Mumsnet /Walker books bedtime stories competition - winners announced. Now read the blog from Walker book editorial team about creating the book.

(160 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Sep-12 11:42:28

Do you secretly have a book inside you? Would you like to see it published?

Enter the Walker Books/Mumsnet writing competition and your story could be included in an illustrated gift book of Bedtime Stories for the under-sevens. For your chance to be considered, submit your original manuscript of up to 1,500 words by 30 November 2012.

Over the next month we're going running some Q&A sessions and webchats with children's book authors and will keep you posted about this on this thread

Silibilimili Fri 28-Sep-12 12:44:01

Marking place.

megandraper Fri 28-Sep-12 12:45:11


LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 13:02:37

Sorry, but check 8 and 9 in the terms and conditions:

8. By entering this competition you hereby (a) unconditionally and irrevocably grant and assign to Mumsnet throughout the world in all languages all copyright and rights in the nature of copyright and all other rights in your entry, together with full title guarantee and all rights of action to the same belonging or accrued and shall hold the same to Mumsnet for the full period of copyright and all extensions and renewals thereof and thereafter; (b) waive all moral rights as defined by sections 77-83 of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1988 or any similar laws of any jurisdiction; (c) warrant you have the power to grant the rights herein stated, that your entry is original to you, does not infringe copyright, moral rights or the rights or licence of any other third person/entity, has never been published anywhere in the world, does not contain anything libellous, in breach of confidence, inaccurate or in any other way contrary to law and any recipes or formulas are not in any way injurious or harmful; and (d) indemnify and keep Mumsnet harmless against all loss, risk, cost, damages, claims, liabilities and expense occasioned to Mumsnet in consequence of any breach of these warranties or arising out of any claim alleging that your entry constitutes in any way a breach of these warranties.

9. By entering this competition you hereby acknowledge and accept that a) the prize offered by Mumsnet is the full compensation receivable by you for any or all uses of your entry and b) you have no claim at any time for any royalty, fee, advance or any other form of payment from the publisher, Walker Books Ltd. and c) no correspondence will be entered into with your agent or other representative, in the event you have one, and you will only deal directly with Mumsnet for the purposes of this competition and the terms and conditions of entry

This is basically saying you'll have no rights to the story that you've written. It's not enough to see your book in print if someone else is making money from it. I'd have a good think before you submit.

mamij Fri 28-Sep-12 13:11:06

Thanks lady. Not everyone would read the small print.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 13:14:12

Always read the small print. I've seen some terrible T&C's. It's a good competition if you don't want to earn anything from your story, it also means that you can't reproduce it in any way though.

megandraper Fri 28-Sep-12 13:16:20

Most competitions I've seen just require the 'first printing' rights, I think, not the complete, forever copyright.

It seems a bit off to me.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 13:19:18

Sorry, MNHQ. These are sucky T&C. biscuit

TheDogDidIt Fri 28-Sep-12 13:30:09

There's no mention of first rights or copyright returning to author after a period of time.

£500 is more than I'd usually get for a single story, but I'm not a children's writer. For children's stories, 1,500 words could be a whole book.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 13:38:35

"no correspondence will be entered into with your agent or other representative, in the event you have one, and you will only deal directly with Mumsnet for the purposes of this competition and the terms and conditions of entry." shock This means if you have a literary agent representing you, they will not be contacted. Literary agents will stand in your corner and fight for a fair deal for the writer!!! shock

I write children's books. An advance for a picture book can vary depending upon how many books the publishers think they can sell, but is usually £800-£1000. This is deducted from any royalties, so once the advance is clear the writer gets a percentage of the book sales as well. Picture books are usually less than 800 words.

megandraper Fri 28-Sep-12 14:19:07

Thanks LadySybil, very helpful posts.

EmpressOfTheGoldOceans Fri 28-Sep-12 14:43:14

Does that mean MN would have rights over the story characters too?

fuzzpig Fri 28-Sep-12 14:45:12

Oh bugger that's a shame. I'd like to write children's books one day but not if I had no rights over the story sad

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 14:46:18

No problem. Publishers are always looking new work. You're better off getting a copy of the Children's Writers and Artists year book and approaching them directly. Competitions are a great way to get your work noticed, do check the T&C's though as ones where the author relinquishes all rights to their work do exist, sadly. Chicken House and the Times run a great competition, 10K advance for a children's novel, plus a publishing contract. It closes in October, but they do run the competition yearly so there's always next year. smile

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 14:47:19

It looks that way, Empress.

EmpressOfTheGoldOceans Fri 28-Sep-12 14:59:27

Thanks, LadySybil.

Now waiting for HQ to comment.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 15:03:26

I don't think there's much they can say, it's all in the terms and conditions. sad

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Sep-12 15:11:33

Afternoon. Thanks for raising your concerns about this.

