Jul 21 2010

Questions from Google Users

Published by at 12:38 am under Questions from Readers

  • Should I mention fan-fiction in my query letter? No.  Nor would I recommend mentioning self-published works unless you’ve sold at least a few thousand copies or blogs unless you have hundreds of thousands of readers.
  • cool superhero names. the superhero has all powers. I think your story has more pressing issues than character names.
  • how long should a novel be. Adult novel manuscripts are usually 80-100,000 words but there is some variation by genre.  YA novel manuscripts are usually around 40-60,000 words.
  • how do i represent foreign text in comic books? If the character is speaking another language but you want to translate it into English for readers, I would recommend something like this.

    If the text is in the art rather than the lettering (such as a store sign in Shanghai or a Babylonian tablet), then I would recommend sending the artist a copy of the text in a  large font, as well as a screenshot of the text in a large font (in case the artist’s word-processor can’t read the language).

    8 responses so far

    8 Responses to “Questions from Google Users”

    1. Loysquaredon 22 Jul 2010 at 6:13 pm

      I read the word “superhero” (and other renditions), is a coined trademark co-owned by DC and Marvel (same as “droid” by Lucasfilm Ltd.), is that true? If so, does that mean we can’t use it or have to ask permission or something? Sorry it might be a stupid question, but I’m pretty bad with legal sh*t.

    2. ShardReaperon 22 Jul 2010 at 6:22 pm

      If that’s true, I think we’re all screwed.

    3. Ragged Boyon 22 Jul 2010 at 6:48 pm

      I’m not sure. That would be very odd if that were the case. Does that mean we can’t say “superhero” in out stories? I don’t get it.

    4. Wingson 22 Jul 2010 at 6:51 pm

      That would be annoying. Now I have to sell my soul to Marvel and DC. Even then, I don’t think it would be worth much. My soul isn’t exactly high quality. XD

      – Wings

    5. B. Macon 22 Jul 2010 at 7:47 pm

      Yes, Marvel and DC have claimed a trademark on the word “superheroes” (and variants).

      1. According to Law Geek, their legal claim is very shaky. If you can afford to fight them in court, you’d probably win.

      2. According to one intellectual property lawyer, the trademark only applies to titles and brand-names rather than text within the comic book.

      3. Cease-and-desist letters are cheap. Lawsuits, not so much. It’s possible that Marvel and DC would choose not to pursue a case against someone that refused to stop using superhero in the title. If Marvel and/or DC demanded that I remove “Superhero” from my website’s title, I’d wait for the lawsuit. First, I don’t think they would, and second, I’d appreciate the publicity.

      4. Your publisher may decide it’s not worth fighting. (In fact, they may even change the title before they get the cease-and-desist letter, for fear of a potential lawsuit). It generally does not cost much to change the name. One possible exception that strikes close to home: if I change the name of my comic book series from Superhero Nation to something without Superhero in it*, I think it would make it more difficult for people familiar with my website to instantly recognize the comic book as my work.

      *And I have–my working title is The Taxman Must Die. I don’t think legal concerns had anything to do with that creative move, though.

    6. Wingson 22 Jul 2010 at 7:59 pm

      What does their trademark over variants of superheroes consist of (superhumans, metahumans, superpeople, etc.)?

      …And there are no trademarks on using “mutant” superheroes, are there? Might as well make sure.

      – Wings

    7. B. Macon 22 Jul 2010 at 8:02 pm

      I assume it’d be variants like superhero, super hero [with space], superheroes, superheroic, etc.

      I don’t think “mutant” is trademarked in the U.S. Looking through the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office’s trademark search engine, I only found “mutant” trademarks on sporting goods and audio-visual equipment. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a trademark on its full title.

    8. Wingson 22 Jul 2010 at 8:25 pm

      Okay, good. Thanks!

      – Wings

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