January '23 Newsletter

I hope you have had time this holiday season to recharge, renew and refresh – and get ready for a productive, enthusiastic, and joyful 2023. It always feels good to start the year by cleaning off your desk, reprioritizing your agenda, and making those projects that have been lying dormant happen. Research shows that having moral support and accountability - and taking one small step at a time - helps us accomplish our goals. Which is where I come in!

If you’re planning to get your book written in 2023, I have a new accountability program that can help you do that, as well as weekly tips to enable you to take one step at a time. See Paragraph 1 below for more information.

January 1 happens to be Copyright Law Day. Every author should have at least a rudimentary understanding of copyright law and fair use. In the monthly tip section below, you’ll find a basic description of this area of the law.

As you may have learned, the FTC recently promulgated proposed legislation that would prohibit non-compete provisions in employment contracts and independent contractor agreements. The prohibition would apply across the board, to all levels of employees. Not only does the proposed regulation prohibit non-competes, it also requires employers to notify current and former employees that the non-compete is no longer in effect.

How can employers protect their trade secrets and proprietary information? First, employers can take steps to improve the workplace so employees have less reason to want to go elsewhere, such as by increasing wages and benefits and other aspects of employment. Second, employers can still require non-disclosure and non-solicitation terms. If you want assistance with this, let me know. In addition to running SkillBites, I also run a law practice focusing on business law.

1. Get Your Book Written in 2023

What’s your #1 struggle or challenge with getting a book completed?

Whether it’s coming up with ideas, or doing the actual writing, I’d love to help you.

I’ve developed 3 programs that can help you finally get your book written this year:
The first is a set of 52 tips for writing a business book, sent 1 tip per week via email over the course of the year. Click here to sign up for the tips at no cost.

The second is a weekly, virtual accountability program. No travel, just 5 - 10 minutes of your time to check in and get some helpful advice, so you stay on track. For more information and to sign up for this, click here.

The third is a workshop I’ll be hosting on February 16 called Publishing Profits: Create A Path To Your Book’s Success. It’s primarily for business owners and professionals who are writing a business book to help them grow their business. In this 90 minute workshop, you’ll actually put together a plan for how you will use your book to gain the results you are seeking.

When you know why you want to write a book and how you will use your book, you’ll have the focus to get your book done and the steps to achieve the results you are seeking.

Sign up for this workshop by February 3 to get the early bird rate and save $30.

2. Recently Published Books

SkillBites has recently helped two repeat clients publish their books. Both are available on Amazon.

Bob Bentz has updated his book, Relevance Raises Response: How to Engage and Acquire with Mobile Marketing, first published by SkillBites in 2016. Mobile marketing is the greatest advertising and marketing medium of all-time. Mobile offers the uncanny ability to laser target your audience by providing the best offer, at the best time, when the targeted customer is most likely to engage and buy. In this book, Bob takes you through all of the major elements that contribute to mobile marketing success in nine easy to read chapters that will help your business sell more.

Gary Brunson has published his third book with SkillBites, entitled How to claim your power: Become who you want to be. Are you ready to get more of what you want? To become who you want to be? To build confidence to make better decisions? If you want to get unstuck and move forward, this book is for you. The framework Gary Brunson leads readers through is one that has brought help, healing, and personal insights to hundreds of people throughout his career, first as a psychotherapist and for the past few decades as an in-demand executive consultant to business owners and entrepreneurs.

3. The SkillBites Show

Each month, we bring you an expert to help you get your book done, leverage your book, grow your business or improve your life. The shows are recorded, and you can listen to the recording by clicking here.

Last month as well as this month, I am delving into the biggest mistakes I've seen authors make. I've helped hundreds of authors during the past 10 years and have seen a lot of mistakes that have caused undue frustration, wasted time and reduced profits. Tune in so you can benefit from the hard knocks of others and learn to avoid making these mistakes.

You can listen to these episodes by clicking here. You can also click here to read the blog posts on the mistakes I covered.

This month, my guest will be Rachel Valliere. Rachel is the founder of Printed Page Studios and has designed hundreds of books over the last 13 years. She has been featured in Forbes and has designed books for numerous entrepreneurial authors, including Grant Cardone. Her mission is to educate authors on the importance of book design and provide traditional-publishing quality design to independently-publishing authors.

Book design is one of the most misunderstood and undervalued aspects of self-publishing today. If you’re publishing a nonfiction book to grow your authority and impact, expert book design is a must. Boost your publishing success by learning why book design matters, how to prepare, and practical tips to ensure a winning book design.

