NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of resources available, merely a starting point for our clients to begin to research and learn more about book publishing. Inclusion of a link on this list does not imply affiliation with or endorsement of a site’s content or a writer’s opinion.
Clicking on any of these links will take you to a third-party site. Legacy Isle Publishing assumes no responsibility for the content you may find there, nor for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.
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Copyright — Before quoting works or excerpting content belonging to others (including song lyrics) or reproducing images, be sure you have secured the appropriate permissions and have thoroughly reviewed copyright law to ensure that you are not violating someone else’s copyright. Once published, your work has automatic copyright protection; you may also wish to register your work for additional legal reasons. Note that registering copyright and obtaining an ISBN are two completely separate processes.
U.S. Copyright Office — The official U.S. government site; includes FAQs on copyright and information on registering your work
Stanford University Libraries – Copyright & Fair Use — Many universities have excellent resources, written in layman’s terms, on the basics of copyright to aid their students. Stanford’s Copyright Overview page includes information on websites, obtaining permissions and public domain. It’s a good place to start.
Ten Common Copyright Permission Myths — Common misconceptions on copyright, explained in layman’s terms. The site is a bit dated looking and hasn’t been updated for a couple years, but contains some good basic information, explained simply. Be sure to do additional research to ensure the information is current.
Ten Common Misconceptions About the Public Domain — Many people think that “public domain” covers a lot of ways to get around copyright, or are confused about what sorts of materials fall under public domain. This is a clearly written site covering the basics of both copyright and public domain.
Understanding Copyright — Detailed information from the Library of Congress specifically regarding use of their collection materials. The principles apply to any works, though, and the explanations are very clear with many situations outlined.
A Writer’s Guide to Fair Use and Permissions — An excellent overview by respected industry veteran Jane Friedman. Covers a number of situations in simple language, with lots of additional resources.
Privacy and Publicity Rights — Copyright (the right to reproduce content) is a completely separate matter from privacy and/or publicity rights. This issue most often comes up regarding photos. While a photographer can grant you the right to reproduce the photograph she took of a dairy farmer in your book, she cannot (unless she has a signed release from the subject) legally give you permission for the dairy farmer’s likeness to appear. Only the dairy farmer can do that. This can be a murky area, especially pertaining to celebrities, who often fiercely protect their publicity rights. You will never go wrong if you stick with the strictest interpretation of the law, meaning that you should obtain permission from the photographer and any individuals who can be clearly seen in a photograph. This is obviously close to impossible when using archival photographs; in general, it is rare for objections to surface when using archival photographs in non-fiction books for interior content, but it is, of course, possible.
Copyright vs. Plagiarism — Copyright concerns the legality of reproducing material, and is limited in what it protects. For example, you cannot copyright ideas or a recipe list of ingredients (the specific directions in a recipe are a different matter). Plagiarism is when you fail to give credit to the source of work you have reproduced or used as the basis of your own. It is possible for plagiarism to be legal, but it is always ethically wrong. This article from Auburn University has an excellent brief explanation of the difference, with examples.
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ISBN (International Standard Book Number) — A unique identifier for a book, specifying its format and publisher along with the title and author. An ISBN is not mandatory for copyright protection (and does not confer any copyright protection) but is essential if you plan on selling your book in a retail environment (with the exception of Amazon, which uses its own proprietary identification system) or to libraries/schools. Clients purchasing Legacy Isle’s Distribution Upgrade will have an ISBN assigned, registered to Legacy Isle; other clients who wish to have an ISBN must obtain one on their own. An ISBN is not required for an e-book, however any clients who use Legacy Isle to distribute their e-book will have a Legacy Isle ISBN assigned.
U.S. ISBN Agency — The official U.S. ISBN site; includes FAQs and instructions for obtaining an ISBN
ISBN FAQs — A direct link to the FAQ section of Bowker (the ISBN-issuing organization).
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LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) — A unique identifier for a book, assigned by the Library of Congress, to locate bibliographic information for the title within the Library of Congress Catalog. Only books that are likely to be included in U.S. library collections need an LCCN. Clients purchasing Legacy Isle’s Distribution Services upgrade will have an LCCN assigned, registered to Legacy Isle; other clients who wish to have an LCCN must obtain one on their own. There is no charge to register for an LCCN.
