Getting Published or E-published/Permissions


I am working on a non-fiction book, but I use a LOT of quotes from other people, films, books, culture, youtube, etc. What are the rules governing when I do, and don't, need to get permission? For example, I have quotes from A Charlie Brown Christmas, Bill Cosby, The Office, movies, other authors, old theologians (CS Lewis, etc#, youtube, newspapers, etc. A lot of culturally relevant quotes.

Also, I use a lot of Bible passages and I heard I need to get permission to use verses in my book. What are the rules governing that?

Mike -- There is not one simple answer to this question, as there are few laws governing permissions but many kinds of practices that vary from medium to medium and even company to company. As a rule, you can quote up to 300 words from a published book without permission under "fair use," but even then you should clearly identify the source. Other media can be much more difficult, limited often to two lines, and the source governing the permissions may not be immediately clear. Classic Bible verses are generally okay without permission,as they are so widely used. But I'd advise that you have a comprehensive guide to refer to, and go through your manuscript checking out each quote. One of the better guides available is from Nolo Press:

best wishes,
D. Patrick Miller
Fearless Books

Getting Published or E-published

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D. Patrick Miller


I am an independent self-publisher who sold three projects to major New York houses before starting my own company. I provide editorial services to a major literary agency in Manhattan and work regularly with authors at all levels of expertise. I can answer questions like these: What does "independent publishing" mean? Should I publish myself or use a service like XLibris? What is "print on demand" publishing? How do I publish myself on the Web? What are the best resources for learning about publishing? How do I find a literary agent? What are my chances of getting published by a major New York firm?


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