| You Can Publishe It
|| Of course, this will cost a bit of money. This is called the start-up cost. You are now a small business person. As such, you are entitled to file a Schedule C with your federal tax return to deduct business expenses related to this publishing. In fact, the I.R.S. generally permits a business to lose money while deducting expenses for three years. This can sometimes be extended if the business can demonstrate progress towards a profit. Keep receipts and be honest.
Avoid legal pitfalls
You are now ready to begin the pre-publication stage. Take your manuscript out of the desk drawer or that old trunk and reread it. Pay close attention to what you have written because as the author/publisher, you are the sole responsible party. If you have written fiction then the characters should not resemble anyone.
If you have written non-fiction and mention the names of real people be careful, any damage to their reputation might result in a libel lawsuit. If your book describes embarrassing, unprofessional, or even criminal behavior why include names or even physical descriptions at all? One question should be, “Is this description central to my book?” If not, it might be easier to delete it. If you feel that it is central, be aware that sometimes even sticking to the facts has been construed by the courts as libel. Likewise, when writing non-fiction about a person who is not in the news, not a government official, and does not comment publicly, it is not enough to interview them. You must have a written release, signed by them.
Do not use copyrighted images without permission. For printed material, you have the right of “Fair Use” which is usually construed as including up to ten lines so long as the source is noted.
Aside from legal tweaks to your book, you probably need some editorial help. This is no shame. All major literary figures in the twentieth century had editors. Some of the relationships are legendary because famous writers did not and do not know how to spell or punctuate. Even Nobel Prize winning William Faulkner had an editor who did more than massage manuscripts. He operated on them. Find well read, competent editors. You need someone (or more) to review your work for clarity and style (content editing) as well as spelling and punctuation (line editing). The editors should be a well-read persons, not necessarily writers themselves. Where do you find an editor? Try community college or university campuses first. Instructors might help you, as might other students. It could be a friend, a peer, or a professional. The Internet can help with the professionals. Of course, they charge. Do not be intimidated. Better to rewrite now than to be embarrassed later. Ernest Hemingway once wrote that “The art of writing is rewriting.”
At some point, your manuscript must be typed into Microsoft Word because this is the program most accessible for e-mail ing to editors, and the program is generally used by printers. You no longer mail paper to your printer, but rather send an electronic version which he or she will adapt with a page layout program. This adaptation of the book will be electronically sent to a machine which will create plates for actual printing. Hopefully, you have been working on such an electronic version of your book with each of your editors, otherwise, you will have to line edit once more.
Appling for notices and designations
According to the new copyright law, you need not apply immediately for a copyright as long as the book is correctly labeled with the notice. If you wish to, use the Internet for this proces. The government will send you what is called a TX form to fill out.
You will also use the Internet to follow directions for application for a Library of Congress Catalog Card Number. This is a preassigned number. Last, you will apply for an International Standard Book Number which is used by bookstores for ordering.