Protect Your Writings by Maria Crimi SpethDo you or someone you know have a book idea kicking around—or perhaps even an unpublished manuscript in your desk drawer?

No surprise to you, I’m sure, but there are laws that affect your book, article, and other creative output. This coming Saturday, April 30, attorney Maria Crimi Speth offers a presentation on what you need to know.

She will be one of five speakers to offer advice to authors. The topics also include marketing, personal and family stories, editing tips, and self-publishing.

Speth is an intellectual property attorney at Jaburg Wilk and the author of Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors. At the event, “Attendees will learn about the laws relating to writing books, articles, blogs and how to avoid making common, costly legal mistakes.”

Host: Scottsdale Society of Women Writers

When: Saturday, April 30, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Scottsdale Civic Center Library

Details and registration are here.

Maria Crimi Speth attorney Jaburg Wilk

Maria Crimi Speth

And here is more detail about Maria:

“Speth practices in the areas of intellectual property, internet law, and commercial litigation, representing clients throughout the United States. She focuses her practice on assisting businesses in protecting their trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, information technology, and other intellectual property through preventative measures to avoid disputes and through litigation when disputes arise. She has been practicing law for 28 years and has handled cases in state and federal courts around the country. Maria is the author of Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors and Apple v. Samsung, The Balance Between Patent Rights and the Free Market.  She has numerous published articles and dozens of published court cases.”

silos how I love them

Silos: How I love them (let me count the ways).

I’ve written previously about our unique initiative called “CLE Snippets,” through which we create and release short videos that are Q&As between a timely author from Arizona Attorney Magazine and their thankful editor, me.

In the current magazine, I wax poetic about how much I appreciate those authors for sharing their time and talents. And I appreciate my Member Services Department colleague Jen Sonier for doing the same, as she brings her substantial videography talents to the endeavor.

Since the issue and my column came out, multiple readers told me they enjoyed seeing our tradition of taking a photo of me and the author. But they wondered about my column’s opening lines:

“O, how I love my silos.”

“I understand that’s not a popular concept. Just saying it out loud might terminate my subscription to Harvard Business Review.”

“But like a lot of people who are equal parts busy and highly committed to quality control, I find broad-scale collaboration … challenging, shall we say. Let me be, live and let live, catch you on the flip side. And don’t touch my cheese.”

“I am aware that different times require different strategies. And so I’ve aimed to take my best cooperative qualities, so visible and valuable in social media, into the realm of real. actual. people.”

“One result of that in the past year has been the launch of CLE Snippets, a pioneering collaboration between two State Bar departments. It brings together those of us who are relatively talented at content creation with those who are expert in online learning. The results? Valuable content for members and increased visibility for magazine articles and our talented authors.”

Specifically, readers wondered how anyone could defend silos. After all, silos have become the bugaboo of the modern office, where collaboration, cooperation, and deference to the short-walled cubicle are supposed to cure all our ills.

Briefly, my experience has been: For some, the demolition of silos has come from a genuine place of organizational improvement. But that’s not the whole picture. So if someone insists you should break down your silos, hold onto to your wallet/budget/resources. For you and your department/magazine/staff may have something the other person wants. For those requestors, silos are a one-way street (just to mangle and confuse some metaphors).

Trust but verify.

In any case, the image at the top of this post is one I created and have posted in my own workspace (talented, right?). It’s a reminder that I may be silly to love silos, but that there’s often something stinky lurking behind requests to tear them down.

And don’t touch my cheese.

What made me rethink my silo-love? Our authors. o'course.

What made me rethink my silo-love? Our authors. o’course.

Happy Change of Venue Friday. Have you ever wondered what it takes to publish a book? An organization guessed that people wondered about that, so they decided to shed some light on the subject.

The group is the Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, a great group of folks. Their idea was to gather a few published authors, invite folks, and hold the event in a place with great food and drink. So they hosted “From Journalist to Author: Turning Your Beat Into a Book.” Well done!

That is how I came to be at Monti’s La Casa Vieja in Tempe last Friday, October 7. That is a place with a lot of history, and they can mix an excellent martini. Most important, the panel was excellent.

The speakers were Jana Bommersbach, Shanna Hogan and Terry Greene Sterling. Each of them generously shared their thoughts on the highs and lows of book publishing.

One of the first changes you might note about that industry is represented above—every one of these accomplished women has her own website. That and the amount of marketing individual authors are expected to do are striking changes from the past.

This ain’t your grandmother’s publishing industry.

Click through to read more about these writers. Jana is an amazing author (from whom I once took a hilarious and insightful writing class) of the books Bones in the Desert: The True Story of a Mother’s Death and a Daughter’s Search and The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd. Shanna is the true-crime author of Dancing With Death: The True Story of a Glamorous Showgirl, Her Wealthy Husband and a Horrifying Murder.

And just to prove that it’s not all blood and guts, Terry spoke about her book Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona’s Immigration War Zone.

Their insights about the industry, agents and pitches were helpful. As a writer, though, I really appreciated their comments on that ink-stained craft of writing itself. For instance, Terry told us that “The essence of writing is understanding the human soul.” True that.

Shanna described her brave plunge from “fitting her writing in” to making it her main work. Attendees appreciated her honest assessment of those risks.

And then there’s Jana, who I’m sure would be able to make me laugh even as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse swept into town (“… and the horse you rode in on,” she’d likely mutter to the overly dramatic riders). She offered those gathered some suggestions that we all could use, whether we write book length or something smaller.

“Don’t overwrite the story,” she offered. “But you sure have to write the heck out of it.”

When you conceive of a book, she said, “Write a one-page treatment of it: If I can’t snare the reader in 500 words, I certainly can’t snare him in 15,000.”

Finally: “If you have the first sentence of your book and the last sentence of your book, you’re halfway home.”

Below you’ll find a few of my dreadful cell-phone pictures of the event. But you should go to the authors’ websites for better art and copy.

(And for an odd but related blast this weekend, head to—appropriately—The Trunk Space in downtown Phoenix, where the film “Murderess” will be screened. It is filmmaker Scott Coblio’s retelling of the Winnie Ruth Judd story—with puppets. It’s shown at 7:30 pm Sunday; click here or more information.)

Thanks to the authors and to the Phoenix chapter for such a great event. Have a terrific weekend.

L to R: Terry Greene Sterling, Shanna Hogan and Jana Bommersbach, Oct. 7, 2011

L to R: Shanna Hogan and Jana Bommersbach, Oct. 7, 2011