Asking for permissionPosted: June 27, 2013
Right now, I have emails in to Mick Jagger, Steely Dan, Ron Hynes and Murray McLauchlan, and I’ve already heard back from Gordon Lightfoot.
Or, from Lightfoot’s people, anyway. And yeah, those emails are really to lawyers, publishers and rights managers on behalf of those heavy hitters. My pastiche style has finally come back to bite me. I am an inveterate magpie, always pulling little bits from here and there and weaving them into my sentences. Sometimes those bits are song lyrics. And when you sign a publishing contract in which you assert that the manuscript you deliver is your own copyright, you have to actually make sure that’s true. So you have to get permission to quote all the little scraps of lyrics you’ve woven into your novel. No big deal.
So far, Gord’s people are charging me fifty five American dollars to quote six words of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I am hoping that by the time the others ring in, I will still have a few dollars of my advance left.
It’s worth it, though. There are two scenes in particular in which I wouldn’t want to have to do without those quoted lyrics. Two scenes, really, that would have to go were permission to quote those lyrics denied me. So I’m happy to pay.
I’d be happier if some of those entities said, oh, you want to pay homage to this song you love by quoting this tiny fragment of its lyrics? Go right ahead!
But I doubt that’s going to happen. Still, I believe artists have a right to make a living off their work. And if it’s valuable enough to me that I want to include it in my novel, I guess I need to put my money where my mouth is.
In other news, I have had some photographs taken, by the always amazing Shannon Webb-Campbell. And there is a team of busy proofreaders poring over the page proofs of Fallsy Downsies as we speak. I’m gathering blurbs, and making plans with my publisher for fun launch-time hijinks, and just generally trying not to get too edgy with waiting till the day arrives that I can finally share this book with you.
October 1 seems an awfully long way away.