Davids and Goliath

Davids and Goliath

Back in Womag-land, there’s been no feedback from TI Media (that I’m aware of) regarding their change of contracts to All Rights, and their cutting of payments by a third.

Although, some writers have received some interesting emails. Woman’s Weekly has emailed a couple writers who’ve had stories that just failed to make the grade in the past (so were rejected, but encouraged to rewrite and resubmit them) enquiring whether they’ve had a chance to rewrite those stories yet.

This has had some regular contributors speculating whether Woman’s Weekly is now running low on material. With so many writers refusing to submit to them under their new All Rights contract, Woman’s Weekly is having to use its existing stock of material to fill the pages and keep the magazine on the shelves.

While the weekly publication could continue with fewer stories (although reader surveys always commented on how popular the fiction slots were), the monthly fiction special needs 20 new stories in it every month (and they have to be seasonal/timely stories too).

Of course, these emails could just mean that Woman’s Weekly is running low of those seasonal/timely stories, but what it does demonstrate is the basic law of economics: supply and demand. TI Media is demanding stories for a third less money and All Rights, yet none of their regular suppliers are prepared to supply at those rates. As my A Level Economics teacher would say: There is no market. There is no business.

And this is why it’s important that all writers, even those new to the game, understand what’s at stake here. New writers need to comprehend why signing an All Rights contract is bad for them, especially when it comes to fiction.

The worst-case scenario is that Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special closes. But I think many writers in Womag-land would much rather see that happen, than see decent, hard-working, skilled fiction writers sign away their creative and moral rights for less money.

There will only be a market for fiction if writers are prepared to supply to it. There is no market if there is a demand for fiction that is not matched by the supply. Writers are content suppliers. Sometimes it’s important to remember that. We might feel like Davids in battle with Goliath, but the Davids in this market are vital for the Goliaths to survive.

Good luck.

5 thoughts on “Davids and Goliath

  1. I would never give away my right to ‘own’ my work. To me it’s theft if publishers insist on grabbing it. It’s like saying you can’t have your own soul! And my keeping of rights has paid off many years later in a way I never expected back in the day. I’ve had one book of short stories published and another is coming out in October. I’m making good money from the stories all over again. Hang on to them, writers! They’re yours!

  2. Fascinating, Simon, to hear about those ‘have you had time to re-write yet?’ e-mails. You’re doing a grand job, keep it going! As KMcG says, we’ll all be watching this battle with interest.

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