The Best Of Writer Beware In 2022

Written by Victoria Strauss

As 2023 gets underway, it’s time again for Writer Beware’s annual look back at all the schemes, scams, pitfalls, and publishing industry craziness we covered in 2022.

A Big Change for Writer Beware

A New Home for the Writer Beware Blog: After many years, Blogger (our previous home) finally got too small for us, and we transitioned to WordPress. How that came about–and the benefits thereof.

Industry News

Some important publishing industry initiatives kicked off in 2022.

The AALA (Formerly the AAR) Revises Its Canon of Ethics: The Canon of Ethics is the professional standard to which the AALA expects member agents to adhere. In updating it to keep pace with a changing industry, the most significant revision is a detailed set of guidelines for agents who also offer paid editing services, intended both to guide ethical practice and to prevent the kinds of abuse and conflict of interest that gets reported to Writer Beware.

The Copyright Claims Board: A New Option for Copyright Disputes: Established by the US Congress, the Copyright Claims Board allows creators to bring lower-dollar infringement claims without having to hire an attorney or make a court appearance. It’s a great new option for creators, who until now have only had access to the prohibitively expensive process of pursuing infringement claims in federal court.

Update: The Copyright Claims Board at the Three-Month Mark: Writer Beware’s Michael Capobianco takes a look at the claims that have been filed with the CCB so far. Among other interesting data points: there are very few writing-related claims.

Publishing Contract “Bewares”

Issues to watch out for in your next publishing contract.

Keeping Moral Rights: A Wattpad Contest Controversy: Moral rights–the right to have your work published with your name, and the right to have it published exactly as you wrote it–are unfamiliar to most US writers, but they are important in the rest of the world (and most publishing these days is international). Writers are strongly advised not to relinquish them. When Wattpad launched a contest requiring winners to waive their moral rights, an uproar ensued. Wattpad took notice…but change is hard.

A Contract Clause to Beware: Claiming Copyright on “Publishers Content”: Writer Beware’s Michael Capobianco explains why this copyright claim–which more properly belongs in a work-for-hire contract–is a red flag.

Publishing Contracts 101: Beware Internal Contradictions: Your publishing contract shouldn’t include clauses that directly contradict one another, should it? Nevertheless, some contracts do–such as requiring a transfer of copyright in the Grant of Rights clause yet also requiring the publisher to register copyright in the author’s name. It’s a major red flag.

CONTINUE READING HERE