We're afraid there's no one in the office right now who knows enough about this particular competition to be able to comment on your concerns. But we're doing our best to find someone - or find out from someone - who can.

EmpressOfTheGoldOceans Fri 28-Sep-12 15:15:47

Thanks Helen.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 15:23:56

Thank you smile. Sorry.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Sep-12 16:53:11

Hi all,
Thanks for raising these points about the t&cs - we do see where LadySybildeChocolate is coming from.

First, the intention of this competition is really to provide a break for new writing talent - the competition isn't really designed for those who have been previously published, hence the stuff about agents etc.

Obviously there is the £500 prize to ten Mnetters for being included in the book and we would hope that being included could be the break into being published in the future. The word count is ?up to 1500 words?. It is a maximum not a requirement and this is not a picture book. It is a collection of bedtime stories akin to an anthology, where it is much more usual to pay a flat fee.

Nonetheless we we did think about sharing royalties with the contributors but to be honest it became pretty complicated with regard to administration with tax implications of us receiving revenue and then passing on - Walker books's contract was with us not with the authors - so we dumped the idea as potentially costing more monies than we'd be dealing with. But we are happy to revisit with our accountant to see if we can come up with simpler solution.

We'll get back to you.

popsypie Fri 28-Sep-12 17:19:52

Thanks ladysybil for all that info and great tips.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Sep-12 17:37:13

Hello. Just to add to Justine's post: we'll also revisit the rights question with Walker Books, and try to clarify the position next week.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 18:08:02

Thank you for getting back to us smile

DisorderlyNights Fri 28-Sep-12 18:53:14

Good catch Sybil!

Have to say, MNHQ, I'm personally not bothered by royalty issue. But the rights is
something of a concern.

Anyway, thanks for giving us aspiring writers an opportunity. I'm raring to go after the Mumsnet Academy/Faber Academy writing course I did a few weeks ago!

Placemarking to discover the outcome of the Rights issue...

EduCated Fri 28-Sep-12 20:14:50

Another place marker.

Merrylegs Fri 28-Sep-12 20:43:02

I am a writer (children's). I have sometimes waived copyright in favour of a fee and a 'bonus' payment, depending on contract. But NEVER waive moral rights. (That said, £500 is a perfectly acceptable payment for a short story.)

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 28-Sep-12 20:48:39

Ds's school entered a competition for the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, he could have had his portrait shown on Buckingham Palace. He drew his own picture, then I checked the terms and conditions. By entering he'd relinquish all rights to his own picture, and couldn't copy it in any way, but he could buy mugs/posters/keyrings of his picture off the company, but he'd get nothing. This seemed very silly to me.

Can i just (avoiding all comment on t&c and rights as I will absolutely never actually get down to typing anything anyway) ask: i have looked, but there isn't a 'theme' is there? Bed time story for ubder sevens, 1500 words max? Ta

EduCated Fri 28-Sep-12 21:31:30

What are moral rights?

Penelope1980 Sat 29-Sep-12 09:22:55

Also I guess this is a standard criteria, but there must be oodles of MNetters who can't enter as they aren't resident in the UK. It's a real pity tbh.

PosieParker Sat 29-Sep-12 14:25:46

Wow. Amazing LadySyb.

LadySybildeChocolate Sat 29-Sep-12 14:34:13


mummymccar Sat 29-Sep-12 21:38:21

Thanks LadySybil!
Marking my place for T&C response.

Ah. Will wait to see what comes back. While I could be penning a load of trash, I'm not so keen to give up all rights to my trash.

Chocchip88 Sun 30-Sep-12 13:23:28

Also I have (probably a stupid) question about the t&c's. What does a 'UK resident' actually mean? Do you have to reside in the UK?

MrsSnaplegs Sun 30-Sep-12 14:46:24

Chocchip88 - good point what about expats and those overseas as spouses of or serving members of armed forces who are usually resident of UK?

joanofarchitrave Sun 30-Sep-12 17:40:48


DarkMatter Sun 30-Sep-12 20:18:11

Info on moral rights

£500 is an ok fee for 1500 words for a competition, but it would be a shame to waive your moral rights, as being identified as the author of the piece on each book is one of the joys of being a writer imo!

nickeldaisical Mon 01-Oct-12 13:32:44

yes, I would say it would make more sense to say that the copyright of the story remains with the author, but that the £500 is the only fee that the author can have for this book - that the author can use their own story anywhere else, but that they won't get further royalties from this anthology.

