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[Crit workshop] Hugh Howey

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

slhuang

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I want to strongly warn writers about the following:

https://hughhowey.com/open-for-submissions/

It's being discussed in several closed writer groups I'm in, among authors who've been around the block, and everyone agrees that there are huge problems with this because:

1) It's completely unclear what he's asking to use people's writing for
2) Any sort of rights agreement, contracting, or payment -- assuming there will be any of the above -- is completely ambiguous
3) There seems to be an indication that things will be posted publicly for no pay, which will almost certainly burn first rights
4) There's no clear benefit at all to submitters for sending him your writing/IP, and no indication of what he'll do with it

I see some newer writers on social media intrigued or excited about this, whereas all the writers I know who've been around a while (including the dedicated self-publishers) are taken aback and alarmed. It's rare I see such a disparity in reaction between new people and pros, which makes me worried that people don't know industry norms regarding the value of and protection of their work. I strongly recommend against submitting unless the guidelines and purpose are clarified tremendously and it becomes clear there is commensurate benefit to the writers for whatever rights they may give up.

Note: I know a lot of people like Hugh Howey or are fans of his -- I am not commenting on his motivations, which may be pure, but on the problematic implementation. I truly hope he will take steps to clarify what he's doing and be explicit about rights protection and compensation.
 

SciSarahTops

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Just looking through the comments and HH has said:

This is a critique / writing workshop. But I’m going to share my thoughts and edits live on video, and interact with whomever joins me at the time. It’ll be super boring. But if anyone wants to see how the process works, it’ll be a window into that world. Hopefully it helps someone out.

Now … if we start doing this and find great works that deserve a bigger audience, I’ll pitch putting those works together in an anthology. Or suggesting other outlets for those works. But that’s very optimistic and a long way down the road.
 

Introversion

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Thanks the head’s up — I never would’ve heard of this otherwise. (Not that I plan to submit, just that the publishing train is a fascinating wreck to watch sometimes.)
 

tko

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Calling something "open for submissions" when it isn't anything close to a submission is pretty big warning. He's in the business, been through the grinder, and should know what to include from the start. It's kind of like, "send me your money and I'll come up with a use for it."
 

frimble3

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Just looking through the comments and HH has said:
"But I’m going to share my thoughts and edits live on video, and interact with whomever joins me at the time. It’ll be super boring."

Bet it's not boring if it's your beloved, brand-new, baby work being picked apart on social media.
Especially if the people he's going to 'interact' with turn out to be sarcastic jerks who no longer have any friends in RL. People like that are looking for fresh meat, and the kind of newbies who would sign up for this will probably be ill-prepared for what might happen.
 

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