Tag Archives: publishing

Copyright (c) and Pseudonyms: What Every Author Should Know

25 Apr
The cover I didn't choose

The cover I didn’t choose

There can be a number of reasons why an author would want to write under another name. For example, horror master Stephen King also wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman, so he could publish more often without saturating the Stephen King brand. More recently, Harry Potter author Joanne Rowling wrote for an adult audience as Robert Galbraith, to escape the Harry Potter hype.

These are examples from fiction. I am a non-fiction writer (well, for the moment, at least) who is writing as “Michael M. McConaughey.” Who I really am must remain an eternal mystery, just like the Bruce Wayne – Batman thing. Besides wanting privacy due to the rather controversial nature of my true story, there is actually a legal requirement that I not be publicly identified in association with my case. Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act s. 45.(8), under “Hearings and Orders,” is quite explicit:

Prohibition: identifying child
(8)  No person shall publish or make public information that has the effect of identifying a child who is a witness at or a participant in a hearing or the subject of a proceeding, or the child’s parent or foster parent or a member of the child’s family. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 45 (8).

I have a little bit of a problem, don’t I? My account manager at FriesenPress.com has informed me that we are now at the stage where she must submit the application for copyright to the U.S. Copyright Office on my behalf. I can’t very well have “Copyright (c) 2014 [INSERT MyRealName]” printed in the book, can I? As it turns out, I can’t use “Copyright (c) 2014 MYPRIVATECORPORATION INC,” either. All someone would have to do is Google the corporation name, and my real name would come up as a director (if I had one), as this is a matter of public record.

However, I can register the copyright of my book under my pseudonym. Here’s what the guidance says:

An author of a copyrighted work can use a pseudonym or pen name. A work is pseudonymous if the author is identified on copies or phonorecords of the work by a fictitious name. Nicknames and other diminutive forms of legal names are not considered fictitious. Copyright does not protect pseudonyms or other names.

If you write under a pseudonym but want to be identified by your legal name in the Copyright Office’s records, give your legal name and your pseudonym on your application for copyright registration. Check “pseudonymous” on the application if the author is identified on copies of the work only under a fictitious name and if the work is not made for hire. Give the pseudonym where indicated.

If you write under a pseudonym and do not want to have your identity revealed in the Copyright Office’s records, give your pseudonym and identify it as such on your application. You can leave blank the space for the name of the author. If an author’s name is given, it will become part of the Office’s online public records, which are accessible by Internet. The information cannot later be removed from the public records. You must identify your citizenship or domicile.

In no case should you omit the name of the copyright claimant. You can use a pseudonym for the claimant name. But be aware that if a copyright is held under a fictitious name, business dealings involving the copyrighted property may raise questions about its ownership. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this matter.

Works distributed under a pseudonym enjoy a term of copyright protection that is the earlier of 95 years from publication of the work or 120 years from its creation. However, if the author’s identity is revealed in the registration records of the Copyright Office, including in any other registrations made before that term has expired, the term then becomes the author’s life plus 70 years.

So, in my case, here’s what I have to do:

1 – Get my FriesenPress.com Case Manager to put my pseudonym of Matthew M. McConaughey on the copyright application, and identify it as such.
2 – Leave the space for the real name blank. DO NOT PUT MY REAL NAME ON THE APPLICATION!!!
3 – Recognize the difference in the duration of copyright by doing this (not a big deal, for me).
4 – Make certain that I can prove that it’s my work, in case some clown tries to claim that he or she wrote the book and is “Michael M. McConaughey.”
5 – Consult an attorney.

In my case, 1 and 2 will be taken care of by FriesenPress.com on my behalf, as this is part of the package that was paid for. 3 is really not an issue for me, at the tender age of 48. For 4, I have my correspondence with FriesenPress.com as evidence that I wrote my book. I could also show the manuscript to a lawyer before it is published, as such a lawyer would make for a credible witness. I can also mail myself a copy of the manuscript before it is published, but not open it (i.e., leave it sealed) when it arrives. This allows me to prove that I wrote the manuscript before I published it, as the mail would have a date stamp (hopefully).

