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DEATH AND THE BUSINESS OF WRITING

Published September 18, 2020 in Uncategorized - 0 Comments

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights

Writers, like everyone else, know their day will come. We are not immortal, though the legacy of our work will live on after we die and will continue to produce revenue for our heirs, but only if we plan for it. This is especially so for self-published authors, such as myself.

So, how do we plan for the inevitable when our natural inclination is to banish thoughts of our own death from our minds? Like most people, we writers think we’ll live forever. Often we don’t write that last will and testament and leave our heirs with the overwhelming task of not only planning the funeral, but trying to figure out what to do with the patrimony we’ve left.

For writers, it comes down to protecting our intellectual property rights. How does a writer go about doing that? It’s not as simple as what you’ve probably heard—As soon as you put pen to paper, copyright protects your words. Try to defend that in a U.S. court of law when you discover someone has plagiarized your work and is publishing it as theirs.

Writers stand a slightly better chance if they have registered their work with the Canadian Copyright Office and sent hard copies of the finished books to Libraries and Archives Canada. They can only do that if they obtained ISBNs for those books from L. A. C.. Thankfully, ISBNs are free in Canada.

They stand an even better chance if they registered their work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Authors can upload digital copies of their books to the eCO or Electronic Copyright Office of the U. S. Government. At the time, registering my first five books cost me $65.00 USD each.

Why register with both? Canadian Copyright Law protects authors’ works for 50 years after the day of their death. After that, their works fall into the public domain. In the U.S., Copyright Law protects their works for 70 years.

Also, if authors have planned well, they will leave a business succession plan for their heirs. It will help them access not only the business bank accounts, but all the online accounts where the authors sell their books. That way royalties earned can continue to come in for the benefit of the heirs. Creating such a plan is a laborious but a necessary task. A bigger one is yet to come.

It’s how to protect the writer’s intellectual property rights so that the long line of heirs can continue to benefit from revenues the authors’ works will continue to produce.

In my case, living in the province of Quebec, a careful study of Canadian Copyright Law and the Civil Code of Quebec was in order after reading Sandra E. Foster’s book You Can't Take It With You, Common-Sense Estate Planning for Canadians and Estate Planning For Authors by M. L. Buchman, an American author. Each province and state has its particular way of legally protecting the work of authors.

In my case, what I needed was a testamentary trust to protect my intellectual property rights. Taking the time to study how to do this helped me prepare for the discussions I would eventually have with notaries when searching for one to properly set this up for me in English.

It took me many months to find a notary up to the challenge. Calling the Quebec Chamber of Notaries for a referral led me to the notary in Montreal who, supposedly, was the expert in such matters. Three months later, after repeated follow-up emails and phone calls to set up a first meeting, his secretary told me to look for a local notary to help me. “It’ll save you travel and gas expenses,” were her words.

My perusal of the Chamber of Notaries Directory for local notaries who also work in English produced a list of eight names. After checking out those who had websites, I settled on one, made an appointment with her, met with her, and came to an agreement on how to proceed, only to be told six months later she didn’t have the time to do it.

I went back to the Chamber of Notaries Directory, found a new name to add to the list. I sent each notary an email inquiry with a description of what I wanted and told them that I did not want to be told later they could not do it. Within thirty minutes I received a reply from the newly listed notary who told me she had just completed a course on intellectual property rights and that she was keen to take up the challenge of creating a testamentary trust to protect my intellectual property rights. I feel that serendipity led me to this notary. I received replies from five of the others a week and more later. One did not work in English. One recommended another whom I had contacted. He couldn't help me. The others inquired if I still needed their services.

In my first meeting with Éliane, we discussed my draft of my last will and testament. I had written it to the best of the knowledge I had gleaned from studying Canadian copyright law, and the Quebec Civil Code. It included my version of the trust I wanted set up. After that meeting, I knew I had found the right person to work with. She impressed me as eager, intelligent, efficient, and thoroughly organized. She reminded me of my editor and my proof-reader, both people I am lucky to have to work with me on my novels. In Éliane I had found a third professional to help me protect my intellectual property rights.

