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Should I withdraw my story from the Colonial CCC Press?

CCC Press: Colonial, Czarlike, Covetous

Critical, Cultural & Communications Press/Colonial, Czarlike & Covetous Press?

I have been agonizing about removing my story from the CCC Press anthology.

It is supposed to be “post-colonial” literature from Singapore, but the behavior of the the CCC Press shows it might be stuck in colonial times. I’m not sure, but seems like that for now.

They want to retain the right to abridge my work and to continue to publish it not just for one year, but till they decide to let it go out-of-print.

And in the meanwhile, they are going to charge sub-licensing fees to any publisher who decides to publish the story again , including, hypothetically, my own anthology!

None of the other publishers I’m working with which include Monsoon, MPH and Marshall Cavendish have such rules.

I’ve never really thought of making money from my writing (or I wouldn’t be writing fiction at all), but it is the the attitude of CCC press that is making me re-think my submission.

So far, two people in the publishing world whose opinion I respect have weighed in, advising me to withdraw.

I’ll have to take my time over this one, because I want to be professional, not precocious. I’m a beginner writer, and do not want to shoot my mouth in an unbecoming way. At the same time, I’m not over-eager to publish “under any circumstances”.

The give-back of writing is in the process of writing—if it were in publication, I’d stop after my first book. So, is CCC Press really being unfair, or am I being sensitive? Time will tell.

Update: I’m still looking for advice on this. There is further discussion on the CCC Press contract problems issue here and here.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • I agree with Geoff. He has a great deal of experience in these matters.

  • geoffnelder says:

    The norm is for one-time world rights for short stories and the author retains copyright. Instead of withdrawing your story why not offer them the above as an alternative? If they liked your story they’ll go for it. If they don’t give you copyright then I would withdraw.

  • Damyanti says:

    Thank you to everyone who commented, and to see how it turned out, please go here :

  • Lofter says:

    I’d pull it… but that’s just me. I have a real “my way or the highway” attitude about my creative works. And that attitude would be initiated as soon as the word ‘abridge’ appeared. If I wanted my work abridged, I’d have done it myself.
    I’m sorry, but there’s a line and these people have crossed it. Sub-licensing fees? Are you kidding me? Did they write the piece?
    In my mind, it is their privilege to publish your work, not the other way around. Kick ’em to the curb.

    Yes, the word “abridge” is knackering me too.
    Thanks Lofter, and as I said in my comments before, not one person I have asked has told me I am being unreasonable. CCC Press does actually have a contract that should be analysed before signing.

  • When I published an anthology with nine authors, each author retained their copyright BUT they were not paid. However, they could have as many copies as they wanted for the actual cost of printing.

    Even so, I am not in the same league as your publisher — far from it.
    Being paid makes you a published author. Essentially, the choice is yours. Do you wish to keep the copyright? Could it be negotiated?

    Oh, I’m publishing in three other anthologies where I’m not getting paid, and am ok with that. But I retain not only the copyright, but also the publishing rights.

    CCC Press wants to retain the publishing rights, and charge sub-licensing fees to any publisher who would re-publish this work, including my own anthology, if the print run is higher than 500 copies!

    So they just get to write my name in the copyright notice, and use my story anywhere, going so far as to abridge or adapt it if they want. I’m wondering if they’re targeting the school market.

  • DarcKnyt says:

    I think if you’re uncomfortable with their agreement terms, and others you respect don’t feel withdrawal is the wrong turn, I’d say withdraw.

    There are LOTS of other places which will WANT to publish your work and WON’T try to demand so many rights. You can afford to be patient — you’re a good writer. 🙂

    Thanks Darc. I’m taking other opinions, and so far no one has said I should stick to it. CCC Press seems to have a contract with unprecedented clauses. In addition, the person handling the contract can’t understand why we can’t just hurry up and sign the contract. A little intimidating, his attitude so far.

    There’s a discussion here about whether I should accept the contract: