Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook, Second Edition: Updated Guide to Protecting Your Rights and Wallet

Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook, Second Edition: Updated Guide to Protecting Your Rights and Wallet

by Helen Sedwick
Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook, Second Edition: Updated Guide to Protecting Your Rights and Wallet

Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook, Second Edition: Updated Guide to Protecting Your Rights and Wallet

by Helen Sedwick


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Building on the best-selling success of the original Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook, Helen Sedwick wrote this expanded second edition to help writers stay out of court and at their desks.

Using 30 years of legal experience, Sedwick shows writers how to

  • Set up their business
  • Protect their copyright
  • Avoid infringement
  • Spot scams
  • Save on taxes.

This second edition covers additional topics including

  • Choosing a pen name
  • Using lyrics and images
  • Writing about real people
  • Fighting content theft
  • Dealing with estate planning
  • Expanding beyond the book.

Don’t lose your copyright by signing a bad contract, or waste money by buying into a scam, or lose sleep by getting sued for defamation. Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook helps writers navigate the legal aspects of writing and independent publishing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780988302198
Publisher: Ten Gallon Press
Publication date: 06/08/2017
Pages: 182
Sales rank: 547,001
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.39(d)

About the Author

Author and University of Chicago Law School graduate, Helen Sedwick has represented small businesses and entrepreneurs for 30 years. Her self-published historical novel Coyote Winds has earned five-star reviews from ForeWord Reviews and is an IndieBRAG Medallion Honoree. Publisher's Weekly lists her Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook as one of the top five resource books for independent authors. Helen is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Alliance of Independent Authors and a Contributing Writer for and Helen's blog coaches writers on everything from saving on taxes to avoiding scams. For more information about Helen, check out her website at

Table of Contents

Chapter One - Indie Authors to the Rescue

Chapter Two - Copyright Basics

  • What Every Writer Should Know
  • Licenses
  • Book Titles
  • Content Theft
  • Piracy and Knock-Offs
  • Protecting Ideas

Chapter Three - Using Work Created by Others

  • Is the Work Subject to Copyright?
  • Will Your Use Infringe?
  • Getting Permission
  • Orphan Works
  • Stock Images and Music
  • Creative Commons
  • Using Public Domain Works
  • Using Trademarks
  • Using Work by Others Checklist

Chapter Four - Using Real People in Your Writing

  • What Is Safe?
  • When to Start Worrying?
  • Defamation
  • Invasion of Privacy
  • Right of Publicity
  • Mixing Fact and Fiction
  • Writing Memoir
  • Getting Consent
  • The M.E. Factor
  • Insurance

Chapter Five - Pen Names

  • Why a Pen Name?
  • Choosing a Pen Name
  • What Not to Do
  • Licensed Professionals
  • Secrecy

Chapter Six - Making the Book

  • Self-Publishing Service Companies (SPSCs)
  • Doing It Yourself

Chapter Seven - Hiring Freelancers

  • Meet Your Team
  • Finding the Right People
  • Contract Basics
  • Tax Reporting

Chapter Eight - Business Setup

  • Why Operate as a Business?
  • Incorporation or LLC?
  • Setting Up Your Business
  • Naming Your Business
  • Federal Employer ID Number
  • State EIN
  • Resale Certificate or Seller’s Permit
  • Business Licenses
  • Domain Names
  • Purchasing ISBNs
  • Business Accounts
  • Recordkeeping

Chapter Nine - Financing Your Book

  • Business Plan vs. Budget
  • Financing Options

Chapter Ten - Disclaimers

Chapter Eleven - Tax Basics

  • Income Tax
  • Reporting Payments to Freelancers
  • Self-Employment Taxes
  • Estimated Taxes
  • Tax Reporting
  • Sales and Use Taxes

Chapter Twelve - Marketing and Distribution

  • Getting the Attention You Deserve
  • Reviews
  • Advertising
  • Emails and Newsletters
  • Distribution of Print Books
  • Discount Rates
  • Consignment Agreements
  • KDP Select

Chapter Thirteen - Avoiding Scams and Myths

  • Common Come-Ons
  • Contests
  • General Guidelines

Chapter Fourteen - Estate Planning for Writers

  • Why We Procrastinate
  • How Do Assets Transfer?
  • Copyright, Property with a Twist
  • Designating a Literary Trustee
  • Organizing Your Assets
  • Hiring an Expert

Chapter Fifteen - Collaborations

Chapter Sixteen - Business Beyond the Book

  • Audio Books
  • Selling Rights Internationally
  • Translations
  • Marketing Your Expertise
  • Develop a Business Mindset


  • Understanding Key Contract Terms
  • Resources

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