Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘public domain’

Reposting someone else’s content is NOT blogging

A while ago, I wrote a post about using public domain materials in which I said:

OK – this is just my opinion (as is most of what you’ll read on this blog), but I think co-opting public domain materials to create your own books or info products is a cop-out. It’s not illegal, but it is a lazy shortcut that shortchanges the reader, the person whom you, as a writer, want to be keeping at the forefront of your focus.

Well, the same is true of your blog posts! If you’re going to blog, you owe it to your readers to come up with your own material. This is not to say you cannot or should not reference other relevant blog posts. As you may have noticed, I do it quite often. But there’s a difference between referencing another post and simply co-opting the material and putting your name on it.

Here’s an example. I was going through my Google Alerts for “book marketing” recently, and came across two very similar posts. The first was 5 Book Marketing Mistakes That Cost You Sales, on the Smart Author Sites blog. The second was Are you Making These 4 Book Marketing Mistakes that Cost you Sales?, by Judy Cullins on BookCoaching.com.

Hmmm… I thought. These topics seem awfully similar. Because of the number discrepancy, I at first thought that Cullins had taken material from Smart Author. As it turns out, it was the other way around. Cullins mistitled her post – she actually delineates five book marketing mistakes. And Smart Author, rather than writing an actual post with any real material in it, simply “borrowed” an abbreviated version of Cullins’ post.

The entirety of original content in the Smart Author post is as follows:

I came across a GREAT blog post today by author marketing guru Judy Cullins. Here are some of the highlights, quoted directly from the post…

—————

Amen, Judy!

As far as I am concerned, this is simply cheating. To be fair, I have not read any other posts on the Smart Author site, so I am in no way alleging that this is a habit. But even in this one instance, it’s not fair to Cullins, the original author of the material. How could Smart Author have made the material their own? By adding their own commentary (i.e., work) to Cullins’ thoughts. Why do they agree? What has been their experience with the five mistakes Cullins mentions? How would they expand or digress on said mistakes?

When it comes to your own blog, please do the work. You know how you’d feel if someone abridged your book and put their name on it, right? A blog post is no different. Your readers want to hear your thoughts, your ideas, your words.

To originality in blogging!

Laura

P.S. If you’re not using Google Alerts, you should be. You can ask Google to email you whenever your selected keywords are mentioned in new online content. It’s simple to sign up and helps you stay up-to-date on your topic, industry, trends, or even your own name.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

Read Full Post »

You an EXPERT? Leave the public domain works alone and write your own stuff.

OK this is just my opinion (as is most of what you’ll read on this blog), but I think co-opting public domain* materials to create your own books or info products is a cop-out.  It’s not illegal, but it is a lazy shortcut that shortchanges the reader, the person whom you, as a writer, want to be keeping at the forefront of your focus.

“Wow – those seem like fightin’ words, Laura!”

I suppose they do, because I am adamant about this. And here’s why:

I believe that whether we acknowledge it or not, we each have an area of expertise. It doesn’t have to be business related, but there’s probably something in your life that you do better than most people, even if it’s just taking the time to chat with Grandma and Great-Aunt Edna when they come to visit. If you’re writing a book you plan to sell, owning that expertise is crucial.

The question to ponder is: How did you develop your expertise? Perhaps you studied, read, researched, interviewed, and/or put in lots of hands-on time and effort developing this specialized knowledge. The fact is, now you have that knowledge, and that’s what people are paying you for.

By the time you get to the point where you are willing to commit to writing a book, I honestly feel that you should have enough experience, opinions, and knowledge to craft your OWN book. That’s not to say that you can’t and won’t use other experts’ knowledge as source material for your work, but in writing your book, you are publishing your thoughts, your opinions, your expert point of view.

On the other hand, reading a public domain book, rearranging a few words, and putting it forth as your own do not make you an expert. If you’re honest, you’ll admit that  this amounts to nothing more than a cheesy get-rich-quick scheme, and we all know where most of those wind up, don’t we? If making money is your only reason for writing a book, you might want to rethink that.

I encourage you: If you want to write a book, write a book. But put in the work, time, energy, effort, and money to become a REAL expert. Your readers will thank you, and it will pay off in your business.

Laura

* Here’s a great explanation of public domain and the accompanying questions of copyright.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: