1. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    posting and publishing

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by afrodite7, Jun 22, 2011.

    -i want to publish my novel/novels.is it a bad idea to write short stand alone stories about the characters in that universe and post it online?
     
  2. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    Didn't Ray Bradbury first write a short story about Fahrenheit 541 before publishing the novella? Was that short story ever published somewhere previously...?

    My instinct about your question is that no, it's not a good idea from the admonitions that I have seen on here. I guess it wouldn't be really a question of copyright if you expand upon a couple of sub-characters. But keep in mind that what your publisher probably wants is originality of ideas, world and characters, and if you've already published your little shorts, it might not really be doing that.

    But then again, what do I know, really?
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it has nothing to do with copyright, which doesn't cover individual characters, but just the book as a whole...

    it only relates to exposure of the major work and i don't see that it could help any with selling the novel, afrodite... and i'd advise saving your time/energy for perfecting the first stand-alone one and getting an agent for it...

    once you have an agent, that's who should advise you on whether pre-exposure of characters is a good idea, or not...
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    As noted, this isn't really a copyright issue. But it is not true that copyright can't cover individual characters. It can, and it is something to keep in mind when contemplating the use of characters.
     
  5. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Publishers want "first publishing rights", i.e, they want to be the first ones to publish a story, to ensure it gets as high sales as possible.

    If you write a related short story, and publish it online, it doesn't affect the first publishing rights to your novel. You can still sell the novel to a publisher.

    If you're lucky and the short story gets a lot of readers, it may help the sales of your novel. Your time may be better spent elsewhere, as mammamaia says, but I don't see how it could hurt.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, but not simply the names of characters... one can name someone in their fictional work the same as a non-trademark protected character in another work, but can't have the character be too similar in other ways, such as appearance, occupation and so on...
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, true. Names are generally too short to be afforded copyright protection.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    actually, names are not covered regardless of length...
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Not exactly true. The reason names and titles aren't covered is that they generally are not considered long enough to have sufficient artistic merit or creativity to fall within copyright law. There is a line of cases that goes quite a ways back on that issue. If you were to come up with a book name that was, oh, 5000 words long or something, you'd have a built in argument to take to court with you :)
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    oops!...i forgot you're an attorney and thus predisposed to argue outlandish precedents! ;-)
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    LOL. Yeah, that IS true. I'd like to have a client walk in with a couple thousand word title some time, just to see if the Copyright office will register it and if not, whether the courts will reverse that decision. I suspect the office would register it, but you never know. If they're like the patent office, they're apt to misinterpret judicial rulings (not to mention federal statute).
     

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