Dear Ask the Expert,
A person asked me to review his self-copyrighted 30-page synopsis of a book he wanted to publish and wanted me make it book form. I agreed and offered to develop the first three chapters to see how he liked my approach and style at no cost. He disagreed on my approach. We said our goodbyes and that was it.
I recently retrieved my dusty copy of the original synopsis and first chapters I produced and decided I wanted to continue to make it into book. I have tried to contact the originator by letter and email with an offer to purchase his rights. I received no response to numerous attempts to contact him.
I have developed the text to more than 16,000 words with new and significant changes to the original synopsis. I plan to have at least 50,000+ words upon completion. I have changed most of the original content like locations, names, events, etc. I do not know if he is dead or living the good life on a sunny beach somewhere.
Can I proceed with the book’s completion without fear of copyright infringement?
I’m surprised you went to that much trouble without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder. If you can’t find him, he can’t give you permission so you can’t use it.
If you do, yes, he or his heirs can sue you for copyright infringement.
Authors must come up with their own ideas. Trying to piggyback on someone else’s idea is not only only a violation of copyright laws, it’s just plain wrong.
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BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K - $100K Publishing Contracts - by Angela Hoy
Peek over the shoulders of highly successful, published authors to see how they landed publishing contracts worth $10,000 to $100,000! An enticing yet professional book proposal is the key!
BONUS! Successful ghostwriter, Anton Marco, shares his secret for landing ghostwriting clients. Don’t miss Anton’s real ghostwriting contract at the end of this book! It provides an example of what he charges and the payment terms he requires from each client.
The Art and Craft of Writing and Editing
Writing is a constant dialogue between author and reader.
The craft of writing involves an interchange of emotions between an author and a reader. An author creates a story line, conflict, and characters, gives his characters words to speak, and then hands off these materials to a reader. This process results in a constant dialogue between the mental imagery produced by a reader and that proposed by the author.
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