> > [...] Restricting our
> > potential publishers to a very short list is what we're trying to
> > avoid.
> You don't do that by guessing and handwaving.
> I also don't think this is a particularly important aim,
> as the list is going to be short anyway.
I disagree. We're trying to avoid making it any shorter than it already has
> I just checked and in the contract I quoted from, the "work" is
> defined as the text. Trying to use the compilation as the "work" looks
> like it would require a custom contract anyway
No, compilations are standard things which publishers deal with, as I've
> so you might as well
> start by asking for the Earth and then see what you can get.
That's fine, when it comes to a negotiation with a publisher. What we're
doing now is keeping our options open for that negotiation.
> I don't doubt that, but it's not what I asked. Let me be clearer: Have
> you checked the copyright terms of publisher book contracts and can
> you share the relevant wording with us, please?
I haven't specifically checked any related to this discussion, because I'm
already quite familiar with dealing with them in the various contexts I've
mentioned. Also, based on my experience, a contract is not an entirely
off-the-shelf affair - it's common to make changes to suit a specific
situation. However, it helps if you can use the majority of an existing
contract. Being able to grant a compilation copyright means that existing
contracts can be used.
> Even so, I'm curious why you write "involved with". It's a weaker
> statement than I expected for you. If we're sharing relevant
> experiences now: myself, I've signed at least three contracts for
> (different pieces of) my written work, refused one and I've been paid
> for use of some other written work besides those.
I write software for a living, not prose. I wrote "involved with" because
my involvement with books has usually been as a contributor of chapters
(hence some familiarity with the compilation issue), or as a co-author (e.g.
"Clipper Problem Solver"). In the one case where I was lead author, I
eventually declined the contract, because of unreasonable time limits (six
weeks to write "DCOM for Dummies" -- I note with satisfaction that the
subsequent author didn't fare much better, abandoning the project after
apparently writing 5 chapters).