Karen Wasted a Year Writing a Book She CAN’T Publish. DON’T BE KAREN!

Karen Wasted a Year Writing a Book She CAN’T Publish. DON’T BE KAREN!

It happened again. Another author (I’ll call her Karen) abandoned an entire book she’d spent months writing, editing, tweaking, etc. Why?

Copyright infringement…with a little invasion of privacy and potential libel thrown into the mix.

At BookLocker, we often see manuscripts that have entire strings of real text conversations and/or emails in them. Most authors don’t understand that the person who WROTE those text messages and emails owns the copyrights to them, NOT the recipient of those messages and emails.

It’s astounding now many “authors” think this is a unique thing to do, and an easy way to write a book.


When the author sent her manuscript to me, I saw right away that it was non-fiction. And, huge portions of the manuscript were copied and pasted text messages between her and another individual. Sighing deeply, I wrote to the author, explaining the laws regarding this topic, and including a link that explained it further.

I gave the author two options:

1. Obtain written permission and a legal liability waiver from the individual who sent those messages.

2. Change the book to fiction, anonymize EVERYTHING (change places, names, locations, descriptions of events and people, etc.), and create her own fictional text messages to replace those written by the other person.

The author was, understandably, upset. I’ve had authors who submitted similar books ask me to publish their books as-is, insisting that the person who originally wrote the material would never know. BookLocker is an ethical, law-abiding company and we would never infringe on the rights of another to make a buck, even if that person isn’t a professional writer or photographer, and even if that person may never know their words or image(s) were used by someone else illegally. That’s the ethical concern.

Then, there’s the legal concern. Copyright infringement damages can be astronomical if the infringement was willful. And, copyright infringement might not be the only problem. Invasion of privacy and libel accusations might come into play as well.

It’s simply not worth it for a company to take such a risk for one author. You’d be surprised how many authors beg me to bend or outright break laws for them just so they don’t have to do a re-write. I never bend or break the rules – moral, legal, or otherwise.

This author in particular chose to do what many authors do when they realize they need to start over from scratch. She abandoned the book. It will never be published. She spent months writing, editing, tweaking, editing, re-writing, adding text, removing text, etc…all for nothing.

So, what’s the lesson for today? Don’t be Karen! Research publishing laws BEFORE writing that book!



Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, 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).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.

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!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

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.

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

BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE

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Author Linda M. Gigliotti draws from years of practice as a private
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