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Omnific Publishing

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defyalllogic

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they say specifically that they don't publish fanfic...

Q: I have a fanfiction story about Ross and Rachel in Friends. Can I publish it through Omnific?

A: No. We do not publish fanfiction. What you can do is take anything that is your original idea (plot, characterization, etc.) and develop it into a manuscript using original characters that are your own creation.

and they are currently accepting submissions:
Omnific Publishing is now open to submissions in the genres of romance, fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal, chick lit, and erotica.

they have quite a few guidelines for submitting though, including a 2+ page synopsis (hate those)
 

emilycross

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Yes but many of the works that they've published began as fanfiction.

Granted the majority of these pieces were very AU (if Barflies is anything to go by), so they essentially now nonfanfiction but they started out as fanfiction. And sought out popular fanfic writers who had stories that could become non fanfics.
 

emilycross

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Alternative Universe, basically for example, in the case of twilight - if all the characters were human and there was no such thing as vampires, but Edward and Bella etc. are still there. In the case of Barflies, IMO the names of the characters were the only thing related to twilight universe, everything else was different so could easily be made original
 

nkkingston

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Apparently rumours are circulating that certain rights holders are taking a close interest in this. I wouldn't put much stock in it, but having

Q: I have a fanfiction story about Ross and Rachel in Friends. Can I publish it through Omnific?

A: No. We do not publish fanfiction. What you can do is take anything that is your original idea (plot, characterization, etc.) and develop it into a manuscript using original characters that are your own creation.

in their FAQ is a lawsuit waiting to happen. It's more than possible to rework fanfic into something original (especially if it was an AU to start with) but some authors are going to take this as the bare minimum of filing needed. Changing the names isn't enough to prevent a plagiarism suit.
 

Terie

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Apparently rumours are circulating that certain rights holders are taking a close interest in this. I wouldn't put much stock in it, but having



in their FAQ is a lawsuit waiting to happen. It's more than possible to rework fanfic into something original (especially if it was an AU to start with) but some authors are going to take this as the bare minimum of filing needed. Changing the names isn't enough to prevent a plagiarism suit.

I think you might be misreading the FAQ. What they say is, as far as I can tell, absolutely correct: you must take your own original ideas and write them. That word original means exactly that...your own ideas, not someone else's.
 

nkkingston

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They are saying that, but they're also saying it's okay if those original ideas started out as fanfic. And knowing some elements of fandom, original can stretch to anything from "Barry, Don and Persephone are space pilots engaged in a battle for galactic freedom" to "Barry, Don and Persephone are school aged wizards engaged in a battle against dark magic, and Don and Barry hook up". If it's a fandom the editors aren't well acquainted with it would be easy to miss quite how similar a filed fic is to its original fandom (especially if the writer does mention it's ex-fanfic) until it's too late. Making 'Don' gay is original characterisation compared to the source material, but if he's still got umpteen brothers and a sister who've all been to the same school as him and somtimes he resents his famous best friend, then it's not going to pass muster. But there are people out there who will insist it does. Or to put it another way, they follow the instructions here but stop somewhere around Part 2 or 3 (that essay doesn't sit very well with me, partly because it's supposedly advice from a professional organisation)

It's the kind of thing that wouldn't be a problem if there weren't already half a dozen examples of people trying to do exactly this. Having that in their FAQ is just inviting trouble, and if the SMeyer rumours did turn out to be true it could count against them. There's a reason other publishers specifically insist people don't submit filed fanfic. It's not technically illegal, but what a lot of fandom is concerned about is if it does go to court, it'll set a precedence and the grey area may get a lot less grey.
 
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Terie

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They are saying that, but they're also saying it's okay if those original ideas started out as fanfic.

I disagree. There's nothing in the quote that says you can start out with someone else's IP.

We do not publish fanfiction. What you can do is take anything that is your original idea (plot, characterization, etc.) and develop it into a manuscript using original characters that are your own creation.

It says you can take your original idea and write it using original characters.

I could be wrong, and maybe someone like Medievalist could step in here, but in the context of copyright, I'm fairly certain that original has the explicit meaning of 'your own' and not 'someone else's'.

I have no doubt that some fan-fic writers will (and do) try to stretch the meanings of words to accommodate themselves, but at the most basic level, copyright law is fairly clear as to what constitutes 'original' work and what does not. Fan-fic is not 'original' by definition. (Yes, many elements of it will be original to the writer, but not all, and therefore, it is not completely 'original'.)
 

miamyselfandi

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I have no doubt that some fan-fic writers will (and do) try to stretch the meanings of words to accommodate themselves, but at the most basic level, copyright law is fairly clear as to what constitutes 'original' work and what does not. Fan-fic is not 'original' by definition. (Yes, many elements of it will be original to the writer, but not all, and therefore, it is not completely 'original'.)

There are some fascinating links to follow in this discussion. Check this from above your comment:

It's the kind of thing that wouldn't be a problem if there weren't already half a dozen examples of people trying to do exactly this.

