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musicduchess20
04-15-2012, 11:24 PM
Which comes first, the query letter to the agent or the copyright?

I know it costs money to get the text for my first novel copyrighted, for I just finished writing it three days ago (YAY!), but it still needs work. I'm not looking forward to sending the first draft of my novel to the Copyright office via email with Microsoft Word until it's primped and polished.

So can someone please explain this copyright thing to me?! Do I look for an agent now or wait until I tap into the Library of Congress?

-Music Duchess

Terie
04-15-2012, 11:42 PM
Well, copyright comes first because it comes as soon as the words leave your fingertips.

Don't register your copyright if you plan to submit it. Not only does it tell the agent that you're a newbie who doesn't know the score (which is fine to be, you just don't want to let on too soon ;)), it can cause problems if the work gets contracted later.

You should go read the Copyright FAQ (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58845) forthwith.

waylander
04-16-2012, 12:07 AM
What Terie said. Don't concern yourself over the copyright.

Siri Kirpal
04-16-2012, 02:59 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

To put what Terie said in different words: you already have the copyright. Don't bother to register it now; that could cause problems later. Get your ms in tiptop shape.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Jersey Chick
04-16-2012, 03:10 AM
Well, I'm always the echo.

Registering the copyright isn't necessary. Worry about the agent, if you must worry about something. Your ms was copyrighted as soon as you put words to paper (er, words to computer??? either way, they're in a fixed format and that's what counts) That's nothing to concern yourself with right now.

musicduchess20
04-17-2012, 06:49 AM
Thank you all so much!!! I better get on revising and shopping for an agent, then. I can't believe I'm almost there as a published author. :)

Siri Kirpal
04-17-2012, 07:25 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Be sure to look at the successful query thread in Query Letter Hell. When you've reached 50 posts, you can post your query there, and you can also post your first chapter (or short section of the first chapter if it's a long one) in the relevant section of Share Your Work.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

lyrwriter
04-17-2012, 08:44 AM
Which comes first, the query letter to the agent or the copyright?

I know it costs money to get the text for my first novel copyrighted, for I just finished writing it three days ago (YAY!), but it still needs work. I'm not looking forward to sending the first draft of my novel to the Copyright office via email with Microsoft Word until it's primped and polished.

So can someone please explain this copyright thing to me?! Do I look for an agent now or wait until I tap into the Library of Congress?

-Music Duchess

For what it's worth, I've also heard a lot of agents say they find it bizarre/offputting to get a query or submission with copyright notice on it. Agents have no interest in stealing anyone's work---they're far too busy for that---and going to the trouble of copyrighting your work before it's published just shows them that you don't understand the publishing industry, which means more work for them later on when they have to explain things to you. So even if you're new to this world, don't give them a reason to think you are. :)


Thank you all so much!!! I better get on revising and shopping for an agent, then. I can't believe I'm almost there as a published author. :)

Whoa whoa whoa! I'm so pleased you're enthusiastic---and I also want to encourage you to take the time to thoroughly research how publishing works before you dive into it. For one thing, publishing is SLOW, so unless you go the self-pub route, I wouldn't say you're "almost" there. (Sorry, not trying to be a downer. I just want you to have realistic expectations about all of this.) Even if you got an agent tomorrow who sold your book to a publisher within a week, you'd still probably have 1-2 years before your book showed up in bookstores. And the process of getting an agent can takes months (or years)...and the process of selling a manuscript to a publisher can take just as long. So! While you're revising that manuscript, do a bit of research. :) Some sites to get you started:

Query letter critiques:
http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

Query letter snarks:
http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/

Another perspective on writing query letters (Janet Reid doesn't have a monopoly on opinions, although I prefer her model on the whole):
http://susandennard.com/2010/11/29/how-i-got-my-agent-part-1-the-prep/

Thoughts on query letters from a former lit agency intern:
https://www.createspace.com/en/community/message/105196#105196

Q&A with four young literary agents:
http://www.pw.org/content/agents_amp_editors_qampa_four_young_literary_agent s

A big industry watchdog (helpful for learning what kinds of scams you should watch for):
http://pred-ed.com/

Another industry watchdog:
http://accrispin.blogspot.com/

Publishing industry terminology (actually, it would behoove you to read as much of Nathan Bransford's blog as you can---lots of good info):
http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/08/book-publishing-glossary.html

Publishing industry abbreviations to know:
http://pimpmynovel.blogspot.com/2010/03/terms-to-know-abbreviations.html

The Intern is an anonymous intern in the publishing industry with lots of useful info to share:
http://internspills.blogspot.com/

Casey McCormick does a series of spotlights on literary agents representing kidlit:
http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/search/label/Agent%20Spotlight

A literary agent rants on various publishing-related topics:
http://pubrants.blogspot.com/

A blogger who hosts contests for writers to get their work seen by agents:
http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/

Hope you find some of that helpful, and best of luck! :D

Filigree
04-17-2012, 10:03 AM
Musicduchess20, remember to breathe. Then research. You'll save yourself a lot of heartache later.

