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                     W R I T I N G  W O R L D

   A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 3:19          12,500 subscribers        September 18, 2003

SPECIAL NOTICE: Please DO NOT REPLY to this e-mail; any messages
sent to the listbox address are deleted.  If you wish to contact
the editor, please e-mail Moira Allen.


         From the Editor's Desk
         News from the World of Writing
         FEATURE: What is Libel? How Do I Avoid Trouble?
            by David Taylor
         The Write Sites -- Online Resources for Writers
         WRITING DESK: Is Reprinting with Attribution OK?
            by Moira Allen
         JUST FOR FUN: Five Ways to Check for Cyber Nuttiness
            by Swapna Kishore
         WHAT'S NEW at Writing World
         MARKET ROUNDUP/Writing Contests

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                     FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

It's HERE!
I got an unexpected, and unexpectedly heavy, UPS package on
Tuesday.  What, I wondered, could this be?


Yes, folks, "Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer" has just
come off the press, and is available on Amazon.com and elsewhere.
This is the book I've always wanted to write -- and is, IMHO,
one of the most complete guides to "getting started" as a
freelancer available.  It covers every stage of the process, from
choosing the equipment you need to "going full-time."  It's also
a lot cheaper than my "Breaking into Magazines" course, so if you
missed the class, buy the book!

See http://www.writing-world.com/moira/freelance.shtml for more
details and excerpts.

Market Guides are a Go!
I'm happy to report that pre-publication sales of the Market
Guide series have been good -- good enough to convince me to
proceed with the project.  (That doesn't mean I want those
orders to STOP, mind you!)  Prices will remain as they are now:
$5 per individual guide, $12.50 for six, and a complete set of
13 guides for $25.

I said that future guides would be published "in order of
popularity", and here's the order so far:

* Arts, Entertainment and Writing
* Women and Parenting (a tie)
* Home, Health, Pets
* Literary Magazines
* Travel
* Culture, History, Ethnic and Misc. (a tie)
* Hobbies (already published)
* General Interest, Current Events, Environment
* Regional
* Religion
* Trade
* Business
* Sports and Recreation

The "sports and recreation" guide seems to be getting little
notice; perhaps it's because my description of the guide isn't
completely clear.  This guide focuses primarily on outdoor
recreation -- hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing, etc.  It also
covers some competitive and team sports, but the primary emphasis
is on the outdoors.

Thanks so much to all of you who have placed orders so far.  My
goal is to complete the series by the end of October, barring
hurricanes.  By the way, if your e-mail address changes before
you receive all your guides, BE SURE to send me the correct
e-mail; I can't send you your guides (or a refund) if I can't
find you!  (Also, if you've ordered through Amazon.com, be sure
to send me a separate e-mail with your order confirmation and a
list of the guides you want.)

I'll be back with more news about the series in the next issue,
and, hopefully, information on an affiliate program for the
guides.  (If anyone knows of a good affiliate tracking program
that works with PayPal, please let me know!)

Battening the Hatches...
And now I'm going to batten down the hatches and brace for
Isabel, which should be sweeping through our part of the world
sometime this afternoon or early Friday morning.  Please keep in
mind that we are expecting a high likelihood of power outages
this weekend, so if you place an order or try to contact me and
don't get a response, it is probably because I don't have any
electricity.  How long that condition may last will be up to
Isabel, so please be patient if you don't hear from me!

                 -- Moira Allen (Moira Allen)

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BarnesandNoble.com discontinues ebook sales
On September 9, BarnesandNoble.com stopped selling ebooks.
"Sales did not take off as we and many others expected," said
Daniel Blackman, BN.com VP General Manager. He also blamed
publishers for not releasing enough ebooks and charging too much.
"We think there has to be more flexibility in pricing in order to
create an incentive for customers to buy an ebook instead of a
printed book." He also said the market failed to grow because
manufacturers have not yet made a reading device that consumers
embrace on a wide scale. Industry reaction has been swift. Curtis
Kopf, director of Amazon digital, said, "Ebooks continue to be a
rapidly growing business for Amazon. We would love to see lower
prices." According to Mike Segroves, director of business
development at Palm Digital Media: "We're selling about 1500 ebook
downloads a day, and publishers are beginning to use promotional
pricing to attract consumers." Steve Potash, president of
OverDrive, said, "More publishers are making content available,
and the back to school period is keeping us very busy." David
Steinberger, HarperCollins, said, "We feel confident that we are
seeing the beginnings of a potentially big market." And Stuart
Applebaum, Random House, said, "We're undeterred by any one
retailer's commitment to the format."

