Thursday, November 6, 2008

What Happens to Your Writing Work When You Die?

Seal of the United States Copyright Office, in...Image via Wikipedia

A writer I adore posed the question in a forum, and the answer is important to know.

When it comes to copyrights, if you own the rights to your work, you own them for the duration of your life plus 70 years if it was created after January 1, 1978. You may will those rights to your heirs.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, "For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation,whichever is shorter."

When you assign the right to your work to someone else – when they buy, outright, the rights to your work, in perpetuity, they keep those rights forever. All other cases of purchase or transfer of rights may vary, so be sure to have an attorney go over the legalese with you as you draft your will.

It is a little trickier when it comes to residuals, so on those it is best to consult with those who are paying the residuals and a lawyer. In some cases, however, even if someone else owns the rights to your work, if they are paying you some type of residual income for that, you may be entitled by law to will those residuals to your heirs, in perpetuity.

It is a good idea to create printed information for your heirs in regards to the work you own the rights to and the work you are paid residuals on even though you do not own the rights to it.

Information in regards to any other revenue programs, affiliate links, and the like will also need to be spelled out in writing to your heirs.

Remember to give as much information as you can so that your heirs can easily locate and access your work and your willed residuals – including magazine & book names, web site addresses, addresses, company names, writing work titles, log-in information, and account numbers.

You do not need to register your work with the copyright office, but it helps if you do. When you do so, you do not have to register each one separately. There is a fee involved, and you are allowed to register groupings of your work all at the same time so you only pay once for that entire group of work.

For more information, please refer to the U.S. Copyright Office or the office of the entity in your country that handles such matters.

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U.K. English vs. American English

Sometimes in research and in editing, you may come across spellings you are not familiar with of relatively common words. Before you use ‘Spellcheck’ to correct them, you need to consider if they are correct in U.K. or American English, and if it is more appropriate to leave the spelling as is rather than to alter it.

A few examples of such words are as follows:

U.K. English*****American English
shoppe************shop (a store, not the activity)

If you are directly quoting a source, it is proper to use the spelling used in that source. If the word is part of a proper name, double-check it to be sure the correct spelling is used in your writing. Sometimes in America, businesses choose U.K. spellings. ‘theatre’ and ‘shoppe’ are two examples of words with which this occurs most commonly.

Spelling is not the only way in which U.K. English and American English differ. Many common items have very different names in each country. A few examples are as follows:

U.K. English*****American English
chips**************french fries
crisps*************potato chips

Generally, companies you write for will prefer one version of English to another. If you are unsure, ask.

One last thing to consider is that some words are pronounced differently in the U.K. and the U.S.A. When involved in a verbal interview, this may be confusing unless you are familiar with this fact. The words are spelled the same in both countries – they are just pronounced differently.

A few common examples are the words laboratory, schedule and renaissance.

For more information on U.K. English vs. American English, please refer to the following sources:

Enquire vs Inquire at

American vs British English from University of Tampere

Additional Resources from

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Best Sources for Finding Writing Work – Perpetual List

Last Update: January 5, 2009

Whether it is for magazines, newspapers, or other enterprises, there are some places where good job offerings for writers are compiled and listed on a daily or otherwise frequent basis.

This list will be updated as I collect more great sources of job listings. A permanent link to this list is in the sidebar for your convenience.

1-Freelance Writing Jobs

Daily listings of work each weekday, plus “Monday Markets” listing of magazine writing opportunities. During the week, Deb and the others on her team post information related to freelance writing and blogging, as well.

2-Accentuate Services

Frequently updated list of paid writing gigs, primarily magazines. Site wide challenges, contests, and forums. Michy is a published author, and also writes a blog for writers: Editing & Proofreading Hints & Tips.

3-All Freelance Writing Jobs

Regularly updated list of job leads, with a key to help you discern if its right for you or not. Also on the site are great articles by Jennifer, who has recently published a very helpful ebook for web writers.
NOTE: I got to preview the book, and it is fabulous! I am very picky when it comes to spending money on books, and I would buy this one. As a pre-viewer I got a free copy, though I forgot about that and was ready to buy one until I was reminded of that fact! *laugh*

4- Freelance Writing at
Guide Allena Tapia complied a 5 part listing of places to look for freelance writing work. Her section on may be subscribed to and is a fabulous resource for freelance writers. Here are her job listing links:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

For 2009, she added more leads (non-repetitive) that she will add to the others. For now, here are her new leads:

5-Online Writing Jobs

Robert is a freelance writer who is providing this free review service for other freelance writers. He reviews places that buy content and posts the reviews on his site. Other great information is available there as well, including how to make $300 in one day with writing. He later posted proof of those payments.

If you know of any more top-notch writing gigs boards, blogs, or websites, please let me know so they may be included in this list.

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Two Quotes for Writers

Yesterday, I got a message from a fellow writer who is participating in NaNoWriMo. It really struck a chord with me in general, but especially as a writer.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain. (Thank you, Michy!)
The other is part of a song I love. I think anyone who writes will be able to relate to the sentiment. I've included the music video so, as she sings in the song, you can 'sing it if you understand'.

“2 a.m. and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to.
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
‘Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to.”
~Breathe (2 a.m.) by Anna Nalick

The message of both is that you have to grow a thick skin to be a writer because there will always be naysayers and critics around you trying to belittle you and twist your words around.

The hope in both is that you can adopt an attitude that will allow you to withstand all of that, and succeed in your dream of writing.

And, like the song says, remember along the way to "BREATHE".

Hang in there. You can do it!

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