Well, I've entered anyway- the way I see it is its a good way in to a publisher for a book idea I've scratched around at for a while.


pookamoo Mon 01-Oct-12 19:55:42

I liked the look of this, too, until I read the T&Cs. What a shame! There might not be quite as many entries as they hoped. sad

Still, that ups the odds for TheLazyGirlBlog grin

EduCated Mon 01-Oct-12 22:42:59

Hang on, so by signing away the moral rights, you're basically signing the story away in its entirety, including being able to say you are the author?

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 01-Oct-12 22:59:42

Yes, Educated. here!

"Section 77: Right to be identified as author or director.(1)The author of a copyright literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, and the director of a copyright film, has the right to be identified as the author or director of the work in the circumstances mentioned in this section; but the right is not infringed unless it has been asserted in accordance with section 78."

This basically says you can give up your moral rights to your work, as required in section 8 of the terms and conditions, which I've posted above.

Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1988

EduCated Mon 01-Oct-12 23:02:14

Heck. No royalties is one thing in terms of it bring a competition and an opportunity to get published, but you at least want to keep the right to say you wrote it and that it's your story...

KiwiKat Mon 01-Oct-12 23:08:34

Marking place.

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 01-Oct-12 23:09:58

Sadly so, EduCated.

I'm currently unpublished, and would have loved this opportunity as writing for children is a really competitive market and very difficult to break into. As it stands now, I couldn't enter this. £500 for a story that legally I'd have no rights to, and couldn't tell agents or publishers that I'd written, isn't a wise move for any writer.

The Society of Authors will happily guide you with these T&C's MNHQ.

Noqontrol Tue 02-Oct-12 09:52:45

Marking place.

Great advice lady, thanks for sharing.

nickeldaisical Tue 02-Oct-12 10:39:07

exactly, Edu - it can't be a step up onto the writing ladder if you can't tell the publisher to which you're pitching that you've got history of published work!

CarpeThingy Tue 02-Oct-12 10:47:13

Good Lord. So you write a story and then can't say that you wrote it? shock

Sounds like one for the "See your name in print!!!!" crew rather than serious writers. The fee is pretty good (although still not fantastic for a contest), but I've never seen one with T&C like that before.

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 02-Oct-12 10:59:37

Rights and contracts for literary works are a very specialist areas of law, and even though I studied Copyright legislation as part of my law degree, I know that I still don't have sufficient knowledge and experience to be able to draft something like this. I do think the T&C's haven't been drafted by someone with the right knowledge of this sector (sorry MNHQ blush). I don't believe that MNHQ are trying to pull a fast one here.

I'm going to be on MNHQ's 'most hated' list for this. sad

Indeed it does pookamoo

Right everyone flounce then I'll win, turn my book into a series and be the UK's next JK Rowling. Yippee!

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 02-Oct-12 15:20:37 You won't have your name on the book so no one will know that you wrote it. Sorry. sad I'd offer to be your agent and sort this out, but they won't talk to agents.

Ah well, its still a way in to a publisher which would have otherwise slammed the door in my face.

I'm too much of a wimp to self publish- tried it with my blog and got precisely nowhere.

I doubt I'd win anyway, I had the idea for the book years ago, and resurrected it last night, so had to write the whole thing there and then.

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 02-Oct-12 15:27:25

They don't all do that, they are incredibly slow though. The trick is to keep trying. If you have a great story that is well written it will be picked up. smile Blogs are difficult things to use to launch a writing career, every Tom, Dick, Harry and William has one. It's so hard to get people to look at one now. It doesn't mean the writing's dribble, just that the market is saturated.

CarpeThingy Tue 02-Oct-12 15:30:18

Wouldn't the author's name at least be on the story in the anthology?

In any case, you couldn't do anything else with the same characters if you sell the moral rights along with the story.

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 02-Oct-12 15:33:43

It depends (on the T&Cs). Some will just have a list of contributors, some won't state the author's name at all.

I think because the story was written for my DS (it has his and his sisters names in it as characters), it would give me a kick to see it published, and for the DCs to have a copy.

If it's more a case of wanting to take things further, then I can see the reason why most are a little reluctant. Story writing isn't my big thing anyway, I'm more trying to get a break in magazines and newspapers.

i've done half of mine, and got some feedback from other people's children; the only worrying thing is the point raised about not being able to say/proff you wrote it if you win! can you clarify this?

artifarti Tue 02-Oct-12 18:38:20

Also waiting for MN's position on this...

DarkMatter Wed 03-Oct-12 10:29:36

I don't think anyone should be put off entering - I would if I was a first-time author. You will still get the exposure (this will be a well-promoted book) and if the publisher really likes your writing (which they will if they choose it for the book) you will have a great way in to get them to look at future stories.

DisorderlyNights Wed 03-Oct-12 14:22:11

Any news MNHQ? I've adapted an earlier short story and then got done inspiration and written another one. But haven't decided whether or not to enter yet.

sabretiggr Wed 03-Oct-12 21:04:44

Oh! I was going to enter - have it all typed up and everything. Glad I saw this chat, as I would otherwise have gone ahead and entered without thinking about what 'moral rights' were. I'll hang on until MNHQ clarify.

abc123d Wed 03-Oct-12 22:22:34

I am not happy about this point in T&C at all. All morning I was thinking about my news story and now I am not sure about it anymore. The inspiration is gone. It is so unfair and disrepsectful to the future author.

abc123d Wed 03-Oct-12 22:28:16

But it does say: "Please note: the 10 winning authors must be willing to participate in PR and promotional activities connected to the book using their real name and photo."

LadySybildeChocolate Wed 03-Oct-12 22:43:30

They just haven't been written very well (Oh, the irony). MNHQ needs to get someone with the right experience and knowledge to sort them out (no offence intended).

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Oct-12 11:50:56

Morning. And thanks for bearing with us on this one.

Right, we've had a chat with Walker Books and this is where we've got to.

On the question of the prize money, we do think it's a pretty reasonable amount and comparable with the kind of fee you might expect (as a first-time author) a publisher to pay for a story of this length - especially when you consider that you'll have both Walker Books and Mumsnet behind you in terms of promotion and publicity.

As far as rights as concerned, Walker Books assure us that it's quite usual to pay a flat fee for this kind of story and retain the copyright in the text.

The waiver of moral rights is purely to cover the eventuality that a story might need some changes before it's published - but both we and Walker Books are extremely happy to identify the authors of the winning ten stories in the anthology. It was always our intention to do so.

The UK residency thing was stipulated, it turns out, purely to ensure that the winners would be able to make themselves available for promotion and publicity when the book is published.

However, we are willing to accept entries from overseas on the condition that those who enter from overseas are willing and able to be available in the UK (at their own expense) for promotion and publicity, should their story be selected as one of the winners.

Hope that clarifies things. Good luck to all of you!

LadySybildeChocolate Thu 04-Oct-12 12:11:21

Thank you for clarifying this. smile

sybil have you been known as a different nc? I'm wondering if we used to speak on the creative writing boards (me under nc) a looong time ago? About childrens writing?

LadySybildeChocolate Thu 04-Oct-12 13:59:22

Yup, I used to be a Belle. I kept the 'chocolate' so people would recognise me. It didn't work, did it? blush

TheCunningStunt Thu 04-Oct-12 15:02:08

Do you need to be available for publicity? Or is that down to personal discretion?

The chocolate gave it away! What happened with your publisher?

LadySybildeChocolate Thu 04-Oct-12 15:12:59

They ditched it, saying it didn't fit their list. I've been waiting for a Bear and a very Random place to get back to me about the same book. It's taking so long I've given up hope so am back to square 1. I have a different story for this competition though.

I hope you're doing better, notactuallyme. smile

Chocchip88 Thu 04-Oct-12 15:41:34

Thanks for clarifying

KrispyCakehead Thu 04-Oct-12 16:43:10

Marking place

No, gave up completely following some health stuff for one of the dcs, finally got some time and writing something completely different. September saw me get back into it. Baad luck, its timinmg a lot I think

LadySybildeChocolate Thu 04-Oct-12 17:36:59

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. It's such a worry when they are unwell. Keep writing though.

I didn't really gel with the editor when I met her so I think it was that. She was quite hard to talk to IYKWIM.

Thanks sybil IDKWYM! def need to find someone who loves your stuff and 'gets' it. I've set up a little group of mates with children - it's really helping as they tell me what needs to be dumbed down/ is boring/ works in places etc.

Hopezibah Thu 04-Oct-12 20:26:05

I would have loved to have a go at this...i'm not too worried about the prize money aspect as if my story was good enough to be picked then I would be really happy that there are going to be children (other than my own children) who are enjoying the story. BUT - it would be nice for the authors of each story to at least be acknowledged in the book and to be able to tell people that it was their story. So does that clause mean that we can't even tell anyone or a future publisher etc that it was our work? Please could you clarify mumsnet - thank you! x

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Oct-12 21:47:16

The authors will DEFINITELY be acknowledged as the authors of their story in the published anthology.

Sorry if that wasn't completely clear in our earlier post.

lisad123 Fri 05-Oct-12 07:32:11

Marking place x

I'm going to enter (once my little group of testers tell me what they think!) But just to check. - no theme, and no specific format for the Word doc (dble spaced etc)
Thank you!

handbagCrab Fri 05-Oct-12 09:18:50

I don't know why there's needs to a be a clause to say mumsnet owns the story in perpetuity and can do as they wish with it in order to edit it a bit? I'm sure I've seen similar stuff where it says the competition organisers reserve the right to edit the work, which would mean the same thing as you want?

It does seem very 'signing your life away' for the chance to have a short story in a children's book!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 05-Oct-12 12:14:32


I'm going to enter (once my little group of testers tell me what they think!) But just to check. - no theme, and no specific format for the Word doc (dble spaced etc)
Thank you!

No - there's no specific theme and no specific format for the word doc. We wanted to leave this open to you and remember the word count is the max, so can be anything up to 1500 words.

Lovefruitsandvegs Fri 05-Oct-12 12:50:06

Mumsnet, should we write it in prose or in rhyme?

Thank you! Submitting next week .

TheCunningStunt Sat 06-Oct-12 10:07:16

I'm gonna give this a go too. Doubt I will get anywhere but it's a challenge for me to get back into creative writing. It has been far to long.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Oct-12 09:51:52


Mumsnet, should we write it in prose or in rhyme?

No rules - apart from it being 1500 words or under and suitable as a bedtime story for a child aged up to seven.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Oct-12 10:10:47

We're running a webchat on Friday with children's author Sally Gardner, who's latest book Operation Bunny, is October chapter book of the month. Feel free to pick her brains for ideas on how to write a successful children's story. We've also got Q&As lined up over the next couple of months with Patrick Ness, Anthony Horowitz and Shirley Hughes and a webchat with Lauren Child. We'll keep you posted on this thread.

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Wed 10-Oct-12 18:36:21

To be honest it's still a good opportunity...even with those conditions. One of my first professional "gigs" was a sketch show which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4....I wrote reams of stuff over two series (along with the rest of the team) and signed away ALL rights as is the norm' with the BBC.

I got paid about a thirty quid a sketch and expenses for travelling to London... and this was only a few years back.

I can't use those sketches again but I can (and do) use my experience with the BBC to get plenty more work as a writer.

If you've not been published in children's fiction before (and it's not at all easy) this is a good way to "break in".

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Wed 10-Oct-12 18:38:29

It's a very short story...hardly a novel. As a writer, you need to realise that it's a very competitive profession and one story in a children's book isn't actually worth a lot in terms of cold, hard cash.

coco51 Fri 12-Oct-12 10:06:18

I was quite excited by this but then looked at T&C Any organisation that seeks to deprive writer's of their rights should be avoided like the plague. Imagine if JK had sold her rights in HP....

EmpressOfTheSevenScreams Fri 12-Oct-12 10:17:17

Have you read the thread, Coco?

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Fri 12-Oct-12 10:21:36

Coco that would include the BBC then? grin I've signed off reams of comedy sketches to them!


BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Fri 12-Oct-12 10:22:13

Plus....we're talking a short, bedtime story for inclusion in a compilation....hardly Harry Potter!

I have another question! Just noticed that there will be a shortlist of 20, and mumsnetters will vote for the ten to be included. Bearing in mind all the 'favourite mumsnetter' threads etc 'on which i never feature is this going to be a popularity contest a la cutest baby competitions when whoever has the most facebook friends wins?

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Sat 13-Oct-12 10:50:32

There are judges notactually it's not a voting thing.

The judges choose the best 20 and then mumsnetters voe for the best ten that go in the book.

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Sat 13-Oct-12 11:09:22

Ah! Right...well in that case, I'm more than slightly put off!

Mumsnet HQ can you perhaps consider this again? As NotActually's perhaps going to be skewed.

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Sat 13-Oct-12 11:10:43

Unless! Unless the stories are made available for voting and are anonymous....this is a common thing in writing name is visible to judges. That would make it fair.

artifarti Sat 13-Oct-12 11:14:19

I think it's a good question too. I have been in writing comps before where you look at the final shortlist and the winner and think...hmmm, yes, someone got a lot of cousins then?! BigWitch - your suggestion is good but then it still enables people with lots of MN chums to say "pssst, I hear tell the one about the lion with no mane is vairy good..." wink

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Sat 13-Oct-12 11:33:24

oh yes, you're right artifarti

Mumsnet....why have you made it a voting thing? Is it because it's a good thing to get parental input on stories...?

If so, I honestly think that the risk of forumnial nepotism is too great.


artifarti Sat 13-Oct-12 11:38:45

Ooooh, loving the word forumnial - I think you should win on that basis alone grin

EmpressOfTheSevenScreams Sat 13-Oct-12 16:59:55

Forumnial nepotism is a good point. Look how many people come on asking MNers to vote for them in something or other.

I'm assuming the voting would be anonymous though, at least?

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Sat 13-Oct-12 17:23:36

grin Thank you arti well that's that done and dusted then!

