Do I Need an Agent or an Attorney? - video

When you are writing a book that includes sensitive material, you may wonder: Do I need a literary agent or attorney (or both)? Dana Newman, intellectual property attorney, helps you decide if you need an attorney or agent based on the typical roles and tasks of those resources. An attorney can help you draft and negotiate contracts and can also advise you on intellectual property issues. The disadvantage of an attorney is that he or she may not have the kinds of relationships with editors and publishers that will help you sell your work. On the other hand, a literary agent acts as your advocate and liaison with editors and publishers. An agent takes an active role in helping you prepare book proposals and manuscripts, submit your book, and negotiate a publishing contract. Literary agents should have experience working with intellectual property rights and negotiating contracts, but obviously they aren’t likely to have the same level of expertise in those areas as an attorney.
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  • Hi Angeline -- I think you are smart to consider the legal aspects of publishing this book. The best advice I can offer is to retain the services of a qualified Intellectual Property attorney. That attorney can evaluate the content of your book, the intent (i.e liable laws generally relate to INTENT to slander someone's reputation), whether it's necessary to change names, etc. Good luck with your book. One way to find an attorney is to search online for something like "intellectual property attorney media" and then add your city name to the search. It would likely be best to find an IP attorney who specializes in publishing, media, or entertainment. Also, note that most reputable attorneys will provide a short consultation for free so that you can evaluate whether they are right for you, learn their prices, explain your needs, etc.. If someone charges you for that initial consultation I'd recommend going elsewhere. I hope this works out for you.
  • I have written a book that is a true story about the hell one family went through with a county agency involved in " protecting children" in this story there is a lot of county wrong doing and child abuse, violation of court orders and fatal injuries involving a 2 1/2 year old and the sinister way the county covered it up. I am begging for advise before the final copyedit is complete on this project. I do not want to have any legal issues over the content of the truth in this book. Please help?