Monday, September 20

No, Writing For IP Is Not Soulless

So, I take it somebody on Twitter said something about IP books being soulless.

Or maybe they stated it about the authors of those books?

While fully recognizing the individual may have very well been attempting to champion initial work rather of “IP” work, I do think its worth talking a little bit about IP work.


Its why Im making this point here on The Blog, where I can more (extensively, wordily, eye-rollingly) make my point rather of needing to condense it into an amuse-bouche course of great points that will in some way go viral and wind up being wadded up into a ball of damaged glass and fired at my house.

Now, as somebody who has composed at least a little bit of IP, I complain that– while likewise recognizing that the person wasnt likely attempting to make a troublesome point, and was not anticipating the internet to fall on their head, but thats Twitter for you. It is a wasteland where nuance goes to pass away. As I am progressively wont to say, Twitter is the location where somebody was incorrect on the internet. Somebody was mad on the web. Then you seethed on the web. You were wrong on the internet. Which cycle simply kinda goes and goes. Its like a dunk tank where youre dunking people and then getting soaked for soaking on individuals and after that as youre being soaked you still find other individuals down in the deep to soak on, till everybody is drowning down in Dunktown.

To clarify, for those not in the understand, IP work indicates Intellectual Property, which is currently a little bit of a misnomer since all work is copyright– its simply here, the locus of who owns that work is various. I am the Intellectual Property Owner when I write my own book. When I write for, say, A Big Brand About Spaceship Wizards, I am for sure not the home owner.

I dunno. Whatever.



Is composing for IP soulless?

Well, first, and undoubtedly, no.

And here is why that is:

To clarify, for those not in the understand, IP work indicates Intellectual Property, which is currently a bit of a misnomer due to the fact that all work is intellectual home– its just here, the locus of who owns that work is various. Sure, it may lead to more work, but it likewise may simply lead to more IP work, since often in the innovative markets a thing you do too many times can become Your Brand. Is there an argument that Your Original Work is better than IP Work? Its most likely better for you if you own the work in the long-run, but IP work can be a smart, calculated option. Is there more cultural value to Original Work than IP Work?

Well, sorta the reverse of soulless.

Since our souls and our hearts are most likely why were doing IP operate in the top place.

Lets unpack that.

Is there an argument that Your Original Work is much better than IP Work? There is an argument for that, though I wont always necessarily make it and even concur with it. Its most likely better for you if you own the operate in the long-run, however IP work can be a wise, calculated choice. Is there more cultural worth to Original Work than IP Work? Maybe in a broad sense, however I definitely dont think so at the private book level– I cant tell you the number of people have actually come near me to tell me they read my Big Starforce Battle books and it either got them reading once again or it was the very first book their teenager actually got into or it moved them in some fundamental method. (Hell, one couple called their child after among the characters. And yes, I did certainly sign that infant.) I do not believe theres much value in a pissing match in between Branded Work and Original Work. We put our backs into it either way, and hope to write something of merit regardless.

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Is this me saying I d never compose IP once again? Ill never ever state never, but its not on my menu of hopes or dreams, since I truly like composing my own stuff, owning my own stuff, and living off it– and it uses a long life of ease of chance long after even one book arrive on shelves, a life of ease that comes from someone else if its work for a big IP. However perhaps if it were from a storyworld I liked, like A: tLA, or Gremlins, or Cabin Boy (aka the Chris Elliotverse).

Is there an argument that you should not write for a Big Brand if youre provided the chance? Thats up to you, certainly, and my experiences are mine and mine alone, though I am of a mind that writers in these cases are generally the ones with all the pressure and all the work and insufficient of the reward– however even that is once again an argument not to bag on the writers or their books, due to the fact that truthfully, theyre just doing their best with what they have, and often under actually odd situations going on behind the scenes. I know some funny tales and also scary stories from behind the IP walls where writers have actually gone through mad governmental dances that would give you spinny whirly puke-up-your-shoes vertigo. You d hear some of these stories and state, “That should not be legal,” and haha, it is, due to the fact that they signed the agreement. It isnt fine, however its absolutely great. If its a thing you wan na do, and theres a possibility to do it, go for it.