For 5 (don’t skip this!), I would look for an honourable and competent attorney with expertise in defamation and copyright law, such as Toronto’s Mr. Gil Zvulony.

Mr. Gil Zvulony, Toronto Attorney (http://zvulony.ca/wp-content/uploads/Gil-Zvulony.jpg)

Mr. Gil Zvulony, Toronto Attorney (http://zvulony.ca/wp-content/uploads/Gil-Zvulony.jpg)

 

If you’ve done your homework, all it might take is a 15 to 30 minute telephone call with such an attorney to confirm that this applies in your legal jurisdiction (mine is the Holy Feminist Matriarchy of Canada). Being a little older and wiser, my book The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood will be Copyright (c) 2014 Michael M. McConaughey.

Thus, I shall remain the most mysterious Michael M. McConaughey, Scourge of the Matriarchy.

[CAVEAT: This post is not to be construed as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only, to prepare you for discussion with a licensed attorney.]

Judging a book by its [not] cover

27 Jan
The cover I didn't choose

The cover I didn’t choose, (c) 2014 All Rights Reserved

It is, perhaps, a standard joke for writers that the saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t seem to apply to books when it comes to buyers.

I know when I am in a book store, a book’s title is probably the first thing that attracts my attention, followed closely by the cover design. If intrigued, I’ll look at the back cover and possibly the inner covers. If further interested, I might look at the table of contents or perhaps a sample of the writing. The cover design certainly plays an important part in attracting a reader’s interest.

My FriesenPress.com “All Inclusive” package came with two cover designs. This one above was the more conventional of the two. It is clean, straightforward, attractive, and professional looking. Perhaps it is a bit boring, perhaps not.

I do like the reflection of the title into the back cover, as I think this is a clever visual device.

The other option was based on some suggestions for symbolism that I forwarded for the cover designer to consider. I am not going to show this just yet. It is more intriguing, more symbolic, and sinister. Like a haunted house, it seems to mysteriously beacon to the reader to enter it.

In my unscientific poll of the statistically too small sample size of four people, it was a 50-50 split between the two cover designs. I had thought about doing a post where the readers might vote as to which design they preferred, but my gut strongly said to go with the other design.

So, for those interested, here are three easy questions:

1. What are your thoughts on the above pictured cover design that I decided against?

2. When is the “right time” to do a cover reveal in the publishing process?

3. Is there interest in a post with both cover designs, where commenters could vote and comment as to which they liked better and why?

*Please note that I will be out of town from 28-30 January*

Galley Proofs Are In!

20 Jan
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

Well, it’s an exciting day in Navigation Land. I returned from work and found 623 new emails in my inbox, of which 600 were WordPress email alerts. Included amongst the other 23 were the galley proofs from my self-publisher. Bad news: February isn’t an option if I am going to take the time to scrutinize the files. I have already caught three errors in the book galley upon a cursory look, so one can never assume that everything is perfect. For example, look how the book is both (c) my company and me at the same time:

Place your faith in God. Everyone else's work, double check.

Place your faith in God. Everyone else’s work, double check.

In the spirit of this major milestone—this is my first book, and hence my first galley proofs—, I have two questions to pose to everyone, and I would be grateful for your thoughts:

1. I have the cover designs for the hard cover and paperback / soft cover books. Nearly identical. How far in advance of the book release should I unveil the cover? Closer to the release date can build drama. Sooner might make for more effective marketing, in that it gets your cover “out there” in the social media sooner.

2. In today’s social media age, should I have this information about myself on the back cover? Should there be my Gravatar along with “www.navigator1965.wordpress.com”? I suppose this would mean that I have to get a twitter account and maybe a Facebook page for The Mirror.

Since I now have to bear down and get the proof reading / scrutinizing done, I’m afraid that I will be less active at everyone’s blog for a while, for which I ask your understanding.

For those who have read the manuscript, you know just how “interesting” 2014 will be for me once the book comes out. This is one genie that’s going to be awfully tough to put back into its bottle once I let it out.

