A little plug for my Hugo House class

I am very excited to be teaching a class at Seattle’s wonderful community writing center, Hugo House, on Saturday, February 20th. The class is called Legal Concepts Writers Need to Know.

I think one of the most important ways for a writer to position themselves for success is to acquire information about the publishing industry and the way it works. I know that anything dealing with law and contracts can be intimidating to a non-lawyer, but just getting a little bit of knowledge about legal concepts and issues that are relevant to writers during and after the writing process goes a long way–and can help protect you from an unpleasant or unexpected situation.

Prior to being an agent, I was a litigator in NYC (seems like ages ago!). With a law degree under my belt, four years of law practice, and a current career as a literary agent, I’ve got lots of insight on what legal concepts are important to writers. Here are some questions I am going to be answering in this course, which will be broken down in four sections (one for each hour of fun!)


  • What is copyright law? How is it different from trademark and patent? What does a copyright protect?
  • How do I get copyright protection for my work? Do I have to file for a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office?
  • What is fair use of another’s work? Can I excerpt someone else’s work? Can I use a quote in my epigraph?


  • What are best practices for seeking permission for photos and other visual materials? Song lyrics and quotes? Recipes?
  • What does a good release form contain?
  • Can I use a real life person as a character in my book?


  • What makes a fair agency agreement?  What clauses and terms should I expect to see? And what the heck do they mean?


  • What makes a fair publishing agreement? What are red flags?
  • What’s the deal with subsidiary rights and licensing?
  • Is this a fair self-publishing contract?

And many more!

Seattle writers, does this sound interesting to you? Or does this sound relevant to you? If so, register! Let’s spend four hours on a Saturday together! I promise I will make all of this information fun, informative and accessible! Link to register is here.