At Booklocker.com, we often receive books from authors who have quoted song lyrics in their text, usually without permission. Sadly, some authors have quoted song lyrics extensively throughout their books and must do major rewrites if they can’t obtain permission to use the lyrics. Obtaining permission can be a frustrating and expensive pursuit. And, you must obtain permission to use them.
If you do use song lyrics and manage to contact the copyright owner, you’ll probably be asked to fork over several hundred dollars for the right to publish a few lines from a song. One list I saw quoted a man who’d been asked for $600 to publish some Beatles’ lyrics. Poetry is also a problem. One of our authors asked the copyright holder of a T.S. Elliot poem for permission to publish the poem in his book, and they wanted $500 in return.
So, what’s a poor author to do? Well, the solution is quite simple.
You can either create your own fictional singer and write your own song, your own lyrics, or your own poem to portray the feeling you’re trying to convey to your readers, or you can simply name the artist and title of the song you want your reader to start humming. For example, instead of typing,
When Margaret’s grandmother turned on the radio, she immediately frowned when she heard B.J. Jenkins singing, “…oh, my, you’re noticing age at last; Oh, cry, cry for the past.”
You see, I made up B.J. Jenkins, and I took the lyrics in that sentence from a song I wrote when I was in high school. Since I’m trying to convey a specific feeling to the reader, I’ve provided exact lyrics…but ones written by a fictitious character. Had I wanted the reader to start humming a popular song in their head, I’d have simply said, “When Margaret’s grandmother turned on the radio, she immediately frowned when she heard Jim Croce singing, “Time In A Bottle.”
With poetry, you must create your own original poem, but you can also create your own famous, fictional poet and put that person’s name under the poem. And, hey, if your fictional poet becomes known for the beautiful poetry in your book, his (your) next book can be a book of poetry!
Using quotes is tricky and I often tell writers they should contact an attorney if they’re are even slightly concerned about a lawsuit. So, for fiction, why not create your own quote, spoken by your own fictional person of notoriety?
After all, you’re a writer. If you can write fiction or non-fiction, you can certainly try your keyboard at spinning song lyrics, a bit of poetry, and some notorious fictional quotes. It’s actually quite fun!
Have a great day, everybody!
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
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Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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