No quarter. None asked, none granted. }:-)>

compass rose

Book Proposal – Part Nine “Sample Chapter”

19 Jan
A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

Here we are at the final part of my book proposal, the sample chapter. Let’s review where this fits into the proposal:

– Overview

– Sales Objective

– Marketing / Promotion / Platform

– Competing or Reference Books

– About the Author

– List of Book’s Chapters

– Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries

Sample Chapter

In the Overview, I hopefully have hooked the publisher in the first few lines of my proposal, and I gave him or her the big picture snapshot of what my book was about. Based on a great comment from blogger suzjones to an earlier post in this series, I now know that I should have had a social media “platform” in place by this point, as the first thing the publisher will do is Google my name or perhaps the title of my manuscript/book. I had no social media presence in 2010, other than a rarely used Facebook page.

In the next three sections, I tried to show that I understood that publishing is a business, and what the business aspects of my book were that would make the publisher want to choose it. Then came a brief summary of who I was as a person and an author. People like people.

The final three parts of the proposal demonstrated that I had actually thought about writing the book, and had planned an appropriate structure against which to write. In the last of these, I included a sample chapter. I’ve read that this should not be the Introduction or the first chapter. Probably shouldn’t be the final chapter either, but this is a guess on my part. If the publisher gets this far in your proposal, you obviously done well. Now it’s time to give the ultimate proof, which is that you can actually write well, and that the book will be interesting.

As there have been significant changes in the publishing industry in the last few years, there may be less importance to this part than in previous times. Not that it isn’t important, however. But for a first time author these days, odds are that you’ve already written your first book, built a social media platform (i.e., following), and have already demonstrated that you can write. If the publisher Googled you and hit your blog, hopefully they see that you’ve already had good feedback on your work, parts of your work, or your writing in some regard.

I’m not going to include the sample chapter here, as it is too long for a blog post. Anyone interested in reading what this proposal ultimately evolved into, please feel free to email me at themirrorbooks@gmail.com. No cost, no strings.

For everyone who followed along with this series of posts on the book proposal, thanks for your interest, support, and kind comments. Who knows? From this humble, first time attempt at a book proposal, a successful book may ultimately arise. I’ll know better as this year progresses, as the book should be out next month. The first galley proofs are due to me early next week, which is an exciting milestone.

I never seen an actual galley proof before, let alone having been responsible for the creation of one.

I’ll conclude by making a master list (hyperlinked) of the posts in the series. Cheers, everyone.

* * * * *

Part Zero – The Book Proposal

Part One – The Book Proposal

Part Two – Overview

Part Three – Sales Objective

Part Four – Marketing / Promotion / Platform

Part Five – Competing or Reference Books

Part Six – About the Author

Part Seven – List of Book’s Chapters

Part Eight – Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries

Part Nine – Sample Chapter

Book One of my magnum opus

Book One of my magnum opus

Book Proposal – Part Eight “Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries”

13 Jan
A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

Here is where we are in the rough “industry standard” format that I adopted to write the proposal for ONE:

– Overview

– Sales Objective

– Marketing / Promotion / Platform

– Competing or Reference Books

– About the Author

– List of Book’s Chapters

Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries

– Sample Chapter

By this point, I’ve given the the big picture sales pitch (Overview), showed a prospective publisher that I understand that publishing is a business (Sales Objective, Marketing, Competing/Reference Books), told them a bit about me (About the Author), and what my book’s structure is (List of Book’s Chapters).

So what will be in those chapters I am planning to write?

As per my previous posts in this series, this proposal, my first, was never really considered by the one traditional publisher to whom it was given. The book it described turned out to be significantly different in some regards from the book it eventually evolved into. Yet had it not been for this proposal, I never would have made it to the point where I now find myself: within a couple of months of book release.

For those who have read the manuscript, it may be a bit interesting to see what my original thoughts were as to what I intended to write. Note that I included epitaphs, which are those quotes you sometimes see at the start of chapters. I use epitaphs in the current book, although not necessarily the same ones. I’ve found them apropos given the nature of the book.

