I didn’t want to say anything about the fact that I was pursuing the removal of the non-compete clause from my contract until I heard one way or the other.
I got the news today. The non-compete clause for my Scholastic contract is dead, and I’m now free to write stories in that world again.
So now the issue becomes looking at my schedule and figuring out how and where I can start opening the world up again.
For a little context on my move to publishing my own work, read I’ve quit Big Publishing to publish myself.
Now that you have the opportunity, will you be using “Emerald Sun” as the third and final, to tie it all up? Without the Scholastic contract, you could return to the seven novel series.
It’s a good question, and the answer is, I’m not sure.
If I wrap the existing series in three books, I can then do a slightly different set-up for the remaining books as a SEPARATE SERIES, and remove all but EMERALD SUN from being dependent on books I can no longer control or guarantee to be in print in the editions readers want.
If books 3 through X require that Moon & Sun 1 and 2 be in print in hardcover, paper, and ebook formats, and they’re only available in ebook format, then new readers who only read books in print format are unlikely to discover the Moon & Sun series.
If 3: Emerald Sun gives the Moon & Sun series a real ending, while introducing the thread of a new series involving the same characters, people who read in all formats will be able to discover the books in the NEW series SEPARATELY in all formats I can offer, and I won’t be writing to an ever-dwindling group of readers.
Mazel tov! I’m so glad your universe is yours again.
Ms. Lisle, I am so happy that you will be able to continue the Sun and Moon series. The world in which it takes place is wonderful and your writing style is so original. Thank you for everything you have given to the world through your writing. These adventures have even inspired me to write a fantastical book too(though I must admit it isn’t the best!). I hope everything goes well for you and that the next book comes out soon!
Thank you, Emma, and congratulations on writing your own story.
Oh, there are totally some of us out there waiting for more of this series!
Congratulations! Now I can start to read the series (I had awful expieriences with series on hiatus, so I refrained until now :D)
A NCC sounds not only like pure evil, but completly stupid too. If someone wants to read the new part, chances are they want to read the old ones as well… which would lead to profit for the publisher. But I may be naiv here…
I don’t think you’re being naive, here. I think you have it right.
When I start in on book three in this linked sequential series (which Moon & Sun is, in that each book follows directly after the previous book, and relies on information gleaned in the previous book to continue the story in the next one), readers will need to read the previous books. Which means at least some sales for Scholastic.
I can’t write a prologue long enough to fill everyone in on what happened in the first two (though I will include In Book One and In Book Two recaps that folks who have read them can skip.) And even though I know damn well I’m not going to get paid for any new Scholastic sales, I’ll still link to the existing books, because it’s a good story and people should be able to read the whole thing.
If Scholastic had been smart, when they noted that they were not interested in continuing the series, they would have said, “But please feel free to continue it on your own.” Back when this happened, there were still a lot of folks waiting for the third book, and those readers would have recommended the series to other readers.
Now? Probably not so many, and not so much.
I always thought, publishers should be required to return the rights of stories to the author after a certain, reasonable amount of time, if they have no interest on publishing the books anyway. Otherwise it could become a sort of censorship, since the publishers can essentially put down a story.
How and why should be publishers be “required” (at gunpoint, presumably) to return something they bought and paid for? Despite evidence to the contrary, we’re still a free society that values property rights.
Sweetie, they didn’t pay. That’s the whole point. And no guns were involved, either literal or figurative.
Scholastic purchased the right to publish two books, and then the right to have an option to buy a third book.
When time came to exercise their option, however, they chose to simply let it hang. They didn’t offer a contract for BOOK THREE, even though I was writing it at the time on the assumption that they would.
What I need to make very clear here is this. They did not buy the world, and they didn’t buy the series.
They bought a right to publish BOOKS IN THAT WORLD AND SERIES that they then did not use.
If they’re not going to publish the books they bought the right to publish, then they are sitting on a world I own, and as the owner of the world, I should have the right to remove that world from their hands and create in it.