[awaits prize]

sabretiggr Tue 16-Oct-12 21:47:47

hmm Dissappointed about the voting element as it is very easy to skew the results - internet voting comps are renowned for their problems as pretty-much every security system put in place can be overcome and allow people multiple votes. And of course forumnial nepotism is likely to kick-in, too, so the 10 stories in the end might not be the best ones! Please reconsider, MNHQ!
To help you with your ponderings, take a look at

Entered anyway vote for me

ArielAural Fri 19-Oct-12 12:55:05

I must admit I thought this too. Even as a person interested in children's literature I am unlikely to read all 20 shortlisted entries and take an objective view - too much else to do! Votes then, will surely only come from shortlisted entrants plugging it to their mates.

The real prize here would be to make it to the shortlist.

thoughtsandall Tue 23-Oct-12 15:41:52

Hi all,

As an aspiring children's writer I have been following this thread with interest. I saw it as a good opportunity to see my words in print and as a possible way into a publisher that otherwise would be difficult to access. Not to mention being very excited by the prospect that Michael Rosen (a childhood favourite) will actually read my work!

However, as a number of you have already pointed out I am concerned about the T+ C's. Am I right in thinking that once the book is published we waive any rights to our story? Does this mean that we will not be able to try and publish the story elsewhere after this? Obviously it's all hyperthetical as I would have to win first ( it's my first attempt at Children's writing so I am not too hopeful of this but you need to start somewhere!) but is it a chance worth taking?

Thanks for any advice on this

dabbler Thu 25-Oct-12 09:58:31

I am in the same position as you thoughtsand all. I've never been published (never submitted anything) and saw this as a good place for a first try. However, I have written a series of stories based on the same characters so am loathe to submit one if I then don't have rights to the story and its characters.

thoughtsandall Fri 26-Oct-12 21:36:07

Hi Dabbler ,

I am wondering if you waver these rights just by entering the competition- then it is even more if a concern. I have written something specifically for the competition just to be on the safe side. It may be worth thinking about too and then if you do well in it you could talk to Walker books about your character book series.

dabbler Sat 27-Oct-12 13:47:29

I might give that a try thoughtsandall.

Marking place for this. I do have an idea for a story. I just hope that I get time to write it down between now and the end of November. I'll have to give myself a kick up the fundament.

I have to say that losing my rights to the story doesn't worry me in the slightest; it's only if you are shortlisted, and then after that, if you actually win (as far as I can see); I do wonder if we are coming across as slightly ungrateful mob!

thoughtsandall Sat 27-Oct-12 19:44:51

I see your point, notactuallyme, but I think it is just a case of being certain of what you are agreeing to so that you can make an informed decision. The legal side of any contract can be a minefield- especially for the inexperienced (aka me!). However, it is certainly a good opportunity to gain experience and exposure (particularly, if you are fortunate enough to be one of the chose few).

So, if you read the t and c, you are kissing goodbye to rights , if you win. That's all. I think, personally, it's definitely worth doing. For others, maybe not.

Bearface Tue 30-Oct-12 23:28:30


I have had a chat with my OH who has a very good working knowledge of copyright law and he said that by assigning the copyright to another party, then that party has the exclusive right to: copy the work; issue copies to the public; rent or lend the work to the public; perform, show or play the work in public; and to make an adaptation of the work. As the author you would not have any right to do any of these things without permission from the new copyright owner, so after you had submitted your work to the competition you wouldn't have any rights to do anything else with the work in the future.

In waiving your moral rights to the work you lose the right to be identified as the author and the right to object to derogatory treatment of your work. I know that Mumsnet have already said that they will definitely acknowledge the authors of the stories but it is worth knowing that by you waiving your moral rights, they are then under no obligation to do this.

This is all in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.

It's just worth knowing exactly what assigning your copyright and waiving your moral rights means.

As a result of now knowing this, I will not be entering the competition.

Hope this helps.

Bearface Tue 30-Oct-12 23:33:07

Please also note that these terms and conditions apply simply by entering the competition, not only if you win as notactuallyme previously stated.

Ponya Tue 30-Oct-12 23:53:23

bearface if u do not win the competition then the copyright reverts back to you (in February I think).

Bearface Wed 31-Oct-12 11:36:44

Okay - thanks Ponya.

bearface - I think you are not correct about the last bit of your post.

Bearface Thu 01-Nov-12 10:10:48

Fair enough, but if you lok at the T and C sections 8 and 9 both begin with 'By entering this competition' . . . I take that to mean that by entering you agree to the T and C because that's what it says, but if someone else knows differently, then please feel free to explain.

I'm just trying to make sure people have read the T and C properly and know what they are getting into. Good luck if you are going to enter.

''Unless you are on the announced shortlist, rights in your submission granted to Mumsnet (including Gransnet) under point 8 of these terms and conditions shall revert to you automatically on 28th February 2013.
If you are on the shortlist but not one of the final winning entries, rights in your submission granted to Mumsnet (including Gransnet) under point 8 of these terms and conditions shall revert to you at Mumsnet’s and Gransnet’s discretion following written notice from Mumsnet or Gransnet.''

