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Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Issues of Self-Publishing Paperback – June 6, 2014
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"Self-publishing writers already wear so many hats; who has time to be a lawyer in addition to social media expert and marketing pro? Sedwick's book answers all types of questions, including those writers wouldn't think to ask." -Arlene Miller, M.A., The Grammar Diva ™
"Should be on every author's shelf.... Sedwick simplifies the scary and presents ways to avoid ending up in a costly legal battle. Her goal is to help you avoid wasting money and time on things that could have been avoided in the first place.... Don't hesitate; get your copy now." -Self-Publishing Review
From the Author
For instance, many writers are surprised to find out that they are starting a small business. They have questions about incorporation and crowd-funding, not to mention hiring freelancers and deducting expenses.
Or they are considering purchasing a publishing package from a self-publishing service company and wonder how to distinguish between an honest company and an unscrupulous one. They worry about losing their copyrights.
Many suffer from what I call contract anxiety. When they try to read a contract, the page looks like 5,000 words run through a blender.
And what about author platforms? How do writers write blog posts that are provocative but not defamatory? How do they find eye-catching images without spending a fortune? They wonder if their websites need privacy policies, and what do DMCA, COPPA, and DRM mean anyway?
Dozens of books and websites offer advice on designing covers, editing content, and tweeting effectively, but few will tell writers how to protect their Social Security Numbers or spot a scam.
But there is also a personal reason I wrote the Handbook.
My parents were artistic people; my mother an actress and my father a stage and television director. By temperament or choice, they did not understand business or money. When I was young, I saw them being taken advantage of over and over again. I went to law school so I would have the tools to navigate the business world myself and to help creative people like my parents.
Writing and publishing a book is a significant investment in time, money and emotion. It is tough enough to make money in a business where fewer than five percent of books sell over 1,000 copies. Writers should not lose money (or sleep) by hiring the wrong self-publishing service company or getting sued for copyright infringement.
Many chapters in the book will also help a traditionally published writer who is blogging, tweeting, and creating content for Internet distribution.
More About the Author
Find out more at: http://helensedwick.com
Top Customer Reviews
In this book, attorney Helen Sedwick discusses the many and various legal issues that may confront a self-publishing author. These issues include claiming tax deductions for your expenses, dealing with freelancers such as editors and cover designers, protecting the rights to your work and avoiding infringing on the rights of others, understanding the contracts you will have to sign with resellers and other services, and much more.
The long list of things to do and things to watch out for is daunting. As Sedwick says at one point, "Bottom line: nothing is simple." But in addition to presenting this list of do-this's and don't-do-that's, this book is a good, clearly-written guide for navigating through that list.
To give just one example of the legal pitfalls that are out there, did you know that if you announce that you'll give a free copy of your book to a randomly selected person who has "liked" your Facebook page or subscribed to your newsletter, you may be running an illegal lottery?
In addition to legal advice, Sedwick also presents some commonsense practical guidance about how to watch out for your best interests in a world full of scammers and aggressive marketers. I particularly liked this bit about companies that force you to talk to a phone representative in order to get basic information: "you should not be forced to endure a sales talk just to get the basics. These guys are pros at separating you from your money. Call to ask questions, but if they launch into a sales pitch, warn them you will hang up if they don't stop immediately." Another interesting non-legal item in the book is a table that converts Amazon sales ranking to (estimated) book sales per day.Read more ›
Most writers would rather not think about business and legal questions. But they have to be dealt with, and Sedwick makes this part of authorship comprehensible and manageable. I wish this had been around years ago.
While I don't agree with all of the advice (like buying ISBNs, Library of Congress CCNs, or purchasing media liability insurance), she presents the legal reasoning behind her suggestions, which I appreciate. But all in all this was a great read, I learned quite a bit, and I appreciate this book because it offers a legal perspective in the writing community---something we need a lot more of. I would include this book on any must-read self-publishing resource list.
The "legal" information is all there, and explained in easy to understand, straightforward language: copyright, fair use, and contract language, to name a few. These are topics that all authors really need to understand, whether they will be self- or traditional publishing. But this book goes well beyond the legal realm, offering a remarkably comprehensive guide to the business of self-publishing, with thorough and thoughtful advice on how to find and engage editors and designers, and marketing and distribution strategies. The structure of the book makes it easy to navigate to guidance on specific topics without the need to read every word. The author is an attorney and self-published author who clearly has a deep understanding of this material, and knows how to present it effectively. Highly recommended.
Ms. Sedwick strives to keep the book easy to read and informative because she knows that this information is crucial to any author considering self-publishing. Since most authors are not legal experts, it's important that this information is made available to anyone considering an alternative to traditional publishing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every self publishing author needs to read this. Excellent legal guidance.Published 13 days ago by J.D. Michaels
Helpful information. Well organized. Useful resource for a first time hope-to-be-self-published novelist. Definitely worth the read. Will keep it close at hand for reference.Published 27 days ago
Contains need-to-know information for the self-publisher, especially for those planning to set up their own business/imprint. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Margaret Duarte
This eBook is needed for any writer or person in this line of business. Describes from A to Z all you need to know in order to have a white launching, overall if you are indie... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This book is useful resource. It tackles small presses' tax and legal considerations in plain English for non-lawyers. Good to have on hand for reference.Published 2 months ago by Antonio Simon, Jr.
This book was well worth the price. I am considering self-publishing a book, and Sedwick's Self Publisher's Legal Handbook provided me with a comprehensive overview of everything I... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ian Eberle