Earlier today I tossed out a question to the twitterverse: “Attn writers: Would you prefer to be paid more for your work (and have less rights) or be paid less (and have more rights)?”
My suspicion was that in a digital era where self-publishing is taking an increasingly larger piece of the traditional publishing’s pie, writers are valuing the worth of their intellectual property a bit more than they were twenty years ago. Or, to be more precise, writers have more and easier options to independently extract value from their intellectual property (e.g., online self-publishing).
But, unless you have the means to extract that value on your own (i.e., the time and knowledge to successfully self-publish, which includes marketing, technical, and other considerations), money may still be the priority. Someone’s got to make the cheese sandwiches, right?
So, writers, I put it to you: which do you prefer? More money or more rights? More importantly, why or under what conditions?
I moved some of the twitter responses over here so they wouldn’t be lost. Reviews are mixed, but “depends” seems to be the front runner so far…
@jchutchins: More money, less rights.
@vforvoice: More rights, less money. Media is too expansive to not retain rights for derivatives of original material.
@davisac1: I’d totally sell more rights for more money. That’s what I’d be trying to do with them anyway.
@HoppingFun: Depends on the biz plan and people involved. If I have creative freedom, I’d likely go for a split.
@BFree63: It’s a short term vs long term choice. With more rights comes more money down the road. I call it “investing in yourself”.
@chrisw10: With regards to writing, I think it depends entirely on the long tail. For my 1st story, I want more rights, less money for it, cause I think its too good to let someone tie up rights to it. But for anything I’m doing career-wise, more money, less rights.
[I then asked @chrisw10: “So, career/professional project= money, personal project = rights?”]
@chrisw10: For me, that’s probably how it breaks down. Though any commerical book that I think may be big I’d want to keep e-book rights. Unless giving them up will get me more in the long-run. It’s all about the long run. :)
@JolleySezStuff: Depends — is this a project I’m passionate about? Or did my car just die?
@gmskarka: For most writers, that’s a false dichotomy — More RIghts EQUALS More Money (in the long run).
@floerianthebard: Depends on the piece of work. If I want to do more with it b/c I see potential, I’d take less pay. If it’s a one-off, more pay.
@andrhia: More money, less rights.
@simon_staffans: Best of worlds? More $ first with a buy-back-in-option in the future. Likelihood of happening? Will there ever be world peace?