You are here:

Writing Books/using quotes of stories from others


I am in the process of writing a book about a subject but what I am using is
people's stories/experiences about a certain event they've experienced and
putting it into my own words. I'm not sure of the legalities of this. My mother
had this angel book that is similar in what I'm doing, the author mentioned in
the beginning she put ads in the paper for people who've had particular
experiences and received letters and emails from them and she re-wrote it all
using different names etc. and got it published. Do I need consent forms from
people?  Can someone demand any profit that could be made from this? If
they live in another state/country does a simple email of them confirming
they're releasing the story that happened with them to be used in a literary
compilation? Thank you


I'm not an expert on the legalities of such things, so for that, I'd refer you to an attorney who specializes in publishing law.  You might find one here on AllExperts.

However, there's an easy way around it, and that's not to do it fictitiously.  The Chicken Soup books do exactly this, and they give attribution to the contributors.  The compensation given for having an anecdote included can be minimal, and it's entirely up to you what it could be.  It could be a free copy of the book.  It could be $25, upon publication of the book.  It could be nothing but a thank-you in the acknowledgment section of the book.  Whatever the compensation is, just make sure the contributor knows what it is up front, and signs a release form to that effect.  Make sure the release form gives you permission to alter the text in minor ways (e.g., to edit for length, correct typos and grammar, etc.) and allows rights for all future editions of the book in any form (audio, Kindle, etc.).

Beyond that, go for it.

Writing Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

©2016 All rights reserved.