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Entries in Guest Post Wednesday (5)

Wednesday
Nov262014

Why Do I Have to be Concerned with Copyright?

We are very pleased to offer a 2 part blog post from Barbara Ingrassia, Copyright Manager extraordinaire, for Our Little Books Guest Post Wednesday. You may think Copyright is a boring subject, but it is a subject that can be VERY expensive for you in today's copy and paste digital world and one where ignorance will be no excuse. This first part will deal with what you can do with other peoples' work and the second part will be devoted to how you can protect your own work. You need to be aware!

One aspect of writing that can be confusing or overlooked is the role of copyright in all that material floating around in the cyberworld. The Internet has opened access to so many wonderful resources that it becomes so easy to search/copy/paste/send without considering that someone probably owns the rights to that content. However, using 3rd party content without permission from its rightful owner can result in expensive litigation, huge monetary damage awards, and a compromised reputation. Unfortunately, copyright law (the right to make a copy) is complex and often confusing; there are no easy answers. Every proposed use is “unique” and dependent on the facts and details of the situation. “IT DEPENDS” is the safest fast answer when you use someone's work. Here are some guidelines for wading through the gray murky ooze that is copyright in the digital age.

The easiest thought for you to have when you want to repost or use someone else's work is to assume that content is copyright-protected until you can determine otherwise. Copyright protection applies to “original creative content at the moment it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression,” including documents, articles, books, white papers, letters, websites, blogposts, email messages, inter-office memos, social media posts, photos, charts, illustrations, cartoons, musical and dramatic compositions, recorded audio, video and even notes scrawled on a paper napkin. Once something is created onto something (i.e., not verbal), it becomes the author's copyright.

We are taught to look for a notice of copyright, typically a © with a date, name, and All Rights Reserved after something written. However, since 1989 in the U.S., a notice of copyright (that © you see) is not required to establish copyright, so its absence is not a reliable indication of a work’s status. So, if you don't see that ©, it does not automatically mean you can use content without permission. In fact, the rules of copyright in the U.S. have varied so much over the past 200 years that a chart has been developed to try to sort it all out: http://librarycopyright.net/resources/digitalslider or http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/docs/copyright2014.pdf

How about on the internet, out there in cyberspace? Content is so easily accessible, therefore it must be free to use, and how would anyone know if you used something anyway? Unfortunately, that mindset is the easiest way to get yourself in trouble. Being on the internet does not change the copyright rules. If you see something written, recorded, or played whether or not it is on the internet or printed in a book, if the content would be copyrighted in the print/analog world, it is copyrighted in the online/digital world. Just because you CAN copy and paste, doesn’t mean you should.

Plagiarism and copyright infringement are easily confused—and not mutually exclusive. Providing attribution (listing where the quote came from) to the source of 3rd party content is essential, but it is not the same as “permission to use.” IT DEPENDS…on the Who, What, When, Where, Why of a proposed use. Providing attribution protects you from charges of plagiarism (theft), but the specifics of the use can still be copyright infringement. Regardless of the copyright status, lack of attribution is plagiarism. You want to guard against both.

There are some exceptions. For example, content created by employees of the U.S. government in the course of their employment responsibilities are in the public domain—not protected by copyright. These can be great sources of content. While content on a .gov website is in the public domain, some content may have been licensed by the government for inclusion on a .gov site. Once again, don’t assume; look for “terms and conditions of use.” These days, .gov sites are pretty good about indicating if some content on a site is not in the public domain. (Note: this applies only to works of the U.S. government; it does not include all works of state and municipal governments. Once again, IT DEPENDS!)

There is also a third copyright area. Between being © and being in the Public Domain, are works that have been licensed by the copyright owner under a Creative Commons license. The copyright owner (frequently the author of the work) designates that under specific conditions, a prospective user does not have to seek permission to use the content. Types of content available may include images, music, video, or media. However, in all cases, proper attribution must be given. SEE: http://Search.creativecommons.org

But there is good news. You CAN manage copyright so it doesn’t manage you. To learn more about what is and is not protected by copyright, see Copyright Basics—a circular from the U. S. Copyright Office http://copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf. However, the best rule of thumb: if in doubt - check it out, link to it, carefully summarize it in your own words, use bullets, seek permission from the copyright owner, or use something else.

