Recently Answered Questions:



Q –

I took a picture of a painting by a local artist and used that for my cover image. He died a few years ago and he didn’t have any family nearby so I don’t need to get permission to use it, right?

T.R.


A –

I’m not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Always consult an attorney for any legal needs you have.

That said…

No, you can NOT use something created by another person simply because they died! Almost everyone has heirs and, even if they didn’t name a specific person, the courts distribute any assets to family, or friends, or even creditors. And, that includes the rights to his original works.

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HOW TO REMEMBER, WRITE AND PUBLISH YOUR LIFE STORY


Angela Hoy's popular online class is now available in book format!


Remember Your Past
Write It
and Publish It
in as little as 12 weeks!





Angela Hoy's book will get you started!

  • Using Angela's MEMORY TRIGGERS, recall memories that have been dormant for years
  • Record those memories in chronological order in your memory notebook
  • Using the memory notebook as your outline, write your autobiography!
  • Also works for biographies and memoirs!

Read more here:
http://booklocker.com/books/4764.html



 





Q.

Hello Angela,

My book is print on demand and I recently revised the interior and the cover. It’s now for sale once again. Since I only made a few minor changes, I opted not to change the ISBN, nor to label is at “second edition.”

I just hired a publicist to try to promote my book. Here is my big problem. Somebody ordered the book and they got the first edition with the old cover. Why? And, how can I stop Amazon from selling copies of the previous version?

S.T.


A.

If Amazon (or any retailer) already has a copy of your book on their shelves, they can legally sell it because they already purchased it.

For authors in these circumstances, I recommend finding out how many copies Amazon still has, and ordering them yourself to get those off the market. It’s usually just a handful of copies.

If you’re having a hard time finding the original listing on Amazon, search for just the ISBN. That usually works.

Have a question about writing or publishing? Ask Angela.

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So, You Wanna Be a Ghostwriter - How To Make Money Writing Without a Byline


Many freelance writers find it difficult to break into the publishing world. What they don't know, however, is that there's a faster and easier way to see their words in print. It's called ghostwriting, and it's an extremely lucrative, fun, and challenging career.

But how do you get started as a ghostwriter? How do you find new clients who will pay you to write their material? How do you charge? And what kind of contracts do you need to succeed? All these questions and more are answered in So, You Wanna Be a Ghostwriter...How to Make Money Writing Without a Byline.

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/49.html





 

  • Want to REALLY keep 100% of your royalties?
  • Want to REALLY self-publish your book?
  • Want direct contracts with the world's largest Print on Demand printer as well as Ingram, the worldís largest book distributor, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and any other ebook retailer you choose?

All at a price LOWER than most POD publishers!
http://www.PubPreppers.com

 

 

Q. –

Angela,

My book was just published and I asked my family members and a few friends to post reviews on Amazon for it. But, Amazon is rejecting their reviews! Why?!

– S.P.


A. –

Amazon came under fire a few years ago for allowing anyone and everyone to post reviews about books and other products when those individuals had not purchased those products from Amazon.

Amazon later revised their practices to ensure that people posting reviews were real people. You don’t have to buy that particular product from Amazon, nor even prove you purchased it elsewhere. But, in order to post a review on Amazon, you must be a registered Amazon customer with actual purchases in your account.

I agree with Amazon’s policy because there were so many complaints about false reviews, both positive and negative. And, there were stories in the news about companies and authors paying for false reviews. Authors of some books were posting false negative reviews about competing books while others were getting (and even paying) people to post false positive reviews on their own book pages. All of that ultimately hurts the consumer.

In on incident, an ex-neighbor of one of our authors (who had an ongoing feud with the him) posted numerous false negative reviews on the author’s book page on Amazon. Worse, none of the comments he made were about the book itself. They were personal insults aimed at the author and his family. The author complained to Amazon and they didn’t take the reviews down. I have heard many other stories from authors about reviews that were written in a way that made it clear the person never read the book at all.

In the future, ask potential reviewers if they have an Amazon.com account before providing them with a free copy of your book. Ask them to read the book, and give an honest review. Don’t ask people who haven’t even read your book to post false reviews on Amazon. That is fraud.

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Read more here:
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Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!



 

Q. –

“My ex-editor put her name on my book, and listed it for sale on Amazon! I keep contacting Amazon’s
Author Central and they won’t do anything about it! What can I do?”

– J.


A. –

Contacting Amazon’s Author Central department won’t work. Those folks may be located overseas, and appear to be trained to send stock answers back to authors. And, those answers are often unhelpful, and may even be unrelated to your request. Heck, sometimes I wonder if they just have bots sending automated responses.

