-cent level, that's excellent.

icenine
03-29-2009, 12:20 AM
This is a bit off topic, but hey...

I hear you about the email subs thing. Who wants to print out all that paper and then pay tons of postage only to have the thing rejected five or ten times? That way, by the time you've had it published you've lost more on sending the damn thing out. I too only ever submit via email. Most literary magazines, however, still demand paper only submissions. Although it's true they tend to pay more. Still I think they need to catch up with the real world.

Keyan
04-08-2009, 01:22 AM
Just bumping this up... Ruthless is looking for stories for its next few issues. Issue#2 will be published on April 28. They pay 1cent a word, or $10 for flash.

(Ob disclosure: They published one of my flash stories, "Anyways I Borrowed Your Body" and they have another in the next issue.)

xaine5150
04-11-2009, 05:40 AM
In my day job I am a procurement specialist and as such am often significantly involved in contract negotiations I have some thoughts and suggestions about this matter which I believe may be of use to both the publisher of RPM and the authors who have taken exception to the contract offered by RPM.
On the one hand, as RPM magazine maintains an open door policy on submissions from writers, it’s likely to imagine that the editors and publisher spend many hours sifting through submissions to determine what does and does not meet their criteria. That being said, it is very unreasonable for individual authors to seek individually tailored contracts. Open negotiations can be an exhaustive, time consuming, and expensive process, and the more work you put into it, the more likely you are to leave out something critical.
On the other hand, as a business, RPM must maintain a good working relationship with both their customers and their source of supply. In this Case, RPM’s customers would be their readers and their sources of supply would be the talent submitting their writing. If the language in the contract is too severe, it runs the risk of scaring off new writers, which are potential sources of supply. Just take this very thread, if the Editor of RPM had not been a member of this site, the charges made by one writer would have gone unanswered and how many writers, potential sources of supply, would have been permanently turned against this publisher?
Furthermore, the language in this contract could be as likely to damage RPM as it is to damage a plagiarist because it would be easy to ague against in court. ‘Without limit’ means exactly that, it says RPM could sue for millions of dollars over one plagiarized or allegedly plagiarized work. Sounds good at this point in the paragraph, but what if a judge finds that kind of open language affords you too many rights? Your contract and your court case could be thrown out of court for having overly open language.
Do not take me wrong, I’m as against plagiarism as any writer or publisher should be, but I’d hate to see writers who are submitting what is genuinely their work get turned off by open language like this in a contract, and I’d definitely hate to see a publisher who offers an open door submission policy like RPM to run into legal trouble because their contract was worded poorly.
I recommend a small change in the wording of the language in question. Not to one individual's contract, but a blanket change to all of RPM’s contracts that would make that contract no less firm on it's stand against plagiarism, but make it less threatening to new talent, and offer firmer language upon which to base a legal argument.
My recommendation, change the language from :
"...Writer will indemnify the Publisher without limit for any loss costs damage charge or disbenefit..."
to:
"...Writer will indemnify the Publisher equal to any loss costs damage charge or disbenefit..."

This new language will let both the writers and potential litigators know that you will only seek to recoup your actual damages should you be defrauded by a plagiarist, as opposed to the previous language that indicates you'll 'sue them for all they've got' which anyone can see sounds more than a little threatening.

icenine
04-14-2009, 07:27 PM
Just take this very thread, if the Editor of RPM had not been a member of this site, the charges made by one writer would have gone unanswered and how many writers, potential sources of supply, would have been permanently turned against this publisher?


Please don't accuse me of turning people off submitting to this publisher. If that was my intention, I would not have posted the link in the first place. You are quite wrong. There were no "charges" made against the editor. That is simply not the case. The whole thing has been blown out of proportion. If you look at the original posts, they state that the contract may not be that good - no comment was made on the editor at that point.

A writer withdrew his story and it had nothing to do with plagiarism, and nothing to do with the editor (actually, from what I've been told, the editor is a nice guy, has a sense of humour, and good to work with). No, the issue was with something specific in the contract. That is all. I'm sure this is not an uncommon situation. Writers have a right to protect themselves, too. If you look at duotrope you will see that lots of writers withdraw stories from editors. It happens all the time.

icenine
04-15-2009, 11:53 AM
And now that you've stirred me up again, let me point out a discrepancy with RPM. The publisher is based in the UK (RPM is a Uk registered company) but the publisher pays in US dollars. You'd have to ask him why. According to Duotrope his location is USA, which is wrong, as I just pointed out.

Keyan
04-15-2009, 12:32 PM
And now that you've stirred me up again, let me point out a discrepancy with RPM. The publisher is based in the UK (RPM is a Uk registered company) but the publisher pays in US dollars. You'd have to ask him why. According to Duotrope his location is USA, which is wrong, as I just pointed out.

But why does it matter? The USD is the closest thing to a global currency.

icenine
04-15-2009, 08:08 PM
And there was me thinking the Euro was the new global currency.