Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dilemmas

I had an essay accepted for a collection to be published by McFarland, but now they want me to sign a contract giving "ownership" to the editor. Am I wrong to balk at this? Especially considering that the essay is part of a future project; yes, I know I have so many future projects that I may never get to them all, but I'd like to have the choice! Do they just assume all academics are so desperate for publication that they'll sign anything? I am eager for publication, of course, but I'm not too keen to give up ownership of the words I write. Work for hire is one thing -- I know I have no rights to the encyclopedia pieces I have written. The editor tells me she will give me permission to use the material, but it is irksome to ask for permission to use my own writing.

Well, I shall have to think about this.

I'm in my office with much to do to get all my records in order for my classes. Things get easier once the gradebook gets set up. Besides, I have my new fountain set up to soothe me. Oh, and I should show you my office and the building it is in:




My office windows face the front on the ground level. It's quite lovely -- but not very accessible. Perhaps they will be adapting the back door to make it so. It's just so nice being in a house rather than walled in a little enclosure like an anchoress!

7 comments:

Cranky Yankee said...

No, you are not wrong for wanting to own your own words.

Watch yourself, they did it to musicians in the music industry and they're doing it to authors in publishing.

Next thing you know, they'll have an RIAA-like organization suing people for reading words...even those who never read the words. All in the name of the artists they are suppose to protect...but the reality is they are lining their own pockets at the expense of the artists, who never see a dime.

Crispinus said...

On the other hand, I've always had to sign a contract when getting published in a journal. I thought it was standard practice.

K. A. Laity said...

Oh, I've signed many writing contracts -- but other than the work for hire, I haven't had to give up control of my own writing. I checked the MLA Style & Publishing Guide and there is a different provision for collections. Gene suggested looking in some collections we have, and it could be worse: some university presses have the copyright credited to the press and not even to the editor.

K. A. Laity said...

Oh, and Cheryl -- academic publishing is a big festering pit with no royalties at all for the most part. You are "paid" in being able to keep your job if you publish enough. Admittedly, academic books seldom become big sellers that actually make money for the presses, so they're not looting us like the record companies do...

Cranky Yankee said...

And people wonder why I have interest in teaching...

Cranky Yankee said...

Correction...

Have NO interest in teaching

K. A. Laity said...

Yeah, I guessed as much! In fact that's the way I read it. Hee hee!