Monday, July 10, 2017

Am I part of your evil plan for world domination?

Here’s a question that’s been nibbling at my mind recently and one, only you can answer.

A while back I remember reading on your blog, (thanks for all you do for us), that posts to your blog belong to the blog. At that time I took the statement as meaning, if you ever wrote a book on writery, agentey, publishey stuff, you could use our comments as fodder. (That would be an honor BTW).

Because my new WIP continues the, ‘why I wrote what I wrote and what happened after’ format, are my quips, comments and amazing (ha) words of wisdom, now owned by you, or am I able to reuse? Re: their force and fallout, in my new memoir/essay project.

In other words, I was just wondering if all my brilliant attempts at enlightenment, shared as comments on your blog, are now yours. (No one accuses me of being humble).

I think you're remembering the submission requirements at which asks writers to agree that the posts can be kept on the blog for the life of the blog.

I instituted that after several people in a rapid succession got gnawed, then pissed, and told me they wanted the entry removed.

Given the value of QueryShark is revising (for the writer) and seeing the revisions (for the readers) just offering a critique that  no one else would see seemed an inefficient use of my scarcest resource (charm time.)

However, that does NOT mean I own the queries. In fact, I don't. They belong to the writer. Then, now, always.

I can refer to them should I ever write  a book on writery, agentey, publishey stuff, but I couldn't just republish the entry without permission.

I own the blogposts here of course. I don't mind if people link to them, or repost them with correct attribution. If someone lifts these posts and publishes them, that's not ok.

As for the comments, those belong to the writers, not me. Of course, if I ever did write a book on writery, agentey, publishey stuff, and wanted to include some of the pithier comments, and did so with attribution, I'd probably be ok.  BUT if I wanted to include one of Miss Julie's amazing stories, I'd have to get her permission.

A comment like
"To share an overflowing plate is admirable. To give away that which you covet is honorable. To donate knowledge, entertainment and escape is most noble"
is probably fair use.

But anything longer, and a complete story (like the flash fiction entries) is probably not fair use.

Comment without fear. (Now that is a phrase I might have to steal. Oh wait, it's mine!)


Kitty said...

Phew, glad you clarified that!

(Btw, what was in the box?)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

If I had the power, (which I do not), I’d say, let’s have a - guess who asked this question contest, (so we won’t). But if we did, I wonder what the prize would be. Would it be liquid? Or would it be processed wood, bound by the knowledge and abilities of brain cells.
Or, whatever was in the box.
God I love this place.
Have a nice day.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

But we are part of your plan for world domination? Right? I mean, we are quite a formidable minion army armed with the finest of rodent wheels.

CynthiaMc said...

One of my flash fiction entries (actually more than one) is turning into a novel. I loved these people and I wanted to spend more time with them.

Another reason to enter Janet's contests - they may grow into something else.

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

You're right!

Colin Smith said...

Notice Janet did not dismiss out of hand the idea of writing a book on "writery, agentey, publishey stuff." I take this as an encouraging sign. As you might recall, I have long advocated for Janet and Ms. Barbara "The Slithery One" Poelle co-authoring a book called SNARK AND SHARK'S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING. But I could just as easily see Janet writing a book called JANET'S BOOK ON WRITERY, AGENTEY, PUBLISHEY STUFF. Or something like that. She could run a contest to give it a title!

When can we pre-order? :D

Colin Smith said...

PS: It's hard to comment without fear with Carkoon in your rear-view mirror... :)

french sojourn said...

CynthiaMc; Same here, one of my 100 word contest entries, is now 107k words, in need of a serious going over.

(And another has developed into it's sequel, even though it was set in another universe.)

Cheers, Hank

Amy Johnson said...

"I think you're remembering the submission requirements at which asks writers to agree that the posts can be kept on the blog for the life of the blog."

Maybe Opie was also thinking of Contest Rule #11?

"11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date."

I remembered seeing something about that here, and being a curious cat, had no choice but to go a'pawin' through old posts. Thank you for today's post, Janet. I've wondered about whether we can do anything with our flash fiction stories we've entered here. As to whether they remain the property of the author, today's post seems to say yes. I still wonder if they'd be considered already published because they appeared here.

S.P. Bowers said...

I don't know if writers can do anything without fear.

Colin Smith said...

Amy: I have written a lot of flash stories that have been posted as part of contests, or on my own blog. And while I have posted a fair few--close to 90 for Janet's contests alone--and some of those, I think, could be earning money for me if submitted to paying venues, I have always understood "not published anywhere" to include blogs, blog contests, and comments. Perhaps I'm being too restrictive. But this has also pushed me to be creative and come up with something new.

