Writing World Newsletter Archive
Return to Newsletter Index · Home


                      W R I T I N G   W O R L D

A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 11:04           12,298 subscribers        February 17, 2011
MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
details on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editors.

THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S DESK: Libraries are Vital, by Dawn Copeman 
THE WRITING DESK: Obtaining Expert Opinions, by Moira Allen
FEATURE:  The Nitty Gritty of Copyright, by Abra Staffin-Wiebe 
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

Writing.Com is the online community for writers of all interests.
Create your free online portfolio and start writing today!
               --- http://wwx.Writing.Com/ ---
Become a fan on Facebook: http://facebook.com/WritingCom 
Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WritingCom
WRITERSCOLLEGE.COM has 57 online courses. Prices are low. If you 
can reach our web site, you can take our courses. 
PURSUE YOUR WRITING DREAM.  If you've ever dreamed of writing and
seeing your words in print, this may be your best chance to test 
that dream. Learn to create the kind of stories and articles that 
will sell to editors. Train with an experienced pro author. 
Free test: http://www.breakintoprint.com/W1521
GET PAID TO WRITE! Turn the writing skills you already have into a
highly-paid recession-proof profession...working part time! You're
already a writer. Find out how you can earn $100 to $150 per hour 
from this little-know lucrative business: 
* Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write.
* Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter.
* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.


Libraries are Vital
As a homeschooling mom I spend a lot of my time teaching history to
my nine-year-old. Last year we spent a whole year studying the
Victorians in some detail and how they made much of the modern
world we recognise today -- in particular, the growth of mass
literacy and the development of lending libraries. First there were
private, penny libraries such as the one run by Boots the Chemist,
then municipal ones, to enable everyone, no matter what their
background, access to books to read for pleasure or, this being
Victorian times, for self-improvement. 

Now, however, in these modern times, libraries have, in the UK at
least, been condemned as being no longer relevant. The argument
goes that as people can buy books cheaply on the Internet these
days, and indeed, use the Internet to gain much of the same
information traditionally obtained from libraries, then libraries
are defunct, a thing of the past that we hang on to out of
nostalgia rather than real need. 

To use a particularly British phrase, poppycock! Yes, people can
buy books cheaply online or from charity shops, but we are just at
the start of a massive recession, guys, and people don't have money
to spare. Charity shops have reported that people aren't donating
goods as often anymore, as they prefer to get what they can from
them online at Amazon or eBay. If people are so in need of the odd
pound they can raise for their old books and clothes, they aren't
likely to have the cash to buy new ones. 

Well, say our leaders, there's always the Internet. True, but does
everyone really have access to the Internet? If you've lost your
job and money is tight, are you really going to continue to pay for
that broadband connection? Aren't you more likely to sell your
computer for cash? 

I grew up in the seventies and eighties when times were often hard.
 My dad had three jobs once just to keep paying the bills.  We did
have a bookcase, a small three-shelved one, of which one shelf was
full of books.  We didn't have money to buy books, so the local
library was our haven. We went regularly, every Friday, to stock up
on new books.  When I say, we, I mean mum and I, for dad was at
work - again. 

It was from the library that I got the books I needed to teach
myself German. From the library I'd take out five fiction books a
week to devour. From the library I got the revision guides I needed
to get me through my exams. Even now, I use the library on a weekly
basis. My daughter reads as voraciously as I do, so I'd need a heck
of an income to BUY all the books she reads. 

If we let governments, local or national, remove our libraries,
then we are depriving people of the very tools they need to get
them out of a recession, even if it's just providing them with a
fantasy world to escape to at the end of another hard day.   

 - Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor.


CHILDREN'S WRITERS: Read by over 1,000 children's book and magazine
editors, this monthly newsletter can be your own personal source of
editors' wants and needs,market tips, and professional insights.  
Get 2 FREE issues to start. http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AE281


Poetry is like a dance.
Learn the steps
And the poetry flows.
Learn all forms of poetry
A resource for poets.


