October 14, 2007

Yes, you can quote these words…

Responses have arrived from all the publishers etc I contacted regarding permissions to quote from other writers. In all but one case they gave permission with no fee. I should perhaps mention that the quotes are all very short, a few lines at most.

The exception is Harvard University Press, who hold the copyright on Emily Dickinson. They insisted on a letter, not an email and answered by letter. They gave permission to use the two lines i had requested use of and wanted a fee of $US50 that must be paid by US cheque or money order, not by credit card or direct transfer, thus adding considerably to the cost from NZ unless you have access to a US bank account. I nearly didn't ask for permission for the Dickinson quote, as she has been dead for more than the usual 70 years. So, while the two lines of Dickinson are what I really want to use as the epigraph for the second, middle, section of my novel, I'm looking for an alternative, possibly a proverb.

On a more positive note, I have had a phone conversation with the artist whose image I want to use on the cover. Her approach is a 'what you can afford' one. I will certainly pay her something. Her usual $200, which she quoted when I asked doesn't seem unreasonable. I haven't done an actual budget yet, that requires me to decide how many I will print in the first instance and I haven't done that yet. My next step is to work my way through a marketing and promotion plan, then I might be able to decide how many copies to print in the first instance.

Another thing Jill and I have been talking about is the choice of font for the text. Times New Roman is a very standard seriph font for text, and we have decided against that as it is such a standard choice and we want to be a bit different, while not trying to be so innovative the look of the text is strange to actual and potential readers. I am certainly noticing fonts more in books I read, and really like ones where the font is named in the front of the book; it often isn't. Because parts of Get Used To It are in journal form that needs to be distinct from the main text, the font must look good in italic. For this reason we abandoned Garamond, because the italic version is fussy. My favourite at the moment is Bookman (which comes in a range of ocnfigurations, but starting from the standard Bookman which is included in most word processing software). It has a slighly old-fashioned look, but I don't see that as s bad thing for this book. No, it is not a historical novel, it is set in the year 2000 and in the '60s.