You are here:

Writing Books/Using people's names in nonfiction


Hi, Jamie. I have written a biography of a large period of my life, during which I was a Zoo Keeper at a real zoo. The book is entirely true and accurate events that happened. It is also friendly and not malicious. Can I mention people's names in this book, as a memoir? (By the way there are no publishers lined up to publish. At current time I expect the book will be distributed to friends and family.) So, for example, if I tell the story of a funny thing that happened to me and real people, can I put the names of these people in the book? This book is novel-length and written in the style of a "non-fiction novel." Thank you. Adam

Hello Adam,

It sounds delightful.

In order to use people's real names, you would need their legal permission- through a literary attorney. Most people want percent of royalties from the sale.

Or, simply create fictitious names and go with that to be safe from liability,

Writing Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

Past/Present Clients
I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

©2017 All rights reserved.