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Updated Edition of “The Writers Legal Guide” Helps Authors Succeed in a Fast-Changing Market

While most authors would rather focus on their craft, The Writer’s Legal Guide helps them navigate the unavoidable entrepreneurial concerns of their profession, including protecting their work from theft, avoiding legal risks and, of course, making as much money as possible.

A newly updated version of the Guide goes in-depth on the latest developments in digital royalties, copyright law, self-publishing and other topics. The Guide, co-published by the Authors Guild and Allworth Press, had its last update in 2002. Since then, “The literary marketplace has fundamentally changed,” its authors Kay Murray and Tad Crawford write.

They point out that traditional publishers and bricks-and-mortar booksellers are struggling to adapt to a market where “readers expect instant, inexpensive access to literature” and content aggregators like Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook and The Huffington Post reign.

On a brighter note, they say, “the advent of digital delivery systems offers writers new ways to reach a paying audience.”

The updated Guide helps readers sidestep the dangers and take advantage of the opportunities posed by changes in the market. It also addresses business issues authors have confronted for decades.

In the Guide, authors can find out:

  • How to avoid defamation, privacy and infringement liability
  • How to understand copyright and fair use
  • How to use Freedom of Information laws to access troves of data compiled by the government
  • When to consult an attorney.
  • What to expect from a literary agent.
  • How to understand and negotiate book, magazine and blog contribution contracts
  • How to establish collaboration agreements that prevent misunderstandings later in the process.
  • Which print and online sources provide crucial industry information.
  • How to tackle the practical steps of self-publishing, from hiring a cover designer to  obtaining an ISBN.
  • How to minimize their tax bill, but still be in good shape if they get audited.
  • Why they should join a professional organization.


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