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The Biggest Copyright Mistake Authors Make

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What's that mistake? Getting intimidated.

I'm just about to launch my first novel, and while my editor was hard at work putting the finishing touches on my manuscript, I had a list of tasks as well.Looming at the top of my list was Get a Copyright.

Now until recently, here is where I fell into the trap that is hard for authors to avoid: Intimidation. I am not an attorney, and reading legal content intimidates me, so when faced with the pages of legalese that I found online, I cringed and delayed getting my copyright. I was heartened by the Bitlaw articles claiming that my work didn't need to display a copyright protection notice to be protected, but quickly got lost in the morass of information that followed. I clicked on the US Copyright Office's handbook, only to discover that it was almost 400 pages of the densest legal text I'd ever seen.

I threw up my hands, went to LegalZoom.com and was ready to pay upwards of $114 for them to supply me with the necessary docume…

HEY CLEAN READER APP...BLOW ME

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So here's the scene, I'm at Coffee + Food this morning with two girlfriends who are avid readers. I put my dirty dirty chai down and posed the question: What do you guys think of the Clean Reader app?

One friend who hadn't heard of it reached for her iPad and tried to download it. She couldn't find it in the Apple Store and was redirected to a My Bookshelf utilities app for $2.99 that promised to organize her bookshelf. "Never heard of it. What does it do?"

My other friend grimaced, "Ugh that app that opens your books and while you're reading it changes obscenities into words that are um, non-obscene?"

Me: "Yup."

Friend #1: "Are you f*@king kidding?"

Friend #2: Yeah I've heard of it. I can't imagine it really works.

Well the conversation was lively to say the least with us wandering the subjects that could come up when discussing sanitizing a book that an author intended to include profanity.

Friend #1: Who created this a…

ASHLEY JUDD VS THE TROLLS

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When in doubt ask yourself "What would Ashley Judd do?"


You can't go wrong. If you emulate the actions of one of her movie characters like Kate in Kiss the Girls, you will heroically kick some butt, save innocent victims, and triumph over evil. And if you emulate her real life actions, you will raise your voice against cyber-trolls. Currently she's taking time out of her busy schedule each day to press individual criminal charges against every sadistic slime bag targeting her via Twitter.

How did this elegant actress who stays out of the tabloids end up the target of trolls? She made a sports comment on Twitter that caught their attention and they swarmed. While a normal sports fan can get heated and over-react to a comment about their team - the Twitter messages she got were a long way from "Shut up you whiner". The trolls personal attacks are so savage that she had to take a deep breath and go all Ashley Judd on em.

Brilliantly she re-tweeted their commen…

INTERNET TROLLS BENEATH THE HIGHWAYS OF COMMERCE

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We know that trolls who lurk in the shadows of our social networks can kill, and their favorite targets are defenseless people who react with hurt or outrage. But tragically sometimes their targets commit suicide. But less is reported on how they can gut a small business with that same modus operandi.





While it's true that engaging in behavior intended to inflict pain is illegal, it's also true that instances of sadistic online postings have been increasing almost exponentially with the web itself. So the laws don't appear to be acting as a deterrent. The rise in 'trolling' is a terrifying trend when it comes to the potential damage to mom and pop businesses who stand to be wiped out financially.

We all root for our mom and pop shops as they bravely pursue their grassroots dreams against giants like Amazon, McDonalds, Pepsico, WallMart and Marriott (I don't hate these big five, I just like to have the opportunity to be a patron of businesses other than theirs as w…

FREEDOM FROM THE PRESS (ESTABLISHMENT)

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Or for that matter, let's just say freedom of choice. I remember a day back in the late 90s when I was sitting in my office and an e-mail appeared from Amazon inviting me to read a Stephen King book electronically FOR FREE. I cancelled my lunch plans and read a big chunk of his book. While the story didn't stick in my memory (nothing against Mr. King because he's written some of my favorite books) the experience of enjoying an e-book absolutely stuck with me.

I love books. Once I had a long-term relationship with a guy that lasted as long as it did through our mutual love of wandering used bookstores and dragging home armloads of treasures to fill our old book-smelling apartment.

But I am unapologetic in my love of e-books. I don't discriminate. If it's a good story, I want it. If I can bring an entire library on the train with me and customize the backlighting and font with a tap of a finger? I'm a happy commuter.

So upon reflection, like a growing number of t…

THATS FIT TO PRINT

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This blog is will cover a wide range of topics relating to but not limited to books, reading, authors, publishing, indie-publishing, and authorpreneurship.