Writer Beware!

First One Publishing Taking Advantage of Unpublished Authors

First One Publishing opened its doors to business on January 11, 2011. Here’s the press release. They’re celebrating with a contest. If you win, they’ll publish your book. That would be very nice except for the contest rules. Here’s the heinous and exploitative term: (It’s #13):

All submissions become sole property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation.

Emphasis added.

This contest costs $149 to enter. And if you pony up that money, you’re paying them to take your rights.

I suspect this isn’t the intended effect. I’m sure some lawyer wrote up that language without researching how writing contests are handled by reputable publishers. Hint: It isn’t this. Reputable publishers holding contests add explicit language that the submission does NOT belong to them and that all rights remain with the author. Random House UK did this, for example. Their contest was terrible by reason of the terms of the publishing contract you had to accept from them if you won, but at least they weren’t taking ownership of the submissions.

About First One Publishing

They’re a digital-only publisher, which isn’t a bad thing, and they seem to have some decent, not inexperienced backing, and it looks like they’ll be publishing some interesting work. I don’t think they’re scammers. I sure hope not. I think no one over there considered the implications of their contest rules.

They’re owned by mgmt-one. Take care if you click the link, there’s a music auto play and no apparent way to turn it off. There’s also essentially no information there either.

So, First One, are you going to do the right thing and amend your contest rules so that writers can enter your contest without losing their rights?

Update

Wow. I guess the answer to my question is no. Check out Janet Reid’s post where in the head of First One responds.

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