THE WRITING DESK: How do I approach companies for expert opinions?
By Moira Allen
Q: I am looking for instruction on how to approach companies for
expert interviews/opinion and how to gain their permission for an
assignment I have already been given.  I am also looking for the
same information for getting permission to cite from publications.

A: As you have already been given an assignment, the best way to
obtain interviews is to call a company or individual and explain
that you are a writer and that you are doing an article for the
publication that has given you the assignment.  Explain what the
article is about and ask if you could speak to someone in that
company to gather information.  (It's often best if you already
have an idea of whom to speak to, but if you don't, and the
receptionist can't help you, ask to be transferred to the public
relations department.)
If you haven't done this before, I'd suggest that you write
yourself a brief "script" to follow -- e.g., "Hello, my name is
David and I'm working on an article about (subject) for
(publication name). I'd like to speak to someone in your company
about (topic).  Could you recommend someone who might have a moment
to give me some information about (topic)?"
Once you've been given a name and possibly transferred to that
individual or that individual's secretary, find out if this is a
good time to ask your questions.  You may need to set up an
appointment for another call later.
On the chance that you will get to speak to the individual
immediately, however, be sure to have your questions ready, and be
ready to take down the answers.  When I conduct a telephone
interview, I usually have my questions in an open file on the
computer screen, and I type in the answers as I talk to the person.
I also print out the questions, however, so that I can refer to
them easily if they've scrolled off my screen.
Regarding gaining permission to quote from publications that often
depends on how much you wish to quote.  If you are citing
information, you can often paraphrase it so that it isn't a direct
quote.  For example, "As John Smith notes in the July 2000 issue of
Science Monthly, cold fusion is still more of a theory than a
practicality."  In this way, you are attributing the information to
the correct source, and you aren't using a direct quote.
If you do need to use direct quotes, and this is a research
article, you can generally use brief quotes without obtaining
permission. However, those quotes must be brief and not constitute
the main part of your article.  Do not attempt to build your
article on quotes from other published sources.  This is bad
etiquette and can often be construed as a form of plagiarism.  For
example, I once reviewed an article on training animals that
"quoted" several trainers -- but drew those quotes entirely from
the trainers' books.  Since the article would not have existed
without those quotes, this was not an appropriate use of such
citations.  Any published quotes you use should only support and
contribute to your article; they cannot make up the bulk of your
article.  It's always best to get "live" quotes than use previously
published quotes.
If you expect to have to quote long sections, and you feel the need
to obtain permission, you'll need to write to the publication first
for information on how to obtain that permission.  You may then be
referred to the author.  It depends on who holds the actual
copyright to the material.  This can be a long process, so again,
it's much better to get "live" quotes than to try to use much
material from previously published sources.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Moira Allen  


WRITING COMPETITIONS - One-Page Story (300 word) and Poetry (200 
word). Firsts get €1,000 each and the best 10 published in the 
Fish Anthology in July. Chris Stewart judges the One-Page and 
Brian Turner the Poetry. Entry online €14. Close March 31. 
Details at http://www.fishpublishing.com info"at"fishpublishing.com


RUBERY BOOK AWARD: Calling all self published and independently 
published books. Three prizes! High profile authors as judges, 
including a Booker short-listed author. Winning book is also 
guaranteed to be read by a literary agent.



Is This the End for Borders?
Various news sources across the web are indicating that Borders
might soon be suing for bankruptcy. The chain, which reported a
loss for each of the past three years and which hoped to
restructure its finances in January, is coming under renewed
scrutiny.  For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/65tp72e

Eight Year Old Completes Her Second Book
As adults we complain that we don't have enough time to write, but
imagine trying to fit it in around schoolwork too? Eight-year-old
Bermuda author Malaikah Abdul-Jabbar has just completed her second
book, "A Different Kind of Bermuda," to encourage people to look at
Bermuda through new eyes.  Her first book, "Stop The Shooting," was
written just over a year ago.  For more on this story visit: 

