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Susan_Driscoll
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



Luthien wrote:
Although I'm writing a book, occasionally an idea for a short story will hit me. By now, I have several of these short stories, and I've been thinking about someday trying to get a book of them published. Do you have any advice or tips?




If you're interested in finding an agent or traditional publisher for a book of short stories, you'll first have to have had some of your stories published in literary journals or magazines. Since that can be difficult and time-consuming, I'd suggest that you go the self-publishing route. I'm beginning posts on the various self-publishing alternatives this week, so keep visiting and you'll learn more about your options.
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
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Susan_Driscoll
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



BackbayZona wrote:
Susan: I'm just curious wrt the business relationship between iUniverse and Barnes and noble...why doesn't the store stock a Publisher's Choice author's hardcover book in the store? Also, why do they frown upon book signings, I would think that would get more people in the store (have the signing off to the side so it doesn't intefere with the relaxed book browsing B&N culture)? Thanks, Joe




I can't speak for Barnes & Noble, but I can answer your questions based on my own personal experience. First, as you know, iUniverse uses print-on-demand (POD)technology which means that books are printed one at a time. This is very efficient and cost-effective for paperback books, but the cost is much higher to print hardcover books one at a time. That means that the price point for a POD hardcover is higher, and is often out of the range of mainstream publisher pricing. Barnes & Noble cares a lot about pricing and the paperback versions of POD books are more affordable.

About book signings: based on my experience, unless an author does his or her own aggressive marketing, an in-store booksigning is likely to be disappointing. Customers tend only to be interested in celebrity authors and even then attendence can be sparse. There's nothing worse than hosting a signing and having only a handful of people show up; in fact, publishing people often ask their friends or colleagues to attend a local signing just to guarantee a crowd.

Book retailers have a lot of experience with this, and there are many, many authors (both traditionally published and self-published) who request signings. It's impossible to accomodate all of them, and most of them will likely be disappointing to the authors, so it makes sense to me that a retailer like Barnes & Noble would have such policies. I do know that many B&N stores have new authors nights where a group of authors can hold simultaneous signings. I think those are a great idea because collectively there's likely to be a crowd--and it makes for a much more festive night.

My own opinion is that authors (especially self-published ones) should hold events outside bookstores where there is less competition. At iUniverse, we've watched many authors host successful events where the author and the book really are the main event.
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
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Luthien
Posts: 160
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



Susan_Driscoll wrote:


Luthien wrote:
Although I'm writing a book, occasionally an idea for a short story will hit me. By now, I have several of these short stories, and I've been thinking about someday trying to get a book of them published. Do you have any advice or tips?




If you're interested in finding an agent or traditional publisher for a book of short stories, you'll first have to have had some of your stories published in literary journals or magazines. Since that can be difficult and time-consuming, I'd suggest that you go the self-publishing route. I'm beginning posts on the various self-publishing alternatives this week, so keep visiting and you'll learn more about your options.




Thank you. :smileyhappy:
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lily_sparkletoon
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Any good tips for getting publicity for the books in the media.......
Author of
Acoustical Poetry
Tales of Tara : Gabrielian Chronicles (soon to be released)
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Clippership14
Posts: 382
Registered: ‎07-12-2007
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Dear Susan,
I have a question that not only myself but other writers I know have been wondering about. Is there a best time of the year to submit your manuscript? I know that in the music industry they fill a quota for the year and people who submit their demo tapes towards the end run the risk of not making the cut just because of the quota. Does the same hold true for writing submissions? For that matter, do you think agents have yearly quotas too? If anyone else has input on this question, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks!
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Susan_Driscoll
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



lily_sparkletoon wrote:
Any good tips for getting publicity for the books in the media.......




lily_sparkletoon wrote:
Any good tips for getting publicity for the books in the media.......




Many authors wonder about how to get media coverage for their books. Here are some tips:

Focus on local media or on the editors/media outlets that relate to the subject of your book. Stay away from book editors if you've self-published--they won't review your book. iUniverse authors have been featured in the NY Times but not in the book section; we've had an Indian cookbook featured in the food section; the author of a biography of Stepin Fetchit featured in the entertainment section. You're likely to have more success with non-book related editors.

