Inheritance Books: Mark Anderson

It’s world Intellectual Property (IP) day! As you may have guessed from reading Girl On The Run, IP plays a large part in my day job, so I thought we’d have a special Inheritance Books guest post from Mark Anderson from the fabulous IPdraughts blog – which discusses the nitty gritty of IP licensing in an accessible (often whimsical) way.

Welcome to Inheritance Books, Mark.While I get the tea and biscuits, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Scotland to English parents. My sister has a Scottish accent, but mine is English. According to family legend, this is because Susan was a conformist, while I imitated my father.

ANDsept-71 (2)When I was 11, my parents moved from a terraced house in a Scottish New Town – East Kilbride – to an oversized Victorian mansion in the Scottish countryside. It was so large that no-one else wanted to buy it. A Glasgow solicitor built the house in 1855, at a time when the local railway station was still open, and a train could take you into the city in half an hour. In the 1980s, my parents sold the house to a Mr Singh, an interesting character who registered the first Sikh tartan with the Scottish authorities. Mr Singh kindly let me visit the house a few years ago, and I discovered that my bedroom, which had not been changed since I chose the decoration in the early 1970s, was now his prayer room. What this says about me, or him, I am not sure.

I was the first person in my family to go to university, to Durham where I studied law. Then I moved South again to London, to qualify as a barrister and later as a solicitor. Now I run a firm of solicitors, Anderson Law LLP, which I started over 21 years ago. Originally it was just me in my front room in Richmond, Surrey. Now we are based in Oxfordshire and employ 12 lawyers. We specialise in intellectual property transactions, and advise mostly universities and high-tech companies.

As well as providing legal services to clients, I have written half a dozen legal textbooks, most of which are now in their third editions, and run training courses for practitioners. I designed and lead a 5-day course on IP transactions, held annually at University College London. This course has won two awards: a Law Society Excellence Award (Highly Commended) and a UCL Provost’s Teaching Award.

 

Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

My father was born in Stockwell, London, and left school at the age of 15. In 1944, he was apprenticed to a firm of theatrical set designers in South London, in which his father had been a partner. Unfortunately the firm closed a couple of years later; there was no longer a demand for the type of lavish West End shows that had been popular in the 1930s.

My father was a great fan of the novels of Graham Greene.  In the 1970s it was easy to find him a Christmas present, as Graham Greene was then writing a novel each year. I think what appealed to my father was their discussion of big themes like conscience and loyalty, and their dissection of character, all expressed in simple, direct language.

I have inherited his collection of Greene novels. From the books in the collection, I have chosen The Human Factor. It was published in 1978, so it could well have been one that the family bought him for Christmas. The novel was adapted to become a film in 1979, with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Like much of Greene’s work, it reminds me a little of John le Carre. But only a little. Each is good in their way, but Greene has more to say about the human condition than le Carre. Le Carre’s simpler style is easier to adapt into great films and TV series.

The attached photo show my collection of Greene novels, most of which I inherited.photo

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? 

With your permission, I would like to leave a set of books –Patrick O’Brien’s series of 20 novels set during the Napoleonic wars. I have read them in sequence, as though they were a single novel, several times. If forced to choose one of them, I would choose HMS Surprise. It is like the other novels, but supercharged with incident and emotion.

The novels tell a great story, as well as exploring a relationship between two men who are presented as very different: the bluff sea-captain, Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy, and the cerebral Stephen Maturin, physician and spy. In fact, they share many characteristics, though these are disguised by the obvious differences in their temperaments and vocations: they are both slightly apart from the establishment, but comfortable in it; they are both highly intelligent and compassionate; their resilience and determination brings them both, eventually, to the top of their respective professions.

In my view, these novels have far more to engage the reader than other books in the genre, such as CS Forester’s Hornblower series. Yet, as with the Greene/le Carre comparison, Forester’s simpler style makes for better adaptations into films. The film of O’Brian’s novel, Master and Commander, failed, in my view, to capture the heart of the novel.

Thanks for sharing your favourite books with us, Mark. Hope you have a really fun IP day. Another biscuit?

You can follow Mark’s posts on IP licensing on the IPdraughts blog and trade IP related puns with him on Twitter (@IPdraughts).

Previous IP day Inheritance books posts include those from patent attorney cum novelists Ivan Cotter and Kalyan Kankanala. There are a number of novels featuring patent attorneys – click here to see a list.

