Concerning contracts

I signed a contract yesterday for a short story of mine that will be published in an anthology early next year. That was a new experience for me.

In my professional life, I read and negotiate contracts all day long, so I wasn’t confused or intimidated by this short story contract. It said all of the usual things all contracts have, and it spelled out publishing obligations and who owns what rights clearly.

I’ve published more than five dozen feature articles, though, and never once did I have to sign a contract. There was a start-up magazine that was interested in hiring me as a sort of stringer, and they presented me with a lengthy contract, but the magazine’s subject matter was not something I wanted to invest a lot of mental effort into, so I never signed that one. (I don’t know if the magazine even exists anymore.)

The one short story I’ve had published (in a tiny literary magazine) required no more than a congenial conversation with the editor at a literature conference and one or two letters back and forth.

The story that is coming out in the anthology is in the fantasy genre, and the anthology — called Beacons of Tomorrow — is mostly science fiction. This is the second edition of the anthology, and the first had gotten good reviews, so I’m pleased to be a part of it.

Still, I’m a little surprised at the need for a contract for merely a short story. But what do I know, right?

Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, short stories

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