Self-Publishing FAQ: Four Questions Answered

Throughout the month of July I discussed topics that often come up for self-publishing authors.  Without an experienced agent, many self-publishing authors find that it’s tough to get the answers to their questions about rights and permissions.  The July series was designed to help answer some of the questions you may have and to direct you to other sites where you can get more information on each topic.  If you missed the series, here is an overview of the topics I discussed and links to more information.

Parts of My Book are True, Can It Still Be Fiction?

Many authors aren’t sure whether to label their work as fiction or non-fiction, a novel or memoir. It is important that writers understand the differences between the two in order to avoid legal issues. The main message is this: if it’s not 100% true, it’s not non-fiction and readers need to be aware that at least parts of the book are fictitious.

Can My Non-Fiction Book be Considered Libelous?

Libelous statements are published statements that are false and damaging. They can be made against people or products. For someone to have a case against you, the statement must be three things: untrue, damaging, and knowingly false. Public officials and public figures must also prove malice.

Can I Use Images From the Internet in My Book?

Many self-publishing authors aren’t sure whether or not they can use internet images in their books. The same copyright laws apply to images found on the internet as any other images. Most of them are protected by copyrights and require permission to use.

Can I Use Song Lyrics in My Book?

The Fair Use rule does not apply to song lyrics. You need permission unless you are only using a song title or if the lyrics are in the public domain. You will also need permission to play recorded music in your book trailer.

For more information on these topics, you can click on the title to visit the original post, which includes links to additional resources. Also, if you have questions about self-publishing, comment below and I will try address them in future posts.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Top 4 Self-Publishing FAQs: Part IV

This month I have been writing about FAQ such as how long it take to self-publish and how much will it cost. This week I will address the common question “Where can people buy my self-published book?”

There are many places readers will be able to purchase your book. However, the exact answer depends on your self-publishing company and the options you choose. Many companies offer different publishing packages that include various distribution options. For instance, Outskirts Press has several different packages with the following distribution options:

Diamond, Pearl, and Ruby authors receive worldwide wholesale distribution through wholesalers including Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Bertrams, and Gardners. Additionally, with the exception of Emerald books, all Outskirts Press books appear on worldwide e-retailer sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, Books-A-Million, and many others. Ingram alone handles distribution and availability for nearly all bookstores and chains, while Baker & Taylor is largely used by libraries. Together, your book is available for order through over 25,000 sales channels worldwide.

Where your book is sold also depends on your own goals and marketing plan. For instance, you may choose to approach a local bookstore and ask them to carry your book. Self-publishing authors have access to a variety of retail options; the key to successfully selling your book is an effective marketing plan. It won’t matter where your book is sold if no one knows your book exists.

When choosing a self-publishing company, be sure to find out what distribution options and marketing help they offer, and don’t be afraid to approach additional markets. As a self-publishing author, you control how successful your book becomes.

If you have questions about self-publishing, feel free to comment below and I will try to address your topic in a future post. Also, be sure to check out the previous posts in this series:

Top 4 Self-Publishing FAQs: Part III

Top 4 Self-Publishing FAQs: Part II

The Cost of Self-Publishing

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Questions Self Publishing Authors Ask: Parts of My Book are True, Can It Still Be Fiction?

Throughout the month of July I will be discussing topics that often come up for self publishing authors.  Without an experienced agent, you may have found that it’s tough to find the answers to your questions about rights and permissions.  These posts are designed to help answer some of the questions you may have and will direct you to other sites where you can get more information on each topic.  Come back each Wednesday this month for more informational posts to help you in your self publishing journey.  If you have additional questions, please send us a comment and we’ll add it to our list of topics to cover in the coming weeks.

This week I will address the question: Can my book be fiction if parts of it are true? Sometimes authors aren’t sure which genre their book belongs in. Some writers loosely base their books on their life but add details to make the plot or characters more interesting. Other writers write about their personal life experiences and only change character names. Here is what you need to know when deciding whether your book should be fiction or nonfiction.

  • Changing the names in a memoir does not necessarily protect you from a lawsuit if the characters are recognizable as real people.
  • If you are labeling your book as a memoir but names have been changed, be sure to disclose this.
  • If the book is not as truthful as possible, it is not a memoir. It is a novel. This means if you’ve added details such as extra characters or another plot line, it is fiction.
  • If you write a book that is inspired by your life events and you want readers to know these events really happened, label the book as fiction and note in your author’s biography that the book is inspired by real events.
  • If you are writing a biography, it is essential to verify all facts for accuracy. If you aren’t certain the story is truthful, let the person be your inspiration for a novel.