With regard to re-working flash stories into short stories or novels, that's different. I've written a short story based on one of my flash stories, and I plan to do more. But I don't just fluff up the flash story. I re-work it, give it more plot, develop the characters, make it something fresh, so even if you've read the original flash, you can enjoy the new story. That's my take, anyway.

Claire Bobrow said...

Ah, fear, I know you well. If there were a Little Free Library of Emotions I might shelve you, but sometimes you're quite useful.

As for the mysterious box and its contents, we may never know. In the meantime: Congrats to Kathy and Jenny!

Unknown said...

Yeah, yeah. Evil plans. World domination. Very fun. But what's in the box?

Craig F said...

Congrats to Kathy and Jenny.

If you aren't going to drag us along on your way to world domination, can we drag you along on ours? I had you kill the bad guy in a thriller but then I shelved it. Maybe not shelved it, but it is waiting for that inevitable "what else you got" question. I was planning on making you commander of a fleet of raptors battling the space invaders.

Since My Queen is being quiet about what is in the box, I would have to guess that I got close with my comment yesterday. It is the remains of Brooks' KISS action figures.

CynthiaMc said...

Hank - Yay! You're ahead of me. I was asked to submit a screenplay so I'm working on that right now. Let's keep at it!

BJ Muntain said...

It may also be that OP is remembering the newer flash fiction rule about all folks entering agreeing to leave their entries on the blog. Which Janet's reply also covers.

And, of course, we all comment *with* fear, just not with fear of losing our rights to our brilliant comments and wit. We just fear gnawing and Carkoon. :)

BJ Muntain said...

Sorry, Amy. I didn't read your comment before I posted mine, and I see you did the work I was too pre-caffeinated to do. Thank you!

Craig: 'Shelving' a book means you're setting it aside for later. After all, what's a library but a bunch of shelved books you'll get back to someday? :)

At least you didn't delete it. I had a friend whose finger lay heavily on the delete key. He'd go through periods where he hated everything he'd ever written, and he'd delete it all. I had to (virtually) take his delete button away, though he always seemed to find another one when he wanted to. He was very brainy in his self-doubt. After more than once having to have writing partners send him past versions of something he'd sent for critiquing and subsequently deleted, I hope his delete key has paused its killing work.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

BJ me thinks you might be correct. I am OP and I do remember of which you speak. Leave to me to remember something which has little to do with what I thought, I actually thought, as something I remembered. Huh?
Now I get it, until I forget.

Amy Johnson said...

BJ: :)
Colin: Thanks!
2Ns: "If I had the power, (which I do not), I’d say, let’s have a - guess who asked this question contest, (so we won’t)."

I sometimes play "Guess the OP." A week or so ago, I thought I might have won, but then Colin came along and commented, so I knew it wasn't him after all. :) I figure, why not engage in a ludic* activity when there's opportunity to do so, and paying attention to how various reefers "speak" can only help with writing characters who speak distinctively. Ya know, the "always studying" thing. I'm a writer!
*"Ludic" was a recent Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day.

BJ Muntain said...

2Ns: Oh, I usually have the same problem - except that my memory for what people have said (especially when written) seems to be impressive, while my memory for names, dates, and vocabulary seems to be fading. And all memory totally disappears when I'm feeling stressed. Or pre-caffeinated. In a fairly right state of mind, I might have remembered exactly rule #11, as Amy noted, instead of just 'she said something like this'.

But I still can't keep many names straight. And when I have to stop to think of a fairly simple word (like 'pill'!) or I talk around that word to get the meaning out, I know I need more coffee.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

CynthiaMc and Hank: How very cool to spin off full novels from your flash fictions.

Amy: And, if I remember correctly from one of Janet's past posts, the criteria for a story being considered published is the ISBN.

Colin: You are a lot more daring with your comments on this blog than I'd ever be. Get that thriller novel of yours out there!

2Ns: Thank you for asking that question. So much of writing, marketing, and publication to hamsterwheel.

BJ Muntain said...

Lisa: The criteria for a *book* being considered published is the ISBN. Short stories - unless they're self-published standalones - rarely get ISBNs. For short stories, being printed in a magazine (no ISBN offered to stories in magazines) is considered published.

Basically (for both Lisa and Amy), a short story is considered published when people have had a chance to read it in a magazine or online, as is. Magazines don't want to publish stories that have been out there for anyone to read. Why should they pay top prices for something the market may already be exhausted for? They might pay reprint prices if the story is no longer available to be bought or read, though. That depends on the magazine.