The Authors’ Compass event

On Saturday, I had the chance to attend the Author’s Compass event, organised by the Society of Authors, held at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester. The event was largely a discussion about how the publishing landscape was changing and how the changes were moving choice and power back into the hands of content creators (be they authors of fiction, non fiction or poetry).

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John Rice doing the welcome speech

The keynote speech was given by the fabulous Kate Harrison – who talked about the joys of being a hybrid author, where you got the best of both worlds. She also made that point that it was totally okay to find it all very scary.

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Kate Harrison kicks the event off with a fantastically inspiring talk 

A few keys points from Kate’s talk that stood out for me were:

Self publishing:

  • is fast – allows you to seize the zeitgeist (or at least meet is half way!)
  • allows you to monitor sales and see the effect of any promotion in almost real time
  • gives you control  – over timings, cover design etc as well as allowing you to choose the team you work with
  • allows you to keep more of the profits (70%, rather than the more traditional 7.5 – 15%)
  • can be overwhelming at times

Traditional publishing:

  • has good distribution systems already in place (really, it’s very hard to get your print book into a bookshop any other way)
  • gives you ready access to expertise
  • is still the dream for a lot of people

Kate made the point that this is not war between traditional and indie publishing models and that the two can co-exist comfortably side by side.

She didn’t say this, but I felt that having an agent is really helpful, whichever model you go with!

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Next, Kate Pool and Sarah Baxter, from the legal team at the Soc of Authors talked about various things to look out for in contracts. A lot of time was spent discussing the ‘use it or lose it’ clause (it would be excellent if it became mandatory!) and digital first publishers. The general gist was that you could do pretty much everything a digital first publisher does yourself. (I don’t agree, but I’m published by a digital first publisher!).

Interesting points I noted were:

  • 25% was the standard royalty rate for ebooks
  • Amazon accounted about 80% of ebooks sold
  • Amazon promoted its own Kindle exclusive content well above other content (is this true? Anyone know for sure?)
  • Neilsen bookscan does not include books without ISBNs (a lot of self published ebooks only have an ASIN number), so ebook sales are often under reported. Also, a lot of print book sales this year are due to the current fashion for colouring books.

 

The take home message was – get your contracts vetted by the Society of Authors. You can become a member by dint of being offered a contract (you don’t have to sign it!), which immediately gives you access to Kate, Sarah and the team.

After this was lunch. My phone died soon after, so I have no photos. Since I’m a member of the Author’s North committee, I chaired the first session after lunch (I know! Get me!), where we had a successful self published poet (Kevin McCann), a professional editor (Richard Sheehan), a book designer (Kate Roden) and a PR (Helen Lewis) talk us through the self publishing process. It was completely fascinating.

The last session was about alternative models/publishing routes. Chaired by Kate Pool, it featured talks from Dan Keiran from Unbound, Micheal Schmidt of Carcanet Press and Kristen Harrison who talked about the Visual Verse project.

I thought the Unbound model was fascinating in that it was, essentially, a crowd funding platform. What differentiated it from something like Kickstarter or Idiegogo was that it specialised in books (so the community was already looking for books to be involved in) and that, if you successfully raised the (admittedly daunting) amount necessary for a print book, Unbound could then plug you into the PRH distribution system.

The event ended with a Books are my Bard party with Blackwells. I finally got a new bag to replace my poor old Books are My Bag bag which was left under some wet boots and went mouldy.

All in all, it was a tremendously informative and enjoyable day. It was really nice to see so many RNA friends too.

 

 

 

Inheritance Books – Rangeley Wallace

This week Rangeley Wallace shares her favourite books as part of her Things are Going to Slide tour.

Hello Rangeley, welcome to Inheritance Books. Tell us a bit about yourself.

rangeley photoI was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama by parents who believed that reading was essential to a good education and a good education was critical to success in life.  During summer vacations, my sister and I were required to read a book every week or two and write a book report for our parents.   We went to the library almost every week where we checked out a box full of books, and, once a month, when my grandparents were visiting, we went to the bookstore downtown and bought a book.  I still remember the excitement of picking out a book that I could not only read, but keep on the little bookshelf in my room and re-read as often as I liked. 

Both of the books I will discuss today were purchased during those monthly bookstore trips, the first, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the second, A Wrinkle in Time.

Which book did you inherit from the generation above? Why is it special?

To Kill A Mockingbird was one of the most important books I read when I was a young girl.  It resonated with me for many reasons.  First, it was written by Harper Lee, a fellow Alabamian and a woman writer at a time when none of the women I knew worked outside the home.  Second, I identified with the protagonist, Scout, herself a young girl.  I remember casting directors coming to Birmingham trying to find the girl who would play Scout in the movie version of the book.  My sister Holly and I both read for the part.  Although she would have been perfect, neither of us was chosen for the role.

Third, the book addressed issues of racial inequality, the most important issue in the South during my childhood.  Although my parents were supporters of equal rights, most people in Birmingham, Alabama were not.  The Mayor, Bull Connor, directed fire hoses and police attack dogs against peaceful black demonstrators, including children.  Around the same time, members of the Ku Klux Klan planted sticks of dynamite outside the basement of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.  The dynamite exploded, killing four young girls.  Seeing girls who were just like me, except for the color of their skin, attacked and even killed was heartbreaking; I couldn’t make any sense of the world around me.  Why were people so mean and hateful?  So evil?  What could one person do to make a difference?

To Kill A Mockingbird, set in a fictional Alabama town, answered my questions.  In the book, attorney Atticus Finch, Scout’s father, takes on the defense of a black man, Tom Robinson, who is falsely accused of raping a white woman.  No matter what the prejudiced townsfolk said or did, Atticus courageously worked to exonerate his client. In Atticus, I (and many others) found an inspirational moral hero.

Which book would you leave to generations below? Why?

The book I would leave to the generation below is A Wrinkle in Time.  I read it several times as a child and many years later enjoyed reading my worn copy of the book aloud to my four children as soon as they were old enough to appreciate it.

I love this book for several reasons.  First, A Wrinkle in Time was written by a woman author.  Second, she used scientific concepts (such as tesseract) to craft a fascinating story line.  Around the time I read the book I devoted hours a week to the chemistry set I’d gotten for Easter, fancying myself something of a scientist!

Third, the book deals with some of the same themes as To Kill a Mockingbird: the negative aspects of social conformity, the struggle of individuals to make the world a better place, the never ending fight of good against evil.

Finally, I identified with the female protagonist, thirteen year old Meg, who was an awkward, unpopular and defensive adolescent, as I felt I was.  And, we shared a surname!  During the book, Meg reluctantly finds the strength to fight against the evil in the world.  I hoped that I too would be up to the challenge in a similar situation.

I haven’t read either of those books, but reading Noughts and Crosses (by Malorie Blackman) had a similar effect on me. 

Thanks for sharing your books with us, Rangeley. I hope the tour goes very well for you.

!cid_8EE280AA-6674-4422-92CB-6217B4298040You can find out more about Rangeley at her website (www.rangeleywallace.com), on twitter (@rangeleywallace) and on Facebook. Her book Things are Going to Slide is available to buy now

Inheritance Books – Kalyan Kankanala

Since it’s World IP (Intellectual Property) Day on the 26th of April, I thought I’d ask some IP related people to tell me about their Inheritance Books. So, this week Kalyan Kankanala, who has written a  thriller book with an IP lawyer hero, shares his Inheritance Books. 

Hi Kalyan, welcome to Inheritance Books. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Kalyan Photo

I am an IP attorney based out of Bangalore, India. In addition to practising IP law, I also consult for United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and teach at National Law School of India University, Bangalore. After publishing a few academic works on IP, I have now ventured into fiction writing. My debut novel, Road Humps and Sidewalks, has been recently released.

Which book have you inherited from generations above? Why is it special?

It is my pleasure to write this post for Ms. Rhoda Baxter on her request. After I agreed to write this post on the best book I inherited from my family, I went through a nostalgic and fascinating process of running through my legacy works and arduously rating them. Passing the likes of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer, Mario Puzo and George Orwell, I arrived at James Herriot and got stuck there. Tattered and battered, though it was, Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small is my most treasured inheritance.

It was during one of those idling law school days that I picked this book from my uncle’s deteriorating book shelf. A vet himself, my uncle recommended it to me, with promises of great learning. The book stood to his assessment and I have read the book several times, hoping every time that the book would just go on and on. Starting with this work, I read all Herriot’s works and was quite disappointed that he had written very few works.

