Friday, March 28, 2008

Vol. 6 / Research & Permission

Non-fiction is written through research, and we are a fortunate generation to have the internet available to do our research. Using the search engines like Google and Yahoo, nearly every existing topic entered will return several resources. The library is a good source for research as well. For each fact you accumulate for your book, keep notes on where you found the information and who provided it to the location you found it, i.e., what website, book, newspaper, journal, article, etc. You will need to source all your information in your book including the date when the information was printed.

You can post free requests for information on your subject at the Para Publishing website. These may include the personal stories or experiences of others. See “Para Publishing” below.

A rule of thumb is never copy more than three words in sequence of another persons work (copyright infringement). If you want to use someone else’s work word-for-word as part of your book, such as a quote or research document, you will need written permission from that person.

Your written request should include the original authors name, the title and copyright date of the work, a page number or reference site of the work, and exactly what part in total you are requesting to use. You can condense this information into a letter form, but be very specific on all details of their work. Include your name, contact information, and what you plan to use their work in conjunction with, i.e., your book title. Offer to give them credit in the book and source their name and work on the page where the work will be included. Include the following:

• Your name, address, and all contact information
• Addressed to?
• Date
• A letter similar to this:

I am writing a book tentatively titled, “John Writes a Book.” I would like your permission to include the excerpts as described below in any and all editions of the book for worldwide distribution, and in all promoting and free and paid advertizing.

In exchange for your permission, you will be listed in my Acknowledgments, names and titles index (if included in your book), and sources on the page the excerpts appear. I will also send you a copy of the finished book.

I hope you will agree to give your quality work greater exposure.

For your convenience, enclosed are a self-addressed stamped envelope and a copy of this letter for your records.

• Signature
• Include on a new page:

Material to be reprinted: Excerpts from the book “The Way is to Write.” Page 222, section begins with “Only you can write a book.” Ends with, “Are you a good writer.” Total 17 lines. Copyright date: 2001

• A line for them to sign if they grant permission, “Permission granted,” as well as a line underneath denying permission, “Permission denied.” Include a place for them to date the document along with their signature.

The internet has made an easier job of locating people. Start immediately seeking out your needed permissions for it can take a long time to receive a response. Use the search engines to locate writers and professionals for permission. If that fails, contact the publisher of the work. If you can’t obtain permission, don’t use it.

Para Publishing marketplace newsletter archives:

E-zine author; Carol Denbow
Author of: Are You Ready to Be Your Own Boss? (2006 Plain & Simple Books, LLC)
Stress Relief for the Working Stiff (summer 2008 Publish America)
A Book Inside, Writing, publishing, and selling your story
(Summer 2008 Plain & Simple Books, LLC))

Visit Carol’s Website at

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