Read the whole thing.

Bearface Thu 01-Nov-12 16:30:46

Fair enough, but no need to be rude notactually me.

Leaving this thread.

Blimey. I'm not sure responding by cutting and pasting the bits that show you were wrong, particularly as you claimed I was incorrect, counts as rude.

Lovefruitsandvegs Wed 07-Nov-12 23:06:59

notactuallyme, no, you are not being rude.

To me this competition is even worse than Dragon's Den. At least there for your ideas they want a percentage. I do not see the respect here. Just greed.

Tbh, as an unknown writer, to receive payment for an exclusive short story seems fantastic. I have entered, and I write a lot - I'm not too worried that should - win, I would never come up with another idea.
Thanks fruit - was a bit confused

Lovefruitsandvegs Tue 13-Nov-12 14:49:59

notactuallyme, I agree with you.

Can I publish under pseudonym?

Luce808 Fri 16-Nov-12 11:31:05

The prize money is fine and the opportunity potentially good, but my main concern over the T&Cs is losing your right to the characters, but also potentially losing right to PLR. PLR can be a extra earner for authors - can MNHQ confirm that rights of the author to PLR for this anthology will still be maintained?

Ullena Sun 18-Nov-12 22:55:51

I have entered. I don't mind about the T&Cs. It's only a short story and it was fun to write it. If it gets picked and some children enjoy it then it's done it's job and the money sounds nice! anyway smile

Good luck to everyone entering!

ssaw2012 Wed 21-Nov-12 10:01:29

It is becoming closer.
Lovefruits, I think you are allowed to use a pseudonym. It is somewhere in T&C. You need to ask Mumsnet to be sure.

I've got something that's almost ready to send, but is the 1500 word maximum a limit or a target? My story's nowhere near that length confused.

artifarti Wed 21-Nov-12 17:13:49

Just a limit Peahen smile.

Thank goodness for that. I've no chance, to be fair, but I had fun writing it grin. Good luck to everyone smile.

ssaw2012 Sat 24-Nov-12 13:44:03

What if someone has many friends on mumsnet who can vote for the story? Is it fair? How can mumsnet know whether the voting was transparent?

artifarti Sat 24-Nov-12 14:53:23

ssaw - yes, there was some discussion of this up thread but MN never got back to us about it...

ssaw2012 Sat 24-Nov-12 22:31:34

artifarti, thanks but it is a very important issue. Imagine someone asks his/her friends to vote for the story. I certainly know that it is possible to join the Mumsnet even if you are not pregnant. Think of the Facebook friends. There could be lots of cheating. I know it is because I have been asked to do it by my relatives although it was on environmental project. I guess mumsnet cannot do anything about it.
X-factor voting comes to my mind.

Cat98 Tue 27-Nov-12 22:00:34

I've entered smile
I am also a bit meh about the whole voting thing though. If my story is shortlisted (really not likely so I don't know why I'm even thinking about it!) I won't be plugging it or asking people to "vote for me" so I've got no chance! Surely the people with the most internet friends will win!

CMH71 Fri 30-Nov-12 11:29:20

I have entered also after finding out about Mumsnet from my partner. Was a little concerned about the T&C's like some of the others, but the chance of being published is worth letting one story go, though I did find it hard as a lot of my stories are inspired by my two children.

For the voting, would it not be better to ask any local school/s near the Mumsnet HQ to vote for their favourites from the shortlisted 20, after all they are who we are all writing for?

Clawdy Fri 30-Nov-12 11:58:02

Shouldn't the stories for voting be on the site with a number,not a name? That seems fairer. Has there been a response from Mumsnet about this issue?

artifarti Fri 30-Nov-12 12:36:46

I've reported my own post (above), telling MN that there's some concern...

CMH71 Fri 30-Nov-12 12:45:06

Numbering will probably not work, all people have to do is tell their friends to vote for my story it's called "-----", or it's about "------".

pofacedalways Fri 30-Nov-12 13:38:48

oh I entered but now worried that it will come down for an MN vote. Even if anonymous there will ways of finding out and be bound to be much nepotism. Reconsider this please MN.

pofacedalways Fri 30-Nov-12 13:39:34

This is not the way the haiku competition in 2010 was judged. it was judged by Carol Ann Duffy.

pofacedalways Fri 30-Nov-12 14:59:17


HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 30-Nov-12 16:18:16

Hello. Sorry not to have posted before now but we've only just become aware there were some new questions on here.

We haven't finalised the mechanics for the voting yet. But when we do so, we will, of course, be as mindful as possible of the various potential problems.

