The Daily Journal, Wednesday, May 29

In today’s Journal

* Before I get started
* Quote of the Day
* Topic: On Licensing
* On a side note
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers

Before I really get started today, I want to welcome a new subscriber, Andrea, to the Journal. Glad you could join us. If you’d like to see the entire book I’m writing on how to quiet the critical voice, scroll down a couple of posts and you’ll see a list of links to all those posts.

Quote of the Day

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Ghandi

Topic: On Licensing

Just so you know, although I occasionally add links to “Of Interest” that present viewpoints with which I disagree, I would N-E-V-E-R actually RECOMMEND anything that I hadn’t fully vetted and in which I didn’t have complete confidence.

That’s one reason I’m writing and posting here, free, the chapters of the Critical Mind book instead of just recommending, like 99% of writers and all nonwriters everywhere, that you outline, revise, rewrite, etc.

I’ve always felt a huge sense of responsiblity to others, and that extends to those who follow this Journal. Trust, to me, is paramount. That’s why I would never recommend anything that even hints of being a scam or a bad deal.

And that is the main reason I was so surprised that few, if any, of my Daily Journal subscribers had signed up to attend the virtual Las Vegas Licensing Expo via Dean Wesley Smith’s “learn-along.”

Bearing that in mind, I was going to write and post the final chapter on the Critical Mind book today, but frankly, this is more important at the moment.

If you write at all, it’s important that you understand the value of your short story or novel. It’s important to understand what you own: That includes not only copyright, but the copyright as Intellectual Property (IP) and the right to license that IP. (Hence my pushing Dean’s learn-along of the Licensing Expo.)

As an aside, licensing is the one big reason I’ve always been so frantic about getting the next short story or novel out. Because the next one might be the one that someone out there (film producer, toy manufacturer, game creator, etc.) is looking for.

On the other hand, my very first short story or novel might be the one they’re looking for, and me putting out more work and getting my name out there more widely might be what leads them to find that short story or novel.

But I digress. Here’s what instigated this topic:

One writer wrote to ask me about Dean’s licensing Learn-Along. The exact question was, “What is it exactly?”

What the writer was really asking is “What is licensing, and for that matter, what is copyright?”

Now, I’m certain the writer believes s/he understands copyright. But copyright, IP, and licensing go hand in hand. They are inextricably connected. Frankly, if you don’t understand the value of licensing (and learning about licensing), you don’t understand copyright.

But before I get started on explaining licensing (in a very limited way), I have two recommendations:

First, if you have the same question, I strongly recommend you read Dean’s last two or three blog posts and the comments after them. You can find them at (They were in “Of Interest” over the past few days.)

Second, I strongly recommend you get a copy of The Copyright Handbook (NOLO).

I’ll do my best to explain licensing as briefly as possible:

Say you own a hotel with 100 rooms. When you “sell” a room for the night, you aren’t actually selling it. You’re licensing its use for one night. Tomorrow, that person will move out, but you will still have that room to “sell” (license) again. Even if you “sell” 365 reservations for that room in one year, you still have it to sell (license, rent) in the future.

If you had actually “sold” that room, that would mean it now belongs to whomever you sold it to (like a condo) and you would have only 99 rooms still available in your hotel.

When you write a novel and “sell” it on Amazon or B&N or wherever, you aren’t actually selling it. You’re licensing it (they’re renting it) for one person to read. But ONLY to read. (That’s why Amazon et al can, at will, “erase” any ebooks you bought from them that are currently in your e-reader.)

And that’s where copyright, IP and licensing come into play.

That reader isn’t allowed to make a movie of your story. He isn’t allowed to produce a line of action figures based on one of your characters. He isn’t allowed to create an electronic game based on your characters or your storyline. He isn’t allowed to do anything else to make money on your story.

Unless you sell him a license to do so. which (for me) is why understanding licensing and all the ways you can use it is extremely important.

The cost of that license is up to you as the copyright owner. (I recommend you hire an IP attorney to help you negotiate the contract. Type “IP Attorneys” and the name of your city into a search engine.)

The license to READ your book costs maybe $4.99. But would you sell a license to turn your book into a movie for only $4.99? (Um, no.) Would you sell a license to produce a line of action figures based on one of your characters or to create an electronic game based on your characters or your storyline for only $4.99?

Of course not.

If you would, I have some choice ocean-front (someday) property here in southeast Arizona you might be interested in buying.

The point is, you don’t sell your work outright, you license it. And you can do that repeatedly for your entire lifetime plus 70 years on each story or novel you’ve written.

UNLESS you go to a traditional publisher and sign away your copyright for that nice $5,000 or $50,000 advance. (I freely admit, another zero might do it for me.) If you do that, then THEY own it and can license it for millions to the aforementioned film producers, toy companies, game creators et al.