This is not a fast business.

Little Ming
04-17-2012, 10:26 PM
For what it's worth, I've also heard a lot of agents say they find it bizarre/offputting to get a query or submission with copyright notice on it. Agents have no interest in stealing anyone's work---they're far too busy for that---and going to the trouble of copyrighting your work before it's published just shows them that you don't understand the publishing industry, which means more work for them later on when they have to explain things to you. So even if you're new to this world, don't give them a reason to think you are. :)



Whoa whoa whoa! I'm so pleased you're enthusiastic---and I also want to encourage you to take the time to thoroughly research how publishing works before you dive into it. For one thing, publishing is SLOW, so unless you go the self-pub route, I wouldn't say you're "almost" there. (Sorry, not trying to be a downer. I just want you to have realistic expectations about all of this.) Even if you got an agent tomorrow who sold your book to a publisher within a week, you'd still probably have 1-2 years before your book showed up in bookstores. And the process of getting an agent can takes months (or years)...and the process of selling a manuscript to a publisher can take just as long. So! While you're revising that manuscript, do a bit of research. :) Some sites to get you started:


x1000

Again, this is not to be a downer, but you need to do your research. There's a lot of pitfalls/scams out there targeting authors. ;)

In addition to lyrwriter's amazing links, I also suggest you take advantage of AW resources. Specifically, SYW (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=26) and QLH (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174). You can't post your own until you have 50 posts, but you can see what others are doing, what works and what doesn't. ;)

When you think you are really, really ready to go check out the Bewares (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22) forum to make sure you're not being scammed or setting yourself up for heartbreak and/or legal battle.

Good luck. :)

Christine N.
04-18-2012, 12:29 AM
Welcome to publishing!

It's run by people. From one end to the other. Except now most agents and pubs take electronic subs, which does speed things up a little.BUT because it's so easy to sub, you have three times the submissions.

And because it's run by people, it's pace equals that of an Alaskan glacier.

Filigree
04-18-2012, 04:13 AM
And its logic is circular, if not completely absent from the process. Keep a sense of humor about it, and keep writing.

rac
04-18-2012, 06:24 PM
Your ms was copyrighted as soon as you put words to paper

Your manuscript isn't copyrighted until it is officially registered with the copyright office. But as others have said, it doesn't have to be registered until it is accepted by a publisher, who will register it for you, or until you decide to self-publish, in which case you will have to register it yourself.

CaoPaux
04-18-2012, 06:53 PM
Er, no, you do in fact have copyright from moment of creation. What registration gives you is more legal recourse (e.g., right to damages and profits) should you file suit for infringement. Please, read the FAQ: Copyright (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58845).

rac
04-18-2012, 08:46 PM
Er, no, you do in fact have copyright from moment of creation. What registration gives you is more legal recourse (e.g., right to damages and profits) should you file suit for infringement. Please, read the FAQ: Copyright (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58845).
Whoops! I didn't realize that you have a copyright from the moment of creation. It's good to know. Still, I would want copyright protection if my manuscript was published.

Terie
04-18-2012, 08:52 PM
Whoops! I didn't realize that you have a copyright from the moment of creation. It's good to know. Still, I would want copyright protection if my manuscript was published.

If your manuscript is published by a commercial publisher, the publisher will register the copyright in your name. You shouldn't register the copyright in advance, because it can cause problems when the publisher goes to register it later.

And I'll repeat what I said above in this very thread and that CaoPaux said, too:


You should go read the Copyright FAQ (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58845) forthwith.

rac
04-19-2012, 12:59 AM
But as others have said, it doesn't have to be registered until it is accepted by a publisher, who will register it for you, or until you decide to self-publish, in which case you will have to register it yourself.

I never thought I'd be quoting myself. I believe this part of the first comment I made was accurate. I have now read the FAQ Copyright.

sjboyer
04-23-2012, 11:34 PM
Sorry I don't have any advice to offer b/c I am in the same spot as you...done w/my novel except for the spit & polish & now looking for agents. Didn't realize the whole process can take up to 2 years! Guess I better keep the day job a little longer. That is good info to know though!