Scholastic launches Spanish imprint
Scholastic is launching "Scholastic En Espanol," a new Spanish
imprint, with the publication of the Spanish edition of Madonna's
first children's book, "The English Roses" ("Las Rosas Inglesas").
The imprint will include Spanish and bilingual books from
"Clifford" bilingual board books for the very young, to future
classics like "How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?" ("Como se curan
los dinosaurian?"), and major bestsellers like "Captain
Underpants." A new tale from best-selling Chilean author Luis
Sepulveda will also be featured. According to Macarena Salas,
Editorial Director of Scholastic Spanish Book Publishing:
"Hispanics currently account for 17% of all children in the US and
by 2005, Latinos will constitute 25% of the US population. With
Scholastic en Espanola we are continually developing books and
properties that serve the needs of these children and families."

Barnes & Noble expands into Spanish market
Barnes & Noble.com is adding thousands of new books to its
Spanish-language sections in order to meet customers' growing
demands. Starting this month, 488 BN stores will add thousands
of Spanish-language titles to the Libros en Espanol section.
Barnes & Noble.com will launch Libros en Espanol, a new online
feature containing thousands of Spanish-language books, CDs, and
movies. Spanish language titles in thousands of categories will be
available at all BN outlets, including works by Laura Esquivel,
Isabel Allende, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The
section will also offer Spanish-language translations of
bestselling books in English.

Japanese companies promote ebooks
Ebooks are a growing market in Japan. According to Japan's Xinhua
News Agency, 19 companies have organized to promote electronic
books. The alliance of electronics companies and publishing
houses will be called the Electronic Business Consortium. Member
companies include Toshiba, Kenwood, and Matsushita, which makes a
reading device called the Sigma Book. The consortium plans to
devise specific methods for selling ebooks at bookstores.
"Purchasers of ebooks could bring to bookstores their secure
digital memory cards, onto which the content of ebooks could be
downloaded from a terminal," a Matsushita official said. "They
could then transfer the contents from the cards to their own
terminal at home."

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Good questions. Got any answers?

Because nonfiction often deals with real people, the freelance
writer needs to understand the restrictions placed by law upon
the use of names of people in published texts, in print and on
the Internet. How far can you go legally? Can you change the
names and be safe? Public figures seem to be fair game, but what
about government agencies and their employees?

Such questions touch upon one of the most complex issues that a
journalist must face today. It's also an area where you can't
afford to make mistakes. For example, it's true that public
figures are treated differently; so are public officials. But
the differences between the two can be fine.

Luckily there's a good guidebook for us: the "Briefing on Media
Law" portion of The Associated Press Stylebook. And if you want
to know what it says, you've got to go to the library or pay for
it. You can order it online at the AP's web site. Accept no

Here is a brief guide to libel and slander as I've come to
understand them through cases I've been involved with as an
editor (none of which we ever lost):

Libel, Slander and Defamation
Libel can be personal libel or trade libel, which is also known
as "product disparagement." Product disparagement can include a
product, service or entire company.

Libelous statements, whether against persons or products, are
published statements that are false and damaging. Slander is the
same as libel in most states, but in spoken rather than written

The terms "libel" and "slander" are often subsumed under the
broader term "defamation." It is a tort (a wrongful act) to harm
another's reputation by defaming them.

How do you know if you might defame someone or something in what
you are about to publish? There are three tests which the
defamatory statement must meet in order for a plaintiff to
prevail in a suit against you and your publisher:

1. Untrue. In order to be defamatory, the statement must be
untrue. If the statement is true or substantially true, then it
is not defamatory, and the case is over.

2. Damaging. In order for the plaintiff to prevail, the statement
must have caused real and substantial harm to the person or
business. The plaintiff must present evidence of the substantial
harm done.

3. Knowingly false. The plaintiff must also show that the
defendant knew the statement was untrue, but published or
broadcast the statement despite that knowledge.

From this brief explanation, you can deduce that the best way to
avoid a libel charge, or to defeat it, is to:

(1) Write only that which is true and can be shown to be true
through your meticulous research and note taking.

(2) Keep all research for a period of years, depending on the
statute of limitations that applies where you are. In sum, you
can say or publish just about whatever you wish in our open
society--so long as it is true.

Public Official vs Public Figure
The same liberal rule applies to both categories: To prevail in a
libel case against you, in addition to showing that your
statement is untrue and caused significant harm, a public
official or a public figure must also prove "malice" -- that you
acted in reckless disregard to the facts known to you and with
intent to harm.

Obviously, because of this stipulation, you enjoy considerable
protection when it comes to public personages, since proving
malice (intent to harm) places a heavy burden on the prosecution.

Who are these public people? The status of "public official" is
relatively easy to determine from public records. The trick comes
in determining who falls into the category of "public figure."

The courts have determined that there are two types of public

* A "general purpose public figure" is someone who enjoys social
prominence. Entertainers are in this category.

* A "limited purpose public figure" -- someone who has
intentionally placed themselves into prominence, such as a vocal
activist on a given issue.

The reasoning is that the press has a First Amendment duty to
report on such newsworthy people, and therefore published
statements warrant such protection.

Who is a private person? None of the above. Now you see why
lawyers get the big bucks.

Writer's Resources
"Online Libel Bibliography," The Freedom Forum
"The Practical Guide to Libel Law," by Neil J. Rosini
"The Copyright Permission and Libel Handbook," by Lloyd J.
Jassin and Steve C. Schecter

Excerpted from "The Freelance Success Book" (2003)


David Taylor served as an executive editor for nine years at
Rodale Press, where he worked on magazines such as Prevention,
Men's Health, Runner's World and Scuba Diving. Prior to Rodale,
he was a professor of English and journalism. Find out more
about his new book, "The Freelance Success Book," at

Copyright (c) 2003 by David Taylor

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Writers Diner
Food for the creative soul, updates new articles twice a week.

IRE Job Center
Job board run by the organization of Investigative Journalists
and Reporters, Inc.

Glossary of Publishing Terms
Alphabetical listing of terms you need to know.

World War II Resources
Primary source materials and original documents "dedicated to
combatting history by sound bites."

Deadly Pleasures
Links, reviews, interviews, news and more.

Screenwriters Online
Classes, script analysis, screenplays, newsletter and more.

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                   by Moira Allen (Moira Allen)

Is Reprinting with Attribution OK?

Q: Regarding your articles on piracy and plagiarism, I thought a
person who posts an article with attribution is not really
blatantly misusing the work.  At least they didn't steal it or
plagiarize it!  I understand that in some instances, there are
restrictions on the work that would not permit you from merely
picking it up and posting it to an unrelated site, without
permission.  In most cases, though, I bet you would get

A: Unfortunately, posting material even WITH attribution is, in
fact, a copyright infringement, unless you actually have the
permission of the writer.  The whole point of copyright is that
the person who OWNS that copyright is the only person who can
authorize the use of the material.  If someone posts another
person's article without permission, yes, it is theft, and
legally it is an infringement of copyright that could be
prosecutable.  It certainly counts as an infringement under the
Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which is the act to be cited
when asking a person to remove an article that they've posted.

The same issue technically applies to passing material by e-mail,
though one could get into some sticky "fair use" questions here.
It is clearly NOT fair use, however, to copy an article and
e-mail it to a newsgroup or discussion group (even though,
unfortunately, this is done all the time), as that constitutes a
form of publication -- it's broadcasting the material to a group
of readers.  More importantly, articles that get sent along this
way often end up losing important attribution information (e.g.,
who wrote it, where it was published, who owns copyright), which
can lead someone who receives it down the line to imagine that
the material really IS in public domain.  (This was the
professor's excuse.)  I've often received poems that I know came
from a published book, but have no author attribution.

So please be aware that there are ABSOLUTE restrictions about
posting someone else's work on one's own website without
permission.  It's not an informal thing; it's not something that
is just restricted "sometimes" or "under certain circumstances,"
but a very formal law.  Such use should not be done under any
circumstances.  As you say, it's easy to ask permission -- most
articles do have an author's e-mail associated with them -- and
many authors are glad to grant it.

