How To Copyright Your Work


One of the things to do after you finish your opus. The other thing to do is to begin Opus #2. From The Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office:

“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States
(title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including
literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This
protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106
of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive
right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
• reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords.
• prepare derivative works based upon the work.
• distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other
transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.
• perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and
choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual
• display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work.
• perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings*) by means of a digital audio transmission.”

There’s more info here.

Missing A Kiss I Never Got


A little set up first:

Thirteen year-old Paco Serrano is leaving his native Cuba for the United States. His parents exit visa has just been approved after an eight year wait. As part of the travel requirements, Paco has to go to his school and obtain a letter from Maximo Alarico. He is the much-feared, mean-spirited, dictatorial, school Principal. While Cecilia Sanchez, Mr. Alarico’s secretary prepares the papers, Juli Solanes, Paco’s first love, shows up. She is the daughter of prominent members of the Communist Party who did no approved of their young relationship.

Paco and Juli had a brief romance nonetheless, but they had never kissed…

I stared at the wall when Cecilia returned to her desk.  I heard her pull her chair, stick the paper in the typewriter and start typing.  She didn’t say a word and I didn’t look in her direction.  I kept my eyes in the world map above her, my eyes falling in North America and focusing on the golden shape of the United States.  Florida looked like an index finger pointing down at Cuba.

I didn’t know how much time had passed when Cecilia got up from her chair and walked to the rear of the office.  She did not look at me.  After a few seconds I heard her thank Maximo.  She returned and was handing me the signed papers when someone knocked on the outside door.  We both looked at the door at the same time.

“Who is it?” Cecilia asked.

“Juliana Solanes,” came the response from the other side.

I dropped the papers when I heard Juli’s voice.  Cecilia and I bent down at the same time to pick them up, bumping our foreheads.

“Shit!” Cecilia squealed, rubbing her forehead.

“I am so sorry!” I said.

“Miss Sanchez, what’s going on?” Maximo yelled from his office.

“Nothing!” Cecilia and I answered at the same time, the same amount of fear in our voices.

Juli knocked on the door for a second time.

“Get the door then, Miss Sanchez,” Maximo yelled again.

When Cecilia opened the door I was standing directly behind her.

“Hello, Miss Sanchez.  I am here to get my assignment for today,” Juli said.

I peeked from behind Cecilia, smiling.  Juli opened her eyes a little wider and then she smiled back at me.

“Hi Juli.  I’ll get the volunteer list.  Come on in.” Cecilia said and she turned, finding me on her way.  We moved in the same direction as we tried to go around each other. “Will you get out of my way?!” she whispered, exasperated.

“I’m trying!”

When we ended our little weird dance, I saw that Juli was still smiling.

“I heard the news from Doris. When are you leaving?” she asked.

“Saturday.  Tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry,” Juli said.

I got closer to her and looked in the direction of Maximo’s office before I answered.

“Yeah, me too.”

Cecilia was holding a notebook and making notes as she spoke to Juli from behind her desk.

“Your team meets in the chemistry lab.  Miss Lazo is your leader and she has the specifics of your assignment.”

“Thank you,” Juli said without lifting her eyes from mine, “Well, if I don’t see you later, I think this might be goodbye.”

“I’ll be around later, just in case you…” I said.

“Just in case I don’t see you later, I’ll say goodbye now.”

Juli moved a step closer and I realized she was going to kiss me.  I closed my eyes waiting for her lips.

Before they landed on mine, I heard Cecilia clear her throat.

“Miss Solanes, come into my office,” Maximo’s voice came from behind me, unpleasant like a chill crawling up the spine, “I must speak to you.  This minute.”

I didn’t look back.  Juli walked past me.  A fragrance, like soft piano notes, went trailing after her.  I stood for a brief moment, looking at the papers in my hand.  I took a couple of steps with no specific place in mind.  Cecilia closed the door behind me the moment I stepped outside.

Across the hallway, the painter and his assistant were sitting across from each other, smoking cigarettes and talking about the job still to be done.  I turned to the plaza without covering my head from the rain.  When I walked past the window in Maximo’s office, I looked for Juli but only saw my own distorted reflection on the dripping glass slots.  By the time I reached the street, I had slowed my steps, hoping to hear Juli’s voice reaching me through the raindrops, calling me to wait for her.  When I got to the corner and turned towards Main Street, the belief that I would hear Juli call my name was disappearing with each step I took, as I walked on.