Like it or not, the media thrives on contraversy (think sex, drugs and rock and roll.) In order to get attention for your book, you'll have to connect it to something or someone that's newsworthy. In publishing terms, this is called a "hook", which means that the story you create must "hook" the reader or the reporter. Also think about a seasonal hook for your book.

If you're writing non-fiction, offer yourself as an expert on your topic. I worked with an author, Liz Kelly, who wrote a book for iUniverse called "Smart Man Hunting". She started writing a column about dating and did publicity every Valentine's Day. Through those efforts, she became a nationally recognized dating coach and her book was eventually picked up by a traditional publisher.

If you'd like more information, I recommend a book titled "Making News" by David Henderson: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781583484685&itm=1 David is a former CBS News correspondent, a PR professional and a self-published author and he brings an invaluable perspective to the topic.

Good luck!
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
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Susan_Driscoll
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



Clippership14 wrote:
Dear Susan,
I have a question that not only myself but other writers I know have been wondering about. Is there a best time of the year to submit your manuscript? I know that in the music industry they fill a quota for the year and people who submit their demo tapes towards the end run the risk of not making the cut just because of the quota. Does the same hold true for writing submissions? For that matter, do you think agents have yearly quotas too? If anyone else has input on this question, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks!





No, there is no "best" time of the year to submit a manuscript for publication.
The publishing business is based on seasons (generally three to four per year, and books are slotted to be published in one of those seasons. The publisher will decide which season is most appropriate for a new title, and generally makes that decision 12-18 months prior to publiction. It happens that an author may not deliver his/her manuscript according to the contract deadline and the publisher has a last-minute opening on a list, so sometimes a new author can be slotted to fit that hole.


My best advice is to polish your manuscript and do your homework with regard to writing a winning proposal--and to submit it when you're confident that you've done your best work, no matter what time of year that may be.
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
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Birdyboy
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Susan:

I just joined this book club and browsed through the list of subjects. One of them was from a budding young writer in Belgium ( NathalieMatty - 9 March this year)who wanted to know if she should contact UK or US publishers / agents. I have a similar situation from the Netherlands - have a finished and copyrighted manuscript in my hand, on a memory stick, on a CD and in a safe but not where it is supposed to be - at a publisher and on the shelves of bookstores everywhere! I am sending out a barrage of queries to US literary agents as the subject matter of my novel would primarily appeal to Americans, and as expected, the rejection and non-reply rate is phenominal, as is my bill for mailing all this stuff across the ocean. All agents who reject the work are either overworked, not interested or whatever, but all of them give me very courteous and encouraging words to seek representation elsewhere. And the rare one that does accept turns out to be running a scam. But I'm sure this is the plight of many beginning authors and I'm not complaining.
However - being here in Europe and a bit out of touch from the US scene, makes it a bit difficult to enter the U.S. publishing jungle. UK agents and publishers are very reluctant to review "American" authors'work and local publishers will not even consider publishing in English, afraid they'll infringe on the rights of English language publishers or it's just a case of professional ethics. And now for the question:
"Got any pointers???" Thanks.
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Clippership14
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



Susan_Driscoll wrote:


Clippership14 wrote:
Dear Susan,
I have a question that not only myself but other writers I know have been wondering about. Is there a best time of the year to submit your manuscript? I know that in the music industry they fill a quota for the year and people who submit their demo tapes towards the end run the risk of not making the cut just because of the quota. Does the same hold true for writing submissions? For that matter, do you think agents have yearly quotas too? If anyone else has input on this question, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks!





No, there is no "best" time of the year to submit a manuscript for publication.
The publishing business is based on seasons (generally three to four per year, and books are slotted to be published in one of those seasons. The publisher will decide which season is most appropriate for a new title, and generally makes that decision 12-18 months prior to publiction. It happens that an author may not deliver his/her manuscript according to the contract deadline and the publisher has a last-minute opening on a list, so sometimes a new author can be slotted to fit that hole.