Following the link above, dozen, I found this:

However, in this context, pseudonymity can also have its disadvantages. When J.J. Massa published her novel The Edge, it took a while (and only after it was published in print; the ebook version sold without problems) before a reader recognized it as the Chakotay/Paris AU Another Time, Another Place from Star Trek Voyager fandom. Said reader also knew who the original fanfic author was, and it was not J. J. Massa. When the author learned this, she began leaving comments on several reviews for The Edge claiming that it was actually her own story being republished without permission. Though she was initially met with skepticism, as she was a fanfic writer accusing a published romance author of plagiarism, the evidence was in her favor and the publisher withdrew the title.

Which implies that the fanfic author's ownership was recognized.
 

veinglory

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Essentially she stole something that was already stolen and the work was withdrawn. That says nothing whatsoever about the legal standing of the intermediate work.
 

nkkingston

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Yeah, the Massa thing is an example of plagiarism a transformative work, which is copyright tied in knots. However, it also demonstrates the fact that filing the serial numbers off doesn't always work - people who've read the original will recognise the rewrite.

Obviously Omnific are okay with it, but I do wonder about other publishers in terms of First Rights. If your manuscript is still recognisable by those who read the original fanfic, does that mean you've used your first rights?


ETA - to put things another way, what they're doing is perfectly legal as long as everyone is playing the game honestly and writes well enough to cover their tracks. However, with that on their FAQ (and having launched in a Twilight forum with the specific intention of publishing filed fanfic) I can see rights holders keeping a very close watch on them. All it takes is one person to half-arse the filing in a fandom editors aren't acquainted with well enough to tell the difference and they could be in real trouble.
 
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veinglory

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Fanworks with the fan aspect removed have been published on quite a few occassion. But the fan aspect does have to be removed.
 

miamyselfandi

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The Massa book was interesting because the publisher did see it enough of a problem to pull the book, which is what I meant by the fanfic author's ownership being recognized. It wasn't a literal legal recognition but the publisher did pull it.

The reaction to the rewrite of Jane Eyre as a gay romance surprised me. I'm not sure how that could be omg-plagiarism if P&P&Zombies wasn't viewed that way.
 
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nkkingston

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I think it's because she was claiming Charlotte Bronte's words as her own - the original disclaimer strongly implied every but the most iconic lines were her own. Instead, whole passages were indentical apart from 'she' being search&replaced with 'he'.
 

miamyselfandi

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I thought about the parody after I'd already posted. Didn't realize she was claiming it as her own, though. (I'm finding the side-issues in this thread a lot more interesting than the publishing company itself.)
 

MelissaYoas

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I've been a reader of derivative fiction of Twilight for about two years, and other "fandoms" (as they're called) for many more, and I have to tell you that the Twilight and Harry Potter fandoms have writers whose works are far superior in quality and originality to a great number of published 'original' fiction. That some of these writers have not only potential but highly probability of being successful authors is not a question to me, it's a certainty. More over, with some Twilight derivative works, as a few posters have said, the story lines are so far removed from the original characters created by Stephanie Meyer that the only link to the original books are names and/or settings. And one thing I would also note: there was a question about whether or not these writers would be able to carry an audience of enough mass to publish original works. Some of the bigger stories and authors in this area have upwards of 50,000 readers worldwide. This is from a tiny little niche that represents a minuscule fraction of readers. In my opinion, not too shabby. Charity auctions where the authors offer to personally craft a derivate story per the request of the bidder can bring in 5-6K per big name author.

In regards to the publisher, I believe the intent is to try to transition some of the better authors whose works are derivative by the loosest of associations, and give them a more mainstream, expanded audience while maintaining a link to the sizable fan base they built up writing derivative works. I know several of their publications, however, are works that are 100% original, so they haven't pigeon-holed themselves. It actually sounds like a great idea: "new" authors who come pre-packaged with a existing fan base.
 

Katrina S. Forest

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Welcome to AW, Melissa.

The idea of an author having an existing audience at the time he/she publishes his/her first book is not new. It's called platform.

If a fanfic author does have a huge online following and can write quality original fiction that said following is willing to buy, then by all means, they should write and market their original work. But it's not the publisher's job to "transition" them.

For the record, I have no issues with original works that got started as ideas for fanfics. The finished product is only one of three things:
1) An obvious ripoff of an existing work.
2) Not a ripoff, but not a well-written manuscript either, because the replacement world/characters are not developed enough.
3) A high-quality original novel that stands on its own.

If it's #3, (and assuming first rights weren't used up), why should the author submit to Omnific, as opposed to submitting to the big name publishers first, just like any other aspiring novelist?
 

kaitie

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In regards to the publisher, I believe the intent is to try to transition some of the better authors whose works are derivative by the loosest of associations, and give them a more mainstream, expanded audience while maintaining a link to the sizable fan base they built up writing derivative works. I know several of their publications, however, are works that are 100% original, so they haven't pigeon-holed themselves. It actually sounds like a great idea: "new" authors who come pre-packaged with a existing fan base.
Couldn't said author just tell his/her fanbase the same thing, though? I have friends who follow a few online authors, and when one got a publishing deal with a small publisher, she announced it and many people (like my friend) signed up for her book immediately. It seems to me that the author was the one doing the promotion, not the publisher.

