Stay out of court and at your desk.
I am a business lawyer with 30 years of experience assisting clients in setting up and running their businesses, legally and successfully. My clients include entrepreneurs such as wineries, green toy makers, software engineers, and writers. I do not go to court, and no one is ever going to produce a movie about the exciting life of a business attorney. But I get a great deal of satisfaction from keeping my clients out of trouble and out of court, so they can focus on their businesses, their creative projects, and their lives.
I graduated from University of Chicago Law School in 1984 and have practiced my entire career in the San Francisco Bay Area.
When I self-published my historical novel, Coyote Winds, I discovered there was no legal guide to help self-publishing writers deal with wide-ranging issues such as copyright, defamation, and taxes. Dozens of books offer advice on designing covers, editing content, and tweeting effectively, but few will tell writers how to protect their Social Security Numbers or spot a scam. I wrote the Self-Publisher Legal Handbook to help writers publish and promote their work while minimizing legal risks.
Many writers have questions about incorporation and crowd-funding, not to mention hiring freelancers and deducting expenses. Or they are considering purchasing a publishing package from a self-publishing service company, and wonder how to distinguish between an honest company and an unscrupulous one. When they try to read a contract, the page looks like 5,000 words run through a blender!
How do writers write blog posts that are provocative, but not defamatory? How do they find eye-catching images without spending a fortune? They wonder if their websites need privacy policies, and what do DMCA, COPPA, and DRM mean anyway?
But there is also a personal reason I wrote the Handbook.
My parents were artistic people; my mother an actress and my father a stage and television director. By temperament or choice, or perhaps both, they did not understand business or money. When I was young, I saw them being taken advantage of over and over again. I went to law school so I would have the tools to navigate the business world myself and to help creative people like my parents.
If you watched The Guiding Light, then you may remember my mother. Margaret Gwenver. She played Doctor Sedwick. (Yes, they used her married name.)
My father John Sedwick started his career as a stage director, then began working in early television in the 1950’s. Among the shows he directed were Dark Shadows, The Edge of Night and Santa Barbara.
Writing and publishing a book is an investment of time, money and emotion. Don’t lose your copyright by signing the wrong contract, or waste money by buying into a scam, or lose sleep by getting sued for defamation. Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook will help you safely navigate the legal minefield.