My best advice is to polish your manuscript and do your homework with regard to writing a winning proposal--and to submit it when you're confident that you've done your best work, no matter what time of year that may be.




Susan,
Thank you! This answers a lot!
Will this board be covering the harsh subject of queries and book proposals? Or did I miss that one already?
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Susan_Driscoll
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



Birdyboy wrote:
Susan:

I just joined this book club and browsed through the list of subjects. One of them was from a budding young writer in Belgium ( NathalieMatty - 9 March this year)who wanted to know if she should contact UK or US publishers / agents. I have a similar situation from the Netherlands - have a finished and copyrighted manuscript in my hand, on a memory stick, on a CD and in a safe but not where it is supposed to be - at a publisher and on the shelves of bookstores everywhere! I am sending out a barrage of queries to US literary agents as the subject matter of my novel would primarily appeal to Americans, and as expected, the rejection and non-reply rate is phenomenal, as is my bill for mailing all this stuff across the ocean. All agents who reject the work are either overworked, not interested or whatever, but all of them give me very courteous and encouraging words to seek representation elsewhere. And the rare one that does accept turns out to be running a scam. But I'm sure this is the plight of many beginning authors and I'm not complaining.
However - being here in Europe and a bit out of touch from the US scene, makes it a bit difficult to enter the U.S. publishing jungle. UK agents and publishers are very reluctant to review "American" authors'work and local publishers will not even consider publishing in English, afraid they'll infringe on the rights of English language publishers or it's just a case of professional ethics. And now for the question:
"Got any pointers???" Thanks.




Without knowing the subject or genre of your proposed book, it's difficult to make a specific recommendation. However, unless you have a large following in the US, have great credentials (if you're writing non-fiction) or have won writing awards (if you're writing fiction or poetry), it's unlikely that you'll find an agent to represent you. I'd suggest that you consider self-publishing and use the Internet to reach your audience.

If you'd like to share the details of the project with the group, we can use it as a case study--I'm sure there are others out there with similar experiences or good ideas.

Best,

Susan
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
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Birdyboy
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Hi Susan:

Thanks for the mixed encouragement. I'll tell you a little bit about the subject matter:

The time frame is the last year of the sixties; the story unfolds in New York, goes on to San Francisco, Manila, India, Taiwan, back to San Francisco, several towns between it and New York, and eventually ends in a small town in Upstate New York.
Two friends, Case and Brian, ship out together as third mates aboard a rusty old freigter on what is to be its last voyage before it is doomed to be scrapped. Since this fact became known only halfway through the voyage, Captain Arestides Giankopolous - known to one and all aboard as Peachfuzz for obvious reasons if the reader can rememter the Rocky and Bullwinkle show (and if not, it becomes obvious by the totally unpredictable and illogical behavior of this chaotic simpleton)- is in a predicament as to what to do with his secret cache of booze. Peachfuzz had been given a hundred and fifty cases of choice malt whiskey a year before on a voyage to Saigon - having turned a blind eye during off-loading operations there and fidgeting the papers in such a way that over ten tons of luxury goods were able to be channeled to mysterious routes and disappear forever. Since it was contraband, he couldn't take the load with him but his buddy, the crooked shipowner, came with a cut and dried solution - bought the entire load for five grand, "just to take it off his hands." Peachfuzz relieved because he earned five grand and dumped a load of non traceable but highly illegally obtained goods, the shipowner elated because he knew that the rare malt was worth at least a hundred times that amount, and the two friends Case and Brian utterly miffed because they knew full well the monetary value of Peachfuzz'load. They devised a plan to spirit the load from Taiwan, where the ship eventully ended its voyage, to New York via diplomatic shipment of the entire case with over a thousand bottles to a warehouse in New Jersey where they would be able to pick it up and claim it as their own, dreaming of riches beyond their imagineation. The heist was a success, but the outcome a far cry from what Case could have imagined when he first worked it out.

