I’ve been writing for years and have a book series out that I’m completely finished with. I’ve moved onto other stories, but one of my friends and a fellow writer wants to write a sequel to the series. He has a really great idea for a story set in the world I created, with both my characters and some new ones.
While I like his idea, I’m not too sure I want to hand the reigns of the novel over to him. I’m also not sure of anything legal I’d have to do, given that my stories are in print and copyrighted. Can you point me into the right direction on any of this? What would you do if someone wanted to write a sequel to one of your books.
Hi there, Jackson!
Good questions. All right… for starters, you need to do a little soul searching. Go back and read the books you wrote. Decide for yourself if you want to hand over the reigns and if so, do you trust that person to remain authentic to the story and the characters? Do you trust this person enough to become God of the world you created? Keep in mind, you’re not under any obligation to hand over anything to anyone. If you don’t want him touching your story or characters that’s the end of it. They’re in print and you have them copyrighted, don’t be afraid to say no.
On the other hand, if you’re done with the series and are interested in seeing it continue, a fresh pair of eyes can often breathe new life into your world. If I were in your shoes, it really depends. If someone wanted to write a sequel to Magnifica, Soul Siphon, or Drakin, I’d likely say no. I still have sequels (or prequels) planned for those. Some of which may not come to fruition, but until I make that decision, I’m keeping them close to my vest.
That being said… if someone wanted to write another installment in the universe that Divinity set up, I wouldn’t be opposed to that. I’d absolutely want to see what they have in mind before agreeing to anything, but as long as it was along what I had envisioned, I’d be fine with someone putting a new spin on it.
Now onto your second question… in terms of handing over the rights… It really depends on your situation. If you’re self-published and have the works registered to you, then you shouldn’t have much of a problem. If, however, a traditional publisher holds the rights to your stories, you may have a bit of an uphill battle ahead of you.
In either case, I’d recommend contacting an attorney with an expertise in copyright law. They can give you the ins and outs, and help you draw up a contractual agreement dealing with rights, royalties, and credit. That’s about all I can offer in terms of advice as this isn’t a situation I’ve encountered personally. However, if you’d like to talk about it more, please feel free to email me.
In the meantime, let’s open it up to our readers. What does everyone else think? Have you encountered an issue like this? How have you responded? Did you allow someone else to continue your story?
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:
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Catch you on the flip side!
Unless you’re turning the whole thing over to your friend, you could keep the rights and still allow them to make a story in that universe or even with those characters. If you want to do so without compensation and let your friend reap the whole profit that’s also up to you. You will still need that lawyer though.
(Personally I don’t think I could do it, but I’m a control freak with my characters. 🙂 )