The Writer's Legal Companion

By Brad Bunnin; Peter Beren | Go to book overview

12
THE AUTHOR AND THE BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING*

INTRODUCTION

Every piece of work involved in moving a completed manuscript into a reader's hands takes place within a framework of future considerations. A book signed today will be positioned on a publication list for its formal launch anywhere from nine months to two years (or more) later. During this period, events take place which influence the book and its commercial life, including the design of its cover, what stores order it, how it is promoted, where on the shelf it is placed, how long it stays on the shelf, and, often, whether it ends up in the hands of a reader or forgotten on a remainder table. A crucial irony of the publishing business is that the decisions that contribute so much to the success or failure of a book often have little to do with its quality. Many good books never have a reasonable chance to succeed because of decisions made by an ill- informed publisher. And occasionally, the most unlikely suspect enjoys an immense success in spite of a publisher's complete lack of attention.

In spite of the direct relationship between a book's performance and its publisher's support, the lore of the publishing industry is full of unexpected success and unanticipated failure. Every season, certain books succeed or fail despite the efforts (or lack thereof) of their publishers.

____________________
*
As we mentioned in the introduction, the author of this chapter is Peter Beren, whose professional publishing experience is both broad and longstanding.

-225-

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The Writer's Legal Companion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Publishing Contract 5
  • Introduction: About Contracts and Intimidation 5
  • In Conclusion: A Little General Advice 68
  • 2 - Publishing in Magazines 69
  • Introduction 69
  • 3 - Collaboration 85
  • Introduction 85
  • 4 - The Legal Relationship Between Writer and Agent 103
  • Introduction 103
  • 5 - Watch Your Words: The Confusing Law of Defamation 115
  • Introduction 115
  • 6 - The Right to Be Left Alone: Protecting Privacy and Publicity 133
  • Introduction 133
  • 7 - What is Copyright? 143
  • 8 - Copyright Formalities 165
  • Introduction 165
  • 9 - How to Protect Your Copyright 195
  • Introduction 195
  • 10 - Tax and the Freelance Writer 201
  • Conclusion 209
  • 11 - Legal Resources for the Writer 211
  • Introduction 211
  • 12 - The Author and the Business of Publishing 225
  • Introduction 225
  • Conclusion 266
  • 13 - New Information Technologies and the Author 269
  • Introduction 269
  • Appendix a Resource Directory 283
  • Appendix B a Glossary of Publishing Terms 291
  • Appendix C Publishing Agreements 299
  • Appendix D Copyright Material 319
  • Appendix E Permissions Guidelines 331
  • Appendix F Author's Questionnaire 339
  • Index 345
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