With names like Peachfuzz, Frenchy, Tex, Roland Ball, Rutabaga and a few other choice examples, a plot that includes a wedding on the high seas, the hunt for souvenirs as the ship was nearing its final destination (like the big brass bell, the steering wheel and compass), the wild ride from San Francisco to New York, I don't think this would particularly appeal to any but an American public. It is Americana during the late sixties - Flower Power at its peak in San Francisco, New York with its grimy brown subways where a guy named Rubio seemed to have scratched his name on every carriage riding around underground; the vast difference between East and West when the ship was offloading its cargo of chemical fertilizer in India; the folly of the Viet-Nam war which is painfully apparent in some of the descriptions - all this will certainly be familiar territory and readily identifiable to and with the US public, and can in my humble opinion only be entrusted to a US literary agent / publisher. The fact that I live in Europe and especially in this day and age with e.mail / internet et al, shouldn't be a deterrent.

And self publishing? I wouldn't know the first thing about promoting my book in this neck of the woods - I have a few friends in the US of course, and most of my family lives there and can do some promotional work, but other than that.....
Help!!!

Hope this sheds some light on the matter and perhaps enables you to formulate a more exact answer. Thank You

Kind regards,

Birdyboy
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kathmandau
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Greetings Susan,
Why do POD printers so often insist on defining the price of a book? Most often I find that the price attached far exceeds the market standard for similar works from the large houses (i.e. a $20 price tag for a 250 page novel). Since the unknown author is most likely to be using POD services, the higher price tag further stacks the odds against the success of new authors.
I can understand the printer needing a set value per book to compensate for the small run numbers associated with POD, but why not allow the author to accept a smaller percentage payment per copy in order to keep the pricing competitive with similar works on the market?
Regards,
CG Walters
author of Sacred Vow
http://sacredvow.dragonsbeard.com/
www.CGWalters.com
Truth is but a resting place until the next revelation.
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shortlink
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Jessica,
Can you explain how short stories get selected and published in anthologies? What's the options if you want to submit a short story other than magazines?

Thanks.
Frequent Contributor
Susan_Driscoll
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



kathmandau wrote:
Greetings Susan,
Why do POD printers so often insist on defining the price of a book? Most often I find that the price attached far exceeds the market standard for similar works from the large houses (i.e. a $20 price tag for a 250 page novel). Since the unknown author is most likely to be using POD services, the higher price tag further stacks the odds against the success of new authors.
I can understand the printer needing a set value per book to compensate for the small run numbers associated with POD, but why not allow the author to accept a smaller percentage payment per copy in order to keep the pricing competitive with similar works on the market?
Regards,




kathmandau wrote:
Greetings Susan,
Why do POD printers so often insist on defining the price of a book? Most often I find that the price attached far exceeds the market standard for similar works from the large houses (i.e. a $20 price tag for a 250 page novel). Since the unknown author is most likely to be using POD services, the higher price tag further stacks the odds against the success of new authors.
I can understand the printer needing a set value per book to compensate for the small run numbers associated with POD, but why not allow the author to accept a smaller percentage payment per copy in order to keep the pricing competitive with similar works on the market?
Regards,




kathmandau wrote:
Greetings Susan,
Why do POD printers so often insist on defining the price of a book? Most often I find that the price attached far exceeds the market standard for similar works from the large houses (i.e. a $20 price tag for a 250 page novel). Since the unknown author is most likely to be using POD services, the higher price tag further stacks the odds against the success of new authors.
I can understand the printer needing a set value per book to compensate for the small run numbers associated with POD, but why not allow the author to accept a smaller percentage payment per copy in order to keep the pricing competitive with similar works on the market?
Regards,




As you point out in your post, with print-on-demand (POD) technology, books are printed one at a time so the unit cost is higher. Since the distribution is demand-based, readers are less likely to select a book based on price, therefore the higher cost of a POD book (generally $2-$3) doesn't usually affect sales. There are some exceptions: POD titles cost considerably more than than mass market romance paperbacks like romances; the unit cost of POD printing doesn't compare favorably for books over 400 pages.