Éliane had thoroughly studied my will and the trust section I had written in layman’s language. She reconfirmed her understanding of it, its stated goal, and she noted in the margins the legal and administrative aspects the testamentary trust section of the will must contain. We agreed that she would draw up a first draft and send it to me for consideration of items that might need clarification, correction, or addition.

At that first meeting, she had also explained the advantage of having a notarized protection mandate. I provided her with the one I had previously prepared so she could draft a more precise one to benefit me and my family members who would deal with such matters should the need arise.

After several exchanges via email, we met for a second time to go over the document thoroughly. Éliane had drafted it in English legalese. She made sure I understood it and that it respected my intentions. One thing I learned about my trust is that at its formation, upon my death, it must be funded. The trustees must account for how they use the funds and report on the revenue and royalties earned. The tax people get their due. I had to decide the amount to fund the trust. Luckily, I had planned for an operating fund in my business succession plan; so, I did not hem and haw on that detail. I had the number. I was glad to have Éliane explain all these necessary legal administrative aspects of a trust to me, as over time the trustees will change. That requires powers of transition. We made several clarifications to the trust section of my will.

Before our third and last meeting, Éliane prepared the final document. She sent me a copy to read and to make any corrections I thought necessary. At that meeting she went over my last will and testament, the trust section, and my protection mandate, re-explaining each section for my benefit. We signed the documents.

All I had left to do was pay for her services and pick up the documents once she had registered them. It was money well spent. I now have peace of mind because I’ve taken the time to give the heirs to my legacy the tools to take care of it. I hope my heirs will benefit from my legacy.


#ProtectingIntellectualPropertyRights  #AuthorIntellectualPropertyProtection

Testimonials From The 5th Dimension

Published November 23, 2018 in Uncategorized - 0 Comments

from honorable members of the Dead Poets Society
residing in the 5th Dimension:

Author’s Note: Being a writer of fantasy fiction, since the existence of a 5th dimension has yet to be proved, I personally believe that I can link to it with my imagination. How else can I explain the invented testimonials that follow?

From the Huff Ringtone Post Interviews:

…with William Shakespeare at the 5D Library:

H. R. Post: Word is out that you’re working on an adaptation of The Dragon’s Game Books for a five-act play on stage at Stratford. Is that so, Mr. Shakespeare?

Shakespeare, leaning back and twisting his mustache: Yes, well, it’s still in the early stages of development. Mind you I’m still in negotiations with H. N. Henry for the stage adaptation rights.

H. R. Post: What can you tell us about the early stages?

Shakespeare: Hmmm. An act for each book. Each act a blood bath. That’s why I want to adapt it. And, Henry’s witch is not a double-double-toil-and-trouble sort of witch. She’s not tied to a cauldron, mixing eye of newt, toe of frog, or tongue of dog to make a charm of powerful trouble. Oh! No! His witch is cursed with the power of evil itself and she’s a shape shifter of sorts. Therein lies one of the adaptation challenges.

H. R. Post: You say “one of the adaptation challenges.”Can you tell us another?

Shakespeare, biting his lower lip: Mainly with getting the dragon on stage in Acts III, IV, and V. It’s going to be very expensive to hire the best holographic stage performance technology to make that happen.

H. R. Post: What can you tell us about your planned adaptation of the heroine’s role?

Shakespeare, smiling and rubbing his hands together: Unlike Lady Macbeth, she wears the blood of her deeds with unrelenting vengeance.

…with Robin Williams at 5D Studios:

H. R. Post: Mr. Williams, thanks for giving us a few minutes of your time. Today we’re asking celebrities what they’re reading. What are you reading?

Williams, with a shy smile: Call me Robin. I’m reading BETRAYED, Book III of The Dragon’s Game Books.

H. R. Post: But it hasn’t been released yet?

Williams: I know. I contacted H. N. Henry and asked for an advance reader copy. After reading Books I and II, I had to have this one. He was kind to oblige. He sent me a digital copy via Ork. (Bashful smile) Nanu Nanu.

