August 20th, 2009

Using music lyrics in your book? Be prepared to pay

I’ve used music lyrics twice in books. It’s likely I won’t again. For Circles of Confusion, I paid $750 to have someone sing the lyrics from “Layla” in the shower. For that price, I feel like I should be allowed to spend an evening with Eric Clapton. What can I say, it was my first book, I was sure I would soon be rich.

For Learning to Fly, I paid $125 to use Tom Petty’s part of Learning to FLy after explaining it would come out of my pocket.

In both cases, they wanted to see the pages where it occurred. I would assume so the serial killer is not humming their song while he strangles kittens.

Here are some tips about how to get permissions.

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How Teen feels when she listens to us

Today I was in a waiting room next to a couple who weren't (sadly) that much older than me. More gray in the hair, more wrinkles on the face, but we probably had a few things in common.

She took a cell phone from her purse. After a while, it became clear that they never actually used this cell phone, that it was probably purchased only for emergencies.

"I might call someone if I can remember how to use it," he told her with a tone that could be described as bravado.

And then together they tried to figure out how to dial it, whether it meant anything they weren't hearing a dial tone, etc.

I was going to offer to help, but then they realized they didn't have the land line number for the person they wanted to call, and evidently, that person's cell phone is also only for emergencies.

Later, the guy tried to engage me in conversation, despite my "I'm working on this laptop here" vibe. He wanted to ask my opinions about printers. He had a computer, but it was clear he found it intimidating and mysterious. He had heard of e-readers, but couldn't imagine why anyone would want one. Etc.

I could smirk, but then I remember how teen is the only one who can make DVDs play on our new set up. Well, I can, eventually, but it takes five to ten minutes. And by the time I finally press the right combination of buttons I can't remember what I did that was right.

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