Monthly Archives: March 2015

Legal Books for Writers

At our March 10th Words for the Journey meeting, we talked about publishing contracts and what is typically negotiable. We discussed the Writer’s Digest post Book Contract: What’s Negotiable and What’s Not.

In that article, the author Brian A. Klems suggests a book The Writer’s Legal Guide, by Tad Crawford and Kay Murray. The book has a section on negotiating book contracts, plus other legal issues that are a concern for the writer: 

  • Registering copyrights, including online
  • Taxes and bookkeeping
  • Following fair use guidelines
  • Negotiating contracts with publishers and agents
  • Obtaining permissions to use others’ work
  • Dealing with periodical, syndication, film, television, play, and audio rights agreements
  • Handling business disputes
  • Understanding libel, privacy, and the limits of free expression
  • Avoiding self-publishing missteps
  • Planning authors’ estates 

I want that book, but I am more interested in self-publishing, so I found this little gem: Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook by Helen Sedwick.

The two books have some overlap, but, as a blogger, I am interested in internet regulations, so I’ll buy the Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook for that (it’s only 4.99 on Kindle). 

There are other books on publishing legalities and book contract negotiation. There’s Negotiating a Book Contract by Mark Levine, and The Writer’s Legal Companion by Brad Bunnin.

I also shared with the group the link to a website that lists intellectual property lawyers. Some authors use IP lawyers to negotiate book contracts. Once the deal is done, the author does not have to continue to pay the lawyer whenever the author’s work sells, as one would an agent. Here is the link for IP lawyers by state, which then leads you to your city.

We also discussed another post about four main ways to open your fiction story. You can see my write-up of that discussion here.