With apology for this slightly long post, here is what I envisioned two years before things really started clicking and I began the first draft in earnest:

* * * * *

Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries

Author’s Forward

Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it.
Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held.
Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books.
Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin.
Believe nothing just because someone else believes it.
Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.

– Buddha [paraphrased]

1. Was Someone Trying to Tell Me Something?

Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it. – Andre Gide

This introductory chapter lays the foundation for reader’s the journey of discovery. It introduces the tale of Narcissus in a unique manner, by juxtaposing it against the concept (Hamlet’s Mill) that ancient myth encodes factual knowledge of fundamental importance. Was someone trying to tell us something so important that they embedded it into the very fabric of human culture?

2. Glancing in the Rear View Mirror

Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream. – Kahlil Gibran

The foundation to the author’s journey of discovery: spiritual, introspective, a life destined to ponder the question why? An earnest retrospective on those aspects of the author’s life – e.g. beatings at the hands of bullies – which left him vulnerable to a narcissist.

3. Living a Myth Isn’t Living the Dream

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

The author’s life married to a narcissist. Having to walk on eggshells and teaching the kids to do the same, thus laying the foundation for events to follow, the insidious poisoning of relationships, the disturbing relationship between mother and daughter that he didn’t recognize until too late, the not-quite-right things about the wife’s sisters and mother, all which never made sense until the author could put a name to it: narcissism.

4. A Maelstrom Is a Poor Place for Swimming Lessons

Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true. – Demosthenes

How events began to spiral down, too slowly for the author to understand until it was too late. The true beginning of the narcissistic destruction of the author’s relationship with his daughter, the escalation of what might have been Munchausen By Proxy, and the two year progression of his wife’s addiction that destroyed the marriage. Dealing with a rabid campaign to destroy his relationships with their children, and a serious concern that Munchausen By Proxy was about to get deadly.

5. Thanks for Planning my Funeral – How Rude of Me Not to Die

If you wish to strengthen a lie, mix a little truth in with it. – Zohar

As things spiraled out of control, the author made the huge mistake of contacting the XXXX Children’s Aid Society, who not only refused to investigate his claims, but actually assisted his wife in alienating the children. When they couldn’t bully him from his home, they insidiously fabricated a non-existent child protection “concern” that contradicted their own mandatory regulations. They effortlessly succeeded in having a judge, without trial, order him out of his own home and issue a de facto no contact order against him, giving his wife unrestricted license to abuse the kids. What they didn’t realize was that what they were doing had a special name: abduction, as defined in the Criminal Code. They also badly underestimated the author’s love for his children and his resolve to protect them from abuse.

6. Sigmund Freud Sipping Coffee at a Paris Café

The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is “What does a woman want?” – Sigmund Freud

There is a second type of narcissism, which is only documented in academic literature as ‘covert” narcissism. What experts haven’t realized is that it is a feminine form of narcissism, and that the two narcissisms can be intuitively equated to the corruption of male and female socialization behaviours as per Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus. The chapter title is an allusion to the French emphasis on gender in thought and language, especially their employment of the gender-based definite articles le and la. This chapter will explain the sad affliction of narcissism in a way that men and women everywhere can relate to, and in a way that has never been done before.

7. When an English Monk Serves Duck for Geometry Class

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. – Galileo Galilei

There is a saying that if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it’s a duck. The author had the realization that what he encountered in terms of child protection workers, lawyers, judges and even senior elected officials contributing to the child abuse, either by commission or omission, shared the same attributes as the feminine form of narcissism. This implies the rather staggering possibility that people can collectively display “personality” dysfunctions, which poses the fundamental question of whether or not societies are a form of collective human organism. This chapter gently exposes the gender feminist portrayal of woman as a perpetual victim for what it truly is: the narcissistic corruption of truth in support of pathological emotional needs.

8. What Mrs. Crocodile Thinks Every Good Mother Should Know

The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds. – Will Durant

Women, including many learned professionals, complain that they have and are being betrayed by feminism. This chapter builds a logical, intuitive and common sense foundation of how and why this happened, and how men and women can approach one another with respect for both the gender and the individual. It’s emphasis on the feminine gender will particularly resonate with female readers. It will be written with sensitivity and gentleness.

