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Writing Books/Citation and Reference


QUESTION: I am wanting to self publish training/reference books. However, the one thing that keeps
holding me up is permissions. I've tried contacting publishers to get general information
on how citation/references are charged, but that was a giant no-go. However, it's
generally not easy to complete the planning stage of a project without a decent
approximation of cost. Can you give me a rough idea of how paying for permissions goes?
For example, do publishers charge per article, or do they charge per title? Is it a
ridiculous amount of money per citation or are they reasonable?
Thanks for your help!

ANSWER: Dear Storm,
Thank you for your question. You want to compile things other people have written/published? That may be tricky, since the copyright holder may not want to release their copyrighted material to another author.
What you need to do is study the material, and study material from all different sources, then form your own theories, programs, and conclusions, then write original material.
If you then want to quote from the resources you studied, you can include quotations.
You do not need to seek permission if you just quote a small portion of another author's work. Simply cite your sources in the end notes, including the name of the publication, author, publication, date of publication, and page numbers.
If you want to use more than a few paragraphs here and there, you need permission.
And as I said, unless the publisher has a good reason to let you re-publish the material, I doubt if you will get a response.  They published it, and allowing others to reprint things can get into difficult legal territory.
Please write back if you want to discuss further, or if I did not understand the question.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thank you for the reply. I would certainly be writing new material, but I believe part of validating data is providing evidence that my work isn't pseudoscience, and providing references to prove that my work follows the technical standards of the respective academic community. For example, instead of just saying "this is correlated to that", I would use citations every now and then to provide reference material (for readers to find more data on the subject, and to cite research conducted by others backing up what I say when the research was conducted by someone else). My question is about how much it would cost to obtain permissions for these from publishers. Sorry if I didn't ask the question clearly.

ANSWER: Hey Storm, that is no charge.
If this is what you mean (see my article, posted at my site:
Want to discuss further? Send any specific questions.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thank you again for the response. I was actually referring to costs of using references like you'd find in textbooks or training books like this:

There's no cost to use them?

Thank you again!

Hi Storm, I went to the Google Books page you sent, but could not tell what you wanted me to look at.
But if you just want to write up a list of references, like footnotes, "this information came from Xyz Book, by author, publisher, publication date, page number, short excerpt," or whatever, that is free. You can also have a bibliography, listing books you relied on for your study. You can also include a recommended reading list, or something like that.
However, if you want to reprint lengthy excerpts from the other author's book, that is not free, and it would be next to impossible to obtain rights unless you are friends with the author. Write back if you have any other questions or doubts. Best wishes on your project!

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Nori J. Muster


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