Tag Archives: permissions

Obtaining Permission


As part of my publishing contract, I am responsible for obtaining permission to quote copyrighted material.

At first, I debated whether or not I wanted to rewrite my manuscript omitting any references to copyrighted material. But after reading the selection over and over again, I decided to go through the process of obtaining permission.

In the manuscript, my mother and my sisters are rebelling against my father’s mandate to live in isolation. My mother, in particular, yearns to experience the freedom of friendships outside of work and home. She starts to sing “American Pie” and my sisters and I join her. The song is iconic of an era. It captures the mood of the scene, defines the chapter, and colors the entire book with its flavor.

I started my research by contacting the singer, Don McLean, who directed me to United Artists who directed me to Hal Leonard Corporation. Over a period of two months of negotiations, the corporation and I finally reached an agreement on the terms and conditions in which I could use a few lines of the lyric to “American Pie” in exchange for payment. Yes, I paid money for the right to quote a few lines from a song and I feel it was worth it.

Not every writer is willing or able to buy the right to reprint copyrighted material either because the copyright holder is unwilling to extend the right or a writer is unwilling to pay the price. A mutual agreement must be made.

In the event someone wants to quote from one of my books in the future, I will be in the position to negotiate the terms of the agreement. I can offer permission to use the quote for free, for a set dollar amount, or a percentage of the gross or net sales, or any other terms and conditions which are mutually agreeable. Until then, I will continue to be cognizant of what quotes I use in future works and diligent about obtaining permission.

After Signing the Contract

JourneySince I’ve signed with She Writes Press as part of winning the 2014 Memoir Discovery Contest, I’ve been busy with the next steps in anticipation of a fall 2015 publication date.

I’ve sent a cover memo to the publisher for the graphic artist to start working on the cover. Although I might not have a cover to release to the public until March 2015, I’m excited to be working with a top industry professional to craft a cover-grabbing image that will cause more readers to pick up the book!

I’ve sent out queries for endorsements. Although Amy Tan is busy with a tight writing schedule, other authors are considering a back cover copy blurb including Maxine Hong Kingston. Keep your fingers crossed!

I’ve sent out requests for permissions. Whenever you quote another copyrighted poem, lyric, or book, you need permission. In my memoir, my mothers, sisters, and I sing a portion of “American Pie” by Don McLean. I’m waiting to hear if Universal Songs will grant permissions. Keep your fingers crossed again!

Although I have in-house publicity, I’ve contacted publicists for additional support for my book. Although the interview process has been grueling, I’m learning what it feels like to be an employer searching for the perfect employee. I haven’t found the perfect fit yet, but I’m still looking. If you know someone who specializes in promoting non-fiction books in Northern California, please let me know. Referrals are always appreciated.

I’m working with Nat Mundel in getting my memoir turning into a
screenplay for Hollywood.

If that wasn’t enough, I’ve been busy sending out press releases to notify the media of my contest win.

Deep breath…release… Yes, yoga has been helping me keep my balance, as well as my immediate family.

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