This is why I am now STRONGLY recommending indie publishing over commercial publishing. The writer always owns all rights to his own world, and cannot get stuck by clauses that lock him out of telling his stories in his world when the publisher loses interest. And unless you’re a big-name writer, you MUST assume the publisher WILL lose interest.
Because, yes, indeed, we are a free society that values property rights.
AND THAT PROPERTY WAS AND IS MINE.
A “publishing contract” should be a *license* not a slavery contract. That’s why I’ve been advising authors (via my FB page), to “regain your back list rights.” As it stands now, if a publisher “goes under” (Bankrupt), your “book rights” are “corporate assets.” As such, they can be sold to *anyone.* You (the author) have no say in any way. They can be edited into *anything* and you have no say.
Scholastic, like any “big” publisher, cares only about quick, volume sales. Selling 100 a month for eternity, has no value to them. (Granted, tax policies are partly to blame, but not all of the problem.) Self publishers don’t care, using PoD, if they sell one copy, or one thousand every month. (Neither does Createspace, for that matter. They get paid either way.)
How? There is a thing we call the law in the country where I live, so there’s no need for physical violence.
Why? If they buy the right to publish but they don’t, I feel, that THEY are breaking the agreement and practicing a kind of censorship.
If they paid something, of course the option should be “buy it back”.
But the author is the creator of a world, the characters etc. If a publisher indeed publishes the stuff he bought rights for, fine. But if not the author should have other options for letting the storys s/he created see the light of day.
Stellar news! SO glad you were able to get that clause struck down. Here’s to more good news in the same vein later down the road. Looking forward to seeing what you do in this world in the future!
Thank you. I’m looking forward to doing it. 😀
What to write about really ought to be up to the writer. (You say that sentence sounds overly tautological? Q.E.D. 😉
You’d think. But apparently not. 😀 Thanks, Kathleen.
Hey, Stephen! Cool, huh! Join me in a Happy Dance.
Fantastic news Holly – looking forward to them
Thank you so much. 😀
I can’t wait 😀
I know it won’t be soon soon, but knowing it’s coming is good enough.
Thank you. I’ll make it as soon as I can. If I could afford to, I’d take a year’s writing sabbatical, and just do fiction. But that’s some time off yet.
Fantastic. I teach 5th grade and have had so many students read Ruby Key and Silver Door. My Ruby Key books were used so many times, I had to throw them away – they were falling apart. I determined that it was time that I replace them.
That’s wonderful new. I’m looking forward to bringing the series back. Thank you for letting me know the kids still like them.
Oh my gosh, congrats!!!!
I can’t wait for more books, I’ve been overthinking what would happen to the characters for far too long! The Ruby Key is one of the books I’ve read and reread dozens of times, so it’s so exciting to know that you’ll be able to keep working on its sequels!
Thank you, Lara. Thank you for reading them, and thank you for still caring that I’ll be able to write the rest of the story.
Yah! Congrats! The Ruby Key was the first book I ever read from you, and I can’t wait to hear more about Genna, Danrith, and the cat! 😀
Thank you, Hope. I loved those characters and that world, and I’m so glad I can write in it again.
I am really happy. The sun and moon series were my first books. Congratulations, Holly!
Your first books? Wow. I’ll make the rest of the story worth your wait. Thank you for letting me know, Lucky, and thanks for still caring.
😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
Thank you. Happy Dance, Happy Dance!
Congratulations Holly! I can see why you would be doing the Happy Dance. Just brilliant news.
If it weren’t for the bandwidth issues and the copyright infringement, I’d post a gif of Snoopy doing the happy dance here.
But we can imagine it.
And Schroeder on the piano playing the Happy Dance song. Dah-da-dum dah-da-dum DA-DUM dum-da-DAH!
And who says for some things you have to have pictures and words.
Why/When did this event come about. Perhaps I’ve been living in a cave.
You said Scholastic contract? Was that job or a publishing company?
Why would they forbid you to write anymore in series of books that you are the creator of?
This is very confusing to a newbie who has just walked in off the street and hasn’t a clue of what has happened.
Perhaps some background information would be in order for the uninformed as this looks like it could be a large issue for budding writers.
