Genre Grapevine for 9/18/2018
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Reprint issue with Kindle Direct Publishing

I recently released e-book editions of two of my previously published short stories. One story encountered a problem with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which fellow authors should keep in mind with regards to their own self-publishing projects. 

The problem story was "Blood Grains Speak Through Memories," originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies and reprinted in several anthologies including Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2017 and Nebula Awards Showcase 2018. All of these publications were non-exclusive, with the copyright and all publication rights remaining with me.

While the first story I uploaded published within a day or so (the novella "The Emotionless, in Love"), Blood Grains was still stuck "in review" five days after uploading. At that point I contacted KDP. 

Here's their response:

During a review of your KDP submission(s), we found that content in the below title(s) has been previously made available on Amazon. Copyright is important to us – we want to make sure that no author or other copyright holder has his or her books sold by anyone else. To publish your book, please respond with documentation confirming you have the necessary publishing rights within four days:
Blood Grains Speak Through Memories / ID: 30880545 Sanford, Jason (AUTHOR)
Please provide any documentation or other evidence that proves you have retained rights for the book(s) listed above.
Examples of documentation we cannot accept are:
- A personal statement by you that you have the publishing rights
- A copyright application for which registration has not been confirmed
- Contracts that have not been signed by all parties
Examples of acceptable documentation are:
- If you are the author and you are republishing your book after your publication rights have been reverted to you, a signed reversion letter from your former publisher
- A signed contract between you and the author granting you the rights to publish the book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected
- An e-mail from the address listed on the author’s (or their agent’s) official website confirming that you have the rights to publish their book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected
To learn more, please see:
https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A209YW3IYKYWFC
Please reply within 4 days to k***[email protected] with documentation, including the title and ID numbers of the books. If documentation is not received within 5 days, your book will not be made available for sale.

The problem was the Blood Grains reprints in those anthologies, which were also available as Kindle editions. KDP's programs noticed the some story already in their system and flagged me as uploading something I might not have the right to publish.

Fortunately, I'd kept the signed contracts for these anthologies. Once I emailed those to KDP — proving that the anthologies had only required non-exclusive rights to my story  —  my e-book was okayed by KDP and published within 24 hours.

I checked with a professional genre publisher whose books are also available as e-editions on the Kindle and he confirmed this issue has affected others, including some of his press's own titles. Based on what this publisher stated and my own experience, it appears stories published in magazines available on the Kindle aren't causing this issue. Both of my stories were originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which is available on the KDP, but the only story which was flagged was the one reprinted in the anthologies. 

So to summarize, reprints or publications in book anthologies already available on the Kindle will get your self-published book flagged. While it's good Amazon is finally dealing with issues of plagiarism and copyright theft, their enforcement attempts could cause serious problems if an authors can't prove they have the rights to publish their own stories and writings.

The solution to all this is for authors to keep copies of their signed contracts. And authors should make special note that KDP specifically stated in the above email that they won't accept contracts which aren't signed by both parties.


Meltdown at Open Call over female-only submission call

The person behind the Facebook page OPEN CALL - SF Fantasy Horror - Paying Markets Only had a meltdown over a market soliciting stories for a female-only issue, with said person claiming that was outright discrimination. 

Among the specific words originally posted on Open Call (which I screengrabbed) were "I frankly do not give a flying f*#k about under-represented audiences or author pools. If that’s my privilege talking, well, screw it, that’s my privilege talking. Stories should be accepted, paid for, and published on the basis of how good they are, nothing else.” 

This person then closed their rant by saying they wished every market only accepted blind submissions. Later this person removed many of those words, not after apologizing or saying they were wrong but because "I didn't have to be so brutally blunt in my phrasing."

I don't know which person behind Open Call posted all this, but I do know the Facebook page is popular among authors. Whoever this is behind Open Calls also appears to have banned a number of people from the page because of comments they posted.

One result of all this were new discussions around issues of actual discrimination in the genre along with the role of blind submissions. Lucy Snyder shared a particularly good take on this last item.


Other News


Submissions

  • The Tiptree Award is offering $500 grants for emerging creators. Deadline is October 31. Details>> 
  • Teleport Magazine is accepting submissions for a science fiction short story contest. Stories must be a minimum of 2000 words and no more than 25000 words. 1st prize: $500.00; 2nd prize: $300.00; 3rd prize: $150.00. Deadline is October 20, 2018.  
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