It's been a lot of work but a lot of fun so far, though my brain has not quite been able to balance it with blogging. For that, I apologize. I expect soon I'll be back on a normal posting schedule.
Anyway, the joys associated with self-publishing have been things like getting to choose a book size and seeing my content flowed in there looking all Real, and Grown-Up and Legitimate.
And also finally being freed from carrying around a double-spaced manuscript binder roughly the size of the entire Library of Congress.
The surprises are in going through the text and realizing those questions I'd had, which I'd imagined would be answered by a savvy publisher are now going to have to be answered by YOURS TRULY.
Today, I'm specifically referring to a scary incident with song lyrics.
I had a section-- and I won't give details so I don't ruin the surprise for any future readers-- which really depended on using four lines from a particular song. The section was one that, after editing it a bazillion times over the years, I still actually liked. (Which, any other writers out there will understand, that is huge. I mean, if you don't loathe your own work for a few hours every few days or so, you probably aren't working on it hard enough.)
So I thought I'd do a spot of research and just see how much of any song could be used under Fair Use.
And the answer is.... None. Do not do it. Do not even think about doing it. In fact, do not even think about thinking about doing it because the mighty hammer of the Music Industry will come crashing down on you like a telephone pole-sized drumstick to a tiny toy snare drum.
This left me in a hot, sweaty panic for a good five minutes or so. I mean, where do you go from there? Do you 1.) remove a scene which is actually important to the plot? Do you 2.) paraphrase, taking all the edge off the funny? Do you 3.) weep a little and dream of what could have been, if only?
Well, for the last day or two (after a shameful minute of option 3 up there), I sat down and started making up my own song lyrics. Song lyrics for a singer who, up until now, did not exist.
With my past experience as part of an equally fake heavy metal band (you may get some laughs from that tale here, if you haven't already read it) thankfully, this has not been as difficult as I had expected.
Plus, there's a certain heady elation in knowing one has dodged the Giant Drumstick of Doom. And I figure if I have prevented one other writer from finding it crash down upon his or her personal drumhead, I will have done my job.