Authors Ask UK Government to Stop Library Closures
It's hard to believe, I know, but here in the UK we appear to be
somewhat cash-strapped and many councils have decided that the best
way to save money is to close down all those pesky libraries. 
Manchester is closing every single one, or so it has threatened. 
Many famous authors, such as Philip Pullman, Kathy Lette, Sarah
Waters, Kate Mosse and Anne Fine have written to the government
demanding that they take action to save our libraries.  For more on
this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/5svq9lx

NEW AGENCY: Best Wishes Literary Management
Seeks Fiction and Nonfiction Writers - No Reading Fees
Visit http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/jjamie663/
or email bestwishesliterary"at"yahoo.com


Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest. Write a poem, 30 lines
or fewer on any subject and/or write a short story, 5 pages max.
on any theme, single or double line spacing, neatly hand printed
or typed for a chance to win cash prizes. Visit
http://www.dreamquestone.com for details!



New UK Magazine Seeks Writers
Work Your Way is a new UK-based magazine that aims to show how you
as a parent can work your way and enjoy a work/life balance that is
truly your own, on your terms.  Styled as an attractive, flip-page,
digital magazine, each issue features inspiring stories of parents
who run a successful business, and offers helpful advice on
launching, growing and running a business with young children in
tow. It also runs stories on parenting, finance, self development,
health and lifestyle. It pays for articles.

Voyager In-Flight Magazine Open to Submissions
Voyager is the in-flight magazine of BMI Airlines and is seeking
articles based in or around BMI's direct destinations and that
appeal to the wide range of Voyager readers. Voyager is a stylish
and sophisticated lifestyle magazine. Stories are a mixture of
interviews, features and general lifestyle.  Articles should be
between 1000 and 4000 words and should be informative, innovative
and light-hearted. For more information visit: 

Basement Stories Open to Submissions
Basement Stories is a science fiction and fantasy ezine dedicated 
to publishing quality character-driven speculative fiction. They also 
publish nonfiction and poetry.  View back issues to get a feel for 
the ezine then check out the website for more details. 


ARE YOU A WRITER WITH A DAY JOB?  Do you steal moments late at 
night or on your lunch break to write?  Then The Nighttime 
Novelist: Finish Your Novel in Your Spare Time, by Joseph Bates, 
is the guide for you, with techniques, mini-lessons, exercises 
and worksheets to help you get that novel finished. From Writer's 
Digest Books. http://tinyurl.com/28zl756


ALLBOOKS REVIEW is THE review and author promo source for POD
AUTHORS as well as traditionally published authors.  Authors
around the world use our service. Great coverage for your book
for 12+ months. Our complete review and author promotional
package is less than $50 and includes entry in the Allbooks
Review Editor's Choice Award. http://www.allbookreviews.com.


FEATURE:  The Nitty-Gritty of Copyright
by Abra Staffin-Wiebe 

This article is based on a discussion with Roger L. Belfay
(http://www.rogerbelfay.com/), an intellectual property lawyer, and
on information available at the Copyright Office's website
(http://www.copyright.gov). This article shouldn't take the place
of legal advice. Hopefully, it will help you know if and when to
seek legal advice from a good lawyer specializing in intellectual
property and copyright law.

What is copyright?
Copyright is a legal way to claim a work as your own so that you
can sue for damages if others try to make copies or use it without
your permission. Copyright protects both published and unpublished
works, and these works are protected from the minute that they are
"permanently fixed in a tangible medium." That tangible medium can
include a handwritten notebook, a typed-up document, a photograph,
or even a document that has simply been saved on your computer's
hard drive. 

You do not need to register your copyright to have copyright
protection, but you do have to register your copyright in order to
sue for damages. Also, you can only sue for damages from
infringement that occurred AFTER you registered your copyright. You
can register copyright at any time and pursue damages from that
point forward, although there is a limit on how long you can wait
to collect damages after you are aware your property is being
infringed upon.

