I’m afraid that I have had to withdraw my work from Fictionpress, today. I’m very sad to do so, I’ve made some lovely connections via Fictionpress, which I hope will continue with me as just a reader, but I simply no longer feel it is a safe place for my work. By way of explanation and warning to my fellow writers, I have posted the following as a chapter in “As Long As She Lives”, and “Memorial”. I hope that my readers understand.
“To my dear Fictionpress readers,
I’m very sorry that you have come here to discover that my story is no longer here. I’m afraid I have received multiple private messages with mean I no longer feel it is safe to leave my work on this site.
The book is still accessible on another website – if you go to my website you will find a link, but I won’t insult the Fictionpress team or community by linking to it, or mentioning the name of the site, here.
For my fellow writers’ sake, I want to share the latest message, so that you do not fall foul of such people, because they are trying to take advantage of a community which they believe to be vulnerable and ignorant of our rights.
“I wanted to know if you’d be willing to sell the copyright to As Long As She Lives to me for $200?
Please reply to this email.
I have deleted the name he signed with, and will not share his username out of respect for his privacy – despite his lack of respect for me, but I have passed that information on to the Fictionpress team, for them to followup further. Some very light investigation into his username and first name, furnished me with his full name and some information which confirmed my fears and which I have also passed on to the FP team.
So, let’s make this clear:
NO LEGITMATE PUBLISHER OR PRODUCER WILL ASK TO BUY “COPYRIGHT” TO YOUR WORK!
Do not make any agreements with anyone who suggests otherwise. International copyright law states that copyright belongs to the author the moment they write anything down – you do not have to register your copyright to assert it (though some legitimate organizations have registries which can help in the case of a problem, for a very small administrative fee, but be very careful as there are many disreputable people who pretend to register copyrights for outrageous fees.)
If a legitimate publisher wishes to pay you for your work, they will offer to pay to LICENSE the specific rights to use your work for a specific purpose (such as print rights, audio rights, or film rights) and they should ask to negotiate the amount – which should include negotiations of royalties of some sort, or else a larger sum to waive them. For an entire novel (as this request was for) $200 is utterly inappropriate – for the publication of a short story in a magazine, perhaps, but not for a novel – in any medium.
There is likely little Fictionpress can do to stop such people, even if they ban their accounts, they can always start new ones, so it will always be up to you to know your rights and protect yourself.
I will continue to read on the site, and wish you all luck with your writing – it’s such a pity when a few bad apples risk ruining good things for others.
My work is still available on Wattpad and will continue to be so as long as I don’t start receiving such messages there, though even if I do, their support staff and volunteers are much more easy to contact, and quicker to act than the FP team – also, the forums on WP allow writers to easily contact each other and spread warnings, the FP “forums” and “communities” are not organized in such a way to allow that.
Again, I’m very sad to be in this position – at 40 I probably shouldn’t be surprised at such behaviour, but I still prefer to trust people until they prove themselves untrustworthy.
My next post should be a much happier one 🙂