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litdirt
06-03-2010, 05:30 AM
I am writing queries for my novel containing quotes that will require copyright permission. Would agents expect me to have obtained permission prior to querying? Or is that something that happens after I secure an agent?

Gillhoughly
06-03-2010, 06:06 AM
If the quotes are short, it's covered by "fair use".

If you have a lot from the same source or a large block, it's best to check with the copyright holder. If you don't get permission to use what you need for your work, then you won't have anything to pitch to an agent.

litdirt
06-03-2010, 06:46 AM
Right--the quotes are substantial enough that I need permission from two sources. Overall they total five paragraphs in my novel of 100,000 words. One I assumed would be in the public domain, but I see another author who used other portions of the work acknowledged permission from the major publishing house (that must still currently hold a copyright?) on the copyright page.

What if the permission is taking a while to secure, but the novel is ready to pitch otherwise? Any hard and fast rules on pitching a novel that is awaiting some copyright permissions? Would I need to mention that in the query?

If I can't secure permission, I have a Plan B, which is to fictionalize the info and thus author it myself, so to speak, so I don't feel the novel would be a no-go without permissions.

Many thanks.

Medievalist
06-03-2010, 07:03 AM
Track the sources carefully, and go ahead and submit.

Deal with copyrights and permissions only after you have a contract; asking for permissions will involve knowing the number of copies, and whether it's worldwide or not, digital or not, etc.

Ryan_Sullivan
06-03-2010, 09:55 AM
You don't need rights to submit as long as everything is properly cited. You only need permission if you'll be distributing it publicly or for pay.

Natalie_M_Fischer
06-03-2010, 10:01 AM
Both the previous posters have it right; deal with permissions once you have a contract. As someone who deals with permissions on a regular basis, I always need to have the print run and publisher to decide on the fee for the use, unless it is for educational purposes only, and as an agent, I wouldn't worry about it until it's under contract (and if it's really necessary or not -- but that's a whole other issue!)

Hope this helps!

scope
06-03-2010, 09:19 PM
Both the previous posters have it right; deal with permissions once you have a contract. As someone who deals with permissions on a regular basis, I always need to have the print run and publisher to decide on the fee for the use, unless it is for educational purposes only, and as an agent, I wouldn't worry about it until it's under contract (and if it's really necessary or not -- but that's a whole other issue!)

Hope this helps!

Natalie,

I completely understand what you said, and agree ---- However --- How do you suggest proceeding if the text in question is absolutely vital to the manuscript? Wait or get before submitting?

Jamesaritchie
06-03-2010, 09:31 PM
Quotes, meaning something someone actually said, almost never need permission, no matter how long they are. Copying long passages from a book does need permisision, and you just aren't going to get it. Nor should such material be in a novel.

Check to see if the material is in public domain. This is easyto do. If it is, you use the original source, and not a new publishers version of it. Acknowledgement is not necessarily the same thing as permission, and is often there out of simple courtesy.

But when using things that do require permission, writing or submitting first and trying to get permission second is a sure way to fail.

Using anything in a novel that requires permission is just a bad, bad road for any new writer, and even most old pros, to go down.

Medievalist
06-03-2010, 09:38 PM
Natalie,

I completely understand what you said, and agree ---- However --- How do you suggest proceeding if the text in question is absolutely vital to the manuscript? Wait or get before submitting?

You have to wait. When rights / permissions are licensed the person / entity who give /sells the permissions needs to where the book will be published, how many copies will be printed, if it's print only, or digital, if it's world wide or specific markets.

These are things you won't know until you have a contract.

Most of the time the process to obtain permissions is merely tedious; in some cases, (song lyrics, or images) it can be pricey. I wouldn't worry about it until you have a contract--just be very careful to keep good records.

Jamesaritchie
06-04-2010, 01:52 AM
You'd better worry about it in advance. I've seen rejection after rejection after rejection because most publishers HATE dealing with permissions for novels.

And no, most of the time, you don't have to wait. You just have to know what you're doing, and which rights to ask for.