Writing Books/copyright

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Question
I have written several books however I'm apprehensive about sending them out because of the copyright issue. Should I have my work registered for copyrights before I submit it to an unknown entity?  Otherwise, how can I protect my work from being "stolen" from me during the submission process?  This issue has been holding me back for sometime and I appreciate any information you may be able to provide.  Thank you for your time.  

Answer
Dear Edna:

I certainly understand your concern but I hasten to add that you need worry only if you're considering sending your manuscript out to scurrilous or unethical publishers.  Since we all want to be published by only the best houses, I don't think you'll be dealing with the dregs of the publishing industry.

Most writers don't know this but your work is copyright protected at the time you write it.  You need a copyright registration so that you can prove that you were the first one to write the book that was plagiarized.  There is another way to protect yourself that doesn't involve a registered copyright.  Send yourself a copy of the manuscript through the US mail.  The postage mark on the envelope is proof of when you wrote it.  Then, if you find it's been stolen after you've sent it out, you can bring suit and use the postmark as a date of ownership.

Now let me tell you why all this is unnecessary.  There are 50,000 books published each and every year.  There are probably 500,000 submissions from hopeful authors to publishers each and every year.  With 500,000 stories to pick from, why would a publisher take on the hassle of stealing someone's work?  They'll either like your books and buy them, or, not like them and send them back to you.  DO NOT LET THE STEALING ISSUE HOLD YOU BACK ANY LONGER!  Submit, submit, submit!  Just make sure you're submitting to reputable agents and publishers and not some fly by night crooks.  Literary Market Place, available at your local library or by subscription on line, will list only reputable agents and publishers.  Pick some from their list and get those books out there!  Please!

Don't let this issue delay you any longer!

Best of luck!

Liz Aleshire
www.lizaleshire.com

Writing Books

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Liz Aleshire

Expertise

What is a book proposal and why do I need one? Do I need a book proposal for both nonfiction and fiction books? How do I write a book proposal? What are the required components of a book proposal? What is an overview? What is a synopsis? How do I find out what other books are available on my topic so I can make my book different? How do I pitch to an agent/publisher? What's a query letter? What's a 30-second commercial?

Experience

I am the author of four nonfiction books: Private Lives of Ministers' Wives (with Rev. Sherry Taylor,New Horizon Press, New Jersey, 1991)and currently working on a second edition; Bugs: Stingers, Suckers, Sweeties, Swingers (a FRanklin Watts Frist Book, Chicago, 1993); The Confident Collector Identification and Price Guid to Quilts (with Kathleen Barach, Avon Books, NY, 1992); and, Official Price Guide to Quilts 2nd edition(with Kathleen Barach, Random House, NY, 2003.) I've taught How to Write the Book Proposal for the past ten years at the week long International Women's Writing Guild annual summer conference, and, at the Manchester Community College Continuing Education program. I've taught in many local continuing education programs in central Connecticut. Five authors have sold books using my methods for writing the book proposal. I have spoken at the Big Apple Conference, an IWWG event held in NYC; both Connecticut chapters of the Romance Writer's of America other writing conferences

Organizations
Internation Women's Writing Guild, past associate member American Society of Journalists and Authors

Publications
Books for New Horizon Press. NJ; Franklin Watts (Now Scolastic)Danbury, CT; Avon Books, NYC; and, Random House, NYC

Education/Credentials
B.A in Economics from the University of Connecticut

Past/Present clients
Carren Strock, author Married Women Who Love Women; Doris Larson, travel writer, Ohio; MaryLou Streznewsi author Gifted Grownups.

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