Recently Answered Questions:



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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7.625 STRATEGIES IN EVERY BEST-SELLER - Revised and Expanded Edition


Acquisition Editor Tam Mossman shares seven essentials every book needs to stay in print, and sell!

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/5635.html





 

 

 

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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Confessions of a Rejected Romance Writer  by Shirley Byers Lalonde

BookLocker.com welcomes authors using pseudonyms!

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!

Fact is, writing porn is fun! It's also one of the easier markets to crack and make money at while you're still honing your skills. "It's A Dirty Job..." is one of the only resources that can teach you everything you need to know to create your stories and target your markets.

 



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:
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TRAVEL WRITING 2.0: Earning Money from your Travels in the New Media Landscape - SECOND EDITION


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!



Q –

Your recent post said, “Any readers who’d like to see sample disclaimers (I have three of them – medical, financial, and other), can contact me HERE.

I was trying to see if I really need to put a disclaimer on a health book that I am writing – I am an MD.

-V.


A –

I always recommend putting a disclaimer in a book that offers any type of advice. In the event your advice does not work for someone, of if they misuse your advice, you’ll want to protect yourself.

Below is a sample medical disclaimer I provide to our BookLocker.com authors. Please discuss this with your attorney as I’m not an attorney and I can’t provide legal advice.

DISCLAIMER
**Please reword this disclaimer to match your book’s topic.**

This book details the author’s personal experiences with and opinions about [INSERT MAIN TOPIC HERE]. The
author is not a [or your] healthcare provider.

The author and publisher are providing this book and its contents on an “as is” basis and make no
representations or warranties of any kind with respect to this book or its contents. The author and publisher
disclaim all such representations and warranties, including for example warranties of merchantability and
healthcare for a particular purpose. In addition, the author and publisher do not represent or warrant that the
information accessible via this book is accurate, complete or current.

The statements made about products and services have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease. Please
consult with your own physician or healthcare specialist regarding the suggestions and recommendations made in
this book.

Except as specifically stated in this book, neither the author or publisher, nor any authors, contributors, or
other representatives will be liable for damages arising out of or in connection with the use of this book.
This is a comprehensive limitation of liability that applies to all damages of any kind, including (without
limitation) compensatory; direct, indirect or consequential damages; loss of data, income or profit; loss of or
damage to property and claims of third parties.

You understand that this book is not intended as a substitute for consultation with a licensed healthcare
practitioner, such as your physician. Before you begin any healthcare program, or change your lifestyle in any
way, you will consult your physician or another licensed healthcare practitioner to ensure that you are in good
health and that the examples contained in this book will not harm you.

This book provides content related to physical and/or mental health issues. As such, use of this book
implies your acceptance of this disclaimer.

Angela

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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 –

Hi Angela,

Brand new to this endeavor. Last year, I started writing to create a “new ending” to a relationship story that ended badly for me. I found I really enjoy writing and want to continue. I do want to see if this work is worthy of being published.

My question: I’ve changed the name of the male character but the name of his vacation home is unique and is a pivotal point in the story. I’m keeping my name in the book. It’s a story of his infidelity and betrayal of his family. It includes text messages and e-photos that I received from this individual. If the messages don’t name specific people, and the photos are not face recognizable, am I still at risk of a lawsuit?

Thanks for any advice you can provide this newbie.

-Anonymous


A –

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney for any legal questions you have.

That said…you need to know that the letters, emails, and photos he sent to you are his property, not yours. You would need to get his permission to publish them. And, yes, any personal story, even fictionalized, can put an author at risk of a lawsuit. If I was in your shoes, I’d anonymize everything, changing all names (yes, definitely even the vacation home), all details, locations, genders of some characters, etc. I’d write it under a pseudonym, and call it fiction. Nobody should be able to recognize themselves or the story of they could sue you.

You really need to consult with an attorney because this type of project can really come back to bite you in the back-side if you aren’t very careful.

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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 –

Hi Angela,

A friend of mine wrote a book via typing. It’s 196 pages. He would like me to type it onto a computer, and get it published. I am researching buying a new laptop or desktop to help him. I was wondering if you could help me narrow down a computer choice, or at least let me know what type of software to use.

Thank you,

SK


A –

We all use ASUS laptops here. And, we’re very happy with them. Not only is the price really good, but you can still order them online with Windows 8. Windows 10 had tons of glitches. When my system forced me (tricked me?) into downloading it one day, most of my software programs then didn’t work. We had to jump through hoops to uninstall Windows 10 because I wasn’t keen on spending thousands on new software. Also, I would have missed several days of work because Windows 10 made my work impossible to do.

