“Can I still get sued by someone I wrote about in my book if I give away copies instead of selling them?”

“Can I still get sued by someone I wrote about in my book if I give away copies instead of selling them?”

Q – 


Will your firm simply print my manuscript without publishing it? I would want 20-30 copies for personal use and distribution but I do not want to make it available for sale to the general public. I use real examples from my career and real names (first names only) of people. (My previous publisher) will not accept the manuscript because I won’t change names and they view it as a legal risk to print or publish.

– C.

A –

Hi Christopher,

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Please consult with your attorney on this matter. 

That said –

Even if you’re the only one permitted to purchase copies, you’re still planning to distribute them. That is considered publication and you and your publisher could still be sued for libel by anyone appearing n the book who is not happy with what you wrote.

Even if you change all of the names, you can still get sued.

Please see:

Don’t Invite Lawsuits by Real People Featured in Your Book! (Hint: You Can Still Be Sued Even If You Don’t Name Them!)


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2 Responses to "“Can I still get sued by someone I wrote about in my book if I give away copies instead of selling them?”"

  1. Pamela Allegretto  August 22, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you for another interesting, entertaining, and educational newsletter. I may not always comment, but be assured that I do read every article and appreciate the availability (it’s free!) of this newsletter.
    Cheers to BookLocker.

  2. sammy  August 21, 2020 at 11:15 am

    America is wonderful!
    Anybody can sue anybody else for anything at any time!!
    Do you really want the hassle of defending against that even if you win?