Which book would you leave to later generations? Why?

My love for animals, appreciation of beauty in small things and respect for farmers was influenced by all creatures great and small. I would not be exaggerating, if I said that this book that looks at the world through a vet’s eye impacted my life in more than one way. I would, without a second thought, pass this book to the next generation. It is my ambition to preserve this torn, yet highly treasured stack of paper intact for not just one generation.

You can find out more about Kalyan on his website  (www.kalyankankanala.com), or find him on Twitter (@kalyankankanala), LinkedIn or Facebook. His booRoad Humps and Sidewalks is available to buy on Amazon.cover image feb 2013

Inheritance Books – Ivan Cotter

Since it’s World IP Day on the 26th of April, I thought I’d ask some IP related people to tell me about their Inheritance Books. So, this week I’ve got the lovely Ivan Cotter, who has written a book with a patent attorney hero. I’m quite partial to a patent attorney hero myself…

Cotter_Ivan_colourHi Ivan, welcome to Inheritance Books. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I retired a couple of years ago after a stint of 40+ years as a patent attorney, during which time I wrote non-fictional legal documents.  During January last year I read three supposedly great new thrillers I had received for Christmas.  Two of these were indeed great.  The other, allegedly the joint work of an acclaimed author and an unknown, was a stinker.  I guess it was merely rubber stamped with the name of the author. Musing on this disappointment, I decided to write a novel myself.  After five intensely enjoyable weeks of writing and researching I had finished The Schmetterling Effect , drawing upon knowledge of law, technology, research and basic writing skills acquired during my previous career.  Like the characters Tom and Sean Cosgrave in the novel, I am of joint Irish and British nationality and was born in England.  Fortunately, however, since much of the action takes place in Ireland and between Irish (and Irish-American) people resident in Ireland, England and the USA, I was able to draw upon knowledge of Ireland and the Irish based upon visits there, my late father’s autobiography, the nuns who taught me at primary school, and my father’s extended family, all of whom moved to England after my father, who had to leave there at the age of 14 (hitching a lift on a Royal Navy destroyer) in the absence of any employment in rural County Cork.

Which book have you inherited from generations above? Why is it special?

Nothing from my grandparents, since my paternal (Irish) grandparents died before I was two and my maternal (English) grandparents were, as was commonplace for rural folks born around 1880-1890, wholly illiterate.  (I remember my mother telling me that she taught them to write their names; and that she accompanied her father to the silent movies so she could read the captions to him.)

From my father, I received his autobiography “Deprived? Not me!”, which he wrote in his late seventies.  More than this, I published it as a limited edition for family and friends.  Having also typed part of it and edited the final typescript, I was impressed at how a man who left school at 14 after education at a single-teacher school on Bere Island in Bantry Bay, could produce such a beautifully structured and very entertaining story with virtually perfect spelling and grammar.

Another book that perhaps qualifies is “White Fang”, because it was given to me as a prize (for English) at primary school by a nun acting in loco parentis.  Getting this prize was a major cause of my appetite for books. Over the years, the prize itself and my memory of most of its contents had disappeared. I could remember only that the book was about a wild dog/wolf, and that I had read it many times and loved it. While I explored how to use my first Kindle, I saw that “White Fang” was included in Amazon’s list of its top 100 free books.  I downloaded it, expecting to find a mere childrens’ book.  I was wrong! Although now a pensioner instead of a small boy, I still loved what I concluded was a perfect illustration of the power of good writing.  This century old book will be just as good a read for an eight year old (or a 69 year old) in another 100 years.

What a lovely story about your mum accompanying her father to the movies. Which book would you like to leave to future generations and why?

Photo0002A novel that I read time after time throughout my youth was “The Cruel Sea” by Nicholas Montsarrat, an amateur yachtsman and member of the RNVR, who was called up in World War Two to join a band of now largely forgotten heroes called the Royal Naval Patrol Service.  The RNPS existed only from 1939 to 1946, during which time it expanded from a small organisation of professional seamen (but amateur warriors) who manned small ships such as armed yachts and armed trawlers, to become a large, small-ship component of the Navy operating throughout the world, especially minesweeping and convoy escorting.  My father, although Irish and thus a neutral, having been a seaman (sea cook – general hand) for three years since leaving Ireland, lied about his age to join the RNPS in 1940 and, after a three-day induction into becoming a military type sailor, was sent to join an armed yacht instructed to look for German raiders in the Atlantic and to radio home and then get the hell out if they found one.  My son has read this book and I will leave it to him to pass on.  Being concerned with small ships engaged in the bitter and frightening task of escorting Atlantic convoys, it has given me and him (and, in future, may give to our descendants) a picture of the horrors endured by men of 17 years and up (about which they are loath to speak) to ensure the advantages that we, their offspring, have.