However, if you contact the correct department at Amazon, they will likely quickly remove the offending material. If a merchant is alerted to illegal activity, and they do nothing to stop it, they can be sued later by the victim. Amazon knows this.

Use THIS FORM to notify Amazon of copyright and/or trademark infringement on their website.

Have a question about writing or publishing? Ask Angela

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Read more here:
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  • Want to REALLY keep 100% of your royalties?
  • Want to REALLY self-publish your book?
  • Want direct contracts with the world's largest Print on Demand printer as well as Ingram, the worldís largest book distributor, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and any other ebook retailer you choose?

All at a price LOWER than most POD publishers!
http://www.PubPreppers.com

 

Q –

Good Morning,

I am interested in creating an anthology of published short stories that we will be using for a school curriculum. I will also be selling it to others. I have questions about copyright/permission. Can I legally do this?

– C.


A –

You can’t pull short stories from the Internet (or anywhere else), and include them in your anthology unless you’ve been authorized to do so. You need to obtain written permission from the copyright holders of all stories you plan to include.

I’ve written a 3-part series on this topic:

How to Compile and Publish an Anthology

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Dissatisfaction with public and private schools continues to grow, and with more and more acceptance of homeschoolers at colleges and universities, now is the time to encourage all those who are ready and willing, that they are able and qualified to teach their children, even and especially if they must continue working. The Working Parent’s Guide to Homeschooling answers questions such as, “How can I work and homeschool?” by showing the reader how to find what works for them.









 



So, You Wanna Be a Ghostwriter - How To Make Money Writing Without a Byline


Many freelance writers find it difficult to break into the publishing world. What they don't know, however, is that there's a faster and easier way to see their words in print. It's called ghostwriting, and it's an extremely lucrative, fun, and challenging career.

But how do you get started as a ghostwriter? How do you find new clients who will pay you to write their material? How do you charge? And what kind of contracts do you need to succeed? All these questions and more are answered in So, You Wanna Be a Ghostwriter...How to Make Money Writing Without a Byline.

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/49.html





 

 





 

Q – 

I’d like to use photos from Wikipedia in my next book. It looks like I can use them for free. Is this true? I don’t want to make the mistake of violating someone’s copyright.


A –

This issue came up last week when one of our authors submitted a manuscript with several photos that were obviously pulled from the Internet. I, of course, asked him where he obtained the photos and he said some of them were from Wikipedia. I then used Google’s image search option to find them and they definitely were NOT in the public domain.

Wikipedia makes it appear that you can use photos from their site. However, despite the disclaimers and attribution verbiage posted on Wikipedia, we definitely do NOT recommend using any photos from that site.

People from all over can upload files to that site and, naturally, some of those people won’t know and/or respect copyright law. Copyright infringement penalties can range from a few hundred dollars for accidental use to tens of thousands or more for intentional infringement.

As proof that not all photos used on that site are legal, they have a place on their website for people to report copyright infringement appearing on there.

Just because a website states you can use photos that were uploaded by others, YOU can still get sued for copyright infringement for using those photos yourself.

“Ignorantia legis neminem excusat (Latin for ‘ignorance of law excuses no one.’)”
Source: Wikipedia (Yes, that’s where I really found the quote!)

If you need stock photos for your book or article, I recommend purchasing them from a site like iStockPhoto.com or Dreamstime.com.

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More Q&A with Angela!

 

The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication



Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!



 

Q.

Angela,

I know you’re not a lawyer but I have a question.

What liability would an author face basing a fictional character on a living politician who committed crimes, admitted to them, was punished by a judge in a court of law (thereby making it a matter of public record), and then served jail time for those crimes?

– P.

========================

A –

DISCLAIMER: Angela is not an attorney. The information below is not legal advice. It is based on stories authors and attorneys have shared with Angela over the past 18 years.

If you wrote an article or even a non-fiction book detailing his crimes and convictions, assuming everything you wrote was true (based on the evidence, recorded testimony, and the conviction), he probably wouldn’t sue you.

If you fictionalize his story, he definitely can, especially if details of the crimes or anything else were changed. And, yes, even if you don’t use his name, if he or anyone else can make the connection, he can sue.
Here’s an example. Everybody knows about OJ Simpson and the white Bronco. If you wrote a book about a disgraced sports star who (allegedly) killed his ex-wife and her boyfriend, and who had a bloody glove incident, and who was convicted, but you added a piece to the novel about him crashing his Bronco into a crowd, and hurting or killing some people, he could sue you for that part of the crash part of the book because people reading the book would know it’s OJ Simpson…and some might believe the part about the Bronco crash. That, of course, would harm his reputation further than he’s already harmed it himself.

