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Project Deadlight
03-06-2014, 09:43 PM
I've written a novel that is partially based on a short story that I wrote and had published. (It even won a small award). Should I mention this in my cover letter or will it put agents off knowing part of it (a very small part of it) was published before.

Thanks.

EMaree
03-06-2014, 09:51 PM
Nah, the award sounds like a nice bit for your author bio. I'd say strut your stuff, Project Deadlight!

I'd slot it in a bit like this: [MANUSCRIPT NAME] is a XX,XXXX word [age range/genre] novel based on my short story NAME*, which was published in [COOL MAGAZINE], [DATE] and won [AWESOME AWARD].

(*if it's the same name, "based on a short story published in...")

whirlaway
03-06-2014, 10:31 PM
Not to be the voice of doom and gloom, but check your short story contract and make sure that you have retained the rights to write a novel based on it. Some magazine and anthology contracts have obnoxious, rights-grabby clauses.

I had the same situation. First novel I queried was based on a short story that I'd previously sold. I double-checked with the publisher that they were okay with that before querying the novel.

-Whirly

Siri Kirpal
03-06-2014, 11:08 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Yes, check your rights first. If there's no legal hassle, tell 'em!

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Aggy B.
03-06-2014, 11:48 PM
Not to be the voice of doom and gloom, but check your short story contract and make sure that you have retained the rights to write a novel based on it. Some magazine and anthology contracts have obnoxious, rights-grabby clauses.

I had the same situation. First novel I queried was based on a short story that I'd previously sold. I double-checked with the publisher that they were okay with that before querying the novel.

-Whirly

This is a bit of derail, but a publisher that is retaining any sort of permanent and exclusive rights to a short story is probably one to avoid.

Old Hack
03-07-2014, 11:23 AM
It might well be one to avoid, but if the contract includes a rights-grab like that then the OP can't legally publish this piece elsewhere.

If I were the OP I'd query the book, and if and when I was offered representation or a publishing deal, I'd mention the short story.

Project Deadlight
03-07-2014, 01:38 PM
Hey all, thanks for the suggestions. Before embarking on the novel, I did check my ss contract with the original publisher and double checked by emailing them, so fingers crossed there shouldn't be any issues here.

Jamesaritchie
03-07-2014, 07:45 PM
Yes, mention it. Any publication is good, and any award helps. Unless the contract specifically spells out novelization rights, you're fine.

I think I've sold all rights to a short story only once in thirty-five years, but even in that case I retained novel rights. Not movie rights, but novel rights.

In dealing with other writers, it's also been my experience that most small magazines will reassign rights like this to you for the asking, even if they did buy them.

J.Reid
03-08-2014, 07:26 AM
These are two separate works even if one (the novel) is based on the other (the short story.) The contract for the short story only covers the short story. They can be grabby as they want (and dear godiva, yes I have seen those contracts) but it applies ONLY to the short story.

And yes, this is why I review every contract for all of my clients even the ones I didn't sell or negotiate.

Old Hack
03-08-2014, 12:38 PM
Janet, I've seen contracts which attempt to grab rights to all future works; I've seen publications which assume rights to any works which are submitted to them; I've seen contracts which give publishers the rights to use manuscripts in any way they want, for profit, at no benefit to the author who wrote the thing.

Those things are bad enough: but when you consider that all of these things were in contracts which unagented writers were about to sign. They'd all read the contracts and couldn't see anything wrong with them. And in a couple of cases they'd shown the contract to a lawyer, and had been advised that it was sound.

You've just shown us yet another reason why writers need agents.

J.Reid
03-11-2014, 01:56 AM
*faints dead away*
I've seen university presses grab copyright, but ALL future works??
*faints dead away again*

I don't have words for that one.