How To Monetize Your Blog 101 - Lesson 10 - Do Not Neglect Your Graphics and Copyrights
One of the fun things about being a Paralegal is all the legal research I get to do while studying subjects. I get to create really cool handouts to turn into power point presentations, CDs, DVDs, PDFs, investigative reports and periodically e-mail digital films (and just about anything else I can imagine to get my point of view across).
Visuals help people embrace your ideas by inspiring them to take a leap of faith from the intangible to the tangible based upon the road map you flow chart their thoughts to follow. If you do it well it's not about getting people to agree or disagree, it's about getting them to think on a matter you introduce that deserves consideration. Your ability to inspire thought is what makes people want to read you. If you can entertain them while you teach it's even better because happy readers will more often than not share your body of work with others.
If you are going to publish your work part of branding yourself includes creating icons for your service and trade marks. Goodwill is part of your Reputation Architecture so when your publications do start coming out you want them to link it to the portfolio of merchandise you are manufacturing for their consumption. You must create something of value for your audience. If they value your blog because of the quality of your interactions and content, the goodwill from what they know about you will only carry over to your monetized portfolio if the item is equal to or exceeds what they get for free.
Don't rush into publication for publication's sake. Take the time to create something worthy to be praised. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising there is. Every link and positive word of encouragement is precious so don't squander your opportunities. E-books don't go out of print like paper books do. Who wants to hypothetically suck for a 1,000 years because they rushed the transition from blogger to author? (I don't - LOL)
According to Wikipedia:
(1) "Brand awareness refers to customers' ability to recall and recognize the brand under different conditions and link to the brand name, logo, jingles and so on to certain associations in memory. It helps the customers to understand to which product or service category the particular brand belongs and what products and services are sold under the brand name. It also ensures that customers know which of their needs are satisfied by the brand through its products... Brand awareness is of critical importance since customers will not consider your brand if they are not aware of it."
(2) "Goodwill in financial matters is the value of an entity over and above the value of its assets. The term was originally used in accounting to express the intangible but quantifiable "prudent value" of an ongoing business beyond its assets, resulting perhaps from the reputation the firm enjoyed with its clients."
Merriam-Webster defines Reputation as an overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general; recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability; a place in public esteem or regard; good name.
You can make mistakes and still have a great reputation because how you handle the mistakes you make says a lot about you. When you decide you want to start publishing your words for someone else to purchase always remember to think of the unknown reader you are having a conversation with. Your goal is to engage their mind, taking them on a personal journey with you. It's an intimate relationship. Respect that.
Jeff Belonger wrote a wonderful post on Reputation Architecture and has a three part series in progress you may find useful. There are plenty of New York City firms in my neck of the woods that specialize in this subject (like Reputation Architects Inc) so don't believe the negative hype of people who tell you this is just another social media phase they are too busy to bother with. You need to be aware that this issue is not going to go away because some people decide it doesn't pertain to them. Everything you package and create for consumption will be judged by the person consuming it whether blog post, handout or book so you need to think about how you want to present your offerings.
Start by creating an icon. Your picture and name will do nicely so don't start whining about me being artistic and you not (LOL). No excuses people. We're branding today. Start where you are and hire the professionals of your choice if you really want to get jiggy with it. ;-)
The Wordy C icon was inspired by Stephen the Minion Blur (my PDD-NOS 5 year old). The shorties also helped with the Tann Starr, uberMental and Ambassadors of Chaos icons too. The kids painted the Mama Liz album cover, among other things.
This report cover is from a PDF I am currently turning into a Power Point presentation reflecting the philological, philosophical, and pedagogical dark humor regarding social dysfunction and the the natural, desirable order of things according to Wordy C (it's Paralegal humor so don't say I didn't warn you when this dark and twisty little Tann Starr handout gets released next month in Smashwords - LOL).
The report cover photograph is part of Noah's (my Autistic 9 year old) collection of Melbourne Beach, FL shots. The interior graphics are all original content created by me and the little minions. The shorties will be getting the photography and art credits that is due them so today we are going to talk about the importance of (a) contributors, (b) understanding work for hire and (c) Copyrights.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution empowers the United States Congress: “ To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the EXCLUSIVE RIGHT to their respective Writings and Discoveries." http://www.house.gov/house/Constitution/Constitution.html
If you didn't write it or discover it then it means it's not yours. Source your documents, cite your sources, log your credit roll and give the people who help you create your master documents the recognition they deserve whether it be granny, a PhD from Harvard or a five year old. They have exclusive rights to their creations. If they give you permission to use them be respectful of their work and site them as a source.
"Google it before you Guru it" is one of my fave sayings and I'm being quoted on that puppy. 3 years of free limited edition seminar handouts and (a) no one stole it, (b) no one posted my exclusive how to do legal research or monetize your blog content on-line and (c) my free classes fill up by word of mouth and people don't care if I'm in their conference room, the Brooklyn Botanical Japanese Gardens or Starbucks. I bring the actual books I use, log into my accounts and show them exactly how I do things, what works for me and what does not. Experiencing the reality of using the cited sources and platforms in my handouts is why I get away with some of my on-line silliness and periodic crankiness. They know I know. They want to know what I know when I hint and tease but don't tell all in a blog post.