To learn more about whether to label your book as fiction or nonfiction, check out these two great posts:

The Line Between Fact and Fiction

Fiction Or Nonfiction? Memoir Or Novel? Know What To Call Your Story Or Book

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Top 4 Self-Publishing FAQs: Part III

This month I have been writing about FAQ such as how long it take to self-publish and how much will it cost. This week I will address the common question “How much money will I make from my self-published book?”

It is difficult to estimate how much an author will earn from a self-published book because many factors influence the income. Authors earn royalties based on the sales of their books, so their income is directly linked to how well their books sell. The number of books self-publishing authors sell and the income they make from those sales vary greatly. Some authors only sell a handful of books a year, while others are capable of earning over $100,000 a year.

How do you know where you will fall? Self-publishing is all about investing in yourself. Given that successfully publishing a book involves 20% writing and 80% marketing, you should naturally spend most of your time and money promoting the book after you write it.

The income of a self-publishing author is 100% in their own hands. No one can “predict” how much you will earn as that is only a result of two things:  the quality of your book and substantial effort in marketing it to the right audience.

If you have questions about self-publishing, feel free to comment below and I will try to address your topic in a future post. Also, be sure to check out the previous posts in this series:

Top 4 Self-Publishing FAQs: Part II

The Cost of Self-Publishing

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Questions Self Publishing Authors Ask: Non-Fiction Book Considered Libelous

Throughout the month of July I will be discussing topics that often come up for self publishing authors.  Without an experienced agent, you may have found that it’s tough to find the answers to your questions about rights and permissions.  These posts are designed to help answer some of the questions you may have and will direct you to other sites where you can get more information on each topic.  Come back each Wednesday this month for more informational posts to help you in your self publishing journey.  If you have additional questions, please send us a comment and we’ll add it to our list of topics to cover in the coming weeks.

This week I will address the question: Could my non-fiction book be considered libelous?  Many self publishing authors aren’t sure what libel is and how to avoid legal trouble. Here are some helpful things for you to know.

  • Libel can be against people or products.
  • Libelous statements are published statements that are false and damaging.
  • For someone to have a case against you, the statement must be three things: untrue, damaging, and knowingly false.
  • Plaintiffs must have evidence to prove that the libel statement caused them harm.
  • Public officials and public figures must also prove malice.
  • An excellent source on the topic of libel is the “Briefing on Media Law” portion of The Associated Press Stylebook.
  • When writing non-fiction, only write the truth. Otherwise, write fiction.
  • Keep records of your research in case you ever need to prove that a statement is true.

To learn more about libel, check out this great post: http://www.writing-world.com/rights/libel.shtml.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Top 4 Self-Publishing FAQs: Part II

Last month I wrote a post about the cost of self publishing and told you I would address other FAQ in future posts. Well, I always keep my word, so here we go. This week I will address the common question “How long does it take to self publish?”

The length of time it takes to self publish a book varies from company to company and from project to project, but it is almost always quicker than traditional publishing.

Some companies offer extremely quick turnaround times such as a few days to a few weeks. When considering these options, be sure to think about the quality of the book you want to print as well as your budget. You shouldn’t sacrifice quality for a quick turnaround time, and fast options are sometimes more expensive. While these options are good for some people, they aren’t for everyone.

Most people can expect to have their book self published in 2 to 3 months. This allows time for important aspects of publishing such as cover design. However, if your book needs extensive copyediting, the process could take a little longer.

If you have specific questions about how long it will take to self publish your book, contact your self publishing company. Also, be sure to check out my previous post answering the question “How much does it cost to self publish?” and check back every Monday for other FAQ.

If you have questions about self publishing, feel free to comment below and I will try to address your topic in a future post.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Questions Self Publishing Authors Ask: Images from the Internet

Throughout the month of July I will be discussing topics that often come up for self publishing authors.  Without an experienced agent, you may have found that it’s tough to find the answers to your questions about rights and permissions.  These posts are designed to help answer some of the questions you may have and will direct you to other sites where you can get more information on each topic.  Come back each Wednesday this month for more informational posts to help you in your self publishing journey.  If you have additional questions, please send us a comment and we’ll add it to our list of topics to cover in the coming weeks.

This week I will address the issue of using images you found on the internet in your book. Many self publishing authors aren’t sure what they need to do in order to protect themselves from copyright laws when it comes to using images from the internet. If you want to use images from the internet in your book, there are a few things you should know.

  • Most images are protected by copyright laws and permission is required to use them.
  • Fair Use depends on the individual circumstance. Always be sure you meet all of the requirements. Otherwise, you need permission.
  • Images you find on the internet are subject to the same copyright laws as any other image you may want to use in your book.

To learn more about legally using images, check out this great post: http://www.copyrightlaws.com/us/legally-using-images/

 

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.