Monday, December 7, 2015

How to Protect Yourself Even If You Trust Your Editor (Plus, an editing service discount!)

Let's talk about intellectual property a moment. There are no exceptions when it comes to who owns their ideas. If you wrote it, snapped a photo of it, painted or created it, then its yours under federal or state laws.

So what happens when you hire an editor and there's a major collaboration during a rewrite? This is the question posed to me by a friend back in my Laramie Writers Group. He asked if there was anything he needed to be aware of or if he had to give up a portion of authorship when he won an editing package through a contest. My answer was an unsure "I don't think so." Then I went straight to my agent because I realized that this may be a question or concern for anyone that wanted to hire me as a editor in the near future. (Shameless plug: Check out my rates here.)

Turns out that while the above statement about your creation is true, a paper trail keeps things very black and white. "Depending on the depth and level of collaboration, if the ideas for character changes originate with the editor, the editor may have ground to bring suit against him if he benefits from publication. However, in all reality, any suit would most likely be won by the author. I would still recommend that they sign a contract, though so your friend has peace of mind. The biggest issue with copyright is that while the copyright remains with the author, he or she can’t bring suit to protect it. (I.E. If the editor were to go rogue and try to publish it him or herself) unless the author has filed with the U.S. Copyright Office. To me, it’s better to just have a contract that specifies that all intellectual property stays with the author," stated Jessica Schmeidler, agent extraordinaire of Golden Wheat Literary, via email.

So my friend is reworking his awesome manuscript with the help of an editor knowing his work is his own, and now I know what people may be thinking as they consider me for an editor. As a result of this awesome conversation, I've restructured my editing quoting process and written up a simple contract for my editing clients' peace of mind. I have only the desire to help great writers put out the best pieces of their creativity they can.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were concerned about your rights as an author or artist? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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NANO's over, now what?

Hire me!

Planning to take part in writing contests in early 2016? 
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Stumped on a scene or wondering if you have a plot hole?
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The first two(2) people to hire me for editing services in December will get $5 off!*
Check out my editing services page for more information on receiving a quote. Then let's get started!

*Excludes query critiques

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