1. dannyboy
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    dannyboy Member

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    Can I approach publishers without any protection??

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by dannyboy, Jul 15, 2011.

    Hi All,

    I'm pretty much done with some short story work for Kids. I'm looking out for publishers now and I got one who is looking for submissions of manuscripts, can I just go ahead and submit my work to them with out copyrights? or should I do the copyright and then submit the work.
    I'm also confused about where to submit the work, I'm based in India, and I have a publisher who wants to view my work in the United States can I go ahead and send my work to them?
    Apart from these confusions I also want to know if anyone can pm me a good covering letter format or a site that can help me to write a powerful covering letter to the publisher???

    Many Thanks

    Dannyboy
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dannyboy,

    YOu do not need to copyright your work before sending it out.

    If you are sending it to reputable markets, they're not going to steal it. What would be the point? Take it and attempt to assign authorship to another writer? What advantage is there in that?

    To find a market, a good place to start is:
    http://www.duotrope.com/

    A cover letter should be very brief. Your name and contact information, who you're writing to. Just tell them you're submitting (title of story) for their consideration, including word count.

    If you have any relevant writing credits, you would mention them.

    Then say something to the effect of looking forward to positive reply.

    Not much else.

    If you google or yahoo search cover letters for short story submission or the like, I am sure you can find examples. Keep it brief. The cover letter is a formality with the short story. Just watch for typos and such, and sound professional. The quality of the short story is what will sell it (or not).

    Good luck!

    Terry
     
  3. dannyboy
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    dannyboy Member

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    Thanks a lot for your inputs, will just follow your guideline and keep my letter brief and professional... Thanks again




     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    actually, your work is already copyrighted, from the moment you finish it... all that's done after that is registering the existing copyright at the library of congress, or its equivalent in your country... but that's not done by seasoned writers, since it costs money and it'll be done by the publisher...

    you should study the basics re copyrights: www.copyright.gov

    if you want help with your cover letter, you can send it to me and i'll help you polish it to a faretheewell... good luck with your submissions...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  5. markbriscoe
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    markbriscoe New Member

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    "If you are sending it to reputable markets, they're not going to steal it. What would be the point?"

    I also have a fairly short children's story I am basically considering doing exactly the same thing as Dannyboy (OP) If one does send ones manuscript to a publisher by post or email, what would be there to stop a bored employee receiving the email as it arrives and stealing it as their own work? I am sure it is very unlikely to happen but there is really no safeguard is there? There is a potential risk, no?

    My story is only around 1,600 words (takes 5 - 6 minutes to read) and I was also considering posting it here on the forum for a critique, but again there would be a risk wouldn't there?
     
  6. dannyboy
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    dannyboy Member

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    Many Thanks and your readiness to help is appreciated, will definetly get in touch with you when I'm ready with the letter...

     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Before you send your work to anyone, send a hard-copy to yourself through the snail-mail system and DON'T open the envelope. The stamp will have a date on it and your envelope is now proof of intellectual ownership.

    If someone does steal your story, consider yourself lucky -- you'll make far more money on suing them than you'd ever make on the publishing.
     
  8. Cain
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    Cain Member

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    if you do that though, you'll be effectively publishing it, and publishers will only accept it as a reprint.

    See this sticky; http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=23612
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Any time you submit any writing anywhere, you lose a certain amount of control over it and there is a risk that someone in the process will take it and claim it as their own. It's a very small risk, in my opinion, and if you're not willing to take that risk then you should become comfortable with the fact that you'll never publish anything.

    As for mailing a copy of the work to yourself, that doesn't constitute proof of anything. It may be certain evidence of a date of possession, but it is too easily faked to be of very much value. You could always have your work witnessed and signed by a handful of people who are willing to testify in court, I suppose, but honestly I don't think most writers go through all that.

    Damages are a good point. Copyright infringement allows for statutory damages (at least in the U.S.), so you don't have to prove your damages in order to be compensated.
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Markbriscoe,

    Editors are in business of publishing works. Why would an employee risk their job (and reputation) to take an unknown author's slush submission and claim it as their own? If there was a dispute, most businesses have off sight backup of their files (including email). How many editors are active published writers? A major house would be very harsh on any editor or slush reader was accused and then caught trying to steal a manuscript and claim it as their own. Their reputation is important in this regard. Instances of such happening would wreck such a reputation.

    In addition, most major houses require agents to submit a work (they don't take unsolicited manuscripts). I guess one could be concerned about an agent stealing a manuscript and 'giving' it to another author. Again, what would be the point? If they've found an author who is good, wouldn't they want to represent them and future works from that new author as well?

    As far as posting the full manuscript online, even one where one has to be a member? Not a good idea. Parts or excepts would be okay. Publishing online (although with children's books I am not so sure how much a publisher would care--kids literature isn't my area) is generally not a good thing. Posting online on a forum by some definitions is considered publishing.

    If you're concerned about a publisher's employee stealing a work and claiming it, why wouldn't you be concerned about a member here (there are thousands) taking the work posted? Again, it's quite rare, (I think I remember it maybe being claimed once) but if you're concerned about it with a publisher, why stress yourself out by posting it online here?

    HorusEye,

    What you're talking about is commonly called the Poor Man's Copyright. It's not of value in courts in the USA. Elsewhere in the world, it might be. Here's a link to an article on it: Snopes Poor Man's Copyright

    And I am not sure to consider oneself lucky. What can one get in damages from it? If the individual made any money off it, and maybe some other minor compensation--probably not much unless it became a best seller--very, very long odds. How much time and effort would be involved in the process? How much time that could have been spent writing? Just my two cents.
     
  11. markbriscoe
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    markbriscoe New Member

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    Thanks for all that info, VERY helpful as a general overview on posting manuscripts etc. dannyboy, I didn't want to hijack your thread but I guess its all relevant to your original question
     

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