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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stupid for Sale, 3 cents a word

(Scalzi @ Whatever alerted me to this.)

Note to aspiring writers:

Don't submit stuff to Dragon Magazine, just don't. They are paying a whopping 3-6 cents a word for all rights.



This means you can't re-sell it, you can't put it on your website, podcast or whatever. You can't translate it and publish it in Germany. You can't write a screenplay based on it. And they can probably sue your ass if you write anything in the same universe and sell it to someone else.

IMO anyone who submits there is too stupid to write publishable fiction.


Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

I thought Dragon magazine closed up shop and wasn't being published anymore?

Regardless, you're right on that front. Anyone who sells ALL RIGHTS of their work away practically deserves to lose it.

Take care,

"Waiter, waiter, there's a dead squid in my soup!"
"It's not dead, sir, it's dreaming."

RobRoy said...

What is typical for passing rights for a peice of work to a publisher?

S Andrew Swann said...

First off let me direct you to the thread at Whatever that's delving into this at depth.

My 2 cents:

3-6 cents a word is the floor of what I'd consider professional for first North American Serial rights (or first electronic with some exclusive timeframe for Webzines).

All rights is "work for hire" and needs to be paying a lot more to be considered pro compensation. (as in 50 cents to $1 a word IMO)

Now if you're going to play with Hasbro's toys (writing a Dragonlance story, or something with MTG) this is borderline OK, since you wont sell it anywhere else. But if you're creating your own IP, this is a very bad idea.

FWIW, I've heard mention of people being able to negotiate away the "all rights" part, so I'll qualify my statement:

Anyone who signs this boilerplate from WotC is too stupid to write publishable fiction. Submit away, but if they give you an offer, remember you can ask them to strike the nasty parts. If they aren't willing, they didn't want your story that bad anyway :)

S Andrew Swann said...


This link should work