Stay tuned for next week's post where I will discuss how you can protect your own content!

Barbara Ingrassia is a Certified Copyright Manager who provides one-on-one consultations, workshops, and seminars on all issues copyright. To engage Barbara for an audit of your website for copyright issues or for more information about copyright, request the free 16 Page report 10 Biggest Copyright Mistakes Small Business Owners Make AND How to Avoid Them! by sending an email to barb@managecopyright.com with the subject line CREPORT. Manage copyright. Don’t let it manage You!â„ 

The content of this post is © 2014 Barbara C. Ingrassia All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday
Dec142011

Guest Post Wednesday - Authors: Take a look at yourself…

We are very pleased to have for Our Little Books Guest Post Wednesday, a post from author Ron Knight. Besides being a prolific author, he loves to help authors with direction and their marketing. In this post, Ron wants authors to take a look at the last five things they posted (FB, twitter, blog etc.) and then asks themselves if their writing is reflective of who they are and what they represent. A great exercise for anyone who writes anything. Enjoy.

I am going to share your last five posts on Facebook with thousands of readers, along with literary agents and publishers. Would that be okay with you? Take a look at the last five things you posted. While you are at it, look at the last month. What kind of author do you see?

Now, look at your comments and posts on Facebook and Twitter from the point of view of your readers and ask three questions:

“Can I relate to this author’s comments, posts, and Tweets?”

“Is the author helping me with their comments, posts, and Tweets?”

“Would I forward the comments, posts, and Tweets of this author?”

Now put back on your author hat and ask these questions:

“Am I using social media to get my name out there? Do my posts reflect that goal?”

“If a literary agent or publisher looked at my posts over the last two months, would they be impressed with my content?”

“Am I mixing my personal life with my author career goals?”

“Do my opinions give me a decent chance at gaining more readers?”

“When I have a bad day, do I keep it to myself, or do I post it for others to see?”

There are many authors that make daily posts and Tweets, but you would never know they were an author unless you went to their profile page. Here are my suggested social media rules for authors:

~ Everything posted, should relate to your target audience.

~ Everything posted, should interest or help your target audience.

~ Everything posted, should have a chance to be forwarded by others.

~ Stay professional at all times, as if literary agents and publishers are watching you.

~ Do not get personal in social media. (Example: Have your author Facebook account and your personal Facebook account. Keep the two separate when it comes to content.)

~ Keep your personal opinions to yourself, unless your opinions are related to your books, or would interest/help your target audience.

~ If you have a bad day, your readers should not know. In their eyes, you should always be doing well.

You are an author, which means, your content is magnified a thousand percent. Stay professional at all times and remember that others are watching.

Ron Knight has authored eleven novels, along with the AC Heroes graphic novel series. He is the originator and author of Untraditional Publishing. His program, UP Authors is a marketing program that is supported by a collaboration of authors, readers, and those connected to the publishing industry. Ron will gladly assist authors with their manuscript by reading the first chapter, provide feedback, and give advice on steps that the author should take in order to succeed. Also, coming soon: "Untraditional Publishing" by Ron Knight. 47 chapters, jammed packed with helpful information so you can succeed as an author! www.authorronknight.com

Wednesday
Nov302011

Guest Post Wednesday - Always Tell the Truth

Welcome back to Guest Post Wednesday. This week we are very pleased to have back with us Megan McClain who used to work with us as a high school intern. But Megan moved on and is now a college student. Although she moved on from us, she has not moved on from her love of writing and especially journalism. For one of her classes, she had to write an article and get it published. We love the fact that she chose us to publish her article and we hope you enjoy it like we did.

Always tell the truth. This is what we all hear as young children, however somewhere along the way that concept of honesty is twisted to better fit the needs of certain institutions. Specifically, I am thinking of the way broadcast journalism covers the news. Personally, the fast-paced action of a station, glamour of the cameras and the hunt for great stories put a sparkle in my eye and a desire in my heart to one day be a part of that environment.