Hi, Tom. Where publishing is concerned, most writers—including most published writers, and including me for the first two thirds of my publishing career—live in that cave. When you sell a book to a publisher, you get a contract that covers every aspect of what both the publisher and you can do with the book. The contract is VERY long, written on legal paper in dense legalese (except for my Baen contracts—those were written in human English, and they were both pretty short and not wildly grabby. I can’t say how they are now, but the ones from twenty or more years ago were decent) and the object of the contract is to make publishing the book profitable for the publisher. So the objective of the contract is, in most cases, to get and hold onto as many rights as possible.
This objective is diametrically opposed to the needs of the writer, who to survive on a writing income needs to be able to keep and use as many rights as possible.
The conflict between these two opposing needs led to the rise of the agent, of which I have had two, both very good.
But agents are not bound by the covenants of the contracts they negotiate, other than the clause about getting 15% of the top of all money that comes in on a project. So while they are hell on wheels for finding anything that will stop your money from flowing in regularly, they are less sharklike about such things as how much access you have to the world you have created should your relationship with the publisher go south.
Mine did not consider a non-compete clause a major problem, and I had allowed myself to live in the writer’s cave for too long, and when I read through the contract, did not see it as a problem either. The publisher wanted to sell books, after all, right? And I wanted to write them. And they loved the MOON & SUN project, so obviously we were on the same side where the series was concerned.
Only not so much. Long series of events occurred, in which much was promised on the publisher’s end that never happened, followed by the books doing “not as well as we had hoped,” followed by a planned eight-book series being cut to “we want to end the series in three books, and you’ll need to take a lot less money for the third book.”
What I made on the first two books, apiece, each of which took about a year to do, was less than the lowest-paid full-time RN would have made in the same year. (I used to be an RN. I keep up with these things.)
I have been paying my way through the world with my writing since quitting my nursing job—and some years, I’ve made a lot less money than I did as a nurse. One year, I made less money than people on welfare made that year. But writing is what I love. It is my joy. It gets me out of bed every morning excited to go to work, and thrilled to consider what I’m going to be doing next.
I do, however, have to pay bills and feed a family, so taking a lot less money that what I’d made on the previous two books was impossible for me. I said I would have to work on other projects, and did, and MOON & SUN lay there, waiting for the publisher to offer money I could survive on. Which never happened. But neither did the publisher say that it did not want a third book, which would have negated the non-compete clause.
The continuation of the non-compete clause in my contract meant I could not write any stories in the world in the meantime—not short stories, not comic books, not ANYTHING. Several months ago, I pushed the publisher to give me an offer for the third book, and heard nothing. Somewhat after the sixty days they had to either shit or get off the pot, I asked my agent to let them know that if they did not want the third book, because if they didn’t, I wanted the rights to my world and characters back. And somewhat after the ten days they had to let me know about this, I FINALLY got an admission that they did not want to publish the third book.
Which means, a helluva long time after I wanted to do the third book, my path is finally clear to write it.
Thank you for the insightful explanation of what the world of publisher contracts is like. I and the others who read your books are now better armed in our quest to become both publish and protect the worlds we create with them. I also agree with the thought you have that most of us who write live in caves often and do not pay enough attention to the real world that the publishers live in and who are looking to squeeze every drop of profit out of our work.
One again kudos for you victory to work in the world you created.
Yay! Congratulations Holly.
Congratulations, Holly! That’s great news!
Thank you, Deb!
There, I have used my allowance of exclamation points for the week, but this success deserves them. I know, because I endured breaking two similar contracts a decade ago …. And am still savoring that success
Thank you, Jeanne. And cheers to you on getting your rights back. Are you doing your stuff indie now?
What great news, Holly! You must have had to move the moon and the sun to accomplish that. 🙂 I’m thrilled for you.
If I’d understood the details of working with a non-compete clause more clearly, I might have been able to get the rights to my world back somewhat sooner. But maybe not.
