Copyrights, Permissions, and Fair Use

One of the rights accorded to the owner of the copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of fair use. Although ‘fair use’ was not mentioned in the previous copyright law, the doctrine has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years. This doctrine has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

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How to Submit a Manuscript

Manuscripts (complete only) should be directed to ‘The Editor’ at our Brooklyn office (see our Contact page) and be sent with a self-addressed stamped envelope, a resume, relevant marketing information, and any other material that you feel would be useful in helping us understand the book’s content market and potential. We will also happily receive this information via email.

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Crowd-funding a Book

In 1926, T. E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) decided to take his memoir about the Arab Revolt during World War I—Seven Pillars of Wisdom—and turn it into a slightly abridged but lavishly illustrated “subscribers’ edition,” with illustrations commissioned from some of the leading British artists of the day, including Paul Nash and Augustus John. Fearful of being seen to exploit his war-time record for personal gain, Lawrence published 200 copies at thirty guineas each, which was about a third of the cost per book. A trust was eventually set up to pay off the debt. Lawrence was no businessman!

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The Art of Editing

The always interesting texts from “Writers Ask,” the quarterly magazine produced by Glimmer Train, include a quote from Charles Johnson that could apply to all writers, whether of fiction or non-fiction.

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Telling a Story

When one thinks about it, writing a book is a lot like being like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. The reader is the wedding guest, a guy who’s got his mind on much more fun things than to listen to your story, and who’s very resistant when you collar him and demand that he pay attention.

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Read Your Manuscript Aloud

Glimmer Train used to provide subscribers with a booklet called “Writers Ask,” in which fiction writers talk about their craft, work habits, challenges, and other matters to do with putting words into an interesting order and getting them printed by a publisher. Here’s Ann Patchett offering a great tip for writers to help them revise:

I always read my books aloud when I’m finished, and it’s always torture. But there are things you catch when you hear it that you just can’t see when reading. While working on “The Magician’s Assistant,” I got my dog, Rose. When I finished I read the novel aloud to my grandmother. Every third metaphor in the book was a dog metaphor: “He stretched out on the floor like a dog”; “Her hair was like a bunch of springer spaniels.” Every time I heard the word “dog,” it hit me like a gong.

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Writing as Performance Art

Andrew Keen’s thought-provoking polemic The Cult of the Amateur rails against, among other things, the dumbing down of genuine knowledge in favor of rumor and opinion; the “flattening” of expertise and professionalism in favor of amateurism and the belief that many, untrained people “know” more than the few elites; and Web 2.0’s supposed privileging of immediate populist self-expression (i.e. YouTube) over genuine, nurtured, and properly remunerated talent.

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How (Not) to Submit a Manuscript

We get a lot of manuscripts at Lantern Publishing and Media; we think of it as one of the hazards of being publishers. Well, that’s not fair: We depend on manuscripts to keep publishing, so we welcome them all.

However, much of the time what we’re sent are manuscripts that we’re never going to publish. Some are novels, and we don’t publish fiction; some contain a lot of poetry, and we don’t publish that; some are children’s books, and we don’t publish those either. It’s not because we hate fiction and poetry or don’t like children; it’s simply because those markets are huge and complex and we don’t feel ready to move into them right now. It would also be a major disservice to you, the author: Who wants to be published by someone who has no idea what they’re doing?

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Writing a Children’s Book

Several times a week (or so it seems), we receive an email from someone, usually accompanied by an attachment or two, who has written a children’s book, and wants either for us to publish it or to offer advice on how to get it published. Apart from a few notable exceptions, Lantern doesn’t publish children’s books. The children’s book market is a vast and complicated market, which runs parallel to the adult publishing world. You may wish to read many of the books on children’s book publishing such as: How to Publish Your Children’s Book by Lisa Burby (writeforkids.com), the Fab Job Guide to Become a Children’s Book Author, or The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books by Harold D. Underdown.

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