However, when put under the magnifying glass I began to discover the ways journalism is failing to arm itself from the corrupt yet appealing ways of the new approach to broadcasting. It is not impossible to keep one's head above the alluring benefits of purely gaining money. A news station should cover news relevant and important to it's audience, that is all. The problem is that news is sometimes distorted or missing pieces so that it might sound more engaging than it really is. It should go like this: Find the truth, make sure it is applicable to the those who hear it and then report the truth.

It is not surprising to discover that many people today, especially the young adult population, decide not to follow coverage of the news. This is due to the frustrating reality of biased reporting and the haunting feeling that citizens aren't receiving the whole truth. Mackenzie Crite, a freshman at the University of Kentucky said, "No news station is going to be completely unbiased-they all have their corporate sponsors and interests. I think that you can gain quality information from them, but you'd have to watch a conservative station, like FOX and then a more liberal one to gain a semblance of the actual truth." Here it is illustrated that is wise to know the slant of a station and gather information from several places before drawing a conclusion about a certain topic.

Even after collecting tidbits from a variety of sources, it is still difficult to determine whether or not news is an active participant in forming choices that would benefit one's daily life. When asked if news coverage provides information needed to make solid choices in life, Jacob Waid, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky said, "I do not think news would benefit me in my life or provide information for struggles." It would be wrong to ask the news to make decisions for you, as it is only a vessel used to expel events happening worldwide. However, this constant flow of reporting should have a valuable role for citizens for it to have meaning.

It comes down to this: something about news broadcasting needs to change. Time to recreate it's purpose and go back to being a dynamic part of life, with the whole truth and an unbiased way of speech. It has to recapture citizens attention before it loses it altogether, and decisions that affect us all are made by a small amount of people.

Megan is currently a freshman at the University of Kentucky. She is majoring in Broadcast Journalism and her ambition is to one day be part of a news station. She enjoys growing and learning in this field and hopes that her writing can positively affect at least one person, even if it is just a suggestion on what next to read. Megan is inspired by anything and everything around her, and writing is what she uses to show others inspiration too. It is hard to say where the University of Kentucky will lead Megan, however one thing is certain: whatever her future brings she knows it will include writing!

Wednesday
Feb022011

How to Promote Your Book on Facebook with a Fan Page

Today for Our Little Books Guest Post Wednesday, we are pleased to present Dana Lynn Smith who is a book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketer Guides. Drawing on her 15 years of publishing experience and degree in marketing, she specializes in developing marketing plans for nonfiction books and helping authors learn how to promote their books online. One such way is using a fan page on Facebook to promote your book. She is someone to listen to as she knows her stuff! Enjoy.

Promote Your Book on Facebook With a Fan Page
by Dana Lynn Smith

Many Facebook users are confused by the role of Profiles and Pages. On Facebook, Profiles are strictly for people. Facebook's rules require that you register your Profile in your own name and you can have only one Profile. If you set up your Profile in the name of your business or book, you risk having your account cancelled, but it is possible to set up a separate Profile in your pen name as long as you use a different email address.

A Facebook Fan Page (or Page) is designed for business use and it's a great way to promote your book. You can set up a Fan Page for your business, book, or even a character in your book, and you can create multiple Pages. Here are some advantages that Pages have over personal Profiles.

  • By using Facebook applications like "Static FBML," you can create customized tabs on your Facebook Fan Page containing graphics, text and videos to promote your book, and even include opt-in forms to grow your mailing list. 
  • You can specify which tab of the Page that you want new visitors to land on and create a welcome message for new visitors. See the welcome message on my Page for an example, and also notice the "FREE ebook" tab on the Page. 
  • Facebook users join a Page by clicking on the "Like" button at the top of the Page and there's no limit to the number of fans who can join. With your Profile, you are limited to 5,000 friends. 
  • You can send messages to your all of your fans, which show up in their newsfeed.
  • Pages get indexed by search engines and each tab on the Page has its own URL that you can link directly to.

Click here to create your own Fan Page. When you've got your Page in place, here are some ways to promote your book by building traffic to your Fan Page:

  • Once your Page has at least 25 fans, create a personalized URL for your Page.
  • Beneath the photo or image on your Page, click "Suggest to Friends" to send invitations to your Facebook friends to join your page. The invitation will appear in the In Box of your friends. 
  • Write an article for your blog and ezine inviting people to join your Page.
  • Invite people to join your page by posting updates on Twitter, your Facebook personal Profile, and on other social networks. It's best to offer a benefit, rather than just asking people to join.

