Publishers Will Fix Their Contracts If You Call Them On It
So I'm browsing /r/Writing on Reddit, and I see this post:
Feel.news is the new place where you can submit your short story to. They accept all genres and encourage their writers to write about some extraordinary and weird things. Also, if you sign up for their newsletter, you get the chance to win a different prize every month. Their official release is on December 7 and the current prize is Iphone 5s. So, don't miss it out! Feel free to send them your story at firstname.lastname@example.org , but first check their submission guidelines on feel.news/submissionsA bit of a ... spirited ... exchange followed between myself and the poster, who confirmed that they were a representative of feel.news. (You can see a screencap of the entire exchange at http://i.imgur.com/FuCf5ox.png) I quizzed them both about payment rates ("There are no rates for now. The point is that writers will receive free products and services from business who want to advertise their products on the site.") and the rights that were desired ("We're asking for the rights to publish it on our website.").
And I'll give them credit. Their submissions page is now updated with some new information about the rights they're asking for, how long they're retaining them, and the payment (or lack thereof - but that's not my point here).
By simply asking - publicly - about what exactly they were wanting, this publisher upped their game from really sketchy to a straightforward for-the-love market that more clearly demarcates what they're asking for and what they do - and do not - own. (Again, whether or not you should deal with FTL markets is a different question.)
While the financial (and technological) hurdles of being a publisher are significantly lower than they were a decade ago, the legal aspects are still the same. And it's all too easy for someone well-meaning to completely screw things up.
That's why I've been very up-front about my revisions about contracts, posted my experiences on this blog, and made sure that my own contract templates were publicly available.
But even I screw up. I had it pointed out to me that while I linked to the templates, I didn't make it clear what I was asking for with recompose... so that's been fixed on recompose's submissions page.
And unlike a for-the-love market, recompose is designed to pay professional rates for both flash fiction and poetry.
While we met initial funding goals, recompose still needs your support to ensure that we can produce more issues and have more content per issue. Please check out the free first issue and the Kickstarter at http://j.mp/fund_recompose