First, I want to thank you for not being a greedy company and for being an advocate on behalf of writers.
You recently gave some information on memoirs in respect to the content within the memoir/nonfiction genre. This article was focusing on a person(s) who might sue the author for any mention of them.
Well…my dilemma is that the person I would write about is my ex-husband, who would probably pursue vengeance on me, but there is a chance he might not. I am not going to pursue any vindication on him or try to slander him, but only to convey my testimony as to how I became a better person because of my experiences with, through, and because of him.
I don’t want any potential lawsuit, but I also cannot publish under another name or deny the truth that I want to write. In other words, I don’t want to hide. Perhaps as I write, I will end up fictionalizing it, but I won’t know until I am finished writing if that will be the result.
I want to share my story and I hope it will help people. I have asked other authors what they know about lawsuits on this, and they don’t know or they say to trust and write it anyway. Do you have any other information in addition to that other article?
Thank you very much.
I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.
Unfortunately, the worst offenders in frivolous lawsuits against memoir authors seem to be ex spouses.
See: 13 Signs You Shouldn’t Include That Risky Content In Your Book
Don’t Invite a Lawsuit with Your Memoir
While it’s honorable to want to share your story, using your real name or his isn’t going to add to the experience or the lesson for the reader. It’s certainly not worth bankrupting yourself with legal fees and a potential judgment later.
If it were me, I’d fictionalize the story, write under a psuedonym, and state on the copyright page that the story is based on actual events.
- Don’t Invite Lawsuits by Real People Featured in Your Book! (Hint: You Can Still Be Sued Even If You Don’t Name Them!)
- Don’t Invite a Lawsuit with Your Memoir
- Boldly Assuming You “Can’t Be Sued” Will Likely Lead to a Lawsuit
- Publishing Other People’s Non-fiction Stories Can Get You Sued!
- Am I at Risk of Being Sued?
- Did Your Lawyer Say, “You Can’t Be Sued?” BEWARE!
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