Writing Books/Non-Fiction

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Question
I am working on a book to include personal experience, facts and scientific research, and more importantly parental advice on a specific subject. My question is,how do I obtain advice via the internet, through survey's of real life experiences, tried and true remedies and trial and error. I of course want to use these contributions and name the contributors. I understand there are legal issues, I've been a contributor and this was all done via email. Is this something where I would approach a publisher with the idea first or obtain contributions first?

Answer
Hi Missi:

Well, indeed, there may be legal issues in using other people's works. I am not an attorney, so I can't address those, but if you will go to http://www.writing-world.com/rights/copyright.shtml (You will have to cut and paste as this site does not support hyperlinks) you will find an explanation of copyright that will help you understand.

Unless you are a professional writer with several published works and a reliable following, you should not contact any publisher (or these days, agent) without a finished manuscript in hand. If you are a beginner, you must start writing as all beginners do: on spec.

For that reason, I recommend that you start small, with some articles about your subject, and sell these to online markets until your name gets known. This method has several benefits: you will learn a lot about writing; you will learn (hopefully) to write on a regular basis, and earn a little bit of money at the same time.

Along with other services, The Pygmy Press offers mentoring services. If you need help with your book, contact us at pygmy@pygmypress.com, or visit our site at http://pygmypress.com. A published author will guide you through the process via e-mail "Lessons" - one or two e-mail pages, tailored to your particular needs and your project. No fluff, just good, solid instruction - the kind of help you need.

Mentoring can save you a lot of time and energy, and waylay writer's block. It helps you stay motivated, and keeps you on the right path, start to finish. As one client said, "Trying to write a book without a guide is like wandering lost and alone through the Amazon rain forest." The "email lessons" are $2.50 each.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 1,000 questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand

Expertise

I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.

Experience

I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

Education/Credentials
BA degree in Written Communication

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