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Publishing a Book is the Final Frontier
Many authors begin their careers intending to publish a book. Book publishing is a difficult task to accomplish. It takes many months of work and extensive preparation. A book involves intricately woven ideas. A book is a project. In that project is contained many other projects. Most people are not prepared for the intensive process that is involved in creating a full, coherent book. If book publishing is something that you are interested in trying, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, writing a book is like nothing you have ever done before. It will take extensive and intensive work and development. It will also probably include much of everything you know, and more. Read on for more clarity.
Book publishing is like a new land that has never been explored before. Of course, there are several book authors out there. They have been around for centuries. Unlike other areas of expertise though, book writing is not something that will be the same process for several different people. As you set out to write a book, you will be able to follow some basic guidelines, but getting your ideas from your head to the page will be an invention of your very own. Not only will you have to get the information onto the page, but you will have to write in a way that thousands or even millions of readers will be able to relate to and understand. Again, that will be a process that will take experimentation and trials. As you begin the process of writing your first book, as well as subsequent books, expect to work and rework.
One Idea Is Not Enough
Part of the reworking process is the changing of direction within the writing. Many beginning writers aspire to book publishing. They have an idea and vague plan to turn the idea into book. Picture your first grader telling you that she wants to write a book about horses. There is certainly enough information that people want to know about horses to fill several books, but the vague idea is not enough for an adult writer to create publishable work. To write a book, you will need to start with a topic. You may or may not be an expert on the subject. After you have the first vague ideas, you will need to start asking yourself questions. Answering those questions will hopefully lead you to more questions, and so on. Even if your original idea is completely unique and will lead you to write new information that the world does not yet have access to, you will need to add to that original idea for an intriguing finished product. If you are not an expert, or if you do not already know any new information, it will take even more time and effort in order to produce a unique piece of writing. Fiction is the same as non-fiction. Many stories have been told before. If you want to publish, you will need to come up with an engaging and new journey for your readers to take.
Using Previously Published Work
Now that we have covered the requirement for intricate and new ideas, there is also room in a book for old ideas. Your readers will need a starting place within your writing that is familiar and known. As you are putting together your ideas for a complete book, you will probably publish smaller pieces of work in magazines and newspapers. It is ok, as long as you cite yourself, to reuse some of that work. In that way, you can be publishing as you go along while still making progress towards your end goal in book publishing. After several months or even years, you will have poured out your effort and knowledge into a finally completed and whole book.
Copyright Infringement Play It Safe: Making Sure You're Not Committing Copyright Infringement Copyright infringement is not an easy thing to explain. While it may seem as simple as not using someone else’s work, it’s not that easy. Thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and many other organizations, we have the ability to use others’ works – as long as we use it under ‘fair use’ laws. So what does fair use have to do with copyright infringement, and how can you utilize it? Fair use laws are the conditions in which you can use a copyrighted work without having to pay someone royalties. This includes when you use a copyrighted work for educational or instructional uses, criticism of the work, commentaries on the work, news reporting about the work, teaching on the work (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship uses, and research. This is talked about fully in Section 107 of the Copyright Code (commonly called Fair Use) and is available for you to read at your local library. Copyright Infringement in day-to-day life Sometimes, if you’re writing a paper for work or school, or if you are creating a Power Point presentation, you need to use someone’s work that is already in copyright. So how do you use it without committing copyright infringement? All you have to do is ask – the worst they can say is no, right? But, if they do say no, there are several items in the public domain which may help you to finish your project without having to commit copyright infringement. What is the public domain, and how does it relate to copyright infringement? Material that is not copyrighted is considered in the public domain – you cannot commit copyright infringement on works in the public domain. These works include things that the copyright has expired on, or is not copyright-able – such as government publications, jokes, titles, and ideas. Some creators (writers, musicians, artists, and more) deliberately put their work in the public domain, without ever obtaining copyright, by providing an affiliation with Creative Commons. Creative Commons allows people who create materials to forfeit some, or all, of their copyright rights and place their work either partially or fully in the public domain. So, how do I ensure I’m not committing copyright infringement? First of all, if you’re going to use someone else’s material, you may want to check the public domain to see if something is suitable for use, instead of trying to use someone else’s copyright. However, if you can’t find something suitable (and you can’t create something yourself), the next best thing (and your only legal course of action) is to find a piece that is in copyright, and contacting the copyright holder. When you contact the copyright holder, make sure you tell them what you want to use their piece for – whether it’s for your blog, podcast, or report – and ask them if you can use it. You may have to pay royalties, or an attribution in your piece, or a combination of both. The creator may also place many limitations on when and how you can use their material. Follow all these instructions they give you, and you’ll be free and clear to use their work as you want. Once you have permission to use a copyrighted work, you need to make sure you stay within the agreed-upon boundaries - if you veer outside their agreed terms, you may open yourself up for a copyright infringement lawsuit – which can be nasty, costly, and time consuming. If you’re in doubt, before contacting the copyright holder, contact a copyright lawyer to ensure you’re following the law – and protect yourself!
Finishing a Masterpiece and Getting it on the Shelves (how to get a book published) Writing a book is a monumental task in itself. The process is long, drawn out and grueling. Even if you thoroughly enjoy writing and writing on the same subject for an extended period of time, you will no doubt be exhausted by the writing of a book. Getting that book published, however, will take even more time and effort than producing the thing in the first place. Are you thinking about writing a book? Have you already written one and now are just wondering how to get a book published? If you are, read on. Here are a few tips on how to get from the starting line to triumphantly crossing the finish line. Writing that Book When starting out writing your book, before you are ready to consider how to get a book published, you may already feel daunted. To write a successful book you need to start out with some original thought. You probably have plenty of originality, but you may have trouble getting your ideas into a coherent flow of information that will be digestible by the general public. The first step is to create a book skeleton. You need to organize your thoughts into a progression of chapters. If your book will be non-fiction, start with a table of contents. Write chapter headings and sub-headings. You will automatically know that you’ll need an introductory chapter, but you should probably leave the content of your introduction for the last step. Organize your chapters so that they build upon one another. The more headings that you can brainstorm to begin with, the easier it will be to fill in your book with a series of short articles that flow into one another. If your writing will be fiction, you will need more of a storyboard. You will need to create cause and effect as well as character sketches. To make your story coherent your characters will need events to react to. Their reactions should become predictable as your readers get into the story. You may need to create some situations for your characters just for the purpose of introducing their traits to the reader. These are very general guidelines about how to begin constructing your book. The actual process will be much more involved as you move closer to finding out how to get a book published. Even after you are finished with the bulk of the content, your goal is still a ways off into the future. Getting to Print The next step in how to get a book published is finding a publisher. There are resources at your local library that will let you know who will be the best candidate for publishing the kind of writing that you do. After a series of queries and correspondence with the potential publishers you may get an invitation to send your manuscript. Then the work begins. A publisher is very experienced in finding books that are marketable. He knows what it will take to get your book to sell. Don’t be offended when his editors tears your writing apart. If they are doing that, you can enjoy the fact that you are on the road to a published book. Expect to enter into a close relationship of compromise and change with the editor as you rework and rework what you have already so painstakingly written. When you are finished you will have a readable and clean and correct manuscript ready for print. The road to getting a book published is a long one, but well worth the effort. Trust yourself, and trust the publisher to create a beautiful masterpiece. Don’t be discouraged if several publishers are not interested in your book. You may have to just keep the first few for yourself, and then again, they may eventually get accepted. Good luck and enjoy the process.