Next month, my guest will be Global Credibility Expert Mitchell Levy.

Mitchell is a 2x TEDx speaker and international bestselling author of over 60 books. After interviewing 500 thought leaders on credibility, he published Credibility Nation, a 7-country international bestselling book, delivered a TEDx titled “We are Losing Our Humanity and I’m Tired of Watching it Happen!”, and created courses as well as the Credibility Nation membership community to help members find their purpose and align themselves with it online and offline.

Mitchell has created twenty businesses in Silicon Valley, including four publishing companies that have published over 750 books. 

When someone asks “what do you do?” does it take more than 5 seconds to respond? If you do, you may lose their attention as they become disinterested. You need to say something that captures their attention in the first 1-3 seconds. You need to say something that generates enough interest that they want to spend the time and energy to get to know you a little bit more.

After interviewing over 500 thought leaders on credibility, Global Credibility Expert Mitchell Levy has unearthed a simple, yet powerful approach to streamline a person's customer-focused purpose in 10 words or less. 

Listen to this podcast so you will:

  • Be able to say what you do in 5 seconds or less.
  • Have an easy-to-express phrase (your CPoP) that encourages prospects and recommenders to ask you to tell them more. 
  • Create your compass that will guide your activities going forward.

Do you have expertise that you believe would benefit the SkillBites community of entrepreneurs and authors? If you would like to be the guest on the monthly SkillBites Show, contact me at judy@skillbites.net or 610-783-4519. If there is a topic you would like to hear on the podcast, let me know and I'll look for an expert to cover that.

4. Tip of the Month: A Brief Primer on Copyright Law

In honor of January 1 being Copyright Law day, I decided to make that the topic of this month’s tip. There’s a lot of confusion about whether you need to register your copyright interest. As the author, you own the copyright interest in your content without having to register that interest and without even placing a copyright notice in your book. By including the copyright notice in your book, you put the reader on notice that you do own the copyright. However, if anyone were to steal your content, you would have limited recourse unless you register your copyright interest. Unfortunately, the internet has made it much easier for illegal copies of your book to be distributed.

By registering the copyright interest in your book with the US Copyright Office, you are entitled to statutory damages when you win your lawsuit, which makes the expense of bringing a lawsuit against anyone who has stolen your content worthwhile. You should register your copyright interest within three months after publishing your book.

You can register your copyright interest as soon as the book is fully written. Be aware, though, that there can be a considerable time lapse between the time the book is written and the time the book is published. Most authors prefer to have the latest copyright date possible, as this makes their book appear newer. A book that is published in 2023, for example, would seem a year old if it has a 2022 copyright year. It’s not unlike the thinking behind the model year for new cars: the 2023 cars start selling in the Fall of 2022. If you are publishing your book after October 1, then it is appropriate to use the following year as your copyright year. If you have registered the copyright in 2022, however, then the copyright year in the book should be 2022. 

Another issue that comes up frequently is whether an author needs to get permission to use someone else’s content, including images. Certainly, any use of someone else’s written content should be put in quotes with proper attribution. Do you need to obtain their permission as well? That depends on the circumstances. Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work, including quotes, for non-commercial purposes such as education, commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules that define the specific number of words or percentage of a work that qualifies as fair use. In general, if you are using more than a line or two from a short work (such as a stanza from a poem or a song) or more than a paragraph from a long work, it is better to seek permission to avoid any doubt, or at least to reach out to an attorney for legal advice. 

What else can you do to protect your rights? Before your book is published, you should do a quick search on Amazon and Google to determine whether your title has not already been used. Although titles can’t be copyrighted, and many books do share the same title, titles can be trademarked, and it’s better not to use a title that is being used on other books anyway. One of my clients ran into this problem. She had her book written and cover designed before coming to me to help her get her book published. I did a quick search and found that she was using a title that was trademarked by another author. She had to change the title, make a new cover and redo the layout of her book to replace the title with the new title, which cost her money and time.

Also, be wary of using a site that offers generic covers, and if you are downloading images from the internet to use in your book, make sure you have the right to use those images. It used to be that you could use images from Google Images, but now you have to be really careful to make sure the images are in the public domain or otherwise available for commercial use without a license.

Finally, there are plagiarism trackers available online that can be used to determine whether any content in your book crosses the line into someone else’s intellectual property. As an author, it is your responsibility to ensure that you understand the law and do not infringe on anyone else’s copyright.

Thanks for supporting SkillBites. If there is anything you think we ought to be doing better or anything we should be doing that we’re not, please let us know. We value your input.