Author Topic: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?  (Read 1376 times)  

Offline Evenstar

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3913
  • Gender: Female
  • Bristol, UK
  • YA and PNR
    • View Profile
    • Author Website
Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« on: April 21, 2017, 02:18:57 AM »
Okay, I should probably talk to a lawyer rather than you guys, but I just wanted to float it and see if anyone had any experience of it.

A girl who writes a lot on Wattpad asked me if she could write and publish a novella set in my world, as me. I've read her stuff and it's very similar to mine.  It would be linked to my series and published under my name, but she would be publishing it and getting all the royalties. It isn't the same contract as ghost writing because I'm not paying her anything.

To me it seems like a win-win. I get a boost for my series and another book out there also boosting my name. She gets to keep all the profits and the rights to the work. Are there some negatives I haven't considered? I would, of course, read it before she publishes and check it's consistent.

I have heard of several people sharing a pen name and I assume it would work the same as that? Thoughts?

Offline brkingsolver

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3020
  • Baltimore, MD
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 03:17:38 AM »
I wouldn't do it. You're volunteering to give up rights to your intellectual property. At the very least, you need a written contract laying out the terms and what she can do and what she can't. You need to talk to a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property or publishing.


B.R. Kingsolver
Author of The Telepathic Clans Saga
 
http://brkingsolver.com/

Offline Kristen Painter

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 854
  • Gender: Female
  • FL
    • View Profile
    • Kristen Painter
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 03:25:52 AM »
So many reasons no.
Kristen Painter
Author of the bestselling Nocturne Falls series

Offline TwistedTales

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 03:30:03 AM »
Woah, I wouldn't agree to that. The split of ownership is messy. You own the "concept", but she owns the book. Also, she's writing under your name with her own KDP account. That makes it very hard for you to control what she publishes. You might get to check it before publishing, but it's very easy to change the book post release and almost impossible for you to track. By using your name she could equally damage your reputation as do it good.

Usually a ghostwriter hands over the work and the author publishes it as theirs, so they keep control of the product and their reputation. They might pay the ghostwriter upfront, but they also have a clear ROI. The ROI in this case would be very flaky. How could you measure the money earned from this arrangement other than in vague terms of apparent improvement or loss of sales?

I would honestly say this looks like more risk than it's worth.

Offline nigel p bird

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 419
  • Gender: Male
  • scotland, uk
    • View Profile
    • Sea Minor
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 03:32:15 AM »
It's not something I would consider and would urge you to think hard about it. The potential complications seem endless whereas the gains are likely to be absolutely minimal. Maybe you could step in in another capacity - as publisher or editor for example; that way you might both find mutual benefit without as many of the likely snags.

nigel bird

Online ShaneJeffery

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1240
  • Gender: Male
  • Melbourne
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 03:37:49 AM »
True fans of your work will know the difference and feel cheated. Every time you publish something people are going to doubt its even you. This isn't even someone you know very well by the sound of it. But she's used her speechcraft no doubt to go a ways in convincing you.

Offline Avery342

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 04:10:47 AM »
Michael Anderle (hope I got his name right!) does something similar and is totally rocking it--but there are a few very major differences from what you are suggesting.

One: The other author's name is on the cover ALONG with yours. Yours belongs there because it's your world. Her's belongs there because it's her words. Anything less is cheating one or both of you.

I'm not sure how Anderle does the royalty thing, so I could be totally mistaken, but I believe that the books written by others in his world are published by them and they retain the royalties. Like you said, your win is that it gives your other titles a boost with a new release.

Do a quick Google search on Michael Anderle and you might be able to find more information about how he works his collaborations. To say it is working well for him would be a vast understatement!

All that being said--to do it the way you mentioned? No. Just no. For reasons mentioned above and more.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 04:14:34 AM by Avery342 »

Avery J. Moon | blog

Online Ann in Arlington

  • Global Moderator
  • Status: Shakespeare
  • *****
  • Posts: 63177
  • Gender: Female
  • Arlington, VA
  • Let's go NATS
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 04:18:30 AM »
I am not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV, I didn't even spend last night at Holiday Inn Express.

