Do I know you from somewhere?

I had a short story published this past summer, and I'm thinking of using the characters from that story in my next novel. That story would be the first chapter. Is there anything wrong with doing this? The magazine (online) took one-time publishing rights, and the rights reverted to me on publication. So, obviously it would be cool with the mag. But would a publisher or agent have a problem with this? A novel where the first chapter was previously published in an online mag?

Thanks! You're Snarkalicious!

I was wondering why people keep biting my bustle...I'm snarkalicious!

This should pose no problem. In fact, I'd see it as a plus. It's a publication credit of sorts (if you mention it's been published DO include the website) and that's good.

This is a good point to remind everyone that the fine print on those contracts IS important. Don't grant rights in perpetuity or rights much one publication on a website. Make sure the contract spells out that the rights revert to you and when.

It's easy to think, oh this won't matter, but it does. You never know when you'll need a story for an anthology, a first chapter in a novel, whatever. Keep hold of your rights.

1 comment:

Brady Westwater said...

I was once asked by a studio as a favor to write a episodic script for a flawed new series taht was helmned by a powerful producer. But for some reason, he tried to rewrite my script to get partial credit and make changes to my contract. My agent said to let it go - but I took him to WGAW arbitration - and easily won.

At the time, I had just assumed it was the network/studio politics about who was going to run the show, even though I had made it clear I was not interested in doing any more TV.

Cut to a year later. Sizeable checks for a movie with the same name as my episode started arriving in my mailbox; the studio had edited another episode of the series into mine - and then released it overseas as a feature film.

Miss Snark is right. Always read contracts and always ask questions when changes are made from standard language, particularly when it comes to rights.