You: So, Cara, how’s the book going?
Me: Pretty freaking great, thanks for asking!
It’s been “interesting” at times (last week’s lesson in publishing your own book was an advanced course in Intellectual Property law. Yay?) but the project is firing on all cylinders. Ericka, the interior book designer, and I are one the same page – har, har – and she’s started the design for chapter 2. Chapter 1 looks amazing! I’m so pleased with how it looks and the emotional feel of the design. But why talk about it when I can show you!
Chapter 1 is the most “fluffy” of all the chapters, but it’s a good way to ease into the idea of luxury tent camping. To get readers’ minds prepared to dream and be open to thinking about camping in a whole new way. As other chapters are done, I’ll post more sneak peeks. I’ll also keep you up to date on how we face, and over come, new challenges.
My latest challenge came when I showed an attorney the first chapter. He flipped through it and then said, “You can’t use the photos on pages X, X, and X. Or well, any photo that shows a manufactured product.”
Wait….what? Those were photos I had taken of products I was reviewing in the book or were of things like, ummmm, tents. How do you show camping without showing a tent. Or a screwdriver on a table with a wine bottle? Or a lighter for the campfire?
I’ve been researching the basics of Intellectual Property (IP) law since I knew I’d be showing, and talking, about really good camping products in parts of my book. Mini product reviews. From what I could find, I should be in the clear as long as I took the photo, was showing and talking about the product as part of a review, and put in a disclaimer in the front of my book that I don’t have a relationship with the company, they own the rights to their copyright/trademark, etc. etc. etc.
The attorney begged to differ. He said that while, in the past, that may have been true, companies are getting more and more lawsuit happy anytime their product is mentioned or seen in any type of medium. Review blogs are being sued. Even when the review is favorable. Companies like TechCruch are getting ‘cease and desist’ letters for articles they have written that show a photo of the product they are talking about or the company’s logo. Not many of these IP lawsuits are winning, but a self-publisher/author like myself can’t afford the minimum $50,000 up front it would take for me to defend myself.
To make a very long, painful, and frustrating story short, we came up with a plan that would minimize, but can’t eliminate, my exposure to IP lawsuits. I’ll have the disclaimer in the front and the back of my book. About 1/8 of the photos are being reshot to show the product without showing the company. (OMG I need to beat the snow and hard freeze!) Logos are being removed in background items. For specific product reviews, I’m contacting the company and getting written permission to show their product. There are other things I’m doing, but you get the drift. Then, when the book is finished, I’ll need to have the attorney look over the book one more time.
This has been a learning process. This is just one example of the 101 things a self-publisher thinks s/he knew all about before s/he started the book, but really didn’t. I’ve been sharing the information on Intellectual Property with other authors so they can be better prepared before they take their first photo. After all, sharing is caring, right?
And that reminds me – anyone want to be my model for the outdoor portable shower shoot? It’s on the IP reshoot list and I’m sure it’ll be fun as all get out now that the temps are about 50 degrees during the day! 😉