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nick123
06-13-2011, 01:28 AM
My Father told me, in late 2009, that he had written a book for children. At the time, he worked in a library, so he had access to the internet. I mentioned to him to be careful, so a publisher would not use his ideas, and his writings, as their own. He said he had taken care of it. And that he had found a publisher.
He passed away in late 2010 and that was the last I heard of his book. My brother was very close to him and I was not. He named my brother as his will executor. There are over 98,000 public schools. No telling how many copies of his books may have been sold, or maybe not sold.
I want to pursue this matter and try to find out about my Father's book and who his publisher was, and if I have any legal right to pursue the matter. I guess some of the questions are:
1. Since he worked in a library, would he have used the internet, or some book in the library to locate:
A. The process that an author is to use to properly publish a book.
B. A publisher.
2. Would he have been easily advised, to sell his rights to someone else, such as a publisher, for a small set fee?

I have done a little research, and it seems that an author retains rights to their works for 50-75 years after death. My Father was 83 and died in 2010.

Where should I begin to try to locate his book, who the publisher is, and all the other facts and information that I, one of his biological children, might need to know.

My brother is quite capable of hiding the facts, since he was the only one who saw the will and the asset inventory list that is submitted to the probate court.

I do not know if a published work could be left off that inventory list, or whether it had to be included. It seems that form is a "honesty" form, unless the court can use the deceased's social security number to locate assets that were not reported.

I'd hate to think my parent's work went unpublished or was published but not handled the proper way, so as to protect the rights for decades to come, for his beneficiaries or a charity.

I've heard of a book called "writer's market."

If my Father's book was published, is there a reference book that list 100% of all authors by name, in alphabetical order?

I've got his name and nothing more. I was never told the name of the book or any other information other than the above. I've searched Google using the name, and come up empty, with no information that implies he had his book published.

Thanks.

Medievalist
06-13-2011, 01:37 AM
Try your local public library. Ask for the Reference librarian.

kaitie
06-13-2011, 01:49 AM
Have you searched Amazon? It lists a thousand kabillion books, so it might be on there somewhere. Do you mind sharing his name?

whacko
06-13-2011, 02:00 AM
You could try and get a copy of the will or probate records. That would show if a trust had been set up for future income, royalties etc.

Regards

Whacko

Linda Adams
06-13-2011, 02:08 AM
I have an uncle who wrote more than 400 short stories and about 10 books during the 1950s through the 1960s. The books are obviously no longer in print, but I have been able to find them. Just start with Amazon and run a search on his name there. It not only picks up new releases but used books that dealers are selling. Then run an additional search for his name on Google and see what turns up. I've been able to find most of my uncle's books -- including one, surprisingly that was autographed to my great-grandparents -- and a number of his short stories.

suki
06-13-2011, 02:10 AM
If you are a beneficiary of the estate or an heir, you will be entitled to see the inventory and asset list. In most states, those documents will be filed with the court and be public records.

But I'd start by searching amazon and other sources for a book written by your dad - with his name attached.

And I'd second the advice to seek out a reference librarian at your local public library, who will be able to offer other advice.

~suki

benbradley
06-13-2011, 02:47 AM
There's also these sites for finding out-of-print books for sale - they cover many used online booksellers in addition to Amazon's site:
http://bookfinder.com
http://used.addall.com
I think they both cover most sites, but you might as well check both sites to be sure.
Also look on ebay (though a Google search ought to turn up anything being sold on ebay), as those sites don't look on ebay.

There's this site, this company used to print a set of books every year with the books in print for that year, but those surely got shelved with the encyclopedias with expanding Internet access:
http://www.booksinprint.com/bip/

If the book was self-published or vanity published, used copies may show up for sale somewhere, but I don't think it would show up in "in print" or "formerly in print" databases such as Books In Print.

Terie
06-13-2011, 09:32 AM
Are you sure your father's book was actually published? Just because someone has written a book doesn't mean the book was ever published.

skylark
06-13-2011, 11:23 AM
Since this appears to have happened relatively recently, could you ask his co-workers at the library what they know?

I'm thinking that if he was dealing with this online, he might have said to them "ooh, I wonder if there are any emails from my publisher" and so on. Or he might have shown them the book. If it ever was published, he's likely to have donated a copy.

Certainly in the UK anyone can pay a small fee and see what's in a will.

To be honest, though, unless you think your father would have published under a pseudonym, if Google isn't throwing anything up then there is certainly no goose laying golden eggs here, and there probably isn't a published book at all.

shaldna
06-13-2011, 02:21 PM
You could start with google and amazon search, run both the name of your father and the book title if you know it.

