I’ve been writing since 2005. Before that, I was working in various roles within the hotel industry both in operations management and finance. What got me truly interested in writing and in particular, personal finance writing, was an idea I had for a book. This idea was one that I thought was unique, based upon personal experiences, and that maybe most importantly, was one I thought I could form into a book.
Here was my idea, how I approached it, and my experiences since then.
My idea was to write a personal finance book based upon my experience with and ideas regarding the average person’s financial life. It was meant to be focused toward the regular person’s finances since I felt that so many financial books at the time were geared more toward investing, real estate, and making the “big bucks” but tended to leave out the safer, more reasonable (in my opinion at least) investment options and saving strategies.
Now this doesn’t sound like a very unique idea these days. Heaven knows there are a ton of such books that have been published that sound just like this. This however, was well before so many personal finance eBooks, blogs, websites, and television shows had watered down the market completely.
I wanted to entitle my books, “Common Cents”. I thought this summed up my attitude toward personal finance, a subject that so may people seemed to make so complicated but that can actually be quite simple.
Before starting my work, I did a search of the Internet for similar titles, thinking mine a unique title for a book. At the time, it was. Search now though, and you’ll find multiple sites using this moniker or some version thereof.
I was just starting out in my career as a freelance writer and knew little about copyrighting, other than it existed, it was good to have, and it could protect an author’s intellectual property rights.
Before the day of eBooks and readers
All this was occurring before eBooks began to hit big. This was way back when (all of seven years ago) brick-and-mortar, hardcopy publishers still reigned supreme, and the struggling writers of the world were forced to send queries letters and synopses to agents and publishers in what was often destined to be a failed attempt to get their work out there. Either that, or take the route that was almost the sure kiss of death, self-publishing.
I did neither, realizing at the time that my work was far from well-honed enough for publication, that I didn’t yet have the credentials anyway to get myself noticed in this particular subject matter, and that I had other things vying for my attention such as new projects and a one-year-old son.
But, I should have taken one simple and relatively affordable step to protect my idea in the event that I ever wanted to come back to work on it, and possibly publish it later.
Protecting myself and my creative rights
Now, whenever I have a creative idea that I think might be worth exploring, I still take the time to investigate whether it’s been done before, whether the title I have in mind (for a major project mind you, not just a article idea such as “5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries”), is still available, or whether my idea has already been done and done the way that I would like to do it. Then I begin to work.
Once my work is complete, a good part of the way to completion, or even just outlined the way I want it, and before I start exposing it to others where the thought might slide into their mind that they’d like to make this idea their own or sell it to someone else, I register my work with the United States Copyright Office, obtaining a registration number and letter to prove my intellectual rights to the work.
In this day and age of fast-paced exchange of information by way of the Internet, it doesn’t take long for a good idea to be picked up and whisked away as someone else’s. So registering my work only costs me about $35, and I feel it’s a good hedge against losing that idea, or being accused of stealing it down the road should my idea take some time to come to the attention of the general public — whether it’s a year, twenty years, or fifty years. And if it never comes to fruition, then registering it wasn’t any great loss monetarily. Who knows? Maybe I can even pass the rights along to my children one day and they can have a go at it.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional or career advisor. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or career advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.