Since I do not usually give publishing advice any more, please see my main website for contact details and other things you might be interested in (including my books about writing and publishing).

A special note to so-called publicity/PR companies who spam me to tell me about the book their hapless client has written: don't.


Most Likely II said...

1. Thank you. :)

2. No one (seems to) give (expansive enough) advice about obtaining permissions. Is that because it's just a grin 'n bear it kind of thing? What if you need [NEED] to quote a pretty good author/work except that pretty good author does dumb stuff like make a point over two and a half paperback pages?

3. Thank you again.

Nicola Morgan said...

Hi. I am not *entirely* sure what you're saying. I'm not sure why it's "dumb" to make a point over 2.5 pages, when writing a book! But you do need to get permission to quote, or at least you need to be able to prove that you did everything reasonable to contact the copyright holder. Normally, that would be the publisher if the work is published in a book, and the publisher would ask you exactly what you wanted to quote and where, and would give instructions as to the correct wording of the permission. Sometimes, I agree it's tricky and a nuisance, but it is important. It is also important to make sure you don't give the quote a misleading context, or make it appear to say something different.

The thing that no one can clarify exactly is how much one would be allowed to quote without permission under the terms or fair use/fair dealing, because it depends on each circumstance, but the answer is usually "a *very* small amount, proportionately". That's why the best thing is to contact the copyright holder. It's not usually difficult. If they have died within the last 70 years, you would contact their publisher.

Unknown said...

I would like some brief advice if possible. I have managed to get a publisher (A&C Black) for my children's manuscript without an agent and am due to be published next June 2015, but I am getting nowhere with my efforts to get an agent, currently unable to even raise a negative response! I am now editing my second manuscript, and have clear plans for a third story. Do you have any advice as to how to attract an agents attention, I had naively thought once I had a publisher, getting an agent for future work might be easier.

Thanks for your help.

Margaret Mulligan

Nicola Morgan said...

Hi Margaret. A quick answer simply isn't possible, I'm afraid. The info is all there on my blog, but the easier way to find what you want is to read Write to be Published or one of my other books. You will need to understand the business model: that an agent can only take on a writer if they believe they can further the writer's career. The agent has to believe strongly in the style of writing. It's so hard for a children's author to earn a living and the agent only earns a small % of that, despite spending many many hours working for the author, so it has to be a commercial decision. When I see my writing income (as opposed to my speaking income, which my agent doesn't earn from), well, I guess she must believe that one day i'll make a decent living! (And I've written about 100 books...) You just have to get a real handle on the earnings/commercial reality of it all, and then meld that with the approaches I describe in, eg, Der Agent.