Plagiarism is a slightly different matter.  Plagiarism is passing
off someone else's work as your own -- a more literal form of
"stealing." Plagiarism is also a form of copyright infringement,
of course -- but a more serious form. Also, one can rarely assume
that plagiarism (putting your own name on someone else's
material) is "accidental" or the result of "ignorance but good

You'll find links to more copyright resources, including
articles on fair use, at


Moira Allen has been writing and editing professionally for
more than 20 years.  A columnist for The Writer, she is also
the author of "Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer"
(just released!), "The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and
Proposals," and "Writing.com".  For more details, visit

Copyright (c) 2003 by Moira Allen

Our team of professional editors -- including a Pulitzer Prize
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JUST FOR FUN: Five Ways to Check for Cyber Nuttiness
                      by Swapna Kishore (swapna_kishore[at]vsnl.com)

1. You have to write a snail mail letter and you expect your pen
to auto-correct "teh" to "the."

2. You double-click with your index finger on the cover of a
hardbound and expect it to open in your favorite word processor.

3. You have set up so many free email accounts with distortions
of your name that you fill in your name wrong on the bank form.

4. One wall in your room is papered with post-its with user names
and passwords of all those writing lists and groups and free
registrations for writer sites.

5. You cannot think after shutdown.


Swapna Kishore lives in India and works in the field of software.
She has been writing technical books and material, and is now
turning to writing short stories and humor pieces to retain her

Copyright (c) 2003 by Swapna Kishore

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Essay Writing: When It's Just Too Personal, by Heather Haapoja

Personal Essays: The Hurt Factor, by Mridu Khullar

Promote Your Book Through Magazine and Ezine Articles,
by Patricia Fry

What is Coverage? by Kathryn McCullough

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clam City Publications
EMAIL: editor[at]clamcity.com
URL: http://www.clamcity.com

December 2003 issue: "Electric Larryland" -- Finally, we let you
in on the secret world of The EOTU Empire, home of EOTU Ezine
and The Clam City News. Our history, our hopes, with pictures
and interviews. Plus we'll kick off the "What Does EOTU Stand
For?" contest, in which you get to tell us what you think the
acronym EOTU is short for. Fiction, art & poetry will be Larry's
favorites. Open to all genres. If you've been reading EOTU Ezine
for years, you know what Larry likes. If not, read the archives:

DEADLINE: November 1, 2003
LENGTH: Fiction: up to 3,000 words; Poetry: up to 30 lines
PAYMENT: Fiction: 1 cent/word, minimum $5; Poetry: $5
RIGHTS: One time online rights
SUBMISSIONS: Please send in the body of an email. Read online
guidelines for specific instructions.
GUIDELINES: http://www.clamcity.com/submissionspage.html


John S. Mogabgab, Editor
1908 Grand Avenue, PO Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0004
EMAIL: weavings[at]upperroom.org
URL: http://www.upperroom.org/weavings/default.asp

"Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life" invites
participation in the spiritual life, seeking to provide a forum
in which our life in the world and the spiritual resources of the
Christian heritage can encounter and illuminate one another. The
journal strives to create a space in which contributors and
readers can converse on important matters of common concern.

Published bi-monthly and organized by themes, each issue presents
a broad range of materials dealing with:
* significant topics in Christian spirituality visible in personal,
  congregational, and public life; practicing spiritual disciplines
* the role of non-discursive communication in spiritual formation
  (e.g. art, music, architecture, dance)
* linking individual and corporate renewal in the church
* relating personal and social transformation
* integrating contemporary experience and classical wisdom

These and similar themes may be explored through articles, stories
(fiction and non-fiction), meditations on scripture, sermons, or

LENGTH: Articles: 1,250-2,500 words; Sermons and meditations:
500-2,500 words; Stories (fiction or non-fiction): up to 2,500
words; Book reviews: 750 words
PAYMENT: Articles, stories, sermons, book reviews: 11 cents/word
and up; Poetry: $75 and up
RIGHTS: First periodical rights for a variety of media, including
print, electronic, software-driven, and other media formats
SUBMISSIONS: By mail or email. See online guidelines for more
GUIDELINES: http://www.upperroom.org/weavings/guidelines.asp


Susan M. Lang, Editor
PO Box 81, Perkasie, PA 18944
EMAIL: editor[at]revwriter.com
URL: http://www.revwriter.com

"The RevWriter Resource" is a free monthly electronic newsletter
for busy congregational leaders. Each issue focuses on a specific
theme and offers a devotion, article and print and cyber sources
for both lay and clergy leaders. Writers are encouraged to pitch
a theme to the editor. See our needs and upcoming themes in
online submission guidelines.

LENGTH: Discussion of theme topic: 500-800 words; Questions or
exercises for group use: 250 words
RIGHTS: First electronic rights and one year archival rights
SUBMISSIONS: Query or submit with text in the body of email.


Please send Market News to: peggyt[at]siltnet.net

"FNASR": First North American Serial Rights, "SASE":
self-addressed, stamped envelope, "GL": guidelines. If you have
questions about rights, please see "Rights: What They Mean and
Why They're Important"


This section lists contests that charge no entry fees.  Send new
contest information to Judy Griggs (writeupsetc[at]yahoo.com).
For more contests, check our online contests section.


        Olay Total Effects Fine Lines Poetry Contest

DEADLINE: October 31, 2003
GENRE: Poetry
OPEN TO: Women 21 years and older
LENGTH: 3-14 lines

THEME: Showcase your penchant for poetry and inspire women
everywhere. We are searching the nation for 7 exceptional female
poets who can make a difference through the written word.
Participants must write an original poem addressing one or more
of the following subjects: beauty, strength, experience, and age.
The winning wordsmiths will be selected by 7 renowned poets:
Sonia Sanchez, Sapphire, Lee Ann Brown, Marilyn Chin, Sandra
Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, and Jill Bialosky.

PRIZES: 7 Grand Prizes: $2,000 each, plus honorary one-year
membership in the Poetry Society of America, and the opportunity
to have the winning poem published in the Poetry Society of
America's Poetry In Motion program. Approximate total value of
each prize is $2,045.

ELECTRONIC ENTRY: Use online entry form:

ADDRESS: Olay Total Effects Poetry Contest Entries, PO Box 4121,
Blair, NE 68009-4121

URL: http://www.total-effects.com/contest/rules.shtml


            PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

DEADLINE: October 31, 2003
GENRE: Fiction
OPEN TO: American citizens
LENGTH: Book length

THEME: This annual prize honors the best published works of
fiction by American citizens in the immediately preceding the
calendar year. Anyone may submit a book for consideration,
including publishers (trade, university, or small presses, but
not vanity presses), agents, and authors. We do not accept
self-published books or ebooks. Send four copies of each book to
the PEN/Faulkner office.

PRIZES: 1st Prize: $15,000; 4 Nominees: $5,000 each


ADDRESS: 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003

URL: http://www.folger.edu/public/pfaulk/submit.htm


             Lee & Low 2003 New Voices Award

DEADLINE: October 31, 2003
GENRE: Children's picture book
OPEN TO: Writers of color who are US residents and have not
previously published a children's picture book
LENGTH: 1,500 words or less

THEME: Manuscripts should address the needs of children of color
by providing stories with which they can identify and relate, and
which promote a greater understanding of one another. Of special
interest are stories in contemporary settings. Submissions may be
fiction or nonfiction for children ages 2 to 10. Folklore and
animal stories will not be considered.

PRIZES: Award: $1,000, plus standard advance/royalties contract;
Honor Award: $500


ADDRESS: ATTN: New Voices Award, Lee & Low Books, 95 Madison
Avenue, New York, NY 10016

URL: http://leeandlow.com/editorial/voices.html


             2nd Mattia Poetry Competition

DEADLINE: October 31, 2003
GENRE: Poetry
LENGTH: 300 words or less

THEME: We pick the poems that move to the judging round and post
them on our "Fina-List" board. That's right, you're auditioning
every time you enter. Enter as often as you like, but once you've
made the "Fina-List" you can only appear once. One poem in the
finals per poet is the rule. You retain all the rights to your
work. You must submit, with each entry, your email address and
full name to our Poetry Webmaster. We cannot accept anonymous
entries. No foul language -- good poetry doesn't need it.

PRIZES: First Place: $200; Second Place: $100; Third Place: $50
(all prizes in Canadian funds)

ELECTRONIC ENTRY: Use online entry form:

URL: http://www.mattia.ca/contest.html



Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyright, Trademark and
Contracts in Plain Language
     by Tonya Marie Evans and Susan Borden Evans

Sweet Lavender, by Terry O'Neal

   Find these and more great books at

   Advertise your own book on Writing-World.com:


on how to reach 80,000 writers a month with your product, service
or book title, visit

CONFERENCE, November 21-23, in Houston, TX.  Two full days of
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eBooklet, RESOURCES FOR WRITERS by subscribing to NAWW WEEKLY,
the FREE inspirational/how-to emagazine for women writers. Send
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