I, too, however, am thrilled. Thanks, Linsey.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! I’m so crazy excited about this! I’ve held out hope that someday you could return to that universe for the past couple years through the highs and lows and every now and then I would search for any news about it, so I am ECSTATIC. The first two are in my favorite books list.
Hi, Ryan. Thank you. I’m thrilled to have the rights back. Now I have to fit Emerald Sun back into my schedule. But now that I CAN write in my world again, I WILL.
I need to hear about Badger plllllllleeeeeeeease. As soon as you can. *cries*
Hey, Alexa! I need to finish the rest of the LONGVIEW SERIES first. And then I have the follow-up with Cady, Herog, and yes, Badger, in THE WISHBONE CONSPIRACY scheduled. After which I think I want to do THE EMERALD SUN for Moon & Sun, though I might need to explore the concept of doing a Kickstarter campaign for that book.
Just chiming in to say – I’d been really interested to see this as a kickstarter – to see how successful it is both as a way to fund publishing but also as a way to publicize a new Moon and Sun.
I think the idea of a kickstarter is great! I’ve backed a lot of kickstarters and would LOVE to be able to back you.
Fantastic! That’s a great series! It seems cruel to deny authors the right to continue a series or to write more in a world they created and love, especially when the readers want more of it too.
Hi, Elaine. It is a case of business vs. the story—so the objective for the writer is to remove the story from someone else’s business, and make it part of his or her own.
Thus, indie publishing.
😀 Thank you.
OMG SO HAPPY!!!! I freaking LOVE those books and was so sad thinking I would never know the ending! I ADORE those characters. I kind of have a weird crush on the cat. (If he turns out to be a villain, boy will my cheeks be red!) I blame Lady and the Tramp for getting me romantically interested in talking animal characters in the first place 😉
The cat showed up on his own in that series, as cats do. I didn’t know he talked until he talked.
I was as surprised as Genna.
Congratulations. You are an excellent writer and I so enjoy being in one of your classes. HTRYN. It is very hard but so useful. Have fun getting back to what you love.
Thank you. It is wonderful getting my world back. And the funny thing about the MOON & SUN series is that writing THE EMERALD SUN soon would solve the “What book am I going to write to complete the HTTS Walkthrough?” dilemma. 😀
My daughter Elia and I are THRILLED at this news! SO GLAD to hear that you took back your right to write and create this world and these characters as they deserve! We greatly look forward to continuing this series and encourage you to write as many books in the series as you want! We will buy and love them all. THANK YOU!!! Kevin Asher & Elia Jade
Thank you, Kevin, and please thank Elia Jade for me, too. I’m refiguring my writing schedule now. 😀
Way to go, Holly! Winning back the rights to the parallel universe you created will give that pesky Muse of yours a beloved playground to romp anew. I’m so pleased for you!
All the best!
Thank you, Tom. I’m thrilled.
Congratulations Holly! That is so fantastic to hear! After watching TradPub so completely screw you over with such a fantastic series, it was a true eye opener for me and one of the things that pushed me into the SelfPub camp!
Will you be able to get rights reverted for the first Moon and Sun books too?
On reverted rights for the first two books—eventually, yes.
There’s some gawdawful long wait time, like 35 years, of which I’ve already done eight.
At the point where I can afford to discuss this with a lawyer, I need to know about reversions for World Gates, Secret Texts, and Moon & Sun.
Holly- Consider reaching out to Joe Konrath. He hasn’t said publicly (that I’m aware of, and I pay attention) how he did it, and I imagine there are reasons he hasn’t, but he got the rights for his trad-published books back. (Must be a couple of years ago now, because I lived in a different house when I read the news. Funny how we remember things.) He might be willing to share the knowledge with a fellow ex-trad/now-indie, particularly since the two of you have very similar philosophies in re: traditional publishers.
He mentioned that doing it cost him a buttload of money. That’s not an option for me right now. At the point where it becomes an option, he’s the FIRST person I’m contacting. 😀
Look up the author of The Passive Voice, he’s an IP lawyer (Intellectual Property). He can at least quote you a cost, and it may not be as high as you think.
