"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write." - Stephen King

Writers' Night OUT! - Monday, July 18
Welcome to the Copyright Claims Board
A Tale of Self-Publishing Success: LJ Ross
Grants Available to Low-Income Writers
Open Mic Every Thursday
Calling All Book Authors! Tune-In Tuesdays
Upcoming Events
Spread Your News on the Update, Our Website, and Our Facebook Page!
MONDAY, JULY 18 @ 6:00 P.M.

Do you remember the “Before Times,” when the National Writers Union’s Boston Chapter used to meet at Christopher’s in Porter Square on the third Monday of every month? Do you miss meeting in real life? Zoom meetings can be great, because they can bring people together who might not get a chance otherwise, but in-person meetings have a certain charm that can’t be duplicated. Our chapter is looking to revitalize those times, starting next week on Monday at 6 p.m. at the 730 Tavern at 730 Mass Ave in Central Square. We want to see each other’s smiling faces in person! And have some laughs and some fun and share camaraderie about the struggles and joys of the writing life! If you plan on coming, please email Shannon O'Connor.

We're not abandoning our Zoomers. We'll offer both Writers' Night Out and Writers' Night In events in the coming months. As usual, we welcome your opinion. Write to Shannon or to editor Barbara Mende with questions and comments.
by Barbara Mende

Thanks in large part to the NWU’s advocacy, the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) began operation on June 16. 

Think of the CCB as a small claims court for copyright infringement cases. Before it existed, you had to pay a significant fee to file a claim in federal court, and engage a lawyer to pursue your case. Now you can file a claim online with “a three-member tribunal with extensive expertise in copyright matters that provides a streamlined alternative to federal court to resolve copyright disputes involving claims up to $30,000.”

By “streamlined” the CCB means that claims are filed and handled through video conferences. The requirement for filing documents is minimal relative to the complex and expensive complaint-answer-motion-to-dismiss-interrogatories-requests-for-production routine required in a court case. Participation is voluntary on both sides; you can still go to court if the other side declines to use the CCB. You can choose to have a lawyer or not.
The CCB handles three types of cases: claims of infringement of a copyright, claims seeking declarations that specific activities do not infringe copyright, and claims of “misrepresentation” in notices sent under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Procedures include safeguards against abusive practices, and there’s a limit to the number of cases one party can file within a year. Read all the details at https://ccb.gov/.

The coming of the CCB underscores the necessity for authors to register their copyrights at copyright.gov. You can do this for a small fee (starting at $45 with discounts for multiple works). If you think you can register your copyright by mailing a copy of your work to yourself, or by filing with the WGA or another database keeper, you’re skating on very thin ice; the CCB won’t pay any more attention to those actions than the federal courts do. When in doubt, register! It’s the only way to establish your standing to bring a claim with the CCB or file a complaint in federal court. You might investigate RightsClick as a new service that makes it easier for certain writers.

But now that it’s easier and cheaper to file or defend against a claim, the chances are better that you’ll win!

by John L. Hodge
LJ Ross (the pen name of British-born Louise Ross) published her first novel, Holy Island, in January, 2015. It is a cross-genre book, combining romance with thriller crime. She was told that she could not do that, for it had to be one genre or the other, not both. Refusing to accept that limitation, she published the book herself, calling herself Dark Skies Publishing. She began selling it on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform (KDP). Within a few months, by attracting readers of both genres, it became KDP’s best-selling novel in the UK. Since then, she has written twenty-two novels, including a long series starring DCI Ryan. Publishing companies quickly came to her to capture her success, but she turned them down. Overall, she has sold over 7 million books, all by Dark Skies Publishing. And yes, she makes a living (a quite good one) selling her self-published books.
The Boston Chapter Steering Committee is offering $100 grants to up to five NWU members in good standing. These grants are available to those who face challenging financial circumstances and would like to attend a writing conference or workshop (one of those listed below or one of your choice), or to take advantage of some other professional development opportunity.
If you would like to apply, or would like more information, please contact Steering Committee Co-Chair Willie Wideman-Pleasants.

The NWU New York Chapter, which for many years hosted open mics at the Muhlenberg branch library, is now holding virtual open mics weekly: every Thursday from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.

All writers from all genres are welcome. You can read for up to seven minutes. Just RSVP on meetup.com to view the link to join.

Royalty, Compensation & Distribution Issues for Book Authors

Join a discussion about the most pressing issues for book authors today. Share your experience and knowledge and advance your career, hosted by Book Division Chair Dan McCrory and NY Member Timothy Sheard. Planned topics for the first several sessions are listed here.

To REGISTER for the Zoom meeting program email chair Dan McCrory.

BARBARA MENDE's essay, "When Women Were Sent Away," appeared on Liiith Magazine's blog in May.

Please send any news of a publication, award, or writing-related appearance that has already happened to editor Barbara Mende. (A piece on your own blog or website doesn't qualify.) Send 50 words or less, plus your name and a link to the publication, event, or website where readers can find more info about you or the happening. Don't send notices of work that will be published in the future. Do send news of future events, but see the "Upcoming Events" block for that.

Are you speaking or reading from your work in the near future? Do you want to publicize an event that writers would be interested in zooming in to? Can you provide a service, such as editing or indexing or publicity, for your fellow union members? Do you just want to introduce yourself to the NWU membership?

Our Boston Chapter website, which you can reach at 
nwu.org/chapters/boston/ or www.nwuboston.org, is here for you to use. Not only that, but if you send us an announcement of a specific event by the second Monday of each month, we'll try to include it in these updates.

Please send us news of any upcoming events that you'd like us to publicize, along with Zoom links or PDF posters if you have them. If you'd like to promote your services, plug your latest book, tell us about something writing-related that happened to you, or post anything else you can think of, we'll try to give it a place on the website.

Be sure to like the NWU Boston Facebook page, and visit it often.

And we'd love to hear from you if you'd like to contribute to these updates. Do you have information or a viewpoint on some phase of writing or publishing that you'd like to pass along? Do you have tips that you'd like to share with your fellow writers? Send them in! And don't forget, if you've published something or participated in an event or made an appearance, we'll post it under Kudos.

Send all your news for the Update and website to your webmaster.
Co-Chairs: Jeanne Cosmos and Willie Wideman-Pleasants
Editor and Webmaster: Barbara Mende