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FAQ: Miscellaneous questions

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Thank you to Creative Minds Press for providing the content for this FAQ



May I use quotes or song lyrics?
What is "Fair Use"?
May I trademark-protect my book title?

Do I need a letterhead?

What should I have on my business card?

What address should I use?

Should I get Publisher's Liability Insurance?

Does anyone ever succeed at Self-Publishing?

Are there any Publisher’s Associations I can join?

Are there any Writer’s Associations I can join?

Where are the book festivals?

What trade shows can I get into?

What books should I have on my shelf—at easy reach?

Helpful Websites

Just for Fun

May I use quotes or song lyrics?

Always get permission when using the direct words of someone else, whether it be song lyrics or a quote from a book. This material is copyrighted. There is no Fair Use in a commercial enterprise. You'll need to contact the publisher of those words. This process can take over a year (I know, I've had some interesting experiences), but some publishers are very quick in their responses. There have been some lawsuits where the person holding the copyright won against a publisher for using just three words as a quote. But if they are that recognizable, they are covered by copyright law.

You may use quotes and song lyrics that are in the Public Domain--that is, works that were published before 1915. Current copyright protection is the life of the author plus 75 years.

It is all right to paraphrase someone else's ideas (ideas are not copyright-able), as in: "Joe Somebody-or-other's theory that bats regularly fly to the moon is on it's face, laughable." You might want to include that book in your bibliography.

What is "Fair Use"?

Fair Use is the notion that you may use a limited amount of copyrighted material in a non-commercial venue (ie: an academic paper or review). The right to use copyrighted material is not granted when the person using it is, say, publishing a book. For instance, you may not quote Oprah without getting permission from Harpo Enterprises. She owns her words. You can't re-publish the lyrics to a Jimmy Buffet song--in whole or in part--without permission from his music publishing company.

Read the Copyright office's own memo on Fair Use. Repeat: There is no Fair Use for publishers.
For more about Fair Use please see Lloyd Rich's or Ivan Hoffman’s webpage [see note] for an explanation.
See this website for straight facts about copyright myths.

May I trademark-protect my book title?

Unfortunately not. Titles are not subject to Trademarks. However, certain aspects may be--as in the "for Dummies" line. Check with the U.S. Trademark Office for full clarification.

Make sure you search for your possible book title over the Internet, in Amazon and going through open databases like Border's in-store title search program. Even if you do this, there are no guarantees that someone won't come out on the market with a title exactly like yours. It's up to you to create a marketing plan to make people want your book and no other.

Do I need a letterhead?

Yes. It’s very hard to look professional without one. Letterheads and business cards (see below) help give your business the look of legitimacy.

You can go to your local printer, give them a disk with your logo file on it, pick out lettering that pleases you and have a few hundred sheets printed. It will look very nice. It’s also not inexpensive.

It’s perfectly acceptable to create your letterhead in Word or WordPerfect and print them as you need them on nice bond paper.

Put your logo, your company name, address, phone and fax number, e-mail address and the URL of your website at the top. Make sure to pick a font that is easy to read.

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What should I have on my business card?

Your logo, your company name, address, phone and fax number, e-mail address and the URL of your website.

Do not print this out from your computer onto those nasty forms you can buy at the office supply store. That’s like wearing plaid Bermuda shorts to a business meeting (unless you’re in Bermuda—but even then, plaid won’t do). A business card is an impression you leave with people long after you’ve left their presence. People keep cards. You want them to think well of you.

I used to sell business cards, so this is something I know a bit about. Have them printed on nice stock. I like "Classic Laid," but take the time to look at samples. Feel the paper. Oddly, texture is very important (in the Japanese culture, the texture of a business card is paramount). Pick what you like best. If money is tight, order 500 for an initial run. However, just as with books, the more you order, the lower your cost per unit.

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What address should I use?

As always, this depends on your preferences and business models. In a perfect world, you’d post your office address for the world to see. But it’s unlikely you have an office if you’re just starting out (and an office isn’t necessary until you need it).

I’ve seen arguments pro and con for using one’s home address. If security is a concern, this isn’t the option for you.

A USPS Post Office Box is a possible solution. Some people (your customers) are made nervous when there isn’t a physical address to which they can send checks, etc.

Private Mail Boxes signal everyone that you are a small company trying to appear bigger. Don’t bother with these. Besides, they are generally more expensive that the USPS.

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Do I need Publisher's Liability Insurance?

Sometimes. If you are publishing a cookbook (you might accidentally publish a harmful ingredient, as Gourmet Magazine once did) or a book mentioning someone or something that might cause enough offense for someone to sue you, then yes, you need it. You also need to consult an attorney. Check out this website.