I'm just thinking that it doesn't matter who the publishing deal is with--hell it could be self-published--because if the author has a following of 50,000 people, they're going to be able to sell a good number of books regardless just by saying "I'm published now. Buy my book."

ETA: Also, couldn't advertising themselves as someone taking works derived from fanfic potentially be a negative? There's definitely a stigma out there regarding fanfic, and I'm just wondering if this could lead to them not being taken as seriously. I don't know, honestly. I'm just asking. Do you think it could be detrimental or cause problems?
 

emilycross

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ETA: Also, couldn't advertising themselves as someone taking works derived from fanfic potentially be a negative? There's definitely a stigma out there regarding fanfic, and I'm just wondering if this could lead to them not being taken as seriously. I don't know, honestly. I'm just asking. Do you think it could be detrimental or cause problems?

Argh - had big long post and lost it!!

Anyhoo, I definitely agree with your statement here. I've read some of the works (when ff) and enjoyed them. I would often think that the only connection with fanfiction would be the characters names. Place, personality, plot are all completely different. Most are unrecognisable as ff except for the names.

This is why like other posters, I think it's strange they would emphasis the fanfiction element. (i think but i'm not definite about this as i'm 90% sure when this was founded that they mentioned they were a group of FF writers. Don't see it on current website) I understand that this publisher was founded so that the founding authors could publish their work, so maybe they were being upfront about it (especially as one is quite big in the TW FF), but the title of the work could have easily been renamed along with the other changes and no one would have been the wiser (as I'm sure its been edited to be book length) without emphasising the link with the publisher.

I wish the authors all the best, as I've read some of their stuff which was excellent. I'm just not entirely sure this angle was wise, perhaps renaming, reworking the piece and submitting it to normal publishers might have been wiser.

EDIT: In fairness though, I know one author used omnific to publish her story after it was published by someone else (who changed the names of the characters) etc.
 
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JSSchley

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I saw that this thread had gotten bumped. I've been keeping an eye on these guys for a year--in fact, it was this thread that led me to AW, for which I've been grateful (even though I've been a stranger here ever since I got a second job!).

I ran some numbers on these guys this morning, since their full 2010 list has now been announced as of last night.

It seems that of 19 titles, 11 were previously published as fan fiction, 10 in the Twilight fandom and 1 in Prison Break fandom. Eight are original titles, including one which is a sequel to a piece previously published as fan fiction. The reason the fan fic link has to be maintained, as near as I can tell, is that it is still their primary source of audience as well as authors--the "acquisitions editors" send letters to authors of popular fan fictions asking if they would like to publish. (Edit to add for clarification: Whether this is still their primary method for acquisitions, I don't know. I simply know that it has happened. For all I know, they're now deluged with query letters and are turning people away left and right and don't use this method any longer.)

All signs point to the filings being legal; as emilycross said, the fan fiction was very far from the Twilight universe to begin with. If the publisher has the money to fight Hatchette and Meyer should they come after them, they would probably win (although I suspect that Meyer would win just by brute force). However, very little has been changed from the fan fiction versions besides names and occasionally a switch from first to third person--line-by-line comparisons of sample chapters to the fan fictions they came from are disappointing, to say the least. Whether or not Meyer would have a case for infringement on those grounds is an interesting question to ask.

The more disturbing thing, IMO, is that while they own up to being part of fan fiction, they do not own up to how many of their authors are on their staff. Since nearly all the books are published using pennames, it can be difficult to trace back to the staff list if you don't know the fan fiction works the books came from. However, 5 of the 14 staff members have published books this year, two of those five have published two books, and most of those 5 were included in the Valentine's Anthology book, all in all accounting for 42% of their frontlist. I had not heard the term "author collective" before I read this thread, but that's more or less what this is.

As near as I can tell, sales look about normal for a micropress like this one, although they haven't released their in-house sales, which are likely higher due to the platform issue. I suspect that an author without the Twilight fan fiction connections might have difficulty selling his or her book through them, however, this hasn't been proven, as every author who has published this year has connections to the Twilight fan fiction community.
 
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miamyselfandi

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The more disturbing thing, IMO, is that while they own up to being part of fan fiction, they do not own up to how many of their authors are on their staff. Since nearly all the books are published using pennames, it can be difficult to trace back to the staff list if you don't know the fan fiction works the books came from. However, 5 of the 14 staff members have published books this year, two of those five have published two books, and most of those 5 were included in the Valentine's Anthology book, all in all accounting for 42% of their frontlist. I had not heard the term "author collective" before I read this thread, but that's more or less what this is.

As near as I can tell, sales look about normal for a micropress like this one, although they haven't released their in-house sales, which are likely higher due to the platform issue. I suspect that an author without the Twilight fan fiction connections might have difficulty selling his or her book through them, however, this hasn't been proven, as every author who has published this year has connections to the Twilight fan fiction community.

None of that is exactly "disturbing" since author collectives do exist. But, why are they hiding their identities by using pseudonyms? Strange.