The recent Cambridge Analatica and Facebook controversy has highlighted the importance of knowing exactly to whom we’re giving our precious data, and then what they can do with it.
Next month, new European legislation, known as GDPR, comes into force, designed to give individuals more power over what companies can and can’t do with our data. However, these new regulations don’t apply just to large multi-national companies like facebook. They also apply to us – the self-employed or budding writer.
If you’ve self-published some work and uploaded it to distributors like Amazon (and Createspace) or Smashwords, you may recently have received an email from them advising you that your 1042-S form is available to download. But what is a Form 1042-S?
Last week’s post (What To Do With My Business After I’m Dead) looked at a book that fellow Writing Magazine columnist Tarja Moles has published. This week, another fellow Writing Magazine columnist, Lorraine Mace, explains why she’s bitten the bullet and self-published her children’ novel, even though it was something she swore she’d never do.
“Vlad the Inhaler was the first book I wrote,” Lorraine explains, “and so it has always had a special place in my heart. In 2007 I was taken on by one of the UK’s top children’s agents. She loved Vlad and was certain she could find a home for him in one of the big five. We came close, but it wasn’t to be.”
“In 2012 Vlad was picked up by a US publisher and looked set to do very well. I wrote the second in the trilogy and that was also published by the same company but it wasn’t a marriage made in heaven. I was able to take back my rights just over a year ago and, sadly, believed that was the end of Vlad’s publishing lifespan.”
Nobody likes to think about dying, but have you considered what might happen to your writing business after you’re dead? Don’t forget, everything you write is protected by copyright for another 70 years after your demise. That’s 70 years when others could make use of your intellectual property rights.
But would they know that? Where would they go to look for information about your writing business? I keep all of my information in a database in my computer … which is password protected. Which is no use to anyone when I’m dead.
Do your journal? I do, and it’s something I’m doing more regularly. Is there a business case for journalling? I think so, because it’s an opportunity to mine your brain for ideas and thoughts. Sometimes journalling helps me to identify a theme, or a connection between ideas, and hone them into shape.
Fellow writer and friend Stephen Wade is celebrating the publication of his latest book: Write Your Self. It’s a guide to making the most of journalling, and explores various themes and techniques for exploring your self, through journalling. By asking the right questions, we can learn more about ourselves generally, as well as ourselves as writers. The contents of those journals then become a huge resource for our creativity.
So this week, I thought I’d offer Stephen an opportunity to tell you more about his book:
It’s that time of year when writers might see some ‘free’ money pop into their bank accounts, but not everyone will be lucky. The secondary rights organisations (ALCS and DACS) are making distributions, as follows:
If you haven’t come across it before, Readly is a fantastic resource for writers. It’s an online magazine store. For £7.99 a month you can access thousands of magazines (and their back issues) and view them on several devices at the same time.
Most of the magazines are the full issues that you might buy at the newsagents. I’ve only come across one that was a ‘scaled down’ or ‘lite’ version, and basically that meant there were no adverts. There are no limits to the number of magazines you can look at/read each month, or store on your device (except any limitations caused by the amount of memory on your device). Downloaded issues are accessible while you have a subscription.
Okay, so perhaps I’m being a bit flippant with the blog post title, but hear me out. The news over the weekend of the ransomware attacks affecting both public and private sector organisations is a powerful reminder about how important it is to back up our data. How would you feel if you suddenly found you no longer had access to your life’s written work?
As I understand it, this ransomware attack tricks users into downloading some software (often via a link in an email programme) which then locks your data, preventing you from accessing it until you pay a ransom. (And then there may be some uncertainty about whether you’ll regain access, once you’ve paid the ransom.)
As writers, we’re constantly collecting ideas, undertaking research, and filing useful website addresses for future use. What we need is a big bucket.
However, no matter how big your bucket is, we need to be able to get stuff out again for it to be of any use.
My bucket is Evernote (https://evernote.com), which I’ve been using for more than a year now. It allows users to create notebooks, and put as many sheets, or notes, inside each of those notebooks. Tags can also be added to these sheets/notes, offering further ways of retrieving the information.
I recently had to renegotiate a contract with a magazine I’ve done work for in the past. Looking back, I realised that the current contract which I was working with was over ten years old. And ten years is a long time in the magazine world.
You won’t be surprised to learn that I didn’t like the revised contract. But that didn’t matter, because these things are always just a starting point.
When you receive a contract, take yourself off somewhere quiet and read through it. If it helps, read aloud each clause. Do whatever it takes for you to understand it.
- Highlight in one colour clauses you don’t understand.
- Highlight in another colour the clauses you don’t like.
- Then put it to one side and do something else.
He’s at it again. No, not making mistakes, but helping newbie writers from making them. Alex Gazzola’s latest ebook in his Mistakes Writers Make series is now available, and this one looks more at the practical side of things when starting out on the road to publication.
50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make takes a closer look at targeting readers’ letter pages (something I still do – I have the star letter in January’s Garden Answers magazine, and am looking forward to receiving my star prize), as well as generating ideas for articles, pitching them to editors, and crafting an article.