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Question
If a person writes a book using a "pen name" will the author always remain anonymous? Also, how can the author have the rough copy edited or get opinions of other people before it is copywrited without the risk that someone else will copy it and have it copywrited and published beforehand? Thanks

Answer
If a person writes a book using a "pen name" will the author always remain
anonymous?

There are a lot of things keeping an author who uses a "pen name" from
permanently remaining anonymous.  First of all, if you self-publish or if
you publish with a traditional publisher, someone has to send you checks for
the royalties or from the sale of the book, and these have to be in the name
of a real person.  Second, the IRS will need to collect taxes in the name of
a real person, so at least a few people will need to know who you are.
Also, if you want to have a pen name so you can tell things about people who
won't like it, having a pen name doesn't keep you from being sued, since
some people will work to figure out who you are.  Finally, if you want to be
interviewed on TV shows, how do you do that without revealing who you are?
It is not easy to remain anonymous, particularly if the book becomes well
known.

Also, how can the author have the rough copy edited or get opinions of other
people before it is copyrighted without the risk that someone else will copy
it and have it copyrighted and published beforehand?

First of all, copyright law says your work is copyrighted automatically the
minute you put it to paper.  To add to that, you can always add the
copyright "c" with your name and the year on each page to signal to other
people it is copyrighted.  You have 90 days after you get it printed to
register your copyright with the Federal Government if you choose so for
some additional copyright protection.

Bottom line, though:  There are some people you can trust in the world, and
others you can't.  You should only send your work to people who you trust
not to take it.  Most editors and others are in the business of editing and
they would lose their businesses if they stole someone's work, and I've
never heard of a case of that happening with a professional. It is too easy
to prove it is your work and you sent it to them.  The risk of someone
taking your work is really pretty small, but you should always be careful
about sending it out widely before it is published.  It is important to have
your work edited and peer reviewed, so check out good people and don't be
too afraid to take the right steps.

There's are several books I list on my website that might be of great value to you. They cover the legal aspects of publishing and are under the PUBLISHING heading on this page:
http://stores.authorsmart.com/page.bok?template=library

Hope that helps!

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Gail Richards

Expertise

I can help you use your intellectual capital---you know---that NON-FICTION "book you've been meaning to write" out of your head and out into the world by answering questions about the publishing process and what your options are.

Experience

I work with numerous authors as well as other book professionals in this arena. In addition, I create tools for authors to use as they work through the process. Detailed information is available on my website, http://www.authorsmart.com

Organizations
eWomenPublishingNetwork - member and service provider eWomenNetwork, Colorado Springs - leadership team National Association of Women Writers - member Colorado Springs Customer Service Association

Education/Credentials
BA Dartmouth College, 1984

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