Library of Congress Preassigned Control Number Program — The official Library of Congress site for obtaining an LCCN; includes FAQ and instructions for obtaining an LCCN. Be sure to read the list of texts ineligible to receive an LCCN, a list that includes e-books: http://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/about/scope.html
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General Book Publishing Industry Resources & News Sites — These sites contain news and information about the industry. Some are very industry-specific, targeted at those involved in the business of publishing or with knowledge of the book trade, while others are broader and more helpful to aspiring authors.
BISAC Headings — The BISAC codes are a standardized set of subject codes to categorize books, issued by the Book Industry Study Group. If you are interested in retailing your book, it’s helpful to identify the two or three BISAC subject codes most appropriate for your book. You may also want to consult this BISG page on how to select the proper code(s).
Bookselling This Week — The news section of the American Booksellers Association’s website. Very industry-focused, but you may find it helpful to understand the how’s and why’s of the bookstore industry. Includes links to many bookstore blogs nationwide, which often feature interesting marketing ideas.
Publishers’ Weekly — One of the biggest industry publications. Daily news, some of it very industry-focused and of interest mostly to those in the publishing business, but also including many helpful ideas for authors.
Publishing Perspectives — An international site with industry news from all over the world
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Self-Publishing & Writers’ Resources —These links concentrate on sites specifically devoted to helping self-published authors or to the craft of writing.
The Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS) — Formerly the Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), this organization is aimed at small publishers and independent authors who want to reach non-bookstore sales channels. There’s lots here to help self-published authors. Start with the FAQ: http://community.bookapss.org/page/publishing-faq
Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) — The IBPA is a member organization dedicated to supporting small press publishers, including self-published authors. Their site offers a small selection of resource articles, free of charge and accessible to the public. Additional content and opportunities (marketing programs, seminars, etc.) are available to members only.
Midwest Book Review Advice for Writers & Publishers — Midwest Book Review is a volunteer organization that offers free book reviews and advice for writers.
Nathan Bransford’s blog — Bransford has many, many great posts, particularly on the mathematics and logic of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing and the nuts-and-bolts of being a published writer.
Writer Beware — Particularly devoted to the pitfalls and scams that self-published authors may fall prey to, but also includes good articles on self-publishing and marketing for authors, plus lists of resources; consult the main page, hosted at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America site, and also the blog, which is updated regularly.
Writer’s Digest — The online site for the original Writer’s Digest magazine devoted to the craft of writing and the business of getting published. Lots of articles, as well as info on the site’s products (classes, books, etc.).
“Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know” by David Carnoy — A look at the process of self-publishing with some excellent tips from CNET writer David Carnoy.
Writing the Hawaii Memoir by Darien Gee — This release from our traditional publishing arm, Watermark Publishing, by bestselling novelist and writing coach Darien Gee covers the nuts and bolts of writing memoir. It is specifically designed to help you FINISH writing your manuscript. It has been tailored to address issues of particular interest to those living in or from Hawaii (pidgin dialect, concerns over revealing family secrets, etc.) but is highly applicable to anyone writing a memoir, biography or even a novel that takes the form of personal narrative.
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Book Marketing — There are a great many websites and consultants offering information and services. A quick web search will turn up more than you could ever read. We do not endorse any specific marketers or services and advise that you look for a long track record of happy clients before purchasing services.
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Book Community Sites —The following sites are devoted to reviewing books or public forums providing opportunities for interaction between authors and readers.
Amazon Author Central — Amazon.com allows authors to create an account to augment the author section of their book listing(s) on Amazon. It also gives access to limited nationwide sales information.
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E-Book Sites —There is an abundance of websites offering e-book publishing services. This list does NOT include sites devoted specifically to helping you create your own e-book file.
Apple Books / iTunes Connect— Apple’s book version of the iTunes music and video store. Self-published authors can establish an account to sell books (or offer them for free) on Apple devices. Be sure to read Apple’s FAQ so you understand what type of account to create: http://www.apple.com/itunes/content-providers/book-faq.html
Kindle Direct Program — Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program allows self-published authors to upload their e-books and make them available for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader device.
Wikipedia E-Book Entry — It’s helpful to understand exactly what an e-book is, and the different types of reader devices that exist. Wikipedia is a good place to start. The entry on E-Book Formats is also extremely helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats
Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir
This award-winning guide from bestselling novelist and writing coach Darien Gee is a valuable tool for aspiring memoirists.
If you’d like the inside track on all the advice that we would love our clients to know before they get started on their manuscripts, it’s all here in Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story by Darien Gee.
Purchase a copy through our online store or at your local bookstore.