Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  workshops,  Writing in Public

Enough For The Moment

Enough For the Moment

Did a lot of words here on blogs the last few days, so scroll down and read those posts. Going to take a break today. I got my 10,000 steps in and all workshop assignments done. And did a fun podcast that will be out in September. So more on that later.


September Online Workshops

Click the workshop tab above for description and sign-up or go to

Questions about any of the workshops, feel free to write me.

Class #21… Sept 6th … Author Voice
Class #22… Sept 6th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Sept 6th … Speed
Class #24… Sept 6th … Writing Mysteries
Class #25… Sept 6th … Character Development
Class #26… Sept 7th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Sept 7th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Sept 7th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Sept 7th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Sept 7th …Expectations (Writing on the Rails)

Totals For Year 4, Month 1, Day 16

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,062

Over 10,000 steps streak… Day 47

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 23,300 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total:1,900 words 

— Blog Posts: 100 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 8,500 words

— E-mail: 25 e-mails. Approx. 2,100 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 253 e-mails. Approx. 18,100 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 0 Covers


— Year of Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories finished to date: 8 stories.

— Yearly Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 1 novels.


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  • Jack Giannis


    Hey. Okay, so I have to ask.
    Do you register each and every work, short and novel, electronic or paper with the copyright office? Thirty-five bucks a pop? And all the damn paperwork. Really?

    Since copyright law protects us at creation, filing for this “extra protection” seems sorta like another government service (a legit court record) and also like a revenue scam to me. Does anybody in our new indie world worry about this? Should we?

    Outside of my production costs (time, proofing, covers, web hosting, blah, blah) shipping costs, attorney fees; I’m not sure I will ever hurdle the fee structure of this career… LLC fees, ISBN fees, Copyright fees, et cetera.
    Are fees a loss or investment–where’s the dang profit finally begin? I’m looking to maximize returns here. Joking, sort of.

    I’ve published work under my LLC in paper and pixel with a pen name. Should I officially register this work (with pen name and government name) sooner than later, I read there is a five year window here for the office form. It’s been worldwide for two. I plan to eventually re-release it under my actual name.

    I’m trying real hard to be prudent, not a tightwad. Since I’m doing all this for the long term, and I don’t plan to die soon, I’ve got some time for choices; but lack of knowledge is a cause of fear. A wise man said that.
    Also, Bowker nags me to register for their CopyrightsNow app service (to reduce paperwork). Another helpful fee, of course. Think I’ll pass on that one.

    If I just finally release work under my given name can I safely ignore all this?
    What do you and Kris do?

    I’m seriously gonna pick up The Copyright Handbook from NoLo Press. (more Learning fees? :grin)

    The actual writing is certainly the fun part of all this.


    P.S. And Harvey Stanbrough, if you read this, what do you do with your multiple pen names in regards to official filing?

    • dwsmith


      We register anything headed to Hollywood for any reason, anything headed into the gaming world for any reason, and the first book or story from any series character. Past that, nope, we don’t. But if you are going to register something, do so in a timely manner, and that is defined in the Copyright Handbook.

      What name you have on something does not matter. You are the creator. Again, Copyright Handbook to understand that. And what you put on a copyright page also does not matter when it comes to protection.

      ISBNs, a different topic than copyright, are only needed for paper copies. Don’t use them on electronic.

      • Jack Giannis


        You’re the best. Thank you for your openness and the clear answers. Smart stuff. Makes sense in terms of rights management of IP.

        Timely, yeah, I know that filing should be three months within publication or distribution–the five year thing is the termination deadline. Probably a bad thing to fall toward. My how I procrastinate on the strangest things.

        Solid clarification on names and notices. I figured as much, but wondered how they knew it was one John Doe and not another, by assertion of the publisher I suppose.

        Yeah, I have had the right info on ISBNs being only used on paper distribution.
        But incidentally since I already bought the big block of them, I decided to also waste one electronically on the launching of each new pen names’s first work to help sync and track metadata in online systems and distribution catalogs. Like an anchor and chain. They are totally an old world legitimizer slash corporate relic. I did it with that rationalization, kind of like the start of a series thing.

        Gonna grab that Handbook.


        • dwsmith

          Jack, now you got me confused. What five year thing termination deadline??? Nothing terminates in copyright until 70 years after the author’s death. You can register a work years and years after publication if you want to or need to go into court.

          And it makes no difference at all what copyright name or author name is put on the story. Not a bit. That’s all for readers. Nothing to do with the law. Nada. (Used to matter about 50 years ago.)


          • Jack Giannis

            Oh, boy. Sorry. I am the confused and confusing one. Possibly obsolete info my poor brain has clutched hold of and cross-wired in reading these things for thirty years. I believe that might be a particular Library of Congress deadline now that I think about it. Not a copyright issue obviously. Glad I brought this up though–I’ll do a search in my books and files.

          • dwsmith

            Yeah, one thing indie writers don’t know is that they are supposed to send two copies of every published book to the Library of Congress. One of those forgotten things.

      • Felicia Fredlund

        Dean, when you said this ” the first book or story from any series character” about registering copyright, does that include when new series characters comes into a series? In other words, do you register all series books that add new series characters after the first book?

        • dwsmith

          Just main characters is all we worry about. Chances are if someone is going to take your work in a way that you would want to sue, it will be the main characters. Also, check German law on that, Felicia. Berne convention covers a lot, but the registration process is country by country.

    • Harvey

      Hi Jack,

      Thanks for asking.

      I no longer file for copyright registration, though I did when I was first starting out. The fee then was $25 per. Soon I started compiling everything I wrote into one big document once a year and titling it something like “Works of Harvey Stanbrough: 1978.” Then I’d send it all off to the copyright office under the one fee.

      So if you want to register your copyright, that’s what I recommend. However, as I said, I no longer worry about it. Frankly, in over 40 years I’ve never run into anyone weird enough to want to “steal” my work.

      Though if I had something headed to Hollywood etc. as Dean said, I might reconsider that. And to me, registering the first title of a series makes perfect sense too. Thanks for mining yet one more gem from DWS.

  • Jack Giannis

    The LC rejects most everything sent to them for cataloging, which seems like a big waste on many levels, so I’m ambivalent about this one. Turn a blind eye, or squint perturbed and fling books at them. Libraries do like seeing my LCCN though.

    Hi, Harvey,
    Thanks for responding. Everyone’s best methods and ethics add up to a clearer picture of how individual businesspersons maybe ought to behave once in a while in a decentralized industry. Your words are as valuable as Dean’s. Gems one and all.

    • dwsmith

      Except, Jack, it’s the law. And if you don’t and they discover you haven’t and you don’t comply you can be fined. Yeah, I know, something none of us what to think about, but following the law is always a good plan. Maybe I should do a blog about this and state the law out exactly. It will annoy a lot of people, but what the hell.

      • Jack Giannis


        I think you should. It’s clearly a myth. Do it right, it’d get shared e-where. You might save everyone some long-term grief.

        I’ve read the law awhile back. Non-compliance is steep in fines. I play the game, though I grumble a bit on principle, labeling it a fed fee. Though I know better (that onus is truly on us, the publishers, or whoever indies want to pretend to call themselves). I recall it’s one copy if prior to published, and I believe there’s another one copy loophole somewhere else too in the schedule, I’d double check that. I’m hazy. Anyway, it’s cheap compared to the fines.

        But collectively, the money the printers and post office would gain overnight if everyone kicked in their two copies–great Jove–enough cash flow to reverse a recession. It could break the inbound processing completely at the LC. Might be a positive story if they released those numbers, in some sort of NPR style puffery. “Indies Take Over Publishing.”

        Then again, it’d be a laugh too, being potentially one more thing legacy would use to discourage dilettante newbies and reluctant hybrids. Also, might panic half the indies near to death if the lapdog media sycophantically twisted the revelation in legacy’s favor.
        Visions of: if it all went bad. The chaos, the screaming, the face-licking, legacy’s apocalyptic revenge fulfilled. A literary wasteland would ensue, where traditional would have little competition. Culture and cities would fall. Shudder.

        Seriously though, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and non-compliance outside of hardship is idiocy, and while the issue is complex–blame can be laid everywhere. Many things have slippery sloped the perception, from hearsay to silence, making a myth that following a law is a choice.

        We could blame education. We could blame ourselves as exemplars for being in a position of knowledge, but having not shared it, saying we have failed our ethic responsibility to aid others. Am I my brother’s keeper? Right? Nah.

        We could blame the fed, the LC for not advertising it’s policies, or for not cracking down, even if from a lack of librarian manpower. However, we know they don’t lack legal power or lawyers. So, nope, not this one either.

        It could be argued that the various online distributor’s contributed to the myth. Making things too easy. Amazon (for example) not clearly saying ‘Hey, you really got to do this’, but also because offering library distribution as a “service” with their ISBN, and not simultaneously offering a true feature to aid registration with pre-owned ISBNs, was a disservice. Wait what?

        Or lay it on the shoulders of the individual businesspersons. It could be ignorance, simple laziness, or stubbornness, or avoidance, like fudging on taxes, silently waiting to be audited. Or it could simply be a task, one of the many, lost somewhere in the glowing rush to publish. It is quite a feat to remember everything without a task management system. I’m placing my bets here.

        Most people don’t start a press, the right way. It’s daunting. Nor research our business practice much, nor think anything through really. They just hoist their babies on the net, ASAP. Then they whine something’s not right.

        You blogging clearly and knowledgeably about the law and encouraging responsibility would shine as one more beacon to help our brethren properly take the business side to task.

        Or it’d just piss everybody off that you said something. All bets are final.