We'll post again when we know a bit more.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Dec-12 09:56:03

The competition is now closed. As Helen said, apologies for not spotting the questions on here before. The plan is definitely that the 20 shortlisted stories will be anonymous. We're going to be talking to Walker books later this week and will come back once we've had chance to go through the questions raised on this thread with answers and details of exactly how the judging process and voting mechanism is going to work.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 02-Jan-13 12:51:36

Again thanks for all your feedback on this thread. We've now looked at the judging mechanism internally and with Walker books and we think the objectors to the voting element of the comp have got a point and that there would be a chance of vote rigging (we're thinking back to Christopher Maloney's X-Factor survival smile. We've decided that the top ten stories will now not be selected by public voting. The judging panel will agree on the 20 shortlisted stories and, as chair of the judging panel, Michael Rosen will select the final ten stories for publication.

We think this is fairer and avoids any possibility or accusation of vote-rigging. We'll be announcing the 20 shortlisted stories in 'Winners corner' on 28th January as planned and the ten winners very soon after.

Here are the updated Ts & Cs and for those who entered - we're loving reading the stories.

artifarti Wed 02-Jan-13 16:02:34

Thanks for changing and clarifying MNHQ smile

DovCitron Sun 27-Jan-13 19:08:39

Where do I need to look to see it the short list for this competition tomorrow and when tomorrow will it be announced?

Oooh bumping to mark place - good luck everyone! Thanks for changing the voting system.

icepole Mon 28-Jan-13 14:57:06

Any news yet?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 28-Jan-13 16:02:23

Big congratulations to the twenty authors from Mumsnet and Gransnet who have been shortlisted in our Bedtime Stories Competition with Walker books. The stories have now all been sent to author and former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen who will be judging the final stage of the comp and picking the ten winning stories that will feature in the Mumsnet Book of Bedtime Stories, published by Walker books in the Autumn.

The twenty shortlisted stories are:

A Parcel for Theo – Claire McCauley
Allie to the Rescue - Helen Yendall
An Elephant Lived Upstairs – David Hughes
Bedtime at the Lighthouse - Philip Bell
Celeste Who Sang to the Stars - Kate Wilson
Hannah and the Seals – Sara Huckett
Peacock, Owl and Parmesan Cheese – Rachel Rowlands
Polly the Jumping Cow – Jools Abrams-Humphries
Princess Imogen's Independent Day - Christine O’Neill
The Adventure of Brave Hannah – Imogen Potter
The Dancing Bear - Suzy Robinson
The Dusty Kitten – Emily Fellah
The Hedgehog Who Wouldn’t Sleep – Alison Webb
The Night Thief and the Moon – Katherine Latham
The Sheriff of Rusty Nail – Sophie Wills
The Sun and the Moon – Jo Dearden
The Treasuresaurus – Amy Firth
Time for Bed - Angela Michelle Eckhaus
Too Many Meerkats! – Jane Heinrichs
When You Dream – Cathy Rushworth

hellymart Mon 28-Jan-13 17:16:05

Thank you very much for publishing the shortlisted stories, as promised, today and putting us all out of our misery. I am chuffed to be amongst the 20. Good luck to everyone for the final judging and thanks to Mumsnet and Walkers for changing the decision on the final 10 from a voting system which, I agree, could be open to vote rigging!

mellowcat Mon 28-Jan-13 20:09:10

A huge well done to all those shortlisted and good luck in the final stage!

HumpheadWrasse Mon 18-Feb-13 18:18:27


Is there any news on the final ten for this competition? I'm sure I had 18th Feb in my head for some reason but may have dreamt that as I can't see it anywhere now. Or have MN just contacted the winners directly? I doubt there was much chance of my story making it through, but if it did it would have made my dreams come true to have a published story, so I'm on tenterhooks. Anyone else heard anything?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 25-Feb-13 11:50:40

The ten winning stories have now been chosen by Head of Judging panel, Michael Rosen. Congratulations to all the winners whose stories will be published in Mumsnet Book of Bedtime Stories by Walker books in the Autumn. The winning stories are:

Polly the Jumping Cow by Jools Abrams-Humphries
Bedtime at the Lighthouse by Philip Bell
Time for Bed by Michelle Eckhaus
The Night Thief and the Moon by Katherine Latham
A Parcel for Theo by Claire McCauley
Princess Imogen's Independent Day by Christine O'Neill
The Dancing Bear by Suzy Robinson
The Sheriff of Rusty Nail by Sophie Wills
Celeste Who Sang to the Stars by Kate Wilson
Allie to the Rescue by Helen Yendall

See the Winners' page for more information and Walker books blog to read more about the selection process.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 12-Apr-13 13:01:13

Walker books editorial team have updated the blog and you can now read about the process of editing the winning stories for the Mumsnet book of bedtime stories:

Walker books editorial team blog

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