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Writing Books/I'm not sure if I'm asking the right person...


...but I hope you can help me.  I'm close to finishing my first novel, and I've begun each chapter with a quote, and quoted from many poems within the text of the story.  Can you tell me at what point in the writing process I should start seeking permission to use these quotes?  I have no idea how to go about that.  Thank you.

Hy, Athlynne!

This is a tricky question to answer, because the laws about using quotes are sort of sketchy. It depends on how much wording you use and what your intent is. The best thing I can do is direct you to the U.S. Copyright Office's Frequently Asked Questions page, which deals with this issue. It also explains other things about how copyrights work, which will come in handy as you pursue publication. Hope this helps! Here's the link to the section that deals with this issue:

Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions. :)


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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