Some POD companies do let the author set the book price in exchange for a lower royalty rate. For most titles, I think the author is better off with the slightly higher price because it maximizes the author's royalty earnings, but that's just my own opinion.
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
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Susan_Driscoll
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



Birdyboy wrote:
Hi Susan:

Thanks for the mixed encouragement. I'll tell you a little bit about the subject matter:

The time frame is the last year of the sixties; the story unfolds in New York, goes on to San Francisco, Manila, India, Taiwan, back to San Francisco, several towns between it and New York, and eventually ends in a small town in Upstate New York.
Two friends, Case and Brian, ship out together as third mates aboard a rusty old freigter on what is to be its last voyage before it is doomed to be scrapped. Since this fact became known only halfway through the voyage, Captain Arestides Giankopolous - known to one and all aboard as Peachfuzz for obvious reasons if the reader can rememter the Rocky and Bullwinkle show (and if not, it becomes obvious by the totally unpredictable and illogical behavior of this chaotic simpleton)- is in a predicament as to what to do with his secret cache of booze. Peachfuzz had been given a hundred and fifty cases of choice malt whiskey a year before on a voyage to Saigon - having turned a blind eye during off-loading operations there and fidgeting the papers in such a way that over ten tons of luxury goods were able to be channeled to mysterious routes and disappear forever. Since it was contraband, he couldn't take the load with him but his buddy, the crooked shipowner, came with a cut and dried solution - bought the entire load for five grand, "just to take it off his hands." Peachfuzz relieved because he earned five grand and dumped a load of non traceable but highly illegally obtained goods, the shipowner elated because he knew that the rare malt was worth at least a hundred times that amount, and the two friends Case and Brian utterly miffed because they knew full well the monetary value of Peachfuzz'load. They devised a plan to spirit the load from Taiwan, where the ship eventully ended its voyage, to New York via diplomatic shipment of the entire case with over a thousand bottles to a warehouse in New Jersey where they would be able to pick it up and claim it as their own, dreaming of riches beyond their imagineation. The heist was a success, but the outcome a far cry from what Case could have imagined when he first worked it out.

With names like Peachfuzz, Frenchy, Tex, Roland Ball, Rutabaga and a few other choice examples, a plot that includes a wedding on the high seas, the hunt for souvenirs as the ship was nearing its final destination (like the big brass bell, the steering wheel and compass), the wild ride from San Francisco to New York, I don't think this would particularly appeal to any but an American public. It is Americana during the late sixties - Flower Power at its peak in San Francisco, New York with its grimy brown subways where a guy named Rubio seemed to have scratched his name on every carriage riding around underground; the vast difference between East and West when the ship was offloading its cargo of chemical fertilizer in India; the folly of the Viet-Nam war which is painfully apparent in some of the descriptions - all this will certainly be familiar territory and readily identifiable to and with the US public, and can in my humble opinion only be entrusted to a US literary agent / publisher. The fact that I live in Europe and especially in this day and age with e.mail / internet et al, shouldn't be a deterrent.

And self publishing? I wouldn't know the first thing about promoting my book in this neck of the woods - I have a few friends in the US of course, and most of my family lives there and can do some promotional work, but other than that.....
Help!!!

Hope this sheds some light on the matter and perhaps enables you to formulate a more exact answer. Thank You

Kind regards,

Birdyboy




What a great description! And, I agree with you that there are ways to market your book via the Internet. Your primary audience is readers who came of age during the 60's, and many of them are active in Internet communities. To find your audience, start with carefully defining keywords that people might use to search for your book. Test those keywords on your favorite search engine--and let the words lead you to the relevant communities. (Try "novels set in the 60's" and you'll see what I mean.) Second, spend time on bn.com to find other books that are similar to your own. Get to know those books and be able to describe how yours is similar or different. Then, do a search for discussions of those titles in Internet communities--those are your target readers.

Self-publishing and print-on-demand is ideal for authors like you. And, even if the book isn't a huge marketing success, you'll have the satisfaction of seeing it in print.

