I have recently been contacted a number of times to provide photos or content to print media - some small, some larger. I write and get published scientific journals all the time, and naively, I thought it would be a similar situation when I agreed to provide articles. Now, I am starting to realize that I could find myself in a tangle of trouble very quickly. Here are some of my concerns, questions, and frustrations:
1. Permission to publish: I always get permission to publish my photos and articles about restaurants for MY BLOG. Most people are totally fine with that. However, I have no idea what they would think if my articles were to appear in print media. If someone wants to use my content (essential for free, often), is it my responsibility or the publisher's responsibility to check with the restaurants? In a recent scenario, an editor asked me to call five different places in Japan for permission to reprint my stuff in their book - except I had no idea what they really chose to print or not! I had never seen the page proofs or anything, which is a whole 'nother story...
2. Page proofs: I ALWAYS get page proofs of all articles I write before publication for my scientific writing. I check them for layout, typos, etc, etc. I was never offered the chance to even see the edits or the page proofs in my last endeavor to provide content for print media. Is this normal? Isn't it scary to think what words may have been twisted/changed to not reflect what I wanted to say?
3. Copyright: Who has the copyright to the material now? Is it now the publisher's words on my blog or my words in their book? I totally think I should have been more careful in the beginning, but for the future, I think I will clarify that all copyright stays with me. And if they don't like that, tough. And another question is whether two independent publishers can use the same article. In theory, if they copyright stays with me, they are borrowing my content (almost as a quote), so I should be able to provide it to two places, right? Or am I missing something here?
4. Photos: What compensation should I ask for per photo usage? Again, I have been solicited a number of times for various pictures. The first time, I was in awe that Fodor's would want to use my photos, so I said yes without hesitation and compensation. And then I was told that I was just ripped off by a number of friends and that I should have asked for some sort of compensation. I was just glad to get credit, but now I am wondering whether I should have some sort of policy.
The truth is, I blog for fun. And I am glad that someone can learn something about Japan, or Asian cuisine in general from my blog. I am not planning on ditching my day job for food writing, so if this turns into a bunch of head aches, my plan is to just say no to all offer to print. But as I said, my blog exists to share a little bit of my culture with everyone out there, so if I can figure out a painless way to have a strict policy, I would like to contribute to print media as my time allows.
Please help me come up with that policy!
This Post was written by Alice from My Epicurean Debauchery.