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I have a great idea for a compilation book, including stories, poetry, etc. collected from others.  First of all, I'm wondering if there are any legal obligations I need to be aware of up front, as I begin collecting submissions from people.  But also, I need to know more about the whole process in general.  This is new territory to me, but I really believe in my idea.  I think it could be really sucessful, if I just figure out how to make it happen.  Any advice you may have would be appreciated, or if you could point me in a direction, to where I can find more information about how to compile books like this.  I really appreciate any help you can give me!  Thank you!

Jennifer Colby

Answer
Dear Jennifer,
Thank you for your questions. If you print someone else's story or poem, you must obtain a release. It can be as simple as "I, [name of author], grant Jennifer Colby unlimited permission to use my [poem, story] in her book, [title], for publication. In exchange, I will recieve one copy of the book." Signed, dated.
Getting permission to use the material may seem like the easy part once you try find a publisher. At my site i have posted an article called, How to Find a Publisher."
http://steamboats.com/writing.html
You will need to write a good cover letter, synopsis, etc., and start sending it out to likely publishers.
Finding a good publisher might seem like the easy part once the book is published, because then you will have to help the publisher sell it. People often complain that the publisher isn't giving their book enough publicity, but it's really up to the author(s). Your contributors can also help. Basically, you will need to set up appearances in bookstores and other venues to promote the book.
Also at my web pages is a link to good writing books. You'll see there are many good books available on how to get published and how to promote your book.
I wish you the best. If you want to talk further, please write back again.
Sincerely,
Nori

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