To encourage Facebook users to join your Page, be active in posting on the page, maintain lively discussions, and offer some benefits and incentive for becoming a fan. Even though promotion is allowed, you still need to be somewhat subtle and provide value to your fans rather than just a sales pitch.

 

Excerpted from The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing, by Dana Lynn Smith. For more book marketing tips, follow BookMarketer on Twitter and get Dana's free Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you visit her book marketing blog.

You see  why we like Dana! And while we are talking about Facebook pages, please stop by the Our Little Books facebook page and 'like' us!

Wednesday
May262010

Anatomy of A First Book- How An Author Brought Her Book into Being

Have you ever wondered how an idea becomes a book? Or how an idea morphs into a story? We are very pleased today to have for Our Little Books Guest Post Wednesday, a post by Bronwyn Clee, a leadership and emotional fitness coach from DownUnder. In her post, we follow her as her idea eventually becomes a short story, while surrounded by all the fears and hopes that we all attach to our own writings. By reading Part One about her writing journey, hopefully other people will be willing to take the plunge into becoming an author and stay tuned for Part Two next week! Enjoy.

I started writing my first book in 2002 and filed the outline in a ‘secret file’ in case our children stumbled across it on our shared computer of the time. Funny thing was, I forgot about the secret file, and besides I had a very busy life to attend to … so my first book quietly faded in to the background of my busy brain.  Then in 2005 my lifetime partner and I took our first overseas holiday and went to Bali for 8 days. On our second day, I started writing a letter to my mum, and the letter continued for the entire 8 days, and of course became such an epic yarn that I just couldn’t send her a 50 page letter. I do remember saying to my husband that I seriously didn’t want to go home and that I just wanted to stay in Bali and write my book.

When we got home and I read back over my lengthy letter, I didn’t think anyone else would really want to read that much about 'my insights' so I shelved it. I tried to read parts of it to mum over the phone which was pretty clumsy - when you live over 3,000kilm apart you become creative about how else to share info that you would normally share over a pot of tea. And I did try one more time when we she was visiting and even hooked up the video camera to try and add colour and flavour to my lengthy letter and that didn’t really work either…

During my recuperation time late last year, in my infinite wisdom, I decided that I really wanted to turn that darn lengthy letter into a short story for mum. In doing so, I realized that it would probably be a decent thing to show my husband first as there are quite a few ‘reflective moments’ which I never intended for him to read. Him being a very harsh critic who as a reader must be captivated within the first two pages or he won’t turn another, set my heart a fluttering when he agreed to read this book. With great trepidation I even suggested he might like to make notes on my second final draft (my proper final drafts are capitalized and filed as FINAL – this is the only code that works for me!) and reminded him that I had a timeline of one week for him to read and get back to me.

I was astonished when he read it in four nights and told me it was a bloody good read. When I asked if he wanted me to change anything he said there was something that should be fixed. My heart sunk to my stomach and between butterflies in my belly and a banging heart I waited for him to show me. Remember this is not a man who dresses anything up for any reason, and me being a blushing ‘author’ and all was obviously a bit nervous. I had a smile a mile wide when he pointed out a ‘typo’ on the second last page! And that was all! My 50 handwritten notes had become 80 B5 pages and he had chugged his way through reading it. The butterflies in my belly stopped partying with my thumping heart and all was well again in my world. He who gives away compliments on the rarest of occasions had read my book and enjoyed it. His parting comment was, “I don’t think the world’s ready for this one honey, it’s a bit too much about us. But you are a bloody good writer and I’m looking forward to your first real book”.

Bronwyn’s new life motto is “self care ~ self pace ~ self love”. In facing death last year, Bronwyn came face to face with what she truly, madly, and deeply valued most in life. Of course it had always been loving relationships, so she decided that this was her chance to sift and sort and align her life with her core values and only do things she really believe in doing. To find out more about Bronwyn, check out Bronwyn’s websites at www.bronwynclee.com or www.gratitudelog.com/growingratitudes and make sure you come back next week for Our Little Books Guest Post Wednesday Part Two of An Anatomy of a First Book.