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james86
08-29-2016, 10:11 PM
Is this a big no no? Posting/tweeting pics, say of celebrities, or just random pics from blogs/Google image search, in between tweets about your books? Would that class as copyright infringement?

The reason I ask is I'm currently unpublished but often post pics on social media from other sites/blogs like lots of people do, but obviously I'm not doing anything to make a profit - it's just a personal twitter page. If I were to self publish my books on Amazon and use my twitter as my author account, would I have to stop this, and solely post pics I own/related to my books?

Maybe I could set up a second/"business"/author profile?

Any help/advice with this would be great! :)

Old Hack
08-29-2016, 10:22 PM
Is this a big no no? Posting/tweeting pics, say of celebrities, or just random pics from blogs/Google image search, in between tweets about your books? Would that class as copyright infringement?

If you're just linking to random pictures without much comment, and then putting out a few self-promotional tweets, you're not engaging with anyone, you're just spamming.

I know that doesn't answer your question, but it is significant here. Use Twitter because you have fun there, because you have friends there, and like to talk to people. Don't just use it to promote.


The reason I ask is I'm currently unpublished but often post pics on social media from other sites/blogs like lots of people do, but obviously I'm not doing anything to make a profit - it's just a personal twitter page. If I were to self publish my books on Amazon and use my twitter as my author account, would I have to stop this, and solely post pics I own/related to my books?

Maybe I could set up a second/"business"/author profile?

Any help/advice with this would be great! :)

If you're not yet published and don't have a publication date, you shouldn't be doing any promotional stuff for that book. Leave it alone. Engage with the people you come across. It's a far more useful way to use social media.

When you do get published, then keep on engaging. I'd advise you to issue no more than one promotional tweet for every ten tweets you send into the world.

Instead of sharing pictures, link to interesting and pertinent articles. Comment on them. Engage.

M. H. Lee
08-30-2016, 01:36 AM
If you're taking pictures you find off the internet, that's very likely to be a copyright violation. For example, the photos on my blog are ones I took and no one has permission to use them except me. There have been cases where people put out a bait photo and then sued when people used them. Unless you clearly know that the photo is available to use for free, don't do it. It can be a very expensive mistake. If you want an example of someone who used Twitter effectively before they launched their first book, look for Jennifer Foehner Wells. She built up a nice, engaged following before her first book launch with posts about things that interested her and the type of people who would read her books.

WeaselFire
08-31-2016, 03:56 AM
If I were to self publish my books on Amazon and use my twitter as my author account...

Don't.


Maybe I could set up a second/"business"/author profile?

Do.

Also set up an author's web site, email for the author, Facebook for the author and so on. Keep your personal and professional separate. Legitimate authors don't link a personal Twitter account as their only contact, that's a definite sign of someone who is unprofessional and inexperienced, both death to an author, new or old.

Use your social media to build your audience, not sell your wares. The fans will prefer it and you'll get nowhere with selling o Twitter anyway.

Jeff

Old Hack
08-31-2016, 10:31 AM
I disagree, Jeff. Most of the writers I know have only one Twitter and Facebook account each. They tweet as themselves, and their readers and fans get to interact with them every day. It works well.

Reserving an account for professional use sounds to me like a good way to guarantee that professional account will spam people.

Zombie Fraggle
08-31-2016, 06:28 PM
I disagree, Jeff. Most of the writers I know have only one Twitter and Facebook account each. They tweet as themselves, and their readers and fans get to interact with them every day. It works well.

Reserving an account for professional use sounds to me like a good way to guarantee that professional account will spam people.

I completely agree with Old Hack on this one.

There's nothing more annoying than an author's Twitter account that does nothing but buy-my-book tweeting. I don't follow such accounts, am prone to actually blocking them if they tweet more than once or twice a day, and it pretty much guarantees that I won't seek out their books. Like a previously mentioned author, I created my Twitter account about a year before my first book came out. I make new release announcements twice during the first week, an announcement or two if one of my titles goes on sale, but otherwise I engage with people on lots of topics and generally try not to be a jackhole.

veinglory
08-31-2016, 06:57 PM
It can go either way. I had a separate twitter account for my real name and my internet handle long before it became my pen name--because these account related to very different interests and had different goals. if you use a pen name I think it makes much more sense to have a separate set of accounts under that name. Of course "veinglory" still uses social media as a person, not just a spam channel.

Devil Ledbetter
08-31-2016, 07:43 PM
Images "on the net" are subject to the same copyright laws as images anywhere else.

I agree that using your personal social media is the norm these days. Facebook allows you to set your account so it can be "followed" by those who are interested in seeing your public posts. Twitter has always been set up for following rather than "friendship."

Polenth
09-01-2016, 08:57 AM
If you want random photos, there's an easy legal solution: retweeting. Find the account of the creator or celebrity and retweet the stuff you like. It shows you appreciate their work and helps promote them, which is a nice thing to do when you love someone's work. Stealing their work isn't really the best way to say you love them.

As with all things on social media, it needs to be balanced with other content. Accounts that only retweet aren't going to do that well in most cases.

Susannah Shepherd
09-01-2016, 10:46 AM
Do you intend to publish under your real name or a pen name? If a pen name, it's a no-brainer: set up a separate Twitter handle for that, but as others have said, don't be spammy (I would consider book promotion interleaved with nothing but 'random pics' as spammy). And yeah, don't steal other people's images. Tweet a link to the site the images are on, or retweet from their creator. And remember it is a community, a two-way thing, not just a broadcast channel.