9. What’s Good for the Gander is Good for the Goose, so Long as Mine Doesn’t Get Cooked

The dogma of woman’s complete historical subjection to men must be rated as one of the most fantastic myths ever created by the human mind. – Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958).

Based upon the previous two chapters – that contemporary gender feminism is in fact a narcissistic phenomenon (and not about equality) and how to recognize what is actually true from what gender feminism pathologically needs to be true -, this chapter identifies how gender feminism has harmed women, men, children, and society. It will expose with a simple eloquence of thought that is intuitive to even the more humble of readers.

10. ONE

Our lack of compassion stems from our inability to see deeply into the nature of things. – Lama Surya Das

What the author learned throughout his journey of discovery and how it has forever changed how he perceives himself and how he understands the world. It will be written as the final portion of his life’s spiritual journey of understanding and wisdom, and with the hope that both genders can learn to live in a state of harmony based upon mutual respect and appreciation, and in particular be freed of ideology and stereotype. In the death of Narcissus, something beautiful will bloom.

11. Epilogue

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you. — Unknown

A traveler’s things must be put away after every journey. This chapter, in so doing, will complete the journey of understanding for both author and reader.

* * * * *

Since ONE eventually evolved to become The Mirror, Book One and the future sequel Book Two, there are concepts here that are yet to be covered, and which await Book Two.

Book Proposal – Part Six “About the Author”

11 Jan
A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

Of all the parts of a book proposal, this is the one that I am least comfortable with. I could never be a salesman, or at best a poor one. This is even true when it comes to selling myself.

Yet I had to write something, and in this I defaulted to my military frame of reference. Officers are expected to be highly dedicated, hard working, always showing initiative in solving problems, etc. The sorts who walk on water, a little bit.

Often when it comes time for a superior to write our annual performance reports, we’re asked to write a “brag sheet” to list our accomplishments for the past 12 months, to ensure that nothing significant is missed. As my father, who was also a RCAF navigator, is fond of saying, writing a brag sheet is not the time to be bashful.

I don’t know if taking this approach would read well to a publisher or if it would be construed as hubris. I’d love to hear peoples’ thoughts on the question. Regardless, for better or for worse, here is what I wrote about myself:

* * * * *

About the Author

The author is a 3rd generation Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Navigator with nearly 27 [now 30] years of service. He specialized in the secretive world of anti-submarine warfare, with operational, instructional, staff, and Test & Evaluation experience. An honours graduate of the prestigious year-long Aerospace Systems Course, he was hand-selected to be part of the team which created the RCAF’s applied think tank, of which he was then a founding member. He has written for professional military periodicals and doctrine publications. He is a Member of the Order of Military Merit.

The author has been noted through his career as an effective thinker and writer. His forte in writing is an innate appreciation of the impact of nuance: he intuitively comprehends the subtle differences in interpretation that result from even the most minor changes, and as such he can reach into a reader’s mind with words to re-align it as necessary to achieve the reader-book communion. He is somewhat of a perfectionist with his writing in this regard. At a more abstract level, the author informally articulates an emotional effect upon the reader that he wishes to achieve and then writes to achieve this effect.

The author is highly motivated to ensure that ONE is a commercial success, and he is confident of his ability to communicate it to the broadest of audiences in a uniquely engaging way. He is excited in having had a profoundly original idea in the sense of the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” and he is determined to ensure that ONE becomes a life-changing work for all readers, from housewife to philosopher, from gardener to king and queen, for generations to come.

Have to love a beautiful mind

Have to love a beautiful mind

The author loves jazz and other genres of music, he prefers turntables to CD players and tubes to solid state, and his watch has hands; he is an analogue man. Unbeknownst to his military peers, he also writes poetry for pleasure. He is the father of three alienated children, two of whom are seriously maimed in self by what is now fourth generation maternal narcissism.

* * * * *

I didn’t have the movie poster image in my original proposal.

How does this read? Do I distinguish myself “from the herd” of aspiring writers, or does it seem a bit too full of myself? Maybe I’ll try my first poll to answer the question.