H. R. Post: How would you describe the series so far?

Williams, holding out his hand: It’s Game of Thrones on a diet. You can almost count the characters on the fingers of your hand. And Nagora, the main character! Move over Georgie Porgie. You kiss this girl and make her cry, you gonna pay big time. (Williams stands spread-eagled, one hand stabbing at the palm of his other before it goes to his crotch and he winces in pain, and then sits back down.) A scene from Book III, you’ve gotta read it. By the way, Stieg Larson recommended I read The Dragon’s Game books.

H. R. Post: What did he say that convinced you?

Williams: He said, and I quote (Speaking in a Swedish accent, making air quotes with fingers): In this world of fictional characters, if my Lisbeth Salander, from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, had an ancestor from an Iron-Age-like time in a place where dragons lived, Nagora would be her. Very definitely. You don’t want to cross her.

…with Chuck Berry at the 5D Vinyl Record Store:

H. R. Post:  Mr. Berry, we see that you have the latest Two Steps From Hell album in your hands and a copy of one of The Dragon’s Game Books under an arm. Is there a connection?

Berry, grinning wide and baring immaculate white teeth: Ooooooo Weeeeee! May-Bell-Ene! I gotta have music to read by, and honey, this is the best to set the mood. You know what I mean? ’Cause some of those scenes got me holdin’ onto my own ding-a-ling. (Laughs loud, winks and flashes a smile) Wouldn’t want that to happen to me. (Eyes big and round as marbles).

…with Marilyn Monroe at the 5D Studios:

H. R. Post: Apparently when having coffee with Betty Davis and Brigitte Bardot, you were overheard to say that the main character, Nagora, in The Dragon’s Game Books was a lot like you. Could you elaborate?

Monroe: Not a lot like me. In no way are we similar. Except in the way that Edana happens to the character, Nagora, Marilyn happened to me when I was Norma Jeane. Only in that way are we similar. We didn’t choose to become those characters. The people made me Marilyn, just like they made Nagora—Edana, but in very different ways and for very different reasons.

H. R. Post: Do you think you could ever be cast in the role of Nagora?

Monroe laughing: No way! It’ll take an actress with balls to play Nagora. Even in Hollywood, they probably couldn’t find an actress to play her. Not because they couldn’t, but because they wouldn’t dare make a movie about her. She’s too strong a character. Not the Hollywood type. They’re not ready for her.

…with Walt Disney at the 5D Disney Family Amusement Theme Park:

H. R. Post: Is it true you are considering building a Dragon’s Game theme location here at your park?

Disney, with a polite smile: No. Definitely not. You probably heard about a possible Isle-of-Smoke theme location with a cage elevator into the dragon’s cave, but that’s not happening. H. N. Henry refuses to negotiate such partial derivative rights from the body of his work. And let’s face it, this is an entertainment park focused on attracting families to our site.

H. R. Post: But we heard you were considering opening an adult or mature section at the park. Will you comment?

Disney, still smiling:  As tempting as that would be, it would go against our values. Let me put it this way: Snow White falls for the witch’s poisoned apple. Nagora doesn’t. She fights back with fire and spills a lot of blood.

The seven dwarfs help Snow White. The Little People, thousands of them, because they are so small and have such magical powers, help Nagora do some amazing things. Mind you, Grumpy would be happy about that.

Prince charming comes along and wakes Snow White from her poisoned sleep with a kiss. (Disney, losing his smile.) The Prince in The Dragon’s Game story is so evil and perverted, out to get Nagora, and she is out to get him too. Not to mention what the dragon does to Nagora to control her. None of that is for kids to see. We’re sticking to attracting families to our park.

A BLACK FRIDAY SALE?

Published November 22, 2018 in Uncategorized - 0 Comments

Will there be a Black Friday sale for The Dragon’s Game books? How about a Cyber Monday deal? Or a special offer at Christmas time?

Questions like these have come to my inbox at my business email address.

The short answer is: no.

Read on to find out why.

REASON #1: Fairness

Imagine you bought a complete set of The Dragon’s Game books three weeks ago to be sure to have them on time to offer to your sister as a gift at Christmas and you discover that there’s some crazy discount on a box set on Friday. How would that make you feel?