I've been starting to build a Twitter profile under this name as I've started writing seriously again over the last couple of months. I try to tailor my tweets to the kind of things I want to see as a Twitter reader: so I don't tweet 50 times a day to flood timelines; I follow and like/retweet other writers, agents, and review sites; I post reviews/links to books in my genre that I have read and enjoyed; I post links to interesting new stories and resources I've found useful. There may be the occasional cat photo. Basically, I'm trying to post things my potential pool of readers, and fellow writers, are likely to be interested in.

Now, none of this may make a blind bit of difference once I actually have a book out there, but at least I'll have a presence that isn't all about me trying to sell stuff, and it's not terribly time-intensive to manage at present.

james86
09-01-2016, 09:37 PM
Thanks for the replies - I'm trying to get my head around the image copyright stuff, especially with the case of social media.

I think what confuses me is that I see a lot of "fan pages", i.e. Twitter profiles and Tumblrs etc who post pics/gifs etc. There's a ton of them around. Also a lot of my followers post pics I know aren't their own. I guess they're just for fun though and not for profit as a self published author account would be - maybe thats the difference, and why they get away with it? :Shrug:

So for a prime example of what I should NOT do on my author twitter/Facebook - post or tweet about a book I'm reading and loving and post a pic of the book cover because I'm subject to copyright infringement from whoever owns that image?

Polenth
09-02-2016, 03:56 AM
Thanks for the replies - I'm trying to get my head around the image copyright stuff, especially with the case of social media.

I think what confuses me is that I see a lot of "fan pages", i.e. Twitter profiles and Tumblrs etc who post pics/gifs etc. There's a ton of them around. Also a lot of my followers post pics I know aren't their own. I guess they're just for fun though and not for profit as a self published author account would be - maybe thats the difference, and why they get away with it? :Shrug:

So for a prime example of what I should NOT do on my author twitter/Facebook - post or tweet about a book I'm reading and loving and post a pic of the book cover because I'm subject to copyright infringement from whoever owns that image?

You can still use images under fair use, so you can post the cover when you're reviewing the book. Though I'd note it's unusual to do that on Twitter.... most people would just link to the book with a few words on why it's great. People will see the cover when they follow the link (or in the link preview).

On things that aren't fair use, there are lots of reasons why people get away with stealing stuff. The creator may not know. The creator may know but not be able to afford court cases. The creator may be trying but there are too many cases to deal with. You'll notice a lot of artwork has increasingly obtrusive names/links to the creator, and this is why. Creators try to do something about it, but it's hard to stop theft. A lot of us here get our books pirated, but there's not a lot we can do about it. That doesn't make it okay for people to do.

Fan work is a difficult area. It often ends up promoting the original work, but that doesn't mean it's legal. Some creators love fan work and some will try to sue everybody. I retweet/reblog some fan stuff, when I know the creators are in the former category.

People do end up in trouble for this. The sheer volume means a lot of people don't, but you will see cases where someone ends up paying a fine and the like. You don't want to be that person. And even if you did get away with it, that doesn't make it a great thing to do.

Susannah Shepherd
09-02-2016, 04:43 AM
So for a prime example of what I should NOT do on my author twitter/Facebook - post or tweet about a book I'm reading and loving and post a pic of the book cover because I'm subject to copyright infringement from whoever owns that image?

Definitely tweet about books you love, with images! There's lots of ways to do this in a way that respect and acknowledge the book's author and publisher; in all cases, you should include the author's Twitter handle if they have one:
* Include a photo of your copy of the book along with your tweet
* Tweet a link to the book's page on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. - in most cases, there's a button on those pages that will auto-generate the tweet with an image of the book.
* If it's a recent release, retweet a release tweet from the author and add how much you enjoyed the book

Plus, Twitter has a squillion built-in gifs that you're free to use in your tweets; just click on the GIF button at the bottom of the compose window. You may find that many of the ones your friends are posting come from there, or they're retweeting things other people have put up (also OK).

The main thing to think about (from an ethical point of view, I claim no expertise in expressing a legal one) is: am I acknowledging and respecting the creator of this work/image? Is there a risk that I could be seen as passing off someone else's work as my own? I don't think the distinction here between a 'fun' account and an 'author' account is a meaningful one.

Devil Ledbetter
09-02-2016, 05:20 PM
As someone whose responsibility it is to police corporate trademarks and copyrights, I can tell you that what we will and won't go after is very much based on context. If there is a misuse but it serves to market our product in a positive way, we'll ignore it. But if someone apes our logo for use it on their competing product, or lifts text from of our how-to publications and puts it on their website promoting a competing product, we will lawyer up and go after them relentlessly.

It's for this reason, I believe, that a lot of fans "get away with" copyright violations. Any entity has limited resources for going after violators, so it makes sense to focus on those that could hurt your sales, and leave alone those who might be helping.

Of course this is something of a balancing act, as a history of failure to protect your trademarks or copyrighted materials could be turned against you in court.

james86
09-02-2016, 11:13 PM
Thanks so much for these replies - reading these it's starting to make a lot more sense to me now.

Devil Ledbetter - that sounds like an interesting job!

Susannah - thanks for the tweet tips! ;)