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I just published a story on fiction press, and although it only has 9 views, someone from Author Liaison representing Webnovel sent me a PM through the site. Some googling showed that this seems to be a legit thing, but I know that I am not a very good writer. At all. Most of my stories get next to no attention, and only one has ever gotten feedback, and that one was not this one.

I did look through the message a few times and I think it might have been just a copy+paste thing or even a bot. the first thing that tipped me off is that he doesn't specify the story, even though I've only posted one. the second thing I see is that he says 'initial chapters', and I've only posted one so far. I haven't yet contacted him back, because I don't really want to mess this up if it ends up being something that could help me become a better writer.

So is this some practical joke or scam, or am I a better writer than I think I am? I'm kinda freakin out since I never expected anyone to really like my stories, so what should I do?

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    I got the exact same message! Except mine was on a platform called Wattpad. – user47161 Oct 12 '20 at 21:04
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    You're aware that you're not a very good writer. A lot of new writers have the opposite opinion of their work, and that is how they fall prey to shady publishers (and outright scams). – EvilSnack Oct 14 '20 at 21:54
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My Google search calls this a scam.

At the very least, it's a form letter, not one personalized to you. That means they are straight-up lying when they say they read your work and found merit in it, which is a huge alarm bell. If they are dishonest about that, what else might they be deceptive about? I wouldn't see any advantage to you in moving forward with this.

If you're interested in getting feedback and improving as a writer, I'd recommend Scribophile or a similar critique-focused writers' site, or --after the pandemic --connecting in person with a local writer's group.

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  • Agreed. I looked into this topic a few weeks ago for a friend who publishes fanfic on Wattpad. These messages are apparently unofficial (they're being sent by third parties who get a percentage of any sales made by Webnovel), and the platform their advertising seems a little dubious. They sell this as if it were a self-publishing platform with good monetary compensation, but it seems you can only get much out of them if you're selected to be offered an exclusive contract, but the exclusive contract asks for rights that are not usual for book publishing contracts, including the right ... – occipita Sep 13 '20 at 6:20
  • ... for the company in question to make their own derivitive works without further compensation, which would mean that if your work was successful they could (for example) have somebody else write a sequel or other similar derivitive without paying you for it. I'd definitely stay away. – occipita Sep 13 '20 at 6:22
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I got this message just today on Wattpad. I'm not doing it.

First, I saw that the word 'offer' had been glitched out, which not only can change the meaning of the contract, it can also be used as a valid defense on their case if you decided to bring them to court on the fact that what they did went against the contract you signed.

Furthermore, the site holds a series of translated stories rather than original writings, and upon more research on the site, I've seen a series of stolen and plagiarized content from other fanfiction websites, primarily Wattpad, AO3, and Tumblr.

I decided to contact a different Wattpad author and ask if they had received a message similar to this, and when they confirmed it, I compared the messages and they were exactly the same, besides our usernames. This shows that the website, or this 'author liaison representative' did not, in fact, read my story or their story, which proves that they have no interest in the story itself; rather, they have interest in getting more content on their website, and taking content from Wattpad and other big fanfiction networks.

I'd advise you not to sign this contract, as you'll probably come to regret it.

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I take back what I said earlier xD
I've recently learned more about this thing. I actually achieved my goal of getting the contract offer myself, but I've decided to turn it down. I wouldn't do it if I were you. But at the very least do more research before diving in. Sorry for my initial misinformed answer.

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  • Yeah go for it dude you've got nothing to lose unless you make any hard-and-fast commitments. – Tasch Aug 28 '20 at 5:56
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    Just because they're not asking for money doesn't mean it's not a scam -- they're looking to acquire the right to distribute your work, and may well be offeri gsubstantially less than it's worth. Research your other options before agreeing anything. – occipita Sep 13 '20 at 6:05
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    This could still be a scam, your testimonial isn't based on having your own success with it, but just on buying into the owners' reassurances. // The alarm bells here for me are the dishonesty of the cattle call. Why make you think they have seen merit in your particular work when it's actually a form letter? If they're lying about that, why expect honesty in their other dealings? – Chris Sunami supports Monica Sep 14 '20 at 11:50
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    Just FYI, it is usually better to delete an answer you no longer support rather than edit it to mean something else. In this case it is fine but otherwise it throws out the voting. That said it might be more useful if you included your testimonial and the reasoning behind changing you mind as part of the answer. – linksassin Sep 15 '20 at 4:21
  • Thanks linksassin. I edited it again. I would have deleted the whole thing except that would have deleted the comments from others under it, as well, I'm pretty sure, and I thought they had some useful info for the person who initially asked the question. – Tasch Sep 15 '20 at 5:18
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Alright. It's been a while and I guess this is the time to put my two cents out.

First of all- It's a bot. That's why they say chapters when it's a one-shot and don't specify the story. They probably didn't even read the story, just opened five random links on the front page and sent messages to the authors.

Anyway, a bit on the legal side. Webnovel(last I checked) has non-exclusive rights to your story, meaning you can go to other places and publish there as well(like wattpad).

HOWEVER, there is a smelly little clause that gives them the right to 'modify and distribute, in whole or in part,' your story. Or something like that, I forget the exact wording. I think they do this in case they want to do advertising and decide to use your story in their ad, but it does give them a bit of power over your submissions.

For comparison, Fictionpress only requires you to 'grant FictionPress.com a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, display, and perform' your stories, but ONLY on the Fictionpress site. So no off-site ads with your content.

Anyway, take it as you will, hopefully this helps you decide what to do.

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