I’ve read several articles on WritersWeekly about writing about real people. I know it’s dangerous.
Three of my characters are based directly on real, living people. All three have read my novel, and given me permission to represent them as I have. I’ve referred to “Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers” by Tad Crawford and cannot find a release form that applies to this situation.
If I write a letter for my publisher stating these people consent to my representing them in my novel and release me from any legal action, including their signature, would this suffice?
I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. That said…
You’ll need to obtain written, notarized releases from each of them. You never know what money might do to people, even family and friends. If your book sells well, and if you have not protected yourself and your publisher, you just might find yourself embroiled in an expensive lawsuit.
There’s a sample release RIGHT HERE.
I encourage you to review that, and to consult with your attorney.
- Don’t Invite Lawsuits by Real People Featured in Your Book! (Hint: You Can Still Be Sued Even If You Don’t Name Them!)
- What Might Get You Sued? Using Real People On The Cover Of Your Book, Regardless Of The Source! By Angela Hoy
- 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!
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But how do you get started as a ghostwriter? How do you find new clients who will pay you to write their material? How do you charge? And what kind of contracts do you need to succeed? All these questions and more are answered in So, You Wanna Be a Ghostwriter...How to Make Money Writing Without a Byline.
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Anybody can sue anyone for anything in the USA. Make sure it is in writing and notarized. But see a lawyer first to make sure what is signed does the job of protecting you.