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The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication


Practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html



 



Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!



 

Q –

I grew up with someone who is now a well-known celebrity. I want to write about a book about this person and it won’t be flattering. He can’t sue me and win, right, since he’s a public figure? I’m certain he will sue and that’s okay but I need to know that I’m going to win. And, my publisher will have to pay my legal fees and any judgment against me if he does win, right?


A –

I’m not an attorney and this isn’t legal advice. You need to consult with an attorney looooong before you spend time and money on a project like this.

While your book might be juicy, and might sell some copies, you might want to reconsider. If these incidents happened years or decades ago, what proof do you have that they actually occurred? If the court battle turns into a he said/she said type of scenario, you might lose. And, I suspect juries might be more inclined to side with a celebrity rather than with a celebrity’s childhood friend who chose to capitalize on their past friendship and, in the process, betrayed that old friend.

How much money do you have in the bank? If you’re sued by a celebrity, he or she likely has far more money than the average person and they can spend more on legal fees up-front. You could go bankrupt in the process…long before you ever step foot in the courtroom.

While it’s true that celebrities have a tougher time in these types of lawsuits, they can win and the damages can be astronomical. There’s a great article on this topic RIGHT HERE.

I’m sorry but your assumption that a publisher will foot your legal bills made me chuckle. First, a large, traditional publisher has fact-checkers and legal departments. Unless you have proof of all the incidents that you claim occurred, they aren’t likely to offer you a publishing contract, especially if you’re not a well-known author or celebrity yourself.

Publishing services that self-published authors use to publish their books are, for the most part, exempt from legal liability for libel, defamation and invasion of privacy because the manuscripts are not vetted for legal liability. Those firms are simply used as a printing and distribution service by the author to get their book on the market. The exception, based on a lawsuit against one large publisher, is when the firm knew up-front that the book might contain legal liability issues.

You might be tempted to profit from publishing a book based on a past relationship but the money, stress, and time involved, to say nothing of the harm to your own reputation in the process, probably won’t be worthwhile in the end.

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Read more here:
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How to Publish a Book Anonymously


Q –

I have written an erotic novel that is pretty hard-core. I want to publish it, and promote it, but I do NOT want my family and friends finding out. What can I do?

– Anonymous (obviously!)


A –

I’m not an attorney and this isn’t legal advice.

That said, I certainly understand your concern. Many authors have very valid reasons for publishing a book anonymously.

Your spicy book might sell quite well. After all, erotic novels can make a lot of money in ebook format. That’s because people can hide behind a computer screen or ebook reading device when reading that genre, even in public. Of course, print book sales might be brisk, too. Look what happened to Fifty Shades of Grey!

But, how do you prevent your boss, your parents, your kids, your spouse, or (Heaven forbid!) Grandma from finding out about your naughty literary talents?

Here’s a list of things that will make you vulnerable to discovery:

  • Your name
  • Your computer
  • Your manuscript and cover files
  • Your wifi connection
  • Your cell phone
  • Your email account
  • Your online account with your publisher
  • Your bank account
  • Human error

YOUR NAME

First, use a pseudonym that isn’t even remotely similar to your real name. You’d be surprised how many authors choose a pseudonym that is almost identical to their real name. That’s a mistake. One author we recently published choose a name that was only one letter off from her real one. I tried in vain to talk her out of it but she wouldn’t listen.

YOUR COMPUTER

Your primary mode of defense is a good password on your computer. That’s where most of your vulnerability will be. And, be sure to change it often. You should also not share your computer with anyone. Period.

YOUR MANUSCRIPT AND COVER FILES

You should also password protect the files on which your manuscript exists. That includes the cover and interior files, and any notes/research you’ve performed.

YOUR WIFI CONNECTION

If you use your boss’s wifi when accessing the Internet from your personal (or business) computer, your activity can be
tracked. Emails, website visits, and even file transfers can be grabbed and reviewed.

YOUR CELL PHONE

If you use your boss’s wifi, or even your home wifi, when using your cell phone, that could also put you at risk. Your activity can be tracked there as well. So, if you’re making notes about your novel, or sending/receiving emails from your publisher using wifi that’s accessible by others, you might get caught.

YOUR EMAIL

Do you have an online email account or do you download and answer email on your computer? Both are vulnerable. Set up a password to access your email, whether online or off, and change it often.

YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNT WITH YOUR PUBLISHER

Setting up an online account with a publisher can be even trickier. What if they email you and someone sees that? What if the page pops up when your spouse or child accesses your computer? (Remember, you’re not supposed to be letting other people use your computer!) Cleaning out your browser history daily is a good idea. Also, be aware of your surroundings. Be very careful about working on your book activities if someone might be walking behind you.

YOUR BANK ACCOUNT

And, what about those royalty payments? Will you need a Paypal account or a completely different bank account? How are you going to explain that extra money coming in? I’m not saying you shouldn’t contribute your royalties to your household’s income. I’m just saying that, if extra money starts coming in, you’ll need to find a way to explain that. This is just another thing you should consider before launching your erotic writing career.

HUMAN ERROR

Probably the biggest risk to your identity being exposed is simple human error. Accidentally typing your real name when you meant to sign off as your pseudonym, and clicking “send” too fast, can blow your cover. I once posted a comment on a website using my real name instead of my pseudonym. Luckily, the website owner fixed it after she received my frantic message. She also admonished me to be more careful. Now, I count to three, and check everything, before I post or email anything.

If you ever plan to run for political office, I strongly suggest you try to satisfy your spicy literary urges with soft romance instead of erotica. If you have an opponent with lots of money, they may eventually uncover things about your business dealings. Most authors, however, don’t run for office.

None of this advice is full-proof. Your cover could still be blown. If it is, here’s my recommendation. Just own it. Admit your literary talents, and remind them that many erotic authors can and DO make money writing dirt. It’s a very popular genre.

I have published erotica in the past and it does indeed sell very well. However, I’ve never needed to hide my activities. Everyone I know personally was not at all surprised when I told them. One of our adult children stumbled upon one of my books one time, written under a pseudonym.

The response? “Oh, this MUST be you. Geez, Mom…”

If you start promoting your a book online, through social media and news sites, you’re opening yourself up to even more risk. But, if you don’t promote your book, it’s not going to sell. Only you can decide if the risk is worth it.

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More Q&A with Angela!

Angela Hoy lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, BookLocker.com, and AbuzzPress, and the author of 19 books. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com.

ANGELA ON TWITTER
https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy

ANGELA ON FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/angela.hoy.750

ANGELA ON LINKEDIN
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/angela-hoy/78/719/390

Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
http://24hourshortstorycontest.com/



 



It's A Dirty Job...Writing Porn For Fun And Profit! Includes Paying Markets!

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The Art and Craft of Writing and Editing


Writing is a constant dialogue between author and reader.

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/6712.html





 

 

 

Q –

Hi Angela,

Sorry to see that your sailing adventure had to become a camping adventure, but it sounds like you created a good substitute vacation experience.

The recent article on copyright in WritersWeekly was timely for my situation. Do you know of a standard form I could use to address the problem of hiring a contractor to create content (diagrams) that I plan to use in my book? I suspect this must be a common situation and I’d like to avoid having to “re-invent the wheel,” if possible.

Thanks for any help or guidance you can provide.

Best,
David


A –

Definitely get a work-for-hire agreement so you will own all rights to the content from now on. You won’t want to have a time-limit on how long you can use the items, nor do you want to have to pay someone else a percentage of all your book sales.

A sample work-for-hire contract is here:
http://www.copylaw.com/forms/Workhire.html

Angela

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So, You Wanna Be a Ghostwriter - How To Make Money Writing Without a Byline


Many freelance writers find it difficult to break into the publishing world. What they don't know, however, is that there's a faster and easier way to see their words in print. It's called ghostwriting, and it's an extremely lucrative, fun, and challenging career.

But how do you get started as a ghostwriter? How do you find new clients who will pay you to write their material? How do you charge? And what kind of contracts do you need to succeed? All these questions and more are answered in So, You Wanna Be a Ghostwriter...How to Make Money Writing Without a Byline.

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/49.html





 



Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed


A systematic approach to writing that generates better quality quickly!

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/3695.html





 



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Completely revised edition of the ground-breaking travel writing book that provides a road map to success in the digital age. It dives headlong into the entrepreneurial world of blogging and digital books, while still acknowledging the real money to be made in declining print forms.

Drawing on interviews and survey responses from more than 100 successful travel writers and bloggers, this is the definitive guide to creating success instead of waiting for permission. Written by a veteran, award-winning writer with two decades of experience as a book author, online publisher, freelancer, and blogger.

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/4814.html





 



Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!



Ask The Expert Archives