Ah, I see. Yeah, that development came after he’d MADE a buttload of money self-pubbing other stuff – like, seven-figures buttload. That makes sense.
I really hope you’re able to get all that old stuff back.
Any chance of salvaging the rest of World Gates? I know it wasn’t like Moon & Sun (which just stopped) but rather you had to wrap up in Book 3, so I don’t know if there’s anything you can do there … but wow don’t I wish I could have read other 4 books in the series you intended to write instead of the 3rd book we got.
I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!
😀 Thank you so much. It was a GOOD day.
Congratulations! That’s awesome. I liked those books, so I’m selfishly glad you are going to get to finish that series (even if I have to wait a long time for them). And I’m unselfishly glad that you get to have back what’s yours.
I’m considering the possibility at the moment of alternating Cadence Drake books with Moon & Sun books. We’re still looking at a fair amount of time to finish the series, because I also create writing courses to help pay the bills. But now that I CAN finish it, I will.
Holly, that is fantastic-congratulations! I wonder though, does this make self-publishing more attractive to you as an author? Or do you feel the same about it, whether that is positive or negative? I know if I had created something as special as the Moon and Sun and were not allowed to write in it again for a long time, that would be frustrating. Congrats on your win and your work is so exciting to read–I love the tips and information you share with us!
Hi, Valerie. I moved over to 100% indie publishing some years ago. I wouldn’t consider going back to commercial publishing—the drawbacks far outweigh the advantages, and the financial losses any midlister experiences from having books tied up with commercial publishers far, far outweigh the benefits of an advance against royalties.
If you’re at the very top of the commercial publishing writer heap, you play by different rules. But if you’re that writer, you’re not reading my blog, either. 😀
Yay!! I hope to see more of it in the HTTS Walkthrough 😉
If doing that doesn’t delay getting the Walkthrough done (anymore than it’s already been delayed), that’s what’ll happen.
Fantastic! That’ll be a fun world to return to and it’ll make your readers happy :).
I miss talking to the cat.
Nothing beats unwrapping the noose from around your neck and breathing again to bring more life to your creation. Congratulations Holly!!
Ain’t it the truth, Vanessa? 😀
That’s great! I’m extremely happy for you (and for all the fans!)
Thank you. Me, too.
[insert happy dance] Huzzah! That’s wonderful news! Congratulations…can’t wait to read what you write!
😀 Thank you.
What does that mean? non-compete clause? I’m from germany so I’m not really sure what it means 🙂
It means that if you write something set in the world you created, and publish it on your own rather than with publisher, the publisher of the book can claim the project and all money from it. Non-compete clauses in fiction are pure evil, and I am crazy thrilled this one is dead.
Congratulations; that’s awesome! Moon and Sun is the work of yours I’m the most interested in reading. I’m excited for you—and for all the fans who were looking forward to more!
Not sure how many people still want to know what happens after all these years, but those who do will get to find out.
Well, I haven’t read the first few books, but I sure wanted to after your walk-through in one of the lessons! 🙂
Congratulations, Holly! What a win!
There was dancing. 😀
Be glad you didn’t see that.
:DDDDDD This is the best news I heard all day! I can’t wait to read to the end of the Moon and Sun series! (And I’ll be patient as you write it. I’m just so happy that this is a thing that can finally happen 😀 )
😀 Me too. Thank you, Thea.
Omg this is so exciting!!!!! I miss those books! So glad, Holly!
Me, too. 😀 Thank you.
What awesome news! So very happy for you; I can imagine how very frustrating that must have been!
I wish it hadn’t taken so long, but I’m glad to have the world back.
Yay!! I love those books! So glad you will be able to continue that story again – can’t wait to find out what happens to Genna, the cat, and everyone else!
😀 Me too.
I’m so thrilled for you!!! <3 <3 <3 <3
Thanks, Lauren. Join me in a Happy Dance!
Holly, congratulations! I had to deal with one of those clauses once. I feel your joy! Yay!!!!
I have several more series I have to deal with, but… one thing at a time.
I got this one down, and I’m thrilled.