You might want to look over intellectual property lawyer Ivan Hoffman’s website [see note] to read more about the necessity of publisher’s liability insurance.

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Does anyone ever succeed at Self-Publishing?

For a bit of a boost, discover the kind of company a self-publisher keeps—from Ben Franklin to Christopher Paolini. Go to John Kremer's website

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Are there any Publisher’s Associations I can join?

Loads! Check out this website

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Are there any Writer’s Associations I can join?

Look at the bottom of this webpage
Canadian website

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Are there any book festivals I can go to and sell my book?

Leave it to the Library of Congress for the definitive list of book festivals.

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Are there any trade shows I can go and show my books to bookstores?

These are the associations that I know of that have trade shows:
Northern California Independent Booksellers Association 
Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association 
Pacific Northwest Booksellers 
Midwest Booksellers Association 
Southeast Booksellers Association 
New Atlantic Booksellers Association (mid-Atlantic)
New England Booksellers Association 

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What books should I have on my shelf—at easy reach? 
(Books mentioned on other pages)

Publishing Books (At least one of the following)

• The Self Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter (Considered by many the bible of self-publishing)
• The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross
• Make Money Self-Publishing
by Suzanne Thomas
• No More Rejections. Get Published Today!
By Penny Sanseveiri
• The Publishing Game: Get Published in 30 Days
by Fern Reiss
and The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days
• Unlocking the Secrets of Publishing
by Sylvia Hemmerly
Start Your Own Self-Publishing Business (Entrepreneur Magazine's Start Up) by Entrepreneur Press

Children's Books

The Business of Writing for Children: An Award-Winning Author's Tips on Writing and Publishing Children's Books, or How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book for Kids by Aaron Shepard
How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling 
A Basic Guide to Writing, Selling, and Promoting Children's Books : Plus Information about Self-publishing by Betsy B. Lee
Children's Book Covers : Great Book Jacket And Cover Design
by Ian Powers
How to Write & Illustrate Children’s Books and Get Them Published by Felicity Trotman (Editor), Treld Pelkey Bicknell [British-market]

Book Design
(At least one of the following)

On Book Design by Richard Hendel.
The Complete Manual of Typography by James Felici
Type & Layout: How typography and design can get your message across - or
get in the way
by Colin Wheildon
Editing Fact and Fiction : A Concise Guide to Book Editing by Leslie T. Sharpe, Irene Gunther
The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers (14th Edition)
The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design by Ned Drew, Paul Sternberger
Front Cover : Great Book Jacket and Cover Design
by Ian Powers
Children's Book Covers : Great Book Jacket And Cover Design
by Ian Powers

The Business Side of Publishing (At least one of the following)

Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers by Tad Crawford
The Copyright Handbook: How to Protect & Use Written Words
The Copyright Permission and Libel Handbook : A Step-by-Step Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers (Wiley Books for Writers Series) by Lloyd J. Jassin, Steve C. Schecter
Getting Permission: How to License and Clear Copyrighted Materials Online and Off by Richard Stim
How To Start And Run A Small Book Publishing Company: A Small Business Guide To Self-Publishing And Independent Publishing by Peter I. Hupalo
Incorporating Your Business for Dummies
• Kirsch's Guide to the Book Contract: For Authors, Publishers, Editors and Agents
Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyrights, Trademarks and Contracts in Plain Language
by Tonya Marie Evans, Susan Borden Evans
Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers by Thomas Woll


1001 Ways to Market Your Book by John Kremer
Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World by Shel Horowitz 
Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure-Fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, Jill Lublin
Jump Start Your Book Sales: A Money-Making Guide for Authors, Independent Publishers and Small Presses
by Marilyn Ross, Tom Ross
How To Publish and Promote Online by M. J. Rose, Angela Adair-Hoy
Complete Guide to Internet Publicity: Creating and Launching Successful Online Campaigns by Steve O'Keefe

Useful--but not required--books  In no particular order:

200X Writer's Market (ALWAYS have the most up to date one)
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
by Jane Straus
The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
by William Strunk and E.B. White
The New York Public Library Desk Reference (4th Edition)
The Oxford English Dictionary
Indispensable for writers of history fact or fiction (tells dates when usage first began)
Language dictionaries
(not those little tiny ones. Get these at library sales. You never know when you'll need to look up, or use, a foreign word)
Best Baby Name Book in the Whole World
(useful for fiction writers)

Because Spell-check and on-line thesauri aren’t good enough:

Roget's Thesaurus
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged
(or whatever good dictionary you favor)

