I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Please consult with your attorney for any and all legal questions you have.
Today’s post is not in Q&A format because, well, you’ll see…
It happened again. I had to cut another author loose for potential legal liability. Why?
1. The author shared VERY personal information about friends and family members, including the illegal activities performed by one of them.
2. The author claimed she changed everyone’s names…but she didn’t change her own.
3. The author would be promoting the book under her own name so anyone who knows her would probably be able to figure out who the other people in the book are.
4. She refused to get a signed release from those friends because she KNOWS none of them will ever sue her.
Yeah, she really wrote that.
I have previously written about this topic using different scenarios from questions I’ve received in the past. Those posts include:
- Don’t Invite Lawsuits by Real People Featured in Your Book! (Hint: You Can Still Be Sued Even If You Don’t Name Them!)
- 12 Ways to Avoid Getting Sued When Writing Your Memoirs by Angela Hoy, WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com
- Boldly Assuming You “Can’t Be Sued” Will Likely Lead to a Lawsuit
- Publishing Other People’s Non-fiction Stories Can Get You Sued!
- Want to Get Sued? Write About Your Ex!
- Am I at Risk of Being Sued?
- Did Your Lawyer Say, “You Can’t Be Sued?” BEWARE!
- “Can I still get sued by someone I wrote about in my book if I give away copies instead of selling them?”
What still always shocks me is when authors assume that someone who is their friend today will still be their friend tomorrow. We’ve heard of family members suing authors for what was written, even when names were changed. Heck, we’re pretty sure we’ve seen and heard just about every possible scenario with regards to libel in books just from our research for WritersWeekly’s In the News column over the years.
So, when authors come to me with these problems, I’m always gobsmacked when they flat refuse to take my advice even though I tell them they’re about to step into a big steaming pile of legal poop.
On a similar note, one author told me this week that he’d have never signed our publishing contract if he’d known there was a libel clause in it. Just…WOW.
- “Hiding” Won’t Protect You From a Libel Lawsuit – Just ask John!
- Can a Ghostwriter Be Sued for Libel or Invasion of Privacy?
- PUBLIC FIGURES AND LIBEL: “I want to write a tell-all book about a celebrity I once knew. Can a public figure sue me?”
- BLOGGERS BEWARE: Re-writing “News” Can Get You Sued…for Libel
- Want to Get Sued by a Model? Put His/Her Stock Photo on the Cover of Your Controversial Book!
- What Might Get You Sued? Using Real People On The Cover Of Your Book, Regardless Of The Source!
- This Online Class Could Get You Sued…Or Worse!
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy
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7.625 STRATEGIES IN EVERY BEST-SELLER - Revised and Expanded Edition
At this moment, thousands of would-be authors are slaving away on their keyboards, dreaming of literary success. But their efforts won’t count for much. Of all those manuscripts, trade book editors will sign up only a slim fraction.
And of those titles--ones that that editors paid thousands of dollars to contract, print and publicize--an unhealthy percentage never sell enough copies to earn back their advances. Two years later, most will be out of print!
Acquisition Editor Tam Mossman shares seven essentials every book needs to stay in print, and sell!
Read more here: