This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Why I Won't Be Joining

*Authors' rights have improved vastly since this was first posted! I invite readers and writers to look at the revised contract and read through founder, Stan Soper's, correspondence here, too. (Note added 7/26/08, my original post and comments follow immediately, as they first appeared.)

And I quote:

* By submitting your content to Textnovel, you grant Textnovel (and any Textnovel successors-in-interest, subsidiaries, or parent companies), a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable, non-exclusive, sub-licensable right and license to, in whole or in part, with or without attribution to you, use, copy, modify, edit, adapt, publish, publicly display/perform, translate, display, create derivative works from and/or license (or sell with your authorization) and/or distribute content posted to the Site. Textnovel's rights to content you submit includes the right to make editorial revisions to your content; to use in any way the materials you submit on the Textnovel website or in other Textnovel media, whether now or hereafter created; to use for our own internal business purposes; and/or to reproduce and distribute the materials for Textnovel's marketing and publicity purposes.

Ah, well.

So a cellphone novel isn't immediately in my future after all... Although my novels haven't yet been fished out to traditional publishers, I don't think it's fair for me (or any writer) to hand over all rights (and essentially make your work cannon fodder for a publisher).

I'll admit, it's an inventive idea that may allow lots of people to read new works by new novelists, but man... The whole rights issue is a major sticking point with me. This is a "turnip clause"--a clause only someone who "just fell off the turnip truck" would agree to.

I hope TextNovel makes the adjustments to their contract that'll allow them to get better talent to sign on (without fear for their intellectual property), but, for now I'll wait for someone else with a more balanced contract to come along.

*Please note: TextNovel DID make great adjustments to their contract as I hoped--very few publishers are that open to suggestions from would-be writers. Yes, yes, this is like a total "about-face" of my opinion on this, but if you read Stan's comments--which follow this original post--and then check out their new contract language (also covered in my updated post) you'll understand why I've changed my tune.
(Note added 7/26/08)

*Please note: The importance of reading and fully understanding the implications of a contract (ANY contract--with a publisher or an agent or a whatnot) cannot be stressed enough. If you do not understand the full potential scope of a contract, get it in front of a publishing lawyer--trust me, it'll save you lots of headaches in the future! (Note added 8/4/10 by a far wiser author)

Keep writing!


RomanceWriter said...


Its been forever. How are you?
Good I hope.

Stop by

and visit us if you can.

We have been talking about Amazon, Lulu and where a writer can go to get a fair deal online (???). They would be interested in hearing about Textnovel and the reasons why not to go with them.

Anyway, I'm writing (short stories) but life is really busy and crazy this summer.

I started a writer's link site, if you want to link to us and we'll link back:

Bye for now


Stan Soper said...

Wow, thanks for that feedback! I'm the founder of Textnovel and thought I was using some standard boilerplate to just get enough rights to post the works on the website. But obviously it looks like the language is broader than that in hindsight. Based on your feedback I am going to revise it to read as follows:

"You retain all rights to the content you post on Textnovel except for any rights you might grant if you are the winner of the Textnovel Contest under the Contest Rules (and you will have the chance to approve of the grant of those rights at the time you accept the prize). However, you understand that Textnovel will display works you don’t designate as public on its website for readers to review and vote on."

Does that sound okay? Any further feedback would be great and I hope this will encourage you to change your blog to say "Why I will try Textnovel!"

Thanks again,

Stan Soper

Stan Soper said...

Exacting wording I just posted is as follows:

You retain all rights to any content you submit to Textnovel, except for whatever rights you
grant if you are the winner of the Textnovel Contest, pursuant to the Contest Rules (and you will have the chance to approve the grant of those rights at
the time you choose to accept the prize). However, you understand that Textnovel will have the right to display your "public" works to its readers.

Stan Soper

Saoirse Redgrave said...


I'll try and stop by BrandNewAspiring sometime in the next two weeks and mention and what its founder, Stan Soper, has mentioned also in comments. I JUST got my internet connection at my new house (like, today at 5:15) and have been rushing to get some major amounts of Elance stuff done.

Just landed a pretty big job for a Korean educational publisher--in this case cannon fodder stories are okay (actually preferred ;-).


Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I do really appreciate it and think that cellphone novels may just wind up being the wave of the future. I greatly appreciate your willingness to revisit and revise your contract language so that authors get "a fair shake." Right now I'm running on far too little sleep (and no caffeine) so I'm afraid that I really can't give my best input to what you revised here at the moment (I'm clear-eyed enough to say the 2nd comment version is better than the first ;-)--but I fully intend to go back over it tomorrow quickly.

I'd love to chat a little more with you about and maybe post a little more here regarding its potential.

I'll be in touch--take care all!

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