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Helpful Websites
(Websites mentioned on other pages)


For loads of great info and some great e-books helpful to new publishers, visit Dan Poynter's Website
For review sources, helpful advice and more helpful advice, go to the Midwest Book Review
For publishing resources, ideas and help in the accounting area of the business, go to Gropen Associates webpage
Fern Reiss' Website
has many helpful articles you'll want to read!
For definitions concerning publishing and printing Rainwater Press
For loads of great advice, go to the Toolshed in the Cat's Backyard
To find out about Publisher's Liability, go to this
Go to
this site to find a book club that best matches your book.
Find a list of Publishing Associations at this website 
For a list of Writer's Associations, look at the bottom of this webpage
For a list of Writer's Associations in Canada, go to this website

For a lengthy list of
self-publishing successes, go to John Kremer's website
The Library of Congress has a list of book festivals.

Registrations of all sorts

To set up a corporation or LLC, go to The Company Corporation
To get an ISBN go to the R.R. Bowker website
Go to the
Bowker Company’s website to register your title with Books in Print
You can get a SAN at the
R.R. Bowker site.
To register your copyright, go to the Library of Congress Copyright Page
To get a LCCN (Library of Congress Catalog Number) and/or PCN (Preassigned Control Number), go to this Library of Congress website 
To get a CIP (Cataloging in Publication) number, go to this Library of Congress website 
You can get BISAC codes at the BISG website
To get an EAN/Bookland barcode go to this
To get a UPC
bar code go to the website at the Uniform Code Council


For more information about indexes and their importance see the American Society of Indexer’s website 
Also see John Culleton's/ Wexford Press' excellent webpage.


If you insist on doing your typesetting in Word, please look at this Word typesetting tutorial
If you are interested in using TeX for typesetting you should view the TeX User's Group Website
Go to this website to get Adobe Acrobat PDF
Go to
this website for a wonderful tutorial on how to set up PDF files


To start up with Baker & Taylor go to this website and click on the pdf for "Establish a Relationship"
To register a new title with Baker & Taylor, go to this webpage 
You can read Ingram's acceptance policies on this webpage


For book marketing help, try John Kremer's site
Find frugal and ethical marketing at Shel Horowitz's Frugal Marketing site

Press Releases

Download this incredibly helpful e-book on How to Write Trash-Proof Press Releases 
Two outlets through which to "broadcast" your press release

Some services will post your press release for free:
Cadenas Marketing
Common Dreams Progressive Newswire
E-Boom Websolutions
eWorldWire / PR Free
Free Press Release
Press Arrivenet 
Web NewsWire

United Kingdon:


For great articles about the legal side of publishing go to
Ivan Hoffman’s website [see note]
See also Lloyd Rich's site for articles of legal interest.
See this website for straight facts about copyright myths.


You may be able to get some start-up capital from the
SBA (Small Business Administration)
Check out C. Hope Clark's
Funds For Writers website and discover if you are eligible for a grant
Ivan Hoffman’s website for venture capital sources.


Aeonix Press' website has a terrific  list of printers for text. color and POD.
Aeonix Press has an RFQ template on this webpage
For a very thorough explanation and comparison chart of paper weights, check out this website.

On-line Stores

You can sign up to become a Vendor of Record with Barnes&
Join the Barnes&
affiliate program
You can join Amazon Advantage here
List your books on Amazon's Marketplace
Sign up for
Amazon's Search Inside the Book program
To add reviews, comments, author bio and an overview of the book to your
Amazon page, go here.
Become an Amazon Associate
Become a Powell's Associate

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Fun Stuff

A Word A Day: get a new word to use and contemplate in your e-mail every day.
Quote from Famous People (or a joke) at Brainy Quote
Bartlett's, Columbia (and many other source guides) Quotations.
Reference Desk (all in one site)
Grammar Questions
Find out if the latest virus alert is a hoax or those e-mail tales are myth at Snopes
Want to find out if a celebrity is 6' under or still wandering around? Go to The Dead People Server
Need to contact the Nation’s top newspapers?
You can find the names of agents and publicists for celebrities at Who Represents website

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Return to FAQ Index

Thank you to Creative Minds Press for providing the content for this FAQ

Ivan Hoffman is not affiliated with and not connected in any way with our company or our web site or otherwise with us.


You need to be a member of APSS - Association of Publishers for Special Sales to add comments!

Comment by Elena Ornig on October 29, 2010 at 12:41pm
I received offer to publish controversial book addressing only the men. An author doesn't want to reveal his real name even to me (the publisher). How should I proceed with such offer?

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