But this just seems HUGELY fraught with potential to go horribly, horribly wrong. And when the bloated carcass finally explodes, I'm betting she'll be far enough away that nothing much lands on her.

My opinion -- again, based on nothing but personal common sense: It is possibly possible for you to license your 'world' and provide her a contract that allows you to claim a percentage of her royalties in exchange for allowing you to write it it. But she ought to write the thing under her own name, and you ought to have the right to allow it to be published or not -- evaluating it as consistent with your 'world', including the values and standards of your existing characters, etc. In that case, it could work.

And it's not a contract you should generate on your own via an internet template.

My Kindles
Nautilus (Voyage)
Oasis
Hermoine (Fire HD8)
Hogwarts (KDX)
Ed's (Basic)
S7Edge (KApp for Android)
Galaxy (KApp for Android)
(Make your own reading bar) | Ann Von Hagel | Arlington, VA | kboards  MODERATOR

Offline Evenstar

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3913
  • Gender: Female
  • Bristol, UK
  • YA and PNR
    • View Profile
    • Author Website
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 05:32:23 AM »
See, this is why kboards is great!

Thankfully we have only had a very tentative chat and I told her I was going to talk to some people and also a lawyer, so I don't think she is expecting it to come to anything. Incidentally the lawyer (I spent 7 years working for the Law Society so I just called a friend who specialises in intellectual property rights) said much the same, so I don't feel it is worth considering any further.  But it was really good to hear opinions from authors I respect because it solidifies in my mind that it's the wrong thing to do even with a contract to cover all that.

Thanks all.

Offline R. Doug

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4323
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 05:50:40 AM »
Just as a hint as to why this is a really bad idea, Google how Ian Fleming lost sole ownership of the James Bond character to Kevin McClory.  It's a really sad tale.  Not 100% analogous to the situation you describe, but close enough.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 05:52:25 AM by R. Doug »
R. Doug Wicker

Mystery

Mystery
The Globe
The Globe is a ship that has everything
Including a serial killer with a large knife
and a penchant for the rich and beautiful.


Visit me at my Blog and on Facebook

Offline Doglover

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3055
  • Gender: Female
  • Huntingdon, United Kingdom
  • If you want real love, buy a dog.
    • View Profile
    • Margaret Brazear Author
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 06:00:59 AM »
I would definitely not do it. I wouldn't even trust someone I do know with this, never mind someone I don't. Now, think of the possible outcomes if she turns out to be dishonest. She could use this story to claim that she wrote all your others for a start and that's only one thing that could go wrong. She is using your name, so if anything was in there that was libellous, you could be the one getting sued. I know you say you will read it first, but what is to stop her from editing it after that? I have learned not to trust people over the years, but this definitely rings alarm bells. You should  tell her you are very flattered, but she can invent her own world.

I recently heard of a successful romance author who had her first chapter teaser for her new book on her blog. When she went to publish the book, it was refused on the grounds of copyright infringement. It seems someone had stolen her first chapter and published it as a short story. It has taken her months and a great deal of lost income to sort it out.

Seriously, you can't trust anyone. Only dogs.


The past is another country; they do things differently there
Margaret Brazear | Newfies | Website | Blog | Facebook | Readers Group | Book covers

Offline Doglover

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3055
  • Gender: Female
  • Huntingdon, United Kingdom
  • If you want real love, buy a dog.
    • View Profile
    • Margaret Brazear Author
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 06:07:10 AM »
True fans of your work will know the difference and feel cheated. Every time you publish something people are going to doubt its even you. This isn't even someone you know very well by the sound of it. But she's used her speechcraft no doubt to go a ways in convincing you.
This might be the most important objection of all. Evanstar has spent years building up her following; she could end up having it all trashed by this one mistake.