Plagiarism and copyright infringement are not the same. Copyright
infringement is making copies or derivative works of something you
created. Plagiarism is somebody claiming your work as their own. As
soon as somebody gives credit to you, whether they use your work in
part or in whole (see Fair Use), it becomes copyright infringement
and not plagiarism.

Merger Doctrine
When a concept can be expressed in only a limited number of ways,
there can be no copyright protection for any version of it. For
example, recipes. Recipes cannot be copyrighted, although
collections of them can.

When should you register copyright?
One of the most common questions beginning writers have is, "How
can I protect my idea and make sure that agents and publishers
won't steal it if I send it to them?"  Answer: You can't. An idea
is not copyrightable. It's the specific execution of that idea that

Here's the thing. Odds are that your writing is not brilliant and
valuable enough to make it worth stealing by professionals,
especially if you're just starting out.  These people are by and
large honest people with lots of their own ideas that they want to
spend time with. If you're worried about scam artists, that's a
different issue, and I recommend always checking Preditors and
Editors (http://pred-ed.com) and Writer Beware (
http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/) to make sure you're
dealing with legit people. 

It's probably not worth that $35 filing fee to register copyright
on your unpublished work. Once it's been published, it may be worth
it. It's usually done automatically at publishing time for novels,
but short stories are a whole different kettle of fish. Because
copyright publication is retroactive to the date of publication for
up to 90 days, one approach is to collect all your work together
for each 90-day period and register it as a catalog or compendium,
which will protect every item individually for a single
registration fee.

As an author, when you sign a book publication deal, make sure that
the contract specifies that the publisher must preserve and enforce
copyright against infringers. Otherwise, that will be your
responsibility and nobody else's.

Note also that even if your work is copyrighted, putting
"Copyrighted 2010 by Brilliant Author" on your manuscript will make
you look like an amateur. It may be seen as implying that you think
the person you're sending your story to is a cheat and a thief.
Also, according to the copyright office, "While use of a copyright
notice was once required as a condition of copyright protection, it
is now optional." If you do have to sue for damages, though, it
makes it easier to prove willful violation of copyright.

Common-law copyright or "Poor Man's Copyright"
You may read advice saying that you can put your material in a
sealed envelope and mail it to yourself as proof of copyright and
pre-existing work. This is not true. Lawyers are highly entertained
when somebody tries to use this as evidence, but the only purpose
it serves is brightening their day. You see, if they'll believe
you're smart enough to mail yourself the document, they'll also
believe you're smart enough to mail yourself an empty envelope and
put the document in later.

When your copyright has been violated
You are the one responsible for enforcing your copyright. As far as
enforcing copyright, consider the practicalities of it, not just
the legalities. Some minor infringements are really not worth the
hassle. If you don't want to go to court, a non-legal strategy you
might try is sending the infringer a bill for their use of your
property. The downside is, if you change your mind and want to go
to court later, they may have stopped using your property, thus
reducing the damages you can collect.

The owner of the copyright should sue in Federal Court and prove
the copying in order to claim higher damages. You cannot sue for
infringement and collect damages caused before you registered your
copyright. However, the registration date is retroactive to the
publication date as long as it's registered within 90 days.

Allowed damages in Federal Court are $500/copy or greater provable

You must prove that your work was copied, and for greater damages,
you must prove the copyright was willfully violated. Putting the
copyright notice on your work helps that, although it is not
strictly necessary. Remember that the copyright notice is only
valid in a specific format, "[copyright][year][name of copyright

Copyright cause of action is designed for Federal Court, so if you
try to go the lawyer-free route of taking it to (a) conciliation
court or (b) lower courts, it's highly probable that (a) the
infringer will not show up and then demand a day in real court, and
(b) lower courts will say, "That should really be Federal."

Copyright is a tricky thing. The law has been altered over time,
and certain specific details can change everything about how a
judgment is made. You really do need a lawyer to figure out proper
uses and when somebody may be infringing. 

Your inalienable rights
You cannot sell or sign these rights away. Note that work-for-hire
operates under different rules.

