Using Music Lyrics in Your Book

From BookBaby Blog:

How do I legally quote song lyrics in my book?

Don’t do it.

No, really.

Trust me. If you want to legally print the lyrics of a popular song in your book to set a mood, have a character sing along with the radio, or use as a lead-in to your chapters, you need permission from the copyright owner. Getting this permission will very likely be:

  1. Maddening

  2. Expensive

  3. Impossible

I recommend you don’t do it.

Authors can’t quote song lyrics in books without permission?

Not without violating US Copyright Code.

But it’s really important to me. There MUST be a way. I’ve seen other writers do it.

There is a way to do it, and it may only cost you hundreds of dollars. It may cost thousands of dollars. The process can take anywhere from weeks to never. Your request may be denied for no reason. There’ll very probably be no back-and-forth.

And consider this: Just because a song has a specific meaning for you, you don’t know your readers are going to react the same way. They’ll be bringing their own lyrical baggage with them.

But… you can quote song titles without permission. In fact, you can quote song titles, album titles, movie titles, book titles, and article titles, all day, every day. You can write, “She turned on the radio and flipped through the stations until she heard Leonard Cohen’s ‘Bird on a Wire.’ She sang along, drumming on the steering wheel, desperately trying to forget about her husband…”

Read the rest at BookBaby Blog.

Do Not Use IngramSpark for Pre-orders

Amazon (Createspace, now KDP) has never allowed pre-orders without a lot of Amazon Assoc. hoops, so we were thrilled to use IngramSparks pre-order capability.

What a disaster.

As soon as the ms. was loaded — in one case, 5 months ahead of the publication and on-sale date — IngramSpark began to print and ship to Amazon’s distribution warehouses. In the case above, those books were ARCs with the NOT FOR SALE and publisher information clearly boxed on the back. These books were then sold to customers — five months later — when the book launched.

The above example is not the only one we’ve experienced this year. IngramSpark does not answer the phone and only responds to email with boilerplate blamelessness.

The only way I can see to stop IngramSpark from printing and distributing proof copies ahead of the pub / on-sale date is to not put a price on the book.

More Book Marketing Ideas


BookBoast offers a newsletter swap for cross-promotion with other authors. I read about this in Derek Murphy’s book Guerrilla Publishing and thought I’d give it a try. The idea behind a newsletter swap is that authors can promote each other’s books to their email lists or blogs.


BookBub is your book’s golden ticket to reaching millions of targeted readers if you can get it. The price for promoting your book is reasonable given the return on investment, but they are very selective about the books they promote. So, be sure to read through their guidelines to maximize your chances of landing a spot.


InstaFreebie is a platform that allows you to set up a book giveaway as a means of getting the word out about your book, growing your book’s email list before launch, as well as getting reviews for your book.


As cliche as this saying is, “the money is in the list” (or in the following) is key to a successful book launch. MailChimp is free for your first 2,000 subscribers, which makes it the perfect tool for list building and marketing your book on a budget.

Medium (again)

As previously mentioned, Medium can be an excellent resource for writing your book, but it can also be awesome for helping your book get exposure. If you haven’t already, break chapters of your book into smaller articles and publish them on Medium, along with a link to sign up to your book’s email list or Amazon page.

Here’s the link to other ideas from The Writing Cooperative

Writing as a Business

Before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, take a minute and be honest with yourself: Why do you want to do this? Why dive into this strange place? This alternate universe?

For some, it’s a desperate need to make money while sitting at home in their pajamas. They are sick of the grind and want to sleep all day and drink high-test at night while they pound away on their epic adventure. After all, it’s sexy to say you are a writer.

Others have a story that’s been waiting to come out, ever since they read TwilightLordoftheRingsGamesofThronesDebbieDoesDestiny. You get the picture?

Characters and plots have been dancing in your skull for years. Are they original? Are you just continuing the saga of a book you read and never wanted to end?

Check out the complete story at Medium.

Big Problems with IngramSpark

Here at MPP, we were horrified recently to find that books we discounted at 40% (perfectly reasonable to our regional stores) were showing up in the Ingram bookstore portal with a measly 20% discount.

All authors with a printed book at IngramSpark should go into their accounts and change that discount to 53%. Also, if you don’t already have a duplicate book printing through Createspace (now KDP), we will load that for you at no cost — just send an email to


To date, the only print-on-demand (POD) vendor who’ll allow you do both those things is Ingram Spark (IS). In fact, that’s the main reason Ingram Spark has become so popular: it’s the way into bookstores.

Or so we all think.

But let me tell you a story about a book that a pair of savvy business writers published through Ingram Spark this past spring. We knew we wanted the book in bookstores, so we decided to offer the book at 40% discount. We assumed the discount would be passed down the line to bookstores.

Not so. When we went to our local indie bookstore and looked up the book in the Ingram catalog, the discount offered was not 40%–but 5%.

When I asked Ingram Spark about this at BookExpo last month, I was told that IS books were distributed by Ingram Book Company, a separate entity that took 10% and 15% before offering the book to bookstores. By the time it got to our little bookstore (which doesn’t have much clout in the distribution chain), the discount had dwindled to 5%.

What does that mean for writers? It means that you might as well not try to get your self-published book into bookstores because you’ll never be able to offer it at a discount that’s competitive. You might as well spend all your efforts finding your readers through Amazon.

Personally, I’m very surprised that Ingram has allowed this situation to exist, and that they’ve not been more transparent about how discounts are allotted. (Here’s Ingram Spark’s official statement on why you should discount your book.) As the premiere distributor of books to bookstores in this country, Ingram has a vested interest in helping independent authors sell their books into bookstores. Ingram Spark already takes 45% of your revenue for its POD services, plus an additional fee for printing your book. Does Ingram Book Company really need an extra 10% to 15% for distributing it?

Spend Some $$ at Amazon's AMS Program, Get Better Sales


Amazon suggests a starting budget of $30 a day and a per click bid of $0.50. DO IT. Start with their suggested budget.

Then, it is time to experiment!

  1. Put 1000 search terms up and run an ad for a few days.

  2. Then go in and increase your budget by 50% for the campaign.

  3. And then bump up the bid for each keyword that is getting you a lot of impressions. (Increase 50% as well.)

What we are finding here is that an increase in expenditure is resulting in a higher profit margin.

If you have a new book and are not happy with the sales and exposure your book is getting, I would recommend that TRYING Amazon AMS programs might make a big impact on your book’s exposure.