Torgo
06-13-2011, 02:29 PM
Check the British Library catalogue.

Bufty
06-14-2011, 05:25 PM
It strikes me as extremely vague.

You obviously don't know the title or you would have mentioned it.

Why didn't your father mention the name to you? Did he?

Did your father have an e-mail address?

Did anyone at the library where he worked know anything?

Was the manuscript handwritten? On a computer? Did he own a computer?

I assume his own name would have gone on any manuscript. Why would he bother to use a pseudonym?

Would he have used a scam publisher? Publish America?

Sorry to sound pessimistic, but it seems highly unlikely to me that someone would actually publish a book (either himself or through a vanity or a commercial publisher) then make no apparent effort to spread the word at all.

If there really were a book published by a commercial publisher there would be a record of it. Nobody has any reason to keep it secret.

James D. Macdonald
06-14-2011, 07:48 PM
Have you checked copyright records (http://www.copyright.gov/records/)?

MJNL
06-14-2011, 10:24 PM
Hmm, it sounds like you might want to do a little research into the industry, first and foremost. Because it seems as though you have no idea how it works, as indicated by your third line:

"I mentioned to him to be careful, so a publisher would not use his ideas, and his writings, as their own."

This doesn't happen in the legitimate publishing community.

Also, if he did publish the book legitimately the copyright might still be with the publisher, per his contract. There should have been a way for him to collect royalties on sales, and your brother--as the executor of his will--should have access to that information, provided your father got all of his ducks in a row.

Just because he found a publisher doesn't mean any contracts were ever signed, though. If not, the book has not been published.

James' link above should be helpful to you if you can find out the required information in order to properly do a search.

I'm not sure why you're concerned about unsold copies of the book, or what public schools have to do with anything...

Bufty
06-15-2011, 02:29 AM
I wouldn't worry about it until bro starts driving around in a different coloured Ferrari on each day of the week. :poke:

Terie
06-15-2011, 09:59 AM
Also, if he did publish the book legitimately the copyright might still be with the publisher, per his contract.

Everything else in MJNL's post is spot-on, but the copyright is not typically transferred to the publisher. There are occasions when a publisher has the copyright, most notably in work-for-hire, but it's an exception, not the rule.

Publishing rights do not equal copyright.

Carrie in PA
06-15-2011, 04:53 PM
My only thought is to be sure to check all variations of his name. John K Doe, JK Doe, J Keith Doe, etc.

If he had just written it in 2009, there's a great possibility that it had not been anywhere near publication in 2010.

Good luck.

MJNL
06-15-2011, 06:45 PM
Everything else in MJNL's post is spot-on, but the copyright is not typically transferred to the publisher. There are occasions when a publisher has the copyright, most notably in work-for-hire, but it's an exception, not the rule.

Publishing rights do not equal copyright.

Sorry, I worded that a little weird. I'd hope he didn't just sign over all rights. What I meant was they might still have the right to exclusively publish that work, depending on what terms he agreed to. They might have rights for a certain number of years, or a certain print run, or until 2 years after no more copies have been sold, etc.

Without the contract it’s just guess work as to whether or not rights have reverted.

nick123
06-18-2011, 09:49 PM
I'm trying to research an author's work. All I have to go by is the author's name and the date they told me that they had written a children's book and had found a publisher who was interested. That was in late 2009.

I went to my library and saw the Literary Market Place and the Writer's Market. Both head reference librarians opened up a good detailed discussion.
They said it is possible for someone of any age, to write the text of a book, and get it printed, and bound, and on the shelves, all without a publisher. Costly, and not easy, but clearly not impossible.

It has been about 18 months since I told the author "be careful, you do not want a publisher to steal-copy your idea." They replied that they had taken care of that.

It was a children's book, so there could-should have been illustrations, requiring co-ordination with other individuals.
I was told that many publishers require an author to use an agent.
Also, many authors use pen names.
And research found that an author's rights carry on 50-70 years after they die.

So, I was told in late 2009, that "I have written a children's book and have found a publisher who is interested."

How long would it take to get that book on the shelves?
(whether self published or through the normal process)

I gather that having only the author's name and the type book and their location in the U.S. is a very difficult search. But, since I am a direct decendent of the author, I'd like to know the magnitude of the possiblities as far as number of books out there. I am hopeful that I can locate the name of the book. That should make the search alot easier.

Thanks for any information you might be able to provide.

Uncarved
06-18-2011, 10:04 PM
depends on if the "interest" turned into a contract or not.

I've eight publishers interested in my new book. Doesn't mean its going to be published until the contract is signed. However, count on two years. some are faster, some take longer. But I'd add two years to it.