THAT’S the value of IP. That’s why traditional publishers can afford (and laugh all the way to the bank) to pay you a $5,000 or even a $50,000 advance for all rights to your book, and then never even publish it if they don’t want to. The IP (copyright) for that one book adds MILLIONS to the value of their company.

And that’s exactly why Dean’s Learn-Along is so important. If you’ve written even one short story, you are potentially sitting on millions of dollars in revenue. FOR ONE SHORT STORY.

And now you have the astounding opportunity for only two hundred lousy bucks (and really, only $50) to learn along with Dean — as he learns at the actual Las Vegas Licensing Expo — more about licensing opportunities: what they are, how to find them, how to entice them to find you, etc. ect. ad nauseam.

But I totally get it. I do.

Writers are the best when it comes to devaluaing their own writing. If you think what you’ve written sucks, well, you believe you must be right. It must suck. But if you’ve written something you think is really GOOD… then you must be wrong because writers are the worst judges of their own work.

Do you not see how ludicrous that is?

How good your work is isn’t up to you. It’s up to whomever reads it. It’s THEIR job, not yours, to judge your work.

And if one of those readers is a film producer or a toy manufacturer or a game creator and you aren’t up to date on copyright, IP and licensing information, they WILL take you to the cleaners.

They might even pay you $5000 cash, right up front, then turn around and make MILLIONS selling just the OPTION to film your one poor little short story. Maybe even the one that you thought sucked.

And just so I say it here in public, having more work “out there” doesn’t automatically mean you’re any closer to getting a movie deal or whatever. It just means there are more opportunities for them to find you and your work.

In Dean’s Learn Along, which costs only $200, he actually includes his Magic Bakery Classic Workshop (which explains copyright), a $150 value. So really, he’s inviting you to attend the Las Vegas Licensing Expo (virtually) for only fifty bucks.

Okay, so that’s my spiel on the topic. Back tomorrow with more on the Critical Mind book. And I won’t talk anymore about the Licensing Expo. I’m really anxious to have the Critical Mind book over and done with so I can get back full-force to having fun writing my WIP.

Rolled out at 3. Read my email, wrote the stuff above. Took a break at 5, then fed the horses, got another cup of coffee, and back to the Hovel.

Then I decided to post a special in-between post over on using the topic above. It will appear on Saturday, June 1. Might as well share the opportunity wtih those folks too.

After a spate of emails (do emails come in a spate or a flurry?), I’m off to work on the Critical Mind book at 9:30.

I’m going to devote my time to finishing that before I return to my WIP. Otherwise I’ll keep putting off the nonfiction book, and as I mentioned above, it’s close enough to completion that I just want to get the thing done.

And around 11, as I was looking over the book, I realized I hadn’t said anything about the critical mind delays that strike WHILE you’re writing.

There wasn’t a lot to say on that topic, so I decided to add that to the beginning of Chapter 3. In the book, that chapter will now be titled Chapter 3: Recognizing the Critical Voice Writing and Pre-Publication Delays. I’ll publish the additional information tomorrow in a topic titled “Chapter 3 Extension: Recognizing the Writing Delays.”

Well, it’s almost 1 p.m. and as it turns out the book will have two more chapters. I’ll publish Chapter 11 here on Friday and Chapter 12 here on Saturday. (I’ll report those nonfiction numbers on the days I post them.)

Then, sometime or other, I’ll create a cover (grumble) and a promo doc (grumble grumble) and publish the thing. Heinlein’s Rule 4 has always been the most difficult for me to follow.

But I’ll do it. Just in case anyone out in the wider world wants to read it.

Now I’m gonna go watch some baseball or something.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Time Travel, Romance, and Licensing” at

See “Flying Cops and Their Guns: Write it Right!” at

See The Passive Guy’s TAKE on “Ian Fleming Explains How to Write a Thriller” at

See “Writing Roundup – Paying It Back and Forward” at

See Duke Southard’s “Write What You Know” at

See Alison Holt’s “Different Strokes” at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1870 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 1870

Writing of In the Cantina at Noon (novel)

Day 10… 1365 words. Total words to date…… 20874
Day 11… 3696 words. Total words to date…… 24570
Day 14… 1050 words. Total words to date…… 25620
Day 15… 1622 words. Total words to date…… 27242
Day 16… 1413 words. Total words to date…… 28655
Day 17… 2098 words. Total words to date…… 30753
Day 18… 1222 words. Total words to date…… 31975
Day 19… 2586 words. Total words to date…… 34561
Day 20… 1890 words. Total words to date…… 36451
Day 21… 2961 words. Total words to date…… 39412
Day 22… 1192 words. Total words to date…… 40604
Day 23… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 40604
Total fiction words for the year………… 302074
Total nonfiction words for the month… 40340
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 152200
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 454274

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 6
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31