Dragon Queen

Everything was ready.

The Queen’s guards were standing by, watching the door carefully.

The Queen herself sat on her throne, dressed elegantly in a green gown, her long black hair cascading down her shoulders, those sharp blue eyes staring at the door warily.  Her only protection was her intricately woven chainmail beneath her gown, and her sword leaning against the side of the throne. Continue reading “Dragon Queen”

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The Road to Self Publishing- Copyright

copyright

Yeah. This one. You knew we were going to have to talk about it eventually. I know, many authors (possibly even most) don’t like talking about copyright, but it’s something you need to think about when you self-publish. If you’d rather read about the actual writing, you can still find the main Road to Self Publishing page here. Still with me? Good.

First, a little disclaimer. I am not now, nor am I likely to ever be, a lawyer, so take everything in here with a grain of salt. If you’re unsure what do do when it comes to copyright, it wouldn’t hurt to talk to an actual Intellectual Property lawyer. Also, I’ll only be speaking about U.S. copyright here. I know next to nothing about copyright in other countries. Some of the things here might be applicable to them, but others will not. Proceed with caution.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk copyright. I’m sure many of you haven’t thought about your copyright before, and probably won’t think about it after this. That’s not a bad thing.  You should think about it for a little bit, though, as your choices with copyright will affect other publishing decisions going forward.

The first question is; should I even register a copyright at all? The good news is, in the U.S. it’s not necessary to register the copyright. As soon as you create the thing (like this post) the copyright goes to you. The only real use a registered copyright is if you end up going to court. During a lawsuit, the registration acts as a hard date-of-creation and can make the case that the work is actually yours that much stronger. That being said, if you’re planning on staying out of court, a registration is possibly unnecessary.

One of the reasons you might not want to register the copyright is if you choose a more permissive license than “all rights reserved”. One option on that front is Creative Commons. I actually use Creative Commons for all my posts here. Specifically, I use the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You can check you the copyright notice for all work by Eldiste (me) here. All Creative Commons licenses and many others, are part of a family called “Copyleft”. Copyleft licenses aim to ease up on the current copyright paradigm by specifically granting the public some, or all, of the things that typical copyright would normally restrict. For example, the license I put on my work here specifically grants everyone the right to copy, remix, or incorporate my work into their own, as long as they properly credit me. It is also what they call a “viral license”. This means, if you remix, or incorporate my works, the license comes along for the ride. This does not mean that your entire work would fall under the Creative Commons license, only the portions of my work that you incorporated into your own. It does, however, mean that you can’t put any extra DRM on your work, as it would also lock-up the portion of the work covered under Creative Commons with restrictions that the original license didn’t have. There are other copyleft licenses that don’t have viral elements, so dig through the Creative Commons site, and find one that’s right for you.

Of course, if you want to give the people maximum freedom, you can always put your work into the Public Domain. That means, anyone can do literally anything with your work they want, including publishing it exactly as you had it but without your name and profiting off it. I personally like the Public Domain, but for those of us who are smaller, it can be a challenge. Since someone with a larger marketing budget could take your work and use it to get your potential audience, it’s harder for us to use the Public Domain and make money. If that doesn’t bother you, by all means put it in the Public Domain.

But what if you don’t want to deal with copyleft and viral licensing. What if the Public Domain is scary? Well, good news! Like I said above, if you’ve written the thing, you have an “all rights reserved” copyright. This means the only way a somebody can use your work is with your express permission, or if it falls under fair use. So, how do you know if something falls under fair use? Well, sadly, in the US, there is no hard and fast test to tell if something falls under fair use. The only way to know for certain is to go through the courts. There are a few ways you can make an educated guess, though. If it uses a very small portion of the overall work, say one or two lines. If the portion used is not what makes the work unique. If it’s for educational or news reporting purposes. If the use of your work falls under multiple of those cases, there’s a good chance it’s fair use.

Have I cleared up copyright for you? Or just muddied the waters? Either way, I hope this nearly incoherent rant has been informative, and maybe helped you a little bit. Stick around for more nuts-and-bolts publishing in the next one.

Updates

A few updates. First, as you may have noticed, I’ve changed me name here. I gave it a lot of thought, and it doesn’t make sense for me to be Modern Authors on this site when there’s a second author. Stories and articles that come from me aren’t any more “official” than the ones written by elihowlett and my name should reflect that. So, from now on, my name here is Eldiste. This coincides with a site redesign. The new design is more mobile friendly, I feel. I’ll probably be making some more changes and adding some features later, so let me know what you think.

Second, The Road to Self Publishing will kick in a little more soon, so if you want to review it, this is a good time. You can find the main page here. We’ll be moving more into the nuts and bolts of publishing soon, so if you’re wanting to read about the actual writing and revision parts, what’s up now is what your going to be looking for.

Third, as those of you who have read Road to Self Publishing may have guessed, getting down to the nuts and bolts of publishing in that series means I’m getting closer to publishing my book. The book in question is ASH. It’s the one I introduced during NaNoWriMo. I’ll be doing a formal introduction for it later, complete with a release date, but for now, expect it around July. Oh, and there’s a slight tweak on the cover since the last time I posted about it.promotion

Hopefully, after things settle a bit with the book, I can get back to putting more stories up here. In the mean time, if you have any ideas for the site, let me know.

Playing with the Devil

It was a light green, brightly glowing orb.  He held it between his hands, never actually touching it, letting it float there.  His wide set blue eyes bore into me, watching me stare at the orb.

“What’s the catch?” I asked, folding my arms over my chest.  I was betting it was something I wouldn’t want to do.  It seemed like an odd thing, for him to be standing there in my kitchen, looking at me with that strange glint in his eyes. Continue reading “Playing with the Devil”

Egg

Here’s an entry for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge. The challenge this time was to take a tweet from the Magical Realism Bot on Twitter and write a story inspired by it. Here is the tweet I chose. Enjoy. Continue reading “Egg”

The Road to Self Publishing- The Hardest Writing

hardest-writing

So, I’ve sent off copies of my work to beta-readers (in multiple formats, need to be accommodating to the people who are helping me). So, now it’s time to sit around, twiddling my thumbs (or doing my day job) and wait for them to send it back, right? Ha. Ha. No. Remember that list from the last article? If not, go back and refresh your memory. As you can see, there’s no shortage of things that need to be done, and some (many?) can be done as you’re waiting for beta-reading to be done. Today, we’re going to look at a small piece of the marketing puzzle- the back of the book blurb. Continue reading “The Road to Self Publishing- The Hardest Writing”

The Road to Self Publishing- The Afterdraft

afterdraft-banner

As always, if this is the first Road to Self Publishing post you’ve read, check out the master post here. It’ll take you through the whole series.

So, you’ve written and re-written your book several times now. You’ve gone over it with a fine-toothed comb. It’s as close to perfect as you can make it. The works over, right? No. Like every other blogger who’s gone through the self-publishing gauntlet, I’ve discovered that there is so much to do after I’ve hit my final draft. The things I have left, in no particular order are:

  • Have my final draft beta-read
  • Have at least one copy edit done
  • Get my cover up to par (more on that in a later post)
  • Choose publishing packages/vendors
  • Figure out how to market this thing

Continue reading “The Road to Self Publishing- The Afterdraft”