And yea, not knowing the book name, or if the author used a pen name, or even what the story is about is going to be hard to find.

Uncarved
06-18-2011, 10:06 PM
I'm trying to research an author's work. All I have to go by is the author's name and the date they told me that they had written a children's book and had found a publisher who was interested. That was in late 2009.

I went to my library and saw the Literary Market Place and the Writer's Market. Both head reference librarians opened up a good detailed discussion.
They said it is possible for someone of any age, to write the text of a book, and get it printed, and bound, and on the shelves, all without a publisher. Costly, and not easy, but clearly not impossible.

It has been about 18 months since I told the author "be careful, you do not want a publisher to steal-copy your idea." They replied that they had taken care of that.

It was a children's book, so there could-should have been illustrations, requiring co-ordination with other individuals.
I was told that many publishers require an author to use an agent.
Also, many authors use pen names.
And research found that an author's rights carry on 50-70 years after they die.

So, I was told in late 2009, that "I have written a children's book and have found a publisher who is interested."

How long would it take to get that book on the shelves?
(whether self published or through the normal process)

I gather that having only the author's name and the type book and their location in the U.S. is a very difficult search. But, since I am a direct decendent of the author, I'd like to know the magnitude of the possiblities as far as number of books out there. I am hopeful that I can locate the name of the book. That should make the search alot easier.

Thanks for any information you might be able to provide.

And just so you know, publishers aren't going to want to steal your idea. Then they'd have to find a writer and everything, its much easier to just pay the author for their work than it is to "steal their ideas", it screams of a newbie without a clue to say this to anyone.

CaoPaux
06-18-2011, 10:07 PM
I'm merging this into your previous thread, where many people already answered your question.

Cyia
06-19-2011, 01:40 AM
My Father told me, in late 2009, that he had written a book for children. At the time, he worked in a library, so he had access to the internet. I mentioned to him to be careful, so a publisher would not use his ideas, and his writings, as their own.

This is why people who know nothing about publishing shouldn't give advice on publishing.

1 - ideas are worthless

2 - legit publishers don't steal work

3 - scam publishers don't steal work, they wouldn't know how to sell it if they tried.



He said he had taken care of it. And that he had found a publisher.

Does this mean they published the book or that they were interested in reading the full manuscript?



He passed away in late 2010 and that was the last I heard of his book. My brother was very close to him and I was not. He named my brother as his will executor. There are over 98,000 public schools. No telling how many copies of his books may have been sold, or maybe not sold.

The number of public schools has ABSOLUTELY NO bearing on whether or not your dad's book sold a single copy. To get into schools, the libraries would first have to buy them and they don't automatically buy a book just because it exists.



I want to pursue this matter and try to find out about my Father's book and who his publisher was, and if I have any legal right to pursue the matter. I guess some of the questions are:

Good luck with that. If your dad had a will, then it's the will that would determine it most likely (INAL).


1. Since he worked in a library, would he have used the internet, or some book in the library to locate:
A. The process that an author is to use to properly publish a book.[/quote

Hopefully.

[quote]B. A publisher.

Not likely. By 2009, most publishers wouldn't be accepting straight from the author submissions. Some would, but not many.


2. Would he have been easily advised, to sell his rights to someone else, such as a publisher, for a small set fee?

Again, you don't know enough about the industry to be making assumptions.


I have done a little research, and it seems that an author retains rights to their works for 50-75 years after death. My Father was 83 and died in 2010.

You're talking about copyright, which is what prevents someone else from publishing the book without permission.


Where should I begin to try to locate his book, who the publisher is, and all the other facts and information that I, one of his biological children, might need to know.

I'm assuming you know your dad's name, yes? Try google.


My brother is quite capable of hiding the facts, since he was the only one who saw the will and the asset inventory list that is submitted to the probate court.

(not touching this one with a ten foot pole...)


I do not know if a published work could be left off that inventory list, or whether it had to be included. It seems that form is a "honesty" form, unless the court can use the deceased's social security number to locate assets that were not reported.

You need to talk to your brother, and maybe the county clerk where the papers were filed. I'm not sure the protocol where you live.


I'd hate to think my parent's work went unpublished or was published but not handled the proper way, so as to protect the rights for decades to come, for his beneficiaries or a charity.

1 - it's not likely he was published at all. This is true of anyone who writes a book.

2 - if it was published then "the proper way" is moot.

3 - he wrote it in 2009, even if it sold immediately, then it's still not likely a single copy would have been shelved by the time he died. It can take 18-24 months from contract to shelf.

And if he self or vanity published to cut that time down to say 3-6 months, then you're in a fit over nothing. No one's seen the book and no one will. It won't be on shelves or in libraries - especially not more than 90,000 of them.