Disappointed? Betrayed? Maybe even a bit angry?

Those are not feelings I want my readers to have.

I want to treat every single one of my readers fairly and I don’t want any one of them to feel buyer remorse.

Treating my readers fairly also means I don’t overprice my books. The first eBook version in the series has the lowest price, as does the print-on-demand version, so readers can test read before buying the others. I’ve kept the price of the POD versions of the books as low as possible, making pennies on the dollar for Book I and a dollar and change on the others.

If ever the price of my books goes up, it will be to help offset the cost for changes brought to the books, such as new covers or a lucrative contract with a big publishing company.

Until that happens, the price for my books you see now will be the lowest price possible so you’ll never regret your purchase.

REASON #2: Immediate escape

If you’ve been waiting for a sale to purchase the books so you can wrap up in a blanket to go on your next reading adventure that will take you to another time and place to be with a heroine as she fights for her dragon, don’t.

This is the best price. Don’t wait. Escape into a dragon’s world now.

If fantasy fiction with a kick-ass heroine just ain’t your cup of tea, I understand.

REASON #3: Consistent value

For some products, like smart phones, it makes sense to get them now because their value will decrease over time, not only in price, but in ability to be updated, and lack of newer “must-have” features.

My print-on-demand books do not take up shelf space in stores for a limited time after which they are put on sale, and after which, if not sold, returned to the publisher (me) at a cost, or shredded at a lower cost, or dumped into some landfill at a cost to the environment.

Some say: I only buy used books. If you do, then you know it’s a buyer-beware game. On the amazon.ca site you can buy BANISHED The Dragon’s Game Book I "Used" for CDN $27.07 shipping included OR for $37.50 “FREE SHIPPING.”

Bought new, BANISHED is CDN $11.90 plus shipping (about CDN $6.49). Still a deal. Go figure.

What’s 40+ hours of reading escape worth? The 5-book series at CDN $76.72  / 40 = CDN $1.92 per hour.

How much is a cup of joe at your favorite coffee shop?

REASON #4: I write for a cause.
My Charitable Black Friday Special

My author bio in the back end of my books states:

Norm is a believer in “Think global. Act local.” He writes to share his profits with a local community cause, Point de Rue. They help homeless people in his hometown of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, find meaning and passion in their lives.

When readers buy my books, they are also helping my favorite charity. Thank you.

Which brings me back to my, shall I say un-Black Friday Deal: I will donate 100% of my profits on the books I sell between now and December 31, 2018 to Point de Rue.

All the best to you in this coming Holiday Season.

How to Write a Book Review

Published June 5, 2018 in Uncategorized - 0 Comments

Fear not. Writing a book review is actually easy and, as far as I know, on most book distribution platforms, you don’t even have to use your real name as long as they can verify that you actually purchased the book.

Submitting an honest reader review is one of the best ways you can help authors like me to get other readers interested in our books.

If you’ve read one of The Dragon’s Game books, writing a book review is as simple as sharing your reader experience—

  • tell how you connected with the story;
  • an aspect of the story you liked best;
  • your appreciation of the author’s writing style;
  • your curiosity as to how the other books in the series will develop;
  • and the words you would use to recommend it to a friend.

Basically, that’s it.

Where to submit your book review?

A)  On the distribution platform where you purchased the book.

If you want objective insight on how to use Amazon’s star rating system when writing a book review, here is a link to an article that might be of help to you. It applies to the other book seller platforms as well.

B)  On the TESTIMONIALS PAGE on this website.

Simply click on the cover of the book you want to review. On that book's testimonial page, write your testimonial in the form provided.

NOTE: The Testimonial Page is set up to require your name and email address and, if you hover over the Gravatar and click on the Facebook icon that pops up, your FB profile picture will get attached to your testimonial. (At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.  Also NOTE: You can opt out of having your profile picture shown.)

Your testimonial will only appear after it has been reviewed. See my Privacy Policy concerning testimonials you submit on my website.


I hope this post has been of help. Thanks for taking time to write an honest review and/or testimonial.