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Questions on writing NF PB biography

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Hi,

I am working on a NF PB biography and I have two basic questions.

1. How does obtaining permission to use quotes/excerpts from other books work out? If I plan to use any excerpts, do I have to specify exactly what I will be using in my request letter for permissions? Should this be ideally sent out before I even finish writing my manuscript?

2. Is it necessary to let the living descendants know that I am working on the biography?

This is the first time I'm working on a NF PB biography. I am figuring out the nitty-gritty of how the logistics and other things work.

Thanks for helping out!
#1 - April 06, 2017, 10:07 AM

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Orchid (do you grow these?), you don't need anybody's permission to write a biography, but if you need/want photos and letters, etc., you'll have to ask the family's permission. Excerpts and quotes are fine as long as you document them. Fair use rules apply. So a short quote from a longer work is fine, but a short poem in its entirety is not. I would suggest keeping a detailed bibliography with footnotes so that when it's time for fact-checking you are not having to dig up all the info again.

It's good that you are thinking about these things now. Write on!
Vijaya
#2 - April 06, 2017, 12:34 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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I've had these questions, too!

About obtaining permissions for quotes, you do have to be specific, BUT - in answer to your follow-up - I suggest writing the story first. Use this enthusiasm and energy to gather your research and get the story down. Once you've revised and gotten it critiqued and revised eighteen more times, you might find that the quotes and excerpts you once thought you'd use are no longer part of the piece (and you have others, instead). Plus, if you obtain permissions at this stage, you'd have to pay for them yourself. If you get published, the house might allow for a permissions budget.

And in regard to the descendants, there was a thread on this a couple years back:

http://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=73468.0

Best, best wishes, Orchid!!!

[I cross-posted with Vijaya!! Yes, yes, yes to what she says!!!]
#3 - April 06, 2017, 12:38 PM
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 01:01 PM by carrots »

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Vijaya and Carrots, thanks for the help. This is great!

Vijaya, yes, I love Orchids and finally have learnt how to keep them alive and blooming :)
#4 - April 06, 2017, 12:42 PM

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You're welcome ... and yes, yes, yes to what Carrots said too. And finally, you must upload a picture :flowers2

#5 - April 06, 2017, 05:41 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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