For writing, I recommend MSWord. However, don’t sign up for their online service because, rather than paying once for the software, they’ll charge your credit card $9.99 per month, which is ludicrous!!

You can buy older versions of MSWord, which work just fine, on ebay.com. And, you’ll receive the CD in the mail so you can reinstall it in the future if you ever have computer problems. We order other software this way as well since so many software companies are switching to the “pay-us-by-the-month” (subscription) method.

Since we embarked on our minimalist lifestyle over a year and a half ago, I’m all about saving money, and not getting stuck with yet another ongoing monthly financial obligation.

So, readers, feel free to ask me any questions you might have about money-saving ideas for writers. 🙂

Angela

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Dad Gummed Computers!

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HowMaster: The Writer's Guide to Beautiful Word Crafting


HowMaster is a wise choice for the writer who wants to weave words around the reader’s heart.


Author Linda M. Gigliotti
shows how effective
writing happens.





Author Linda M. Gigliotti draws from years of practice as a private
writing tutor in the guidebook that teaches writers how to format visceral
writing that pulls readers into their book. She explains with instruction
and samples of published works how to craft writing that come to life in the reader's mind.

Read more here:
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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





 

 

Q – 

Dear Angela,

I self-published a book a few years ago with (a large print-on-demand publisher) for global distribution. It is on Amazon, Ebay, and Google Books. However, I newly recreated the book under a pen name, and asked my publisher to have these big guys take it down completely, but to no avail. It is very important that my old (original) name not be associated with my pen name. If there is anything you can do or advice you can give? I truly appreciate it.

R.


A – 

I have received many emails like this over the years. Some authors regret using their real names in books they published long ago. The reasons range from legal issues (potential libel problems), to professional predicaments (books on politics and other sensitive topics, for example, can lead to job-search problems later), to embarrassment if it’s later discovered that the book contains numerous errors.

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t remove old book pages because they allow people/firms to sell used copies of books on their site. Other sites do this as well. You can contact Amazon and other sites to request they remove it but they might refuse. To see most or all of the sites on which your book appears, use your favorite search engine to look for the ISBN. That’s more effective than searching for the title.

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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









 

Q –

Hi, Angela,

Just tried to sign onto jeansbet.com and found the “domain name has expired.” I’d infer that they had no reason to exist without bootleg books to give away. Of course, I wonder if they’ll simply reconstitute themselves later . . . .

Thanks for looking out for us authors.

K.G.


A –

It looks like you were right!

For two days this week, it appeared Jeansbet.com was out of business. On the first day, just a blank screen was coming up. The next day, it said the domain name had expired.

But, not surprisingly, it’s back online today under a different name, and in a different language. However, the URL is the same. Their new name and logo looked a bit suspicious so I Googled it. It appears they took another firm’s name and logo and put it on their new website. I contacted that company, which is located in the U.S., to alert them. This was their response:

Dear Ms. Hoy

Thank you very much for your email and raising this to our attention. We were not aware of this issue, or the organization behind it. This is not an approved use of our trademark or our services. I have escalated this to our executive and legal teams to address.

The person who registered the original domain is located in Turkey, which makes it virtually impossible to sue the firm.

If you think your books might still be on their site, you can use this online website translator to assist you in finding them. If you do find that they’re giving away free copies of your book, read THIS ARTICLE for advice on having them removed. We’re getting a lot of error messages clicking on the site so it looks like they’re still rebuilding it.

After we ran that article, word spread through social media and they were inundated with complaints. Some authors even contacted Jeansbet’s ISP in an attempt to get them shut down. If they’re still giving away free copies of copyrighted ebooks, hopefully we authors can work together to get the site permanently removed from the Internet.

If you do send them a DMCA takedown letter, we strongly advise you to NOT provide them with any personal information in your demand letter. Just give them your name, the titles of your books, and the links where your books appear on their website. You can see a sample DMCA Take Down Letter RIGHT HERE.

RELATED:

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Is That Free Ebook Site REALLY Violating Your Copyright? Maybe Not…

Can Your Publisher Get YOU Sued For Copyright Infringement? Yep!!

Enter the Spring, 2018 24-Hour Short Story Contest RIGHT HERE.

More Q&A with Angela!



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!



 

Ask The Expert Archives