Is it for the chance? It can be, but that opportunity is suspicious. Sure, it may cause more work, however it also might simply cause more IP work, since often in the imaginative markets a thing you do too many times can become Your Brand. Which suggests composing for Brands can become Your Brand. Will you hit list? Possibly, but with most IP, probably not– only a select few actually seem to juggle their method up there.

You may believe so, however the glory doesnt last– that golden radiance is fast to fade. Some people even look down on IP authors, as evidenced by the need to protect the work as “not soulless” in the first damn location. And further, its quite most likely they will not end up being fans of you, either.

Is it for the cash? Probably not. In some cases the money is fine but its typically in the low-to-middle end of the swimming pool, and its also money you cant profit from much– most do not provide you royalties at all, and if they do, theyre more like the ghost of royalties, some fading phantasm, some monetary specter rattling its chains-made-of-coins around your authorial piggy bank. Further, since you are (as talked about) decidedly not the owner, you can not continue to monetize the work– you cant sell foreign rights, or game rights, or TV/film, or comics, or whatever other supplementary rights are offered to the owner of that property. I mean, that homeowner will! However you will not get a piece of it. Even if something you composed trickles into those other rights and license extensions, like a game or a movie. Some contracts do provide systems for that drip, however its significantly few-and-far-between, and I d argue is a bit violent. In reality, the agreements for such work are often significantly difficult, penalizing for the author and heavily favoring The Brand. One agreement I signed for a Big Science-Fiction Brand had boilerplate stipulations in there that stated they might take your work, sculpt your name off of it, not pay you, and still release that shit anyway. And they dont negotiate far from that boilerplate. Its typically carved into stone.

Here you may be saying, well, its all drawback, but my point is that its really not all disadvantage– due to the fact that the one upside is, you get to compose in an area you like. You get to put your heart into a storyworld that has actually affected you in some way– youre returning to it, youre owning a little postage-stamp-sized piece of imaginative property in a narrative that fed you. Whichs the benefit, which is …

Again, all this is to state our books are not at all soulless. We put in the love and the work, and we do it due to the fact that the most tangible benefit is the delight of getting to play in the storyworlds we adore. And Ill state too that in spite of what you might get online, typically going to a convention or comic-con and meeting the readers and fans personally is a truly fascinating thing– they bring love to the table, matching yours with their own, and thats also why we do it. We do it for the love. Our hearts and our souls are really much present.

Is it for the enjoyable? It can be. However it aint a picnic, either. Youre most likely going to have to race to meet unreasonable deadlines while at the same time having to have “conferences” (like the kind you have in an workplace, ew) about the work, and this can be twice as so if youre both attempting to please a publisher and please a Brand who arent in agreement currently, and it can be triply confusing when The Brand has a lot of cooks already stuffed in its kitchen area so now youre fielding notes from twelve various individuals, none of whom agree with one another. And again, all on a very tight timeline. (I famously had to write the initial draft of my book in my Spaceship Wizard book in 30 days. Say what you will about that book, but I did my damnedest to produce something of love and value in that timeframe.) And the enjoyable also goes back to the previous point about being in the crosshairs of the different schisms and sects within fandom– and since its your name on the book, they assume you somehow actually overtook the brand and utilized its as your own personal sandbox. (Or, in their view, litter box.) All while stopping working to see that absolutely nothing goes in those pages without tacit approval from The Gods of The Brand.

Is there an argument to be made that the Corporations that own the Big Brands are soulless? Publishers can be exploitative all on their own, and then the Big Brands can be exploitative of the publishers (since the publishers do not own the Brands, remember), which implies its a trickle down impact of pissing on the authors head. They put their hearts and certainly their souls into the work, too.

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