Good luck to you!
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll



shortlink wrote:
Jessica,
Can you explain how short stories get selected and published in anthologies? What's the options if you want to submit a short story other than magazines?

Thanks.




Most anthologies are compiled by a single editor or an editorial board. Stories are submitted to the editor and the best ones are selected for publication. If you're just getting started, I'd suggest that you join a writing group in your community, and/or that you attend a writing conference. Many of the large groups and conferences sponsor an anthology for their members. For example, check out the San Francisco Writer's Conference: http://www.sfwriters.org/index.cfm Each year, the conference sponsors an anthology; the rules for participation and the past anthologies are available on the site.

There are a number of online opportunities for short-story contests and competitions. Check out helium.com for a sample.
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
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Crumpet
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Greetings, Susan, and hello to all and sundry! I completed my first novel a few years ago and had (unrealistically) high expectations of getting it published. I finally gave up on trying to find an agent. A well-known author even graciously provided a personal recommendation to his own agent, but I was once again rejected. Weary of failure, I have allowed my wonderful labor of love and life-long dream to languish untouched for well over a year. I know rejection is a fact of life for aspiring authors, so I am resolved to "suck it up" and make a renewed effort with the new year. It does seem that the same old authors get their books published year after year and they're the same old stories in a different cover (I'm not naming names). It is almost impossible to find an agent / publisher who is interested in a fresh voice. They prefer tried and true and stale. So, older and wiser, I have decided to "think outside the box" -- that is, I am exploring alternatives to the traditional way books have been published.

My question is about using copyrighted song lyrics in my book. There are two popular songs I have quoted in their entirety that enhance the story. I could probably pare down the quoted bits to a single verse or the chorus if necessary. I had hoped an agent would provide the necessary information and obtain the required permission for me. Without an agent, I'm left to my own devices, but I believe in intellectual property rights and want to do things legally. Can you tell me what are the rules? Do they vary or is there a hard and fast law about what you can quote and what you can't? I've heard different things from different people -- someone told me "you can quote the first five lines of any song without having to pay". Do you know if that is true? If it is not (and I doubt it is), how do I go about getting permission to quote verses from the songs? If I self-publish or make use of the internet, I need to know what is the extent of the law. Can you advise?
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Clippership14
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

[ Edited ]
Dear Susan,
First, I would like to say thank you so much for all the excellent advice you've given on this board. I've been doing my research like a starved animal lately and the things you've suggested have helped immensely! I've been reading books by other authors who write in the genres I'm working on and I've been reading resource books on what publishers are looking for as well as style and format books. I've been amazed at what rules have changed since I first took creative writing classes! There have been some fantastic tips I've picked up and its been great analyzing other peoples' work to see how their styles flow and create the momentum that keeps readers going. Gaining more knowledge makes me less intimidated and more confident. I'm so glad I started reading and posting on B&N!
I do have a new question for you though. What are the standard rules of thumb concerning pen names? (That's the only thing I haven't found out about in my research so far.) When you first submit a work to a publisher or agent do you use your actual name or your pen name? I realize for tax purposes and legalities they will have to know your actual name, but what is the proper thing to do for initial submissions? If you do submit under your own name but want to publish under a pen name, are you given the option to do so after your MS has been accepted? Can you or anyone else shed some light on this subject for me? I'd appreciate it!

Thanks in advance!

Message Edited by Clippership14 on 01-09-2008 11:15 AM
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tarzan82
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Hi Susan,
I just had my book, Barracuda, published by BookSurge who is associated with Amazon. My press release just came out and now I must self promote the book. It is currently for sale on Amazon.com, and I see it listed here at B&N, as a new release, but they are not carrying any copies. Question: How do I get the major book stores to place copies of my book on their shelves? As a newbie, any help will be greatly appreciated.

thanks,
Mike Monahan
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holyboy
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Re: Questions for Susan Driscoll

Susan,
 
Just came across this club. What an excellent idea. Read all your answers.
 
I'm wondering if the club is still going, still viable? If so, I expect to participate.