This is a guest post written by Indra Sena, author of Closet Full of Coke
Why Your Self-Published Book Needs a Lawyer
If you’re self-publishing it’s critical to have your book vetted by a lawyer. Every publishing house puts their books through a legal team before it’s published and here is why you should too.
Lawyers will comb through your book looking at it through the lens of liable and fair-use laws. I cannot stress the importance of this oft overlooked step enough. A book opens you to lawsuits from practically anyone. Companies whose brand name you mention, owners of song lyrics, people who were quoted without permission, people who feel a fictional character is based on them, and nonfiction books about private people.
Take this example: an angry man going through a divorce wrote a tell-all book about his estranged wife. He self-published it and sold five copies. She sued and the judge ordered him to pay $70,000 in damages for each copy of the book he had sold.
I also used the writer’s legal reference book. I read it in full before I started writing my book. I wrote a memoir so it was critical that I learned how you could write about someone without slandering them. When your book is complete give it to a lawyer who will then thoroughly review the book’s contents and note any potentially litigious writing. They will hand you a report of their findings and you can then edit your book in response to the information. You might also consider buying book insurance. This can be done from writer’s organizations such as The Authors Guild. For a few hundred dollars a year you would have coverage toward lawsuits that could be brought against you.
Self-publishing makes you personally liable for the contents of your book and a lawsuit can threaten your personal property including your house, bank account, and future earnings. So make your work as bulletproof as possible before releasing it into the public domain.
The Publishing Law Center: www.publaw.com/legal-articles/
Right of Writers: www.rightsofwriters.com
The Authors Guild: www.authorsguild.org
Narrated by the teenage girl who lived it, Closet Full of Coke tells the true story of how a New York suburban fifteen-year-old girl’s savvy and wit helps turn the small-time drug business of Armando, a Colombian drug dealer, into a multi-million-dollar cocaine operation that puts them on the DEA’s Wanted List.
This intimate diary gives readers a fast-paced glimpse of the couple’s speedy rise to riches, and their inevitable descent.
These wannabe drug lords of the 1980s New York-to-Florida drug scene end their story only three years later with an untimely death, betrayal, and revenge.
Here is a true account of drug dealers whose obsession with money, power, sex, and glamour drives them to a lifestyle of deceit and recklessness, ending in tragedies that destroy lives forever.
Purchase your copy here.