Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dream or Reality?

Harlequin has another contest open for the Superromance line that I was really excited about. It's the "Conflict of Interest" on But a writer on one of the chat boards has posted this interesting conflict of her own...

Regarding the "Conflict of Interest" contest: Should be a dream come true opportunity, no? But the rules say, "In consideration for winning the award of a prize in this Contest, winners agree that his/her entry and the copyrights and any other rights therein become the sole property of Sponsor which may edit, modify, publish, promote, display, broadcast and otherwise use entry submitted for any purpose without further permission..." The entry is one scene, first chapter, and NTE 10 page outline. 3 winners will receive a detailed editorial evaluation and MAYBE (but not necessarily) a request for a full. (And, of course, no guarantee of a contract if they do request the full.) Oh, and a year's subscription to the Superromance series. So, ok, nothing like jumping to the "what if I win" mode, but what IF I was one of the 3 winners and they did NOT request a full. Now they have all rights to my 1st chapter, a scene, etc, which would mean I couldn't shop it around to any other publisher, right? (Even if I revise it?) Would this make anyone else a little nervous? Am I nuts? (ok, maybe don't answer that one...)

After I went back to the contest page and reread the left me a little sceptical. Surely that is a conflict with copyright laws...but if you enter the contest knowing this is inserted...? Could they? Would they? It's only the first chapter/scene...but it's also your entire storyline in the outline including goals, motivation, conflict and resolution. It is a great opportunity to get published...right?

Harlequin is pretty well known for taking open submissions without having to have an agent. They are also good with their pubbed authors from what I've heard. Well hell. It is being debated on a couple threads now. Hopefully an editor will throw in her two cents and ease some of the concerns this may cause. It might be a good thing though for writers to think twice and read the contest entry rules before entering.


Jennifer Shirk said...

Yes. I know. :(

I've noticed that with A LOT of their short writing contests.

I even stopped posting on their "writer's challenge" section a few years back, because it says that whatever you post becomes their property, too.

Oh well. I guess they have to have SOME flaw. LOL.

Chicki Brown said...


My agent is also an entertainment attorney. I e-mailed your question to her. Maybe she'll have an answer.

Chelle Sandell said...

It's enough to make me stay away from their contests and only submit to the line directly. At least I'm not signing away my copyright protection. One of the girls I chat with said thats how she sold...but what happens if they like the premise of your story but not your writing voice?

Thanks Chicki! I appreciate any feedback. They've also got a message in for the editor of the line.

PatriciaW said...

Thanks for pointing this out, Chelle, because I'm planning to enter this one. I'm still new enough that the full impact of that statement didn't hit me. You make a really good point regarding what happens when they like the story but your voice. Hope Chicki's agent has an answer.

Chelle Sandell said...

I'm still trying to decide what I want to do about entering. I think I will start the story and see what the editors say. I kinda find it hard to believe they'd set themselves up for a possible copyright fight when they have soooo many writers with good storylines submitting every day. It's an incredible opportunity to pass up...but makes ya think twice!