To quote or not to quote.

That is the $10,000 question of the day.

Since I have recently finished a novella, and am somewhat project-less, I revisited some old stories. I came across one that I LOVE, but never finished, because my dad died. (I couldn’t listen to the music anymore… and the story was tied to the music…) It was one where each chapter was inspired by a song. Each chapter was titled and began with the quote from the song that inspired it.

I’ve considered taking this story and going for a redo, updating songs and circumstances within the tale. (Full disclosure statement: It was originally a fan fiction, but something that would stand alone with character name changes.) I began to rewrite this tale, choosing character names and deciding whether to change locations… And I thought about the quotes of the lyrics I used, wondering if I could keep them and still get it published.

What I found out was quotes are expensive! Well, musical ones are. I came across a few authors who have shelled out $1500 for like ten words of a song. Yikes! And then every time the book gets reprinted, there is more to pay, and so on and etc.

I was shocked. Honestly, it wasn’t a thought that crossed my mind before.

Songs apparently have limited lines to use, so they cost money to quote. Now, on the flip side of that, you have quotes from books and printed materials. You can use up to something like 100 words or so under the term of “fair use”.

Everything I’ve read, though, says I can use the titles because they do not copyright them. So that’s a mark on the should rewrite column. That story did somewhat depend on those lyrics, though. It’s something to consider while project shopping.

In the meantime, anyone who has baseball knowledge and is willing to answer a few questions, would you please post in the comments? I’m also researching for another story, and have questions that Google just doesn’t understand. Maybe they’re too weird or irrelevant in the grand scheme of the game. I’m thankful for any help.


Filed under learning lessons

3 responses to “To quote or not to quote.

  1. Thanks for explaining this! I’ve shared the link on the Writers’ Rumpus facebook page.


  2. skip the lyrics. yikes!


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