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Writing Books/Childern's book - self publishing & use of museum, famous painting


Self-publishing, seems to be my way forward as I understand from the local bookstores, my book is too specific for the publishing companies. Have gone through the rejection letters from publishing companies.

1)In my children's ABC book about a city, am I allowed to use the names of museums, paintings without permission?
2) Writers Market, and Children's writers &illustrators books, do not contain self-publishing information. would you recommend any
3) Would you recommend self-publishing for a chidern's picture book?

Some publishers specialize in specific or regional books, so I wouldnít give up just yet with the idea of getting the book published traditionally, and Iíll tell you why. Expect to put out at least $1,000 and maybe much more if you self publish, and donít expect to make the money back, unless you have an outlet for your book. For example, if the book is written for a niche you can reach, say members of an organization or a profession, and you have inroads and ways to market to that group, the sales can be dismal.

The figures for self published fiction (novels and childrenís books) are even worse. Few self-published books sell more than 100 copies.

I suppose Iíve answered question number three first, and I know most determined writers wonít like my answer, but the problem with self publishing is distribution, and few bookstores will accept a self published book, because they are not easily returnable and rarely have any budget behind them and often are poorly written and not edited. Before you do self publish anything, be sure to get a professional to edit it from beginning to end, including the table of contents and the acknowledgments page. I see more typos on those pages than I can believe. For example, in the USA we spell the word with only one "e" -- acknowledgments. In Britain it's spelled acknowledgements. Check most self-published books in America, and it has the word spelled incorrectly, the British way.

In reverse order, Iíll tackle question number two next. Self-publishing information is best found on the Internet. I have heard statements for and against almost any self-publishing house out there, so the best bet is to compare carefully, get recommendations from people who have used the company, be sure you know what you are getting for your money, and move forward with all the knowledge you can get. Check my Web site for a few links to self-publishing houses I recommend. Either go to http://zebraeditor and click on Links or go directly to the links page by using this address:

Are you allowed to use the names of famous places and paintings? Although this issue falls into the legal realm and I am not an attorney, from my lay person's understanding, as long as you donít say anything disparaging or incorrect about a place, painting, or other public place, person, or object, you can mention it with no repercussions. If youíd feel better checking with an entertainment attorney, see if there is a Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts chapter in your state and ask an attorney familiar with entertainment law.

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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