I imagine every writer has considered the use of song lyrics in their fiction. Music is so much a part of our lives. It can capture the mood, set the time period, connect the reader to a kind of collective memory.
I’ve always been told it couldn’t be done. Every author blog (like this one) and writer’s group I’ve ever known says it’s a headache best avoided. And maybe they’re right when it comes to most musicians, but I got permission from Ani Difranco. Here’s how:
- I found the email address of her management on her website.
- I ignored internet advice and skipped the legalese, writing a fan gushy request I didn’t honestly expect to hear back from.
- I got a reply from her management asking for more specifics.
- I replied with the legalese I should have included in my first email, along with more about my publishing history and the book itself.
- I got a yes.
So, here’s the info you should probably include up front:
Expected release date:
Expected print quantity:
Territory of release:
Term of rights request:
Most of the answers are self-explanatory. For those that aren’t, I used google. I am not a lawyer and I can only tell you that I asked for “nonexclusive rights with no time limit unless or until the copyright owner revokes the permission.” For the expected print quantity, I found differing advice. Some said a low estimate was more likely to succeed while one site said to go with a number beyond your wildest dreams. I went with 10,000. If I sell more than that, I’d be thrilled to renegotiate terms. As it is, they requested a complimentary copy and I’m beside myself thinking Ani might read my book!
I’m planning to release the book, Blood & Water, in November. You can read more about that here.
Has anyone else gone through this process? Please share stories in the comments.