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

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Vol. 5 / Book length – Where do I go from here?

Some writers plan ahead as to how many pages their complete book will be. Others simply start writing and end when they feel their work is completed. Either way, before publishing, the number of pages will need to be decided.

Most commonly, the length of your manuscript determines what type of publication you have.

• Short story – under 15,000 words
• Novella – 15,000 to 29,999 words
• Short novel – 30,000 to 44,999 words
• Novel – 45,000 to 69,999 words
• Plus or super novel – over 70,000 words

There are some exceptions to these numbers. If you are writing a children’s book, you may have as little as 500 words, but many more illustrations, which might add to the total number of pages in the finished work. If your manuscript is less than 8 pages, it may not be worthwhile to publish as a book. In most cases, a minimum of 32 pages is needed for a hard cover book to have a solid “backbone.”

If you self publish and have your book printed, your layout and printing costs may vary depending on the books length. Many printers prefer a book to be set up with a particular amount of pages. Most books are printed on large sheets of paper which are folded into sections containing 8, 16, or 32 pages. Since printers generally set up the pages in segments of 8 at a time, keeping your book at an even number devisable by 8 can save you some money on printing costs. For instance, if your book is 144 pages in length, the printer may use 18 sheets to copy it (144 divided by 8 = 18). Printers may vary on the number of pages per sheet so it is important to discuss this with your specific printer.

When calculating the total number of pages in your finished book, don’t forget to add up the extra pages needed for components such as, your table of contents, introduction, index, etc. And by all means, don’t forget that book pages are two-sided.

Suggested Reading;

Modern Matriarch, The Ideal Length for Your Book
McGraw-Hill, Book Length

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 new website at

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Copyright © March 2008 by Plain & Simple Books, LLC
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