Wrapping Up 2022 with a Little Finger Wagging and Hope for the New Year
I write a Christmas newsletter every year for sending to people we don’t see often. (Yes, I know some folks hate those. I do try to keep bragging to a minimum and stick to newsworthy facts.) One fact that was hard to write was admitting to not yet getting this book published. Especially as I wrote last year that it would be finished in 2022 “for sure!”
As we all know, life just gets in the way of our plans. We also know stories of authors writing in the hour before their young children wake up and in coffee shops while on public aid, so it just sounds lazy to say “I got too busy.”
All other busyness aside, I’m still cranking on this book, but it’s slow-going. I’m a little paranoid (some say I’m more than a little paranoid!) about copyright violations. Earlier in the research process, I started collecting images to illustrate some of these glossary terms. I thought I did my due diligence to only include public domain images, but over time I began to doubt how accurate that designation was.
I did a bunch of research and talked to intellectual property lawyers and the upshot is that it’s kind of a crap shoot when you’re trying to figure out who owns what. Determining public domain starts with knowing who the original owner was – the creator or the creator’s employer. Also, there are differences from country to country regarding when intellectual property rights expire. For some images, the original owner's copyright has lapsed, but a third party actually possesses the image and therefore the right to use it. If anyone else grabs that image online to put on a t-shirt, for instance, they are still in violation of copyright.
Some people post their own photographs under the Creative Commons copyright, but there are different levels of licenses, including one that excludes commercial use. That means I can look at an image for research purposes, but I can’t share it with my readers because the book will be for sale.
If I really wanted an image and I was sure who owned it, I could ask to buy the rights to it, but this is also a long process and an expensive one. I worked with an author who went that route and after seeing her experience, I try to avoid those images.
Paranoid about getting sued for copyright infringement, I’ve been diligently tracking the ownership of every single image as far as possible, documenting the copyright as accurately as I can, and figuring out the best way to post that documentation both in the paper version of the book and in the digital version. It’s taking a long time.
But enough finger-wagging and excuses for not being published yet. Here’s a bit of news that I’m looking forward to right away in the new year: I’m getting a new computer!
As you can see from the photo, I have worn off about half of the letters. When I’m writing, I don’t even notice it, but if I’m looking at the keyboard, I can’t remember which one is the “C” and which one is the “V.”
Obviously, there will be internal upgrades which will be more important than being able to read the keys. I’m a little nervous because it takes me a while to get comfortable with new stuff. You should have seen me when I switched from PC to Mac!
My day job is always particularly busy at the end of the year and I’m up to my ears in holiday celebrations, out-of-town relatives, and travel preparations, so I haven’t spent as much time on the book lately as I should. But there’s a whole new year facing me and I can’t wait to get back to work. There’s a whole new year facing you, too! I look forward to seeing what we both will do with it!