The past is another country; they do things differently there
Margaret Brazear | Newfies | Website | Blog | Facebook | Readers Group | Book covers

Offline William Peter Grasso

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 783
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 06:23:48 AM »
So many reasons no.

This, plain and simple.

William Peter Grasso | Facebook | Author Central | Twitter

Offline TaraCrescent

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 116
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 06:34:38 AM »
A lot of romance names are shared pens, so it's definitely been done before. As best as I know, these people publish under their own KDP account. (I'm not sure on the ownership of shared assets like mailing lists, so it would be worthwhile talking to people that do it.)

For my money, I'd do what Michael Anderle does - put your name and her name on the cover.

Offline Acheknia

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • Gender: Female
  • UK
    • View Profile
    • Books by A. Woodley
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 06:48:47 AM »
I know that you've already had great advice and have decided against it and I agree with everyone ^^^
But here's another reason...
You have a series in your world, I don't know if to you the series has ended or if you plan to add to it but if you do plan to add to it and you come up with some great ideas, you may not be able to use them if they turn out to be similar to this other work or if she later uses some of your ideas and you've allowed her to.
You could be blamed for copying her ideas, when it's your world to begin with.
If she's so good, she can make her own world :)

Offline John Magna

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 17
  • Gender: Male
  • American Southeast
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 07:04:09 AM »
First off I agree with the previous posts, no, but there may be an existing, less risky option for someone to write in "your world". I haven't used it, don't know much about it, but it's called Kindle Worlds https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindle_Worlds on Amazon. It's an established framework for someone to write in your "world" commercially.

I've heard about it before on some of the podcasts that I listen to. One of those was Lindsay Buroker from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast ( I don't remember which episode...sorry). She mentioned that she had setup one of her series in Kindle Worlds.

You may want to reach out to her and ask http://lindsayburoker.com/contact/. I've seen her post on kboards before, but I don't know how active she is.

Hope this helps.


Offline Dan C. Rinnert

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1269
  • Unposts: 21
  • ⚠ Run! ⚠ Because Nobody Even Looks Over Here
    • View Profile
    • Dan C. Rinnert
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2017, 07:59:45 AM »
I agree with Ann.  You can make this work.

Writing as you?  No, not unless you have (or will be implementing) a system to oversee a sharing of the pen name so you can maintain style and quality across the books released.

Letting her keep all rights?  No, because that can make things messy.

But developing a licensing system whereby she (and possibly others) could write in your fictional universe is definitely possible.  Kindle Worlds has been mentioned, but that's limited to Amazon.  If you want something that could be wide, I'm pretty sure you would have to develop your own licensing system to handle that.

It can be done.  You just need to make sure you get a lawyer (or a legal firm) that is knowledgeable on this sort of thing.  You want to make sure your rights are protected.

Offline AlexaGrave

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Born to Write
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2017, 08:06:15 AM »
I'm with most others here. I wouldn't do it (even if you trust her).

But when I started reading your post, it reminded me of Erin Hunter, the pen name behind the Warriors series. This is actually SIX writers. True, it's traditional publishing, but it's still something to look at how it's done and that it's possible to do. By the looks of it, the editor is the same for all the books, I'm guessing to keep things consistent. And obviously the publisher is the same. Something to think about.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 08:08:13 AM by AlexaGrave »
GSD vs. Everything (1st Draft): 35%

Thorns Entwine the Blade - Trinity Torn Book 2 (1st Draft): 64%
Dark Fantasy Writer
Alexa Grave | Blog | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Newsletter | Patreon

Offline Will Edwards

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 129
    • View Profile
    • White Dove Books
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2017, 09:11:34 AM »
I applaud you for considering such an out-of-the-box suggestion. It shows you have an open mind and a good attitude. But, on this occasion, I think you should say 'no'.

Offline Crystal_

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1763
  • Gender: Female
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2017, 09:17:57 AM »
No way. My series is mine. You are giving up your rights for free.

Sharing a pen name is doable, but you want to establish that going in.

