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Thread: blurbs from correspondence?

  1. #1
    rlfulgham
    Guest

    blurbs from correspondence?

    Hi again,
    I've enjoyed a 34 year correspondence with a very famous author. Is it okay if I take a few quotes from his letters and use them as blurbs on the back of my books now being published? Do I have to add something like, "From author's correspondence with"? The famous author says he just hasn't time to read any galley proofs. He also take six months to answer, so even if I ask him if I can use the quote, the book will already be set up. And calling him is out of the question! He has a secretary that runs interference -- I can't get to him. But he's as nice as he can be in the letters he's sent me. Any legal advice? Any warnings? Any "go aheads and let the chips fall . . . ."?

  2. #2
    ncq13
    Guest

    Re: blurbs from correspondence?

    Do not use the quotes without permission. Ask permission, and if you recieve it after the book is out, you can always use it then.

  3. #3
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: blurbs from correspondence?

    I second that. Definitely don't use those quotes without permission.

    - Victoria

  4. #4
    FM St George
    Guest

    Re: blurbs from correspondence?

    I'd not risk it - his secretary may be bothersome, but his lawyer is probably much, much worse...

  5. #5
    NomadPress
    Guest

    Re: blurbs from correspondence?

    Do NOT use quotes by anyone if you don't have permission. Your publisher may also be liable if it prints a quote on one of its books that isn't legit. And if that happens, you can probably count on not working on a second book with them.

  6. #6
    rlfulgham
    Guest

    rlfulgham's end statement

    Hi guys,
    Don't worry - I have no intention of using quotes from my private correspondence for blurbs. I can't tell you the whole story yet. But it's a Lulu! I've been pen-pals with Norman Mailer since 1971. He has written me all these years, I think, because I promised at the beginning that I would never ask him for help. I've kept my word. He's not at all the egoistic bully he was protrayed as in the 1960's by "Time" magazine, et al. He's shared a wealth of hard-earned experience with me, not to mention the emotional support. I recently had supper with him and his family at his home at Cape Cod.

  7. #7
    Tish Davidson
    Guest

    Legalities

    I believe legally the text of the correspondence belongs to the person who wrote it, even if you own the letter, which means that you CAN NOT publish anything from these letters without permission. Even when a famous person is dead, you have to get permission from the estate.

  8. #8
    refriedwhiskey
    Guest

    Re: Legalities

    I definitely wouldn't use a quote from Norman Mailer without permission. That could be dangerous.

  9. #9
    reph
    Guest

    Re: Legalities

    I've read the same thing that Tish said: the physical letter belongs to its recipient, but the rights to the writing belong to the sender.

  10. #10
    Tish Davidson
    Guest

    Re: Legalities

    You might, however, in an introduction be able to work in something about your long correspondence with NM without implying his endorsement.

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    12
    If you use them without his permission, it would be a sad end to a long friendship. Take the high road and ask. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain--besides a blurb is specific to the novel. How could a quote from a letter pertain to your book?

  12. #12
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,366
    This particular instance has already played ... the book's out, with the blurb on the cover, with NM's permission.

  13. #13
    Player of the Letters Alphabeter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    NW Iowa
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    949
    Thanks for the update, Jim!
    Joy

    Writing is a lot like sex.
    At first you do it because you like it.
    Then you find yourself doing it for a few close friends and people you like.
    But if you're any good at all...you end up doing it for money.


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