If you plan on publishing you're going to have to pick and choose what degrees of separation you're operating on (exclusive vs. non-exclusive). It doesn't matter what the subject is, what matters is what your presentation of that subject brings to the table. Let the reader in on the secret or the joke. They will appreciate being startled into a new train of thought. It's okay to have fun while citing your sources. I frequently do. I can abuse and misuse statistics for hours on end because the glass is always either half full or half empty (LOL). When creating original content always look for interesting tag lines to help brand what you are doing. It should be direct and to the point like "Diary of a Google Whore." ;-)
Duke University Library has a wonderful academic page regarding the citing of sources. My attorney gal pals love the cover art and think working with learning disabled kids to produce communications graphics is a real hoot because their selections are always surprising and the kids are learning about citing sources. If you do a nice job you may find reputable businesses citing your work as a source so don't be careless, stingy or foolish with creating your fun or serious handouts. If you are going to quote people or facts you must do so accurately.
According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011, "Writers, especially of nonfiction, are expected to establish their credibility with editors and readers through strong research and the use of appropriate sources and citations. Writers and authors then select the material they want to use, organize it, and use the written word to express story lines, ideas, or to convey information. With help from editors, they may revise or rewrite sections, searching for the best organization or the right phrasing. Writers and authors develop original written materials for books, magazines, trade journals, online publications, company newsletters, and advertisements. Their works are classified broadly as either fiction or nonfiction and writers often are identified by the type of writing they do—for example, novelists, playwrights, biographers, and textbook writers. Writers such as songwriters, screenwriters, or scriptwriters, produce content for radio and television broadcasts, motion pictures, and other types of performance. An increasing number of writers are producing scripted material directly for the Web and other communication devices." You need to figure out what kind of writer you want to be.
You also need to figure out if you are working alone or want to play nice with other contributing writers. When working on the Amazon.com Kindle platform, "Contributors are the people involved in creating your book. You can identify your book's author, editor, illustrator, translator, and more. To publish your book, at least one contributor name is required, and all contributors of any public domain content are required. Enter contributor names in the order in which you want them to appear in the Kindle store."
Under the 1976 Copyright Act as amended (title 17 of the United States Code), "a work is protected by copyright from the time it is created in a fixed form. In other words, when a work is written down or otherwise set into tangible form, the copyright immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights from the author can rightfully claim copyright. Although the general rule is that the person who creates a work is the author of that work, there is an exception to that principle: the copyright law defines a category of works called “works made for hire.” If a work is “made for hire,” the employer, and not the employee, is considered the author. The employer may be a firm, an organization, or an individual. To understand the complex concept of a work made for hire, it is necessary to refer not only to the statutory definition but also to its interpretation in cases decided by courts."
The Amazon.com Kindle platform has a DRM option. Digital Rights Management (DRM) "is intended to inhibit unauthorized distribution of the Kindle file of your book. Some authors want to encourage readers to share their work, and choose not to have DRM applied to their book. If you choose DRM, customers will still be able to lend the book to another user for a short period, and can also purchase the book as a gift for another user from the Kindle store. Important: Once you publish your book, you cannot change its DRM setting."
House of Representatives Report 105-796 on DMCA is a must read. Yeah, I know it's 94 pages but you need to understand the importance of Copyrights and Digital Rights Management. It's not just a matter of squabbling over who may or may not have swiped your blog post picture without permission or discovering about the House dissenting votes. It's also about understanding treaties with other countries (after all, publishing in the Apple iBookstore, Smashwords, Amazon's Kindle, etc means global distribution).
Giving away free information doesn't mean you gave away your copyright to your book, blog, or handout. Posting on the Internet doesn't mean it automatically makes your free information a public domain work. WHAT IS PUBLIC DOMAIN IN AMERICA MAY NOT BE PUBLIC DOMAIN IN OTHER COUNTRIES. A classic work by a Russian author may still have a Russian Copyright in play so reading this made me not touch "Creative Commons" with a ten foot pole. There are people getting in trouble for re-publishing what they thought was a public domain book only to discover the family estate is getting royalties for a trust asset the person should never have touched.
Don't be so quick to toss away your copyrights for the intellectual property you create and NEVER assume becaue a work is old no one is paying attention to what you're doing with it. If it is important enough for the Constitution and treaties, then it should be important enough to you to find out what you need to know to stay out of trouble.
To quote the government:
"The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)1 was signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998. The legislation implements two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties: the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The DMCA also addresses a number of other significant copyright-related issues. The DMCA is divided into five titles:
Title I, "the “WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act of 1998,” implements the WIPO treaties."
Title II, "the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act,” creates limitations on the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement when engaging in certain types of activities."
Title III, "the “Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act,” creates an exemption for making a copy of a computer program by activating a computer for purposes of maintenance or repair."
Title IV "contains six miscellaneous provisions, relating to the functions of the Copyright Office, distance education, the exceptions in the Copyright Act for libraries and for making ephemeral recordings, “webcasting” of sound recordings on the Internet, and the applicability of collective bargaining agreement obligations in the case of transfers of rights in motion pictures."
Title V, the “Vessel Hull Design Protection."
Hint: most people go straight to Title II. Just sayin...
I saved the most important link for last: Definitions from the U.S. Copyright Office that you really need to know. ;-)
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