I've heard of a book called "writer's market."

If my Father's book was published, is there a reference book that list 100% of all authors by name, in alphabetical order?

Dude, seriously. Google. You have access to a computer, use it.


I've got his name and nothing more. I was never told the name of the book or any other information other than the above. I've searched Google using the name, and come up empty, with no information that implies he had his book published.

Then he probably didn't.

The chance that your dad got published is EXCEPTIONALLY slim. Thinking he's got a secret book in 90,000+ school libraries, but you can't find in Google is just not sound reasoning.

Thousands of people try and get published every year. They finish books and some even manage to hook a publisher's interest, but that doesn't mean those books sell. Most don't.

Parametric
06-19-2011, 01:44 AM
The vast, vast, vast probability is that your father was never published, nobody ever read his manuscript, and you have nothing to worry about.

gothicangel
06-19-2011, 11:55 AM
I would find this very surprising to find that he had been published [legit] and not have had any correspondance from a publisher or agent.

Was there no evidence of a manuscript or research in his belongings? This is starting to sound like a MacGuffin.

frimble3
06-22-2011, 06:40 AM
And I find it really hard to believe that a man who had a book published, or about to be published, wouldn't have been shouting it from the rooftops, or at least to his friends and family. And co-workers, come to that. Surely he would have said something to the people he worked with at the library? They work with books, they would have been happy for him.
If no-one knows anything, there probably is nothing to know.

nick123
06-26-2011, 07:56 PM
I'm sorry, I did not get an email alerting me of all the responses.


I did go to my library where I located LMP (literary market place) and Writer's Market, I also spoke to two reference librarians. They were very helpful and said some authors use a pen name. And that the above books are used by authors to locate a publisher.


We are in the USA. My brother and I were co-will executors for my Mother, so we know the process. Parts of the asset inventory list are the "honor system." Some assets can be left off. Since the proceeds from the sale of a book can extend decades after death (before the book becomes public domain) then the "book" might be left off the inventory list. And only my brother and deceased parent would even know the book exist in the case of a pen name.
My brother is my Father's will executor.


I located author law and it said their rights extend 50+ years after death. I read it to mean that proceeds from the sale of the books keep on going and are a part of the authors estate.
Q: True?


By the word "steal" what I meant was:
Q: What would prevent a publisher from offering my elderly father a sum of money for him to sign over his rights to the book?
Q: Are you saying it is impossible for my father to receive $5000 and sign all his rights to his book as well as future royalties per book sold?


No, I am not knoweldgable about publishing a book. My brother is dishonest and I've got proof. Quite capable of hiding the evidence of a published work, and the dollars from the sale of each book.


I spoke to my Aunt who is age 90. She is aware of the book, but does not recall the title. So she does not know the name of the book. She "did" however say that she does not think the book has been published.


She suggested that my brother would share, if there was a published book with sales. She is totally wrong on that. She does not know all the facts.




Q: What percentage of publishers require an author to have an agent?

Q: What percentage of authors use a pen name?


My father has no computer. The only computer is at the library where he works part time and it is a small library at a technical college. My father is alive, age 82, but I have not seen him but 4 times in 25 years. My brother has surely filled him with lies about me. My brother can not be trusted. I can easily visualize that the book may exist in the future, and I have zero knowledge. I can also visualize my father, who won't listen to many people on anything, using his computer to locate a publisher.
Q: Do author's who do not know better, just send a copy of their written work to a publisher?


So, it has been 2 years since my father mentioned the book and that he had found a publisher who was interested. Now, an Aunt says that she does not think the book has been published.


Should my father pass away and the text of his book, be there, but not published, and by some miracle, my brother tells me about it all:
Q: Can my brother and I work together to get my father's book into print?


I understand that it is a children's book. If there are to be illustrations, then an illustrator will be needed.

Unfortunately and beyond my control, my brother can not be trusted, I do not trust him and I am not close to my father. I am in no position to be asking too specific a questions.

Type of car? My brother lives in a $400K home and drives a Jaguar. I am on social security disability and drive a 1996 Mitsubishi Galant and live in a foreclure that cost me $31K. So, it would be tragic for my brother to hide the matter of the book and reap any monetary benefits. I may need a lawyer in the end.
.....the forum is intermittantly not letting my cursor move around, so I had to copy paste the above and the paragraphs were not spread out like you see them. I'm having trouble using my mouse cursor on this page, so I'll leave the paragraphs the way they are. It was not my intent for them to have such large spaces between each.

shadowwalker
06-26-2011, 09:36 PM
I'm a bit confused here. First you said your father passed away in 2010, now you say he's alive, age 82. So, are you trying to find out about this book on your own because he won't tell you, or because he's dead?

I don't want to sound nasty, but having gone through the whole 'parent loved you/me best' thing myself, I like to get the story straight. I mean, if your father intended for you to have any share in whatever profits came from the book, why wouldn't he have told you the details, or put it clearly in his will?

Carrie in PA
06-26-2011, 09:52 PM
He passed away in late 2010 and that was the last I heard of his book.


My father is alive, age 82, but I have not seen him but 4 times in 25 years. My brother has surely filled him with lies about me. My brother can not be trusted.

It would seem it's not your brother who cannot be trusted - at least he's certainly not the only one.

Have a nice day.

nick123
06-26-2011, 10:03 PM
It would seem it's not your brother who cannot be trusted - at least he's certainly not the only one.

Have a nice day.

I was abused as a child. I've missed out on 50 years of life like YOUR'S.........and to be left out of the book would just add to the tragedy. You do not know all the facts, and for privacy reasons the all can not be stated here.
I was left my other parent's home and my sibling will inherit the other house. My sibling refused to sign the deed over to me out of spite and greed. They can get whatever they want from my living parent's estate if they try hard enough. Their getting the house, we all know that already.

If I can get some answers on what % of authors who use a pen name, and what % of publishers require the author to have an agent, then that would be helpful, and at least show my parent can not go it alone.

They might like the idea of their book and their name being out there in book land for decades to come after we are all gone. I am not 300 miles away like the other, so I am willing and able to help my parent get the book published, if it has a chance of success. I'm in a no win situation. If I suddenly begin visiting parent, sibling will cry foul. There is no emotional bond and you clearly do not know what that means.

You do not understand because you surely came from what is known as a totally functional family.

nick123
06-26-2011, 10:52 PM
suit yourself there "c"

in an effort to protect people's privacy, errors were made in the text.

the living parent wrote the book.
the living parent's closest relative is my sibling and is their will executor.
they see each other 2-3 times a year due to distance and multiple times a month by phone.
---------------------
if 99% of all authors use a pen name and if 99% of all publishers require an author to have an agent, then both facts are informative.
My search will be difficult if a pen name and if an agent is required then my parent can not go from pen to book shelf alone.

I would guess my parent would want to use their own name, unless publishers are in the habit, of advising author's not to use their real name, maybe for some legal reason. Music artist from the 1950's-60's-70's, very few are known by their real name.

shaldna
06-26-2011, 11:32 PM
Nick, honestly, this is all coming across as a bit of a money grabbing thing and it sounds very much like you want to know how much you'll get. And passing judgement on the people here because you think that you're the only one who's had a hard life is just ignorant.

But since you are so desperate to know, here's the skinny on book publishing : most books, even those by big publishers, sell less than 2000 copies over the course of their lifetime, most of that will come within the first year and will be written off against any advance.

Secondly, book copyright extends for 75 years after the authors death - with rare exceptions such as Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan.

This doesn't mean that the book will be in print for all that time - the majority of books are only in print for a couple of years.

Assume that of any money earned a quarter of it will go on tax, and then any money afterwards is still subject to inheritance tax, so allow another half for that too.

In short - the book, if published, will most likely be out of print before the writer dies, and even if it's not, it won't be the financial goldmine that you seem to think it will be.

shaldna
06-26-2011, 11:36 PM
Type of car? My brother lives in a $400K home and drives a Jaguar. I am on social security disability and drive a 1996 Mitsubishi Galant and live in a foreclure that cost me $31K. So, it would be tragic for my brother to hide the matter of the book and reap any monetary benefits. I may need a lawyer in the end.

I don';t really understand what this has to do with anything, but for the record, writing isn't as profitable as you would think - on the most part you'd make more working in McD's.

To put things into perspective for you, I've had several books published and my hubby even owns a small publishing house and wanna know what I drive? A 1988 Mazda with a broken heater.

agent.grey
06-26-2011, 11:49 PM
Nick,

Regardless of the difference in circumstances between you and your brother, your father (assuming he is still of sound mind) is legally entitled to do as he wishes in his will provided there is no-one who would be considered a dependant.

Your only chance that I can see is to make contact with your father and speak to him directly. Given his age, it would seem like a good thing to do anyway regardless of any fiscal arrangements.

Shaldna is probably right about the royalties situation too. The total value of the royalties from a book is rarely large. If it is money you are interested in (and I hope there is more to it than that) then yo are barking up the wrong tree.

James D. Macdonald
06-26-2011, 11:57 PM
And with that, I think this discussion is over.

-- JDM