Hat-Tip to io9, I found this neat group of posts on writing for publication. This author, who is quite well published, has a great post explaining how writers can make a nice living. Near the end, he starts explaining copyright royalties through a bakery metaphor:
Every story we write, every novel we write, is a magic pie full of copyright.
We can sell parts of it to one publisher, other parts to another publisher, some parts to overseas markets, other parts to audio, or eBooks, or game companies, or Hollywood, or web publishers, and on and on and on. One professional writer I knew sold over 100 different gaming rights to different places on one novel. He had a very sharp knife cutting that magic pie.
So each professional writer has this Magic Bakery, making magic pies that can be cut into as many pieces as we want and many of the pieces can return as if never taken, even after being sold off. (You must learn copyright to really understand this.)
I think this adds depth to Lilly’s comment on my post about non-profit motivation for artists. Even though I still think that it maligns creators to say they would not create without getting paid, Dean Wesley Smith makes a good case for the importance of residuals for a working writer. I will enjoy following his series on killing the sacred cows of publishing.
“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!”–John Muir