Online spellscribe

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 758
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2017, 02:57:06 PM »
I'd third looking at a system like Anderle.

Both names on the cover. You have the right to veto if you don't like the story, or implement changes. Also make sure you get a slice of profits, if only to protect yourself down the line.

Michael Anderle publishes all books under his account btw. It means no one can go in later and change the story, title, *author names and copyright info* etc.

If you're willing to do the extra work of publishing and paying out the earnings to her, I'd totally do it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Author of the urban fantasy series, Talented
Amy R. Hopkins | Talented Series | Facebook | Twitter

Offline SC

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2017, 03:11:42 PM »
True fans of your work will know the difference and feel cheated. Every time you publish something people are going to doubt its even you. This isn't even someone you know very well by the sound of it. But she's used her speechcraft no doubt to go a ways in convincing you.

Yeah, I agree with others that this sounds like a bad idea from a legal/copyright standpoint, but as a reader, this (above) would be a huge issue for me.

It sounds like what this person is writing is fanfic of your work. Which is fine. That's great. Tell her to post it on a fanfic site like every other fanfic author (for free, obviously). If she wants to write in your world, unless you've been invited to join Kindle Worlds, she should do it out of fan love, not because she's hoping to make some money piggybacking on another writer's work. If you really think her story is great and you want to include it in your series, consider putting both your names on it as co-writers. John Ringo and Larry Correia recently did something similar. John Ringo wrote a fanfic in Correia's world, but since Ringo is a published author, instead of going the usual fanfic route with posting it online, he made an agreement with Correia where Correai edited the books (it's actually a trilogy) and they're credited as co-writers. Of course, it helps that they have the same publisher, and the publisher (Baen) handled all the publishing details. With an indie situation, you'd have to figure out how to publish it and get both authors paid, but you can work that out if you really want to make it an official part of your series instead of just telling her to post her fanfic on a fanfic website.

Offline ccasey

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
  • Gender: Female
  • Texas
    • View Profile
    • CCR on SelfPub
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2017, 04:34:37 PM »
First off I agree with the previous posts, no, but there may be an existing, less risky option for someone to write in "your world". I haven't used it, don't know much about it, but it's called Kindle Worlds https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindle_Worlds on Amazon. It's an established framework for someone to write in your "world" commercially.

I've heard about it before on some of the podcasts that I listen to. One of those was Lindsay Buroker from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast ( I don't remember which episode...sorry). She mentioned that she had setup one of her series in Kindle Worlds.

You may want to reach out to her and ask http://lindsayburoker.com/contact/. I've seen her post on kboards before, but I don't know how active she is.

Hope this helps.



Kindle Worlds is what immediately came to mind. That way you also get a percentage of the profit and her author name stays on it so as not to irritate your fans. I wonder if you can initiate Kindle Worlds or if it requires an invitation from zon.
           

Cheryl Casey | Artist website | Instagram | Facebook

Offline brkingsolver

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3020
  • Baltimore, MD
    • View Profile
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2017, 03:44:33 AM »
Seriously, you can't trust anyone. Only dogs.
Even this has a caveat. Don't leave them alone with your dinner. :P


B.R. Kingsolver
Author of The Telepathic Clans Saga
 
http://brkingsolver.com/

Offline Doglover

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3055
  • Gender: Female
  • Huntingdon, United Kingdom
  • If you want real love, buy a dog.
    • View Profile
    • Margaret Brazear Author
Re: Someone else writing as you - has anyone ever tried this?
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2017, 06:19:19 AM »
Even this has a caveat. Don't leave them alone with your dinner. :P

Oh, good heavens! Wouldn't dream of it. However, I did have a dog, a golden retriever, who wouldn't touch any food that wasn't given to him. I don't know why, it just happened. Did I get a shock when the next one came along! :)


The past is another country; they do things differently there
Margaret Brazear | Newfies | Website | Blog | Facebook | Readers Group | Book covers

Buy Scrivener for Windows or Mac