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Writing Shorts

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So I should start by saying I don’t mean writing—the verb—shorts. Like penning micro-fiction or 300-word- web content or book review blurbs. I’ve had fun writing shorts but what I mean today is writing—the adjective—shorts.

I also don’t mean the shorts I wear when I’m writing. Though one must be cute and comfortable if one hopes to get any work done.

Ugh. Let’s just move on and I think you’ll get exactly what I mean:

Mention, the Media Monitoring Tool

I don’t have time to constantly check my name and see what comes up but I like to stay on top of where Cathy C. Hall may be out there in the wide web world. So I rely on a media monitoring tool called Mention that alerts me. So when that Mention email appeared in my inbox, I could see that Cathy C. Hall was in the newsletter promoting the latest issue of WOW!

Huh, I said to myself, seeing the issue was all about self-publishing. It just so happens that I’ve jumped into self-publishing in a big way in the last year, but I sure didn’t remember writing anything about that topic for this issue. So I read a-l-l-l-l of editor Margo Dill’s info-packed newsletter—and couldn’t wait to read the articles—and then I ended up at the mention of The Muffin and saw my name and a post. Nothing to do with self-publishing, but Mention had done its job.

Most of the time, I don’t need to check Mention’s alerts. I get the information of where my name appears and I remember writing that post or making that comment. But every once in a while, I do need to check because there are times when bloggers or writers will take a post and run it on their blog or platform—without asking first. And though they give me the credit, they should always ask. Which leads me to the next topic I needed to mention…

Release Forms

It also happens that my self-published, now-author friend has decided she’ll put out another book. Which means I’ll need to edit the manuscript and do the publishing work for her on KDP. And so just last week, she called to talk about her plan of interviewing lots of people to get their input re: the subject of the book.

Great! We worked on her interview questions and I strongly suggested she email these people with the questions and also send a permission/release form that allows her to use any or all of their responses in her book. But my friend balked at that form. These are church people, she said. There won’t be any problems, she said.

I’m sure she’s right. But I’m a firm believer in taking the safe route now to circumvent the sorry route later. And again, I didn’t have time to track down twenty or thirty people to make sure they were okay with every response (or part of a response) we used in the finished book.

In the traditional publishing world, permissions and/or using copyrighted material are handled for the author (even though often, the author has procured those permissions). But in the self-publishing world, the author is responsible for everything—and that includes securing permission for any work that’s not the author’s work.

Fortunately, there are plenty of free and downloadable forms available. Some are very simple—and exactly what we needed for our project—and others cover more complex situations. But in the end, the permission form serves the same purpose: to protect the author from any possible legal problems.

So that’s it for the writing shorts for this time around. Maybe next time I’ll get to writing—and I mean the verb here—shorts. (Now if only I had some kind of tool that reminded me about great ideas I have!)

~Cathy C. Hall

(C) Copyright

Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!‘s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest. Open Now!

Never Stale! The Muffin provides daily writing tips, inspiration, and news from the bakers of WOW! Women On Writing.


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