professional writers

Understanding Publishing Rights

The “right” clause depends on many factors – there is no “one size fits all” – so be vigilant and pay attention, and make the right business decision for you and your book.

Today’s big take-away lesson is this: pay attention to the grant of rights, and know what rights you’re agreeing to give your publisher. A proper grant of rights lays the foundation for a positive, long-term business relationship between the author and the publisher – and that, of course, is good for everyone.

Do You Know Your (Publishing) Rights? – Susan Spann of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers

Many of our Writers in the Grove members publish and share their work on our website here, often a first step toward publishing elsewhere such as on other websites, magazines, newspapers, and books.

According to many authors and publishing experts, one of the first things a professional writer needs to learn is what their publishing rights are, though it is often the last thing learned, usually after much confusion and frustration.

Writing is an art form, and professional writing is a business. There are business standards and practices. There are contracts, agreements, guidelines, and policies. You need to be professional in your writing and writing submissions.

Among all the things you need to learn before sending your work out into the world, you need to begin with understanding your publishing rights, the rights that determine who owns your work, how, where, and when it may be published, and how these rights influence your income from your written words.

Copyright and Trademark

To begin, let’s address the first two rights for writers, two that come with some confusion: the difference between copyright and trademark. When someone abuses your copyright or trademark, it is legally called a violation of your intellectual property. Both are intellectual property rights you will deal with constantly in your professional writing career.

Trademark protects brands and brand names. As a writer, you could choose to register your brand and author name, or the title of a book series, not the book title itself, as a trademark, protecting it from abuse and misuse, but that is a discussion for your legal professionals as you step through your career.

J.K. Rowling has long history of legal battles to protect Harry Potter and its entertainment empire. Some of those legal actions were over the trademark name of “Harry Potter,” “muggles,” and “Hogwarts,” including use of the name in fansite website addresses. Apple, Coca Cola, and many businesses protect their trademark name and brand by preventing trademark violations such as these. You are not allowed to use those names in your domain name or within your creative work unless it complies with their trademark rules and guidelines, or you receive legal permission, commonly called a license. (more…)

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Writing Tips: Kill Your Darlings and Make Writing a Habit

Marelisa of Daring to Live Fully brought us “57 Tips For Writers, From Writers,” a fantastic series of tips from some of the most famous writers.

From Stephen King’s book, On Writing, she references this bit of wisdom for writers.

Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggests cutting to speed the pace, and that’s what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings)…I got a scribbled comment that changed the way I rewrote my fiction once and forever. Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: “Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%. Good luck.

From John Grisham, she shares this:

He goes on to say that at first you have to treat writing as a hobby; you write a page a day in your spare time. Grisham explains that he created spare time to write, although he had a full time job. He adds that he always tells young aspiring writers that if they’re not writing a page a day, then nothing is going to happen. But if they make sure to write a page a day it becomes a habit, and before long they have a lot of pages piled up.

For those of us considering writing full time, these are wise words.

Write to Publish Conference in Portland, Oregon

Write to Publish by Ooligan Press and Portland State University is January 30, 2016, in Portland, Oregon. The all day conference is a fundraiser and features non-credit workshops, speakers, panels, vendors, and presentations by author and professionals in the writing and publishing industry.

The focus of the conference is about writing to publish, and navigating the publishing industry as a writer.

Tickets are available now for $80, with discounts for college and high school students.

Christina Abt Speaking at Writers in the Grove August 10

Christina Abt, author of Crown Hill and contributor to many anthologies and collections including Chicken Soup books, will be speaking at Writer’s in the Grove’s Monday workshop on August 10, 2015, from 9-11AM at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center in Forest Grove, Oregon. She will be speaking about the changes in the publishing industry and how to get your book published. She will also be on a book tour with Barnes and Nobel throughout the Pacific Northwest and the country in general.