Legal issues that come up for writers

It’s Wednesday! I like to remind myself sometimes what day it is, since I tend to forget a lot. ­čÖé This week, while I’m still waiting to hear back from the wonderful agents I’ve queried, I thought I’d switch gears a bit and discuss some of the legal issues that come up for writers. I have mentioned writing a special email with legal tips for writers and the good news is, the email is written! The bad news is, my email service just isn’t up to the tasks I require of it. So once I get a new service, I will be sending that out to those of you lovely people who would be interested in something like that.

If you’re wondering why legal tips would be important, there are quite a few reasons why writers would need file000704919536legal help. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, if you’ve been reading my posts (like I hope you are), being an author is hard work. There is more to it than sitting down and writing out a story, which can be a hard enough task in and of itself. But there is so much more to it than that if you’re hoping to get your book published. Likewise, there are many legal issues that come up along the road to publishing that you might also be unaware of. I will start by listing some of those things so you can get an idea of why legal tips will be worth you clicking that little “sign-up” button to follow me here on my blog.

Some legal issues a writer will face:

  • Protecting your rights for what you write.
  • Dealing with agent’s and publisher’s (both their obligations to you and your obligations to them).
  • Contracts.
  • Your rights and obligations when you co-write a book.
  • Getting permissions (if you quote anyone else’s work in your writing).
  • Handling the taxes on any income you make as an author.
  • Protecting yourself against libel charges.

This list is not conclusive, these are just some of the issues you will face in your career as a writer. The law is so nuanced that even for those of us who went to law school, it is a difficult field to deal with. That’s why lawyers get paid so much. If you’ve ever talked with an attorney for longer than ten minutes I would bet money they used the term “it depends” at least once. There are so many factors and laws to take into consideration and even then a case may take an unexpected direction depending on the jury or the judge. To ever give a definitive answer for what an outcome will be, is next to impossible. So in the legal writing tips newsletter that I will start sending out soon, I won’t be able to cover every issue that you may face. I will be sticking to very general legal principles. But I believe they will still be helpful because I will be hitting the most common situations you are likely to encounter.

If you want more in-depth legal advice, and don’t mind wading through a lot of reading to find what you’re looking for, a good book I’ve found on many of these subjects can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Writers-Legal-Companion-Complete/dp/073820031X

I’m very excited to put out this newsletter for you. It has been a long time in the making. I will announce it on my social media sites when the sign-up is ready. If you aren’t following me on Twitter – username @writingpiazza or Facebook – www.facebook.com/thewritingpiazza then you need to do that so you won’t miss it!

I have also been talking to some people about doing a special section either here on my blog or else in newsletter form, just for authors looking for help with their author platforms. So keep an eye out for more information on that. I’m thinking of discussing the basics, like how to build an author platform and why you should. To more complex things like SEO tips for Google rankings.

As always, please, please, please tell me if there’s a subject you’d like to see me cover here on my blog and I will do my best to accommodate you. You’re the reason I do this after all. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll take a look around the rest of my blog. There’s some awesome advice happening in my guest interviews you can see them HERE. And I’m almost done with my novella┬áThe Maladroit which you can read for free!

Until we meet again.

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