12 little things that publishers should know


These are question answers from grizzled veterans during the opening Q-A part of the BAIPA meeting in Novato (near San Francisco) on 7/12. BAIPA is the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association, meeting in Novato the second Saturday of every month. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down who said what, so there goes the source! (But I’ve been a publisher since Franklin, B., and I think they are all true.)

1. How much text change do you need in an update or rewrite to require a new ISBN? 10%

2. How many profiles should you prepare for different media outlets? At least three: 140, 250, and 700 words

3. Must you get a licensing agreement if you use others’ photos in your published works? Probably. If they have appeared in other copyrighted venues, almost certainly. But not if it’s a selfie.

4. If you get a license to use a photo cover, what will that cover? Usually the first edition, US only, all formats (bound, digital, etc.). [Consider using www.fotolia.com]

5. If another person provides artwork or text for your book, how do you avoid the licensing problem? Hire them on a “work-for-hire” basis, stipulate that in the agreement, and pay them a fee. (See free forms on Google.)

5. If you use others’ printed text (from another copyrighted publication), how much can you use without getting their permission? You can use an extended quote, maybe 60 words. But if the words are from a song or poetry, four words. Titles excluded; they can’t be copyrighted. (Sometimes, rarely, they can be trademarked so look for the symbol.) Joel Friedlander (jfbookman@gmail.com) has a great book about Fair Use.

7. If you co-author, how much legal responsibility do you each have if you split the book’s worth and work? Duh, half.

(From here on, I think these came from Shari Weiss (at sharisax.com), the presenter, about social media.)

8. What’s a good balance for a visual/text presentation? 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point type.

9. What social media format gets seen most by other Internet users? Blogs.

10. What’s a good blog length? 250+ words.

11. How many blogs do you shoot for? At least 400. (Not one rewritten 400 times.)

12. What gets a lot more attention if added to each blog? (An image.)

Best wishes,

Godon Burgett

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