However, for something to be considered a book, and for that book to be considered published, it needs to have an ISBN. As Janet has said many times, books and short stories/novellas/novelettes/etc. are entirely different beasts when it comes to traditional publishing. And if you were to put your flash fiction into a book of flash fiction stories, the *book* wouldn't be considered published until it had an ISBN. But you'd probably have to list where the published stories were originally published, such as the magazine or anthology. I don't think you'd have to note the stories published on your blog or here in these contests, though you may or may not want to. It may, after all, drive more readers to your blog (or Janet's blog) to read newer stories.

But not many agents will represent books of short stories from new authors, though you may find a small publisher that might be interested.

Oh crap. I was doing so well, keeping my comments short. Dang. Sorry.

RosannaM said...

Just saw the results of the box contest, and I want to say both of those entries made me laugh. And that's a very good thing right now. So thank you and congrats to Jenny and Kathy!

Comment without fear. Ha! I see what has happened to some you banished and formerly banished folks. Besides, I thought fear and writing go hand in hand.

Colin Smith said...

Lisa: You are a lot more daring with your comments on this blog than I'd ever be. You're thinking of that time I said "bleedin'" aren't you? I knew it... ;)

BJ: Jennifer D. and others can offer a correction if I'm wrong, but it seems most, if not all, of the mags to which I have submitted short stories have defined "previously published" as pretty much posted anywhere, including personal blogs.

Unknown said...

Aha! Today is Brooks Sherman's birthday. There's a birthday present in the box. So almost definitely not a deadly snake.

Karen McCoy said...

Possible birthday presents for Brooks Sherman:

A time turner


A fidget spinner

An Alot

Screenplay for Spiderman: Homecoming

A picture of Paul Rudd in the Antman costume

What's in the box = likely becoming her sharkliness's least favorite question...?

Colin Smith said...

You want to know what's in the box? It's a spoctoper nest. Why on earth would this be such a great birthday present? Little known fact: Spoctoper venom is actually 100% pure whisky. What better gift for a literary agent? When life gets stressful, Brooks just dips his hand into the spoctoper nest, and within moments he is bitten to bliss.

Why do you think Janet needs such a big spoctoper? ;)

BJ Muntain said...

I am 90% sure that it's Gary Corby ARCs in the box. (I couldn't be 100% sure, because I'm a writer and my imagination is too wild to accept such a tame notion.)

Although if, as some have said, it's Mr. Sherman's birthday, Janet may not want to tell us what's in the box until after he opens it.

Colin: Which is what I was trying to say. Thank you! :)

It comes down to the difference between books and stories. Books need ISBNs to be considered 'published'. Shorter formats do not need an ISBN to be considered published. They're published when they've been available to be read.

Claire Bobrow said...

Jenny has solved the mystery. It's a birthday present for Mr. Sherman! Definitely last year's fruitcake.

Sorry, Colin, I can't say Spocopter without feeling slightly drunk. Hence, "Spiderpuss" feared Janet's wrath, as she'd scuttled inside the box with 8 tubes of icing and written Happy Birthday, Jeff! by accident.

Colin Smith said...

Claire: Not another Marvel hero?! "Spiderpuss, Spiderpuss; Spiderman, only he's a wuss..."?? ;) I like spoctoper. :D

Lennon Faris said...

Great info. Thanks, Janet!

And belated congrats to Kathy and Jenny. I was out of wifi range for most of the weekend!

BTW, bc they won, doesn't that mean they got their answers right? Also, Janet can you send me a box of time? I will pay you any amount of whisky (and sardines, for DoY).

Panda in Chief said...

I'd vote for Janet engaging in some world domination.
Would absolute power corrupt her?

Stay tuned for the next episode and see.

Claire, I thought you said "Little Free Library of Emoticons" at first. I want one of those.

Comment without fear! Grocery shop without a list! Life in the fast lane!
I should probably get out of my house more often.

Megan V said...

I am nobody's minion. I do not like bananas.

Which shouldn't have anything to do with anything...
And yet it has everything to do with being a minion.

John Davis Frain said...


You're crackin' me up over here.

Drink bourbon without a straw! Iron your pants without taking them off! Comment without writing!

I haven't mastered your game yet. If we're keeping score, you crushed me.

Anonymous said...

Great article about free use. I have a lot of people ask me about free use at the Agile Writer Workshop. One of the biggest questions, though, is about "stealing" other people's ideas. It's hard to explain that ideas are not copyright-able. Only what is written is. And I'm often suprised at how afraid people are of sharing their story ideas for fear that someone will steal it. I usually advise that once your story is written and thousands read it, the idea is available to a wider audience than ever. Better to share it with 10 people locally and find out if it has merit.

Thanks for all you do - Continued Success!