Right of attribution: You can insist that your name is displayed
(or not displayed) forever.

Right of display: Nobody can destroy an artist's work without their
permission. Even if you sold it to them. Even if it wasn't
authorized to be there. For example, the demolition of buildings
has been halted because the city had to get permission from the
artist who painted a mural on the building.

Note that if any contract says that they are buying "all rights"
from you, they are acknowledging that you are not working for hire,
because they acknowledge that you have rights. Under those
circumstances, you still maintain your inalienable rights. 

There's a very clear definition of what work-made-for-hire can be. 

It may be made clear in your terms of employment, in which case:
* You must be an employee, not a contractor. They'd better be
sending you a W-2.
* Your job description must include writing as work-for-hire.

Or it may be specified in a contract you agreed to, in which case:
* It must be a written contract. A verbal contract won't cut it.
* It must be the kind of work that is allowed to be work-for-hire.
An independent piece of fiction is not on that list. Your novel
cannot be considered work-for-hire. Your short story cannot be,
either, unless it is written to be part of a compendium. Allowed
types are mostly movie industry stuff, instructional manuals, etc.

In a work-made-for-hire, the employer is considered the original
copyright holder for all purposes, including inalienable rights.

Fair Use
Certain uses of copyrighted material are not considered

* A single copy for your own personal use.
* Items that fall under the Merger Doctrine.
* Criticism (review or parody). Note that you must comment directly
upon the material you are copying. So for a book review, you can
quote from the book freely, but it's technically not okay to put up
a copy of the cover unless you also comment on that, although
practically, it's unlikely that they would complain about the
* Library exceptions.
* Educational use - a professor copying material from a textbook
for his class. Note that this is time-sensitive. If it is
reasonable to get permission between when you decided to use
material, and when you did use it, you are still expected to get

Public domain material is no longer protected by copyright at all.
If you're trying to figure out whether something is public domain,
the rules have changed several times. For example, a lot of stuff
copyrighted in 1950-1963 fell out of copyright "between the
cracks," as it were.

This doesn't address Creative Commons licenses (
http://creativecommons.org/), which is a fascinating recent
development that allows people to share, remix, or reuse other
people's creations while legally abiding by the terms of the
original creator. 

Websites and the Internet
Just because a work is online does not mean it is free to use. It
may say what rights are reserved or offered on the webpage itself
or the terms and conditions page of the website. If the website
doesn't specify, then it is protected by copyright and any use of
it will be considered infringing.

Many people confuse "Internet" with "free to copy." If you have a
website with your work on it, you might want to consider adding a
terms and conditions page yourself.

Before using "free" clip art for illustrations, check the terms and
conditions carefully to make sure the original artist has allowed
use of it. If it doesn't say, you may find yourself in hot water if
you use it! That includes all derivative uses, even if you change
it so much that nobody can recognize it. 

For more information see http://www.copyright.gov.

Abra Staffin-Wiebe has had a number of short stories published,
mostly science fiction and horror. Her current project is an online
steampunk post-apocalyptic serial story raising donations for her
mother's cancer treatment. Read it or download the podcast at
http://www.circusofbrassandbone.com. She also maintains Aswiebe's
Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror
writers. She spent several years living abroad in India and Africa
before marrying a mad scientist and settling down to live and write
in Minneapolis. Her website is http://www.aswiebe.com and she blogs
at http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com.

Copyright 2011 Abra Staffin-Wiebe 

For more information on copyright visit: 

WORLDWIDE FREELANCE WRITER - You can download a free list of 
writing markets if you subscribe this week. Discover almost 
2,000 writing markets from USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australasia. 


Dear Editor
The author of "Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies" shares tips
and answers questions on writing YA fiction.
This is an intriguing and informative site that kept me reading for
ages.  This site is full of articles and tips on how to improve
your fiction writing. 

The Travel Writing Portal
This is a collection of helpful articles on all aspects of travel
writing written by real-life travel writers. 


