Top 5 Tips from Lawyer to Author
In the past we've given tips to creative professionals like fashion designers and musicians, but we find it imperative to give the same to authors as well. Whether you're self-publishing or writing for an entity, these tips should help you along your way.
This tip is mostly for self-publishing authors. There are a number of self-publishing companies out there to help you get your manuscripts on the market, but they are not all created equal. Sites like Writer Beware can give you warnings from other authors on which companies to look out for--good and bad. Starting your publishing efforts with a quick Google search can save lots of headache.
2. Copyright Never Hurts
As we've mentioned here before, an original work of authorship receives copyright protection as soon as it is completed. However, this is not always evident to those who see it. We always suggest using the (c) or "Copyright 2012" markings on your work, but there's more you can do. An official copyright from the U.S. Library of Congress can take some time, but having it confirms federal protection for your work. If the piece means a lot to you, the extra protection is worth it.
3. Use Self-Publishing Networks
If a tangible book is not your thing, you can post your work to sites like Berkeley Press or other similar portals. These kinds of sites allow you to post your work, monitor downloads, and share by topic. This is also a great option for students looking to get writings published and make a name for themselves. Some even have relationships with universities and offer free student accounts. With Kindles and iPads being so popular, many are skipping the book-in-hand method. A publishing network is a great alternative.
4. Find Your Niche and Make the Most of It
Some authors have a niche they enjoy writing about. Social media and its many forms have given us various options for sharing what we know and do best-- and niche networks are no different. If your interest is fashion, children's book, law, green living, or whatever, you are sure to be able to find networks across the internet where you can share your pieces and read those of others like you. Be sure the work you submit is protected and if the site offers Terms & Conditions, be sure to read them. Niche sites like J.D. Supra for lawyers, and Petite Fashion Blogs are great niche networks where you can find yourself in like company. If you haven't found a niche for your area of interest....create one!
5. Keep Writing and Protect Your Work
The best way to create a presence in the writing world is to keep writing. You'll create a name for yourself, and ultimately a brand. The more name recognition you have, the easier copyright and trademark issues become. Having legal counsel is never a bad idea, but we know it can be a task for an upcoming author. Take advantage of the many options offered by social media and networking. Your writing skills will improve, and you'll be able to share and learn from others.
Need more? Just ask!