Book Pusher


Next time you get a rejection letter and you start feeling sorry for yourself, remember Randy Kearse:

Randy Kearse went from being a major drug dealer to selling his story of redemption on the subway, while making new friends. Photo (c) 2010 by Damon Winter for the NY Times.

Randy Kearse stepped onto a southbound No. 2 train in Harlem and scanned the crowd, trying to figure out who might be in a buying mood. He strode across the car, pressed his back against the steel doors and cleared his throat: Showtime.

“Excuse me, ladies and gentleman,” he called out.

“I am not begging, borrowing or asking for your food. I don’t represent the homeless, I’m not selling candy or selling bootleg DVDs,” he said, then paused. “I write books.”

Book Discounts…What Book Discounts?


From the incredibly practical, consistently informative Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer:

It’s essential for self-publishers to come to grips with the way that discounts are handled in retail publishing. If you plan to publish a book that will be sold within the retail book distribution system you’ll need to understand how discounts work. Even if you plan to sell your books through online retailers, you’ll still need to set a discount.

But before we get into discounts themselves, let’s back up a moment.

The Purpose of Discounts

It would be impractical for manufacturers of products to be the only source for the average person to buy those products. So we have a multi-tiered manufacturing and distribution system. Manufacturers set the price they think the product should sell for, then offer it at a discount to retailers willing to sell to their own universe of buyers.

Manufacturers can make these arrangements with hundreds or thousands of retailers, trading the discount to acquire a means for their customers to easily buy their products.

But even this isn’t efficient enough.

There’s more…

Worth Repeating


Self-publishing is incredibly healthy and growing at a pretty amazing rate. Even the “low” number of almost 77,000 books published amounts to over 210 books a day, 365 days a year. And as far as quality, why is it that no one ever looks through the huge piles of schlock that are included in the 288,355 books from traditional publishers?

—Joel Friedlander

Joel is a self-published author, a book designer and blogs about book design, self-publishing and the indie publishing life at Please pay him a visit!

Thoughts On Self-Publishing My Debut Novel


Cover photo © by Johannes Frandsen. Used by permission. Please visit

(You can read the first chapter HERE. You can join my “publishing group”, a bunch of friends supporting the publication of the book HERE).

After a lot of careful consideration, I’ve decided to self-publish my novel ESPERANZA FARM. Last week I emailed a literary agent who was reading a partial, letting her know that I was withdrawing the manuscript from consideration. Here’s the reasoning that preceded this decision:

I have nothing against the traditional publishing model, a route which continues to work for most authors and one I tried myself for a while. Even if I did not succeeded at it — in most cases it takes a lot of time and persistence — I received enough feedback from people in the industry to know that my book has a pretty good chance of eventually selling to a commercial publisher, if that was what I wanted to do. So this decision is not born out of rejections, of which I received my fair share, but has been more influenced by things I’ve learned in the process of finding and agent and publisher.

The reason I’ve decided to go at it as an independent publisher has more to do with what I believe is better for my book. And by the possibilities of participating in other aspect of the book world that have always captivated my interests.

The facts are that I also love the whole publishing, marketing, sales, design, publicity, entrepreneurial side of books. I love writing, reading, researching, talking about literature, rewriting and reading industry trade news. I love old books, new books, e-books, even comic books. And I’m most fascinated with the future of the book, especially how it intersects with the new media.

So this is a grand experiment and an exciting learning opportunity as well as a challenge.

One of the advantages of publishing your own material is the control that is possible over every aspect of the project. Where will it be printed, what process will be used and what distribution method. Not to mention the actual design components right down to the typeface. A perfect example of this benefit is the photograph I’ve chosen for the cover. A number of months ago, my daughter sent me a link to the website of a photographer whose work she admired. I fell in love with the work of Andrew Moore but was blown away when I came upon this photograph. I knew I had found the cover for my novel. I contacted Mr. Moore directly and soon had an agreement on the licensing terms. (This has changed, since I’ve decided to go in another direction with the cover photograph. I will blog about it soon, just after I’ve notified the interested parties).

This is now done. You can read more about it HERE.

Continue reading

Pros & Cons of Self-Publishing Book Packages


Via Carla King at MediaShift/PBS:

The rise of self-publishing has made it possible for anyone to be an author. Now, some people are also choosing to outsource their book project by hiring an author services company.

On the surface, this seems much easier than finding and hiring a half-dozen professionals to create your book. (For background on the self-publishing industry and author services companies, please read my previous MediaShift article.) But is it worth it? Below are some of the potential danger zones of working with these services, as exposed by authors who were seduced by the promises of quick and easy self-publishing packages. I also offer some advice about avoiding these pitfalls.

There’s more…