WIN PRIZES AND GET PUBLISHED! Find out how to submit your stories,
poetry, articles and books to hundreds of writing contests in the
US and internationally. Newly updated for 2010, WRITING TO WIN
by Moira Allen is the one-stop resource you need for contests
and contest tips. Visit Writing-World.com's bookstore for details:


This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. Unless 
otherwise indicated, competitions are open to all adult writers. 
For a guide to more than 1000 writing contests throughout the 
world, see Moira Allen's book, "Writing to Win: The Colossal 
Guide to Writing Contests" 

DEADLINE: February 28 2011
GENRE:    Short Stories
DETAILS: We're accepting flash fiction of up to 500 words that
somehow interprets the lyrics to Nik Kershaw's song "The Riddle" 
PRIZE:  $50, $25   

DEADLINE:  March 9, 2011
GENRE:   Books
DETAILS:  A.P. Watt, the world's longest established literary
agency, is looking to find the next bestselling crime writer, so if
you think you have what it takes to be the next John Le Carré or
Stieg Larsson, upload your story now!  A.P. Watt, whose clients
include Philip Pullman, Quentin Blake and Melvin Burgess, will
consider the top submissions for representation.   Submit first 30
pages of your novel. 
PRIZE: Winning entries will be submitted to the leading literary
agency, A.P. Watt   
URL: http://www.circalit.com/projects/competitions/crime 

DEADLINE: Mar 1, 2011
GENRE: Short Stories, Poetry
DETAILS: Poetry: One poem, 1,000 words maximum; Fiction: One story,
1,000-4,000 words  
PRIZE:  £100 in each genre 
URL: http://www.dylandays.com/writers.htm    

DEADLINE:  Mar 1, 2011
OPEN TO:  Citizens of the British Commonwealth age 19+
GENRE: Short Stories
DETAILS: 1 story 600 words max. Stories should be entered in one of
the three categories: General Entry, Short Story for Children, or a
story on the 2011 Commonwealth theme, "Women as Agents of Change."
All stories will be considered for the overall and regional prizes. 
PRIZE:  Four regional prizes of 500 pounds each. In 2011, there
will be two special prizes of 500 pounds each: one for the best
short story for children and the other for the best short story
about this year's Commonwealth theme, 'Women as Agents of Change.'
An additional 19 highly commended entries will receive 100 pounds.
All winners will be included on the annual winners CD.
URL: http://tinyurl.com/66y66wv 

DEADLINE: March 21, 2011
GENRE: Short Stories, Nonfiction
DETAILS:  Short fiction and essays by women on a subject of
significance to them (both published and unpublished work welcome).
One entry, 50-5,000 words  
PRIZE: $500, $100, $50 and publication on website.  
URL: http://www.sigriddaughter.com/GlassWomanPrize.htm    

DEADLINE: March 31, 2011
GENRE: Short Stories
DETAILS: Flash fiction up to 1000 words. 
PRIZES:  $250 and Publication in the online version of Shenandoah,
the prestigious literary journal of Washington & Lee University
URL: http://www.wlu.edu/x37279.xml  


SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING? Join the National Association of Independent
Writers and Editors, the professional association with a
career-building difference. We partner with you to create a
strategic online presence with genuine credibility. You get a free
NAIWE-linked website (and more) so you'll be where people come to
find writers. Join us today at http://naiwe.com!


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Upon the Breasts of Heaven, by Rick Zabel

A Nose for Hanky Panky, by Sharon Cook

The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals
(Second Edition), By Moira Allen

Find these and more great books at

Have you just had a book published?  If so, let our readers know: 
just click on the link below to list your book.


on how to reach more than 100,000 writers a month with your 
product, service or book title, visit


Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors"at"writing-world.com) 

Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial"at"writing-world.com) 

Copyright 2011 Moira Allen
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.
Back issues archived at

Writing World is hosted by Aweber.com

Subscribers are welcome to re-circulate.

Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors
and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission,
unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor