Mystery Author and Publishing Law Expert
Words on Fire: Rights or Risks
Be Your Own Watchdog
The Questions You’ve Not Asked, The Answers You’ve Not Heard
Saturday, February 21, 2015 11:00 AM-1:00 PM
Writers of fiction and nonfiction can never hear enough on legalities… copyright, use of people’s names, taxes, publishing contracts, scams, business plans and managing a writing career. If these issues concern you, you’ll want to hear Sacramento’s own “Writer-in-the-Right” attorney Susan Spann.
“People who don’t know their rights are easier to take advantage of,” says Spann. “And writers who don’t know the industry are far less likely to get the best possible publishing deal. Knowing your rights, and how to protect them, makes you a far more effective manager of the business side of your writing career.” Spann promises to cover new issues. Says Spann, “There have been interesting (not good) developments in some small press contracts that I’ll be covering.”
A California transactional attorney specializing in publishing law and business, Spann represents publishers, authors (traditional, self-published, and hybrid), editors, artists, and web developers. She herself is a writer. Her books include the Shinobi Mysteries (Minotaur Books, an imprint of MacMillan), featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori. Her debut novel Claws of the Cat was a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month and a finalist for the Silver Falchion award for Best First Novel. Blade of the Samurai (2013), was followed by Flask of the Drunken Master (2014).
Spann’s interest in Asian culture and mystery inspire her. When not writing or representing clients, she enjoys archery, martial arts, horseback riding, online gaming, and raising seahorses and rare corals.
Find Spann at SusanSpann.com, on Facebook (SusanSpannAuthor), or on Twitter (@SusanSpann), where she curates the #PubLaw hashtag, providing legal and business information for authors at all stages of their publishing careers.
Catching up with Susan Spann
Q. What questions have you not addressed in the recent past that you hope someone asks you?
A. The questions I never get to address are the ones that people are too afraid or embarrassed to ask. I hope people ask honest questions about the issues that really concern them. Sometimes the publishing industry seems opaque and confusing, and I hope authors understand that they’re not alone in that confusion. I welcome all questions, at all levels of experience. I hope people ask the questions they most want answered.
Q. Why do writers need to know risks as well as rights?
A. If you don’t see a hole in the sidewalk, you’re much more likely to fall in. Similarly, writers who don’t understand the publishing business—both risks and rewards—stand to fall prey to traps and pitfalls.
Q. What’s the issue most misunderstood by writers?
A. Writing is an art, but publishing is a business. A startling number of writers don’t realize how critically important it is to understand the business and to treat themselves, and their writing, as a professional endeavor.
- Monthly Luncheons are open to the public
- Cost is $14 for members, $16 for nonmembers
- The meeting fee includes lunch and beverage
- Cattlemens Restaurant, 12409 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova, CA
The restaurant is located just east of Hazel Ave. at the northeast end of the Nimbus Winery complex along Highway 50. Cattlemens offers CWC a spacious meeting room with free WiFi, quality AV equipment, free off street parking and excellent food.