Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let's Talk Copywriting

Let’s talk copywriting!

In the past six months I’ve turned down two authors looking to showcase their ebooks on StoryFinds. Why? Because the work they were submitting sounded really familiar to me. I then did a quick google search with some key words and viola found what I believe to be the original ebooks on Amazon. I, of course, contacted the “real” authors to let them know about this and have since blocked the authors trying to pirate material already published. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. When I mentioned this to my other author friends they weren’t shocked and told me it happens all the time. Really?

So this got me thinking about why authors need to copyright their material. The main reason for copyrighting your work is to prove it’s yours. That may sound like a simple thing to you, the author, but to the court of law, simple has nothing to do with it. To ensure, without reasonable doubt, that you wrote your book it’s highly recommended to copyright your work. This creates a public record, which is then searchable by the courts and basically everyone in the world. And without that copyright you can’t sue someone for stealing your book or your
work, your setting, your world building or your characters.

So when should you copyright? Usually immediately once your final book is ready or within the first three months after publication. The good news is that US Copyright law is recognized in 167 countries.

How to file for copyright? This is easy. Go online to the  U.S. Copyright Office. They will ask you to file the “best edition” so this is why you might consider waiting for your final copies from your publisher or your final copy you’re uploading to your distribution sites.
Costs? About $35 if you file on-line with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you mail in your work and the registration forms, the fee is $45.  
Turn Around Time: If you file on-line it’s about six months and up to a year for paper filings. However, keep in mind, you are legally covered based on the effective filing date of the registration is the date that it arrives at the U.S. Copyright Office, not when they process it.
Another great resource for authors is The Authors Guild which provides key information on copyright issues.

By Renee D Field, Founder,

Monday, September 1, 2014

Character Hijack!

Character Hijack! by Sue Perry

Sometimes a character overtakes an author. This is not new news, but I never expected it to happen to me.

I know I'm not alone in this: however much my books distort or transform reality, they always build on a foundation of personal experience. As far as I can tell, that foundation exists for all writers and I bet it's the reason that books - even the wildest fantasies - always teach us about people.

Now, my way of creating characters is probably not a universal strategy, but I'm sure I can't be the only author who proceeds as I do: I scatter my attitudes and feelings across multiple characters. In fact, I can go back to a book later, combine all the characters, and get a decent sense of the me who existed when the book was written, in all my contradictory glory. I don't do the scattering consciously but so far it has always happened, as it has in my latest novel, Nica of Los Angeles  the first book in the speculative detective series FRAMES.

Here's the wrinkle. Sure, I'm everywhere in all the characters, but my main character Nica has hijacked my writing. Of course she narrates the novel - that's her job. But she has also been writing my blog posts. My book reviews. And my work emails. This started midway through the first novel. I tried to shut her down during the hiatus between volumes, with limited success. Now that I'm deep into the writing of book two in the series, I feel compelled to channel Nica, because it keeps me in touch with my narrator. But I miss having a separate identity and I wish she'd stop making waves that I get stuck riding.

Or do I? I confess I wouldn't mind being more like Nica. She's a lot more flexible and adventurous. We're both smartasses, but somehow she's funnier. She acts fearlessly, regardless of how afraid she might be. She's innately upbeat and optimistic, despite a slew of personal tragedies and the very noir world she inhabits. Perhaps I should just be grateful that I haven't been visited by her nemeses, Warty Sebaceous Cysts. And relieved to know that Nica can't take over completely, because she's not a writer.

As currently envisioned, Nica of Los Angeles is the first of four novels. I guess I'd better come up with some additional FRAMES story lines, in case Nica never goes away.