Thanks you so much for sharing your Inheritance Books with us, Ivan. And for the fascinating stories about your family.

Final cover04 (2) Ivan’s novel, The Schmetterling Effect is available on Amazon now.

 

 

 

 

Continuing the IP day theme, IP thriller writer Kalyan Kankanala will be sharing his Inheritance Books next week.

Finding ‘free’ images for a blog

These are series of notes I wrote for my writing buddy Jen (writer of fast and funny YA fiction –  still unpublished, but it’s only a matter of time!). She was not totally sure how to go about this social media mullarkey, so I wrote her a set of ‘how to’ notes, based on my own experience of setting up an online presence. I’ve posted the notes here in case they’re of use to people. The first of these is  a step by step on how to set up a website using WordPress.

Last year, I wrote a blog post about scientists watching Sherlock. I wanted a picture of Sherlock (or of Benedict Cumberbatch, at least) so I looked for one. Being that sort of a geek (I blame the day job), I looked for the BBC policy on using their images in blogs. The policy isn’t aimed at blogs as such, but the basic gist of it was ‘if you want to use one of our images, ask us. We’ll probably charge you for it’. So the post remains photoless.

So, where can you find copyright free images for use in a blog?

First, a word about copyright. Copyright is an automatic right that exists in any creative work. This includes pictures. The copyright belongs to the person who made the creative work (unless it was created under contract – whole complicated other story; always read your contracts). If you’re into that sort of dry detail, there’s a whole load of info on copyright at the UKIPO. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy.htm

If you reproduce someone’s work without their permission, you are infringing their copyright. Besides, it’s not polite.

There are hundreds of images on the web. Some of them are available under a creative commons licence. The best way to find ‘free’ images is to put your keywords and “creative commons” into a Google image search. Click through to the website and see if you can use it. Flickr has a fair number of images with creative commons licenses.

What is a creative commons licence? There’s a good description here http://creativecommons.org/about

The most permissive type of CC licence is an Attribution Licence. Broadly speaking these are images that people don’t mind you using, so long as you acknowledge whom it belongs to. Attribution is a minimum requirement. If you adapt the image, you should still attribute the initial image to the person who made it.

Some licences specify ‘non-commercial use only’. Does my blog count as commercial use? Arguably, I blog for my own amusement, but eventually I hope my blog is to raise the profile of me as an author and, by extension to sell books. This makes it sort-of commercial. So I tend to steer clear of the non-commercial use only images – which is a shame because some of them are really, really stunning.

Now to find an image to go with this post. How about this one?

If I were a bloke, I'd wear cufflinks. I like cufflinks.

Creative Commons by Kalexanderson

(Actually, I love the rest of the images this person has, but they are for non-commercial use and/or sold through Getty… )

Or this one?

Cartoon Bookstack

Bookstack by Hiking Artist

Or, by now, probably this?

Patent Attorney heroes – Marsh is not alone

My novel, Patently in Love (now called Girl On The Run) is set in a patent attorney firm. So, naturally, I contacted @IPKat. For those outside of the world of intellectual property, the IPkat blog is a very popular blog about all things patent, trademark and copyright. I’ve read the blog for years but never had anything worthwhile to contribute, so I was delighted to get a mention on it.

Soon after, I found out that another book featuring a patent attorney hero, a thriller this time, had been released on the same day. This prompted me to go and look for other books with patent attorney heroes. Turns out there are a number of them.

Here’s a list, in no particular order (Thanks to the Patently O review list and Google):

Errors and Omissions by Paul Goldstein – A legal thriller featuring copyright law

A Patent Lie by Paul Goldstein – A legal thriller featuring a Markman hearing

Undue Diligence by Paul Haughey – A legal thriller featuring patent trolls

The book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber  – A literary/historical detective story involving copyright

Notes of a Patent Attorney by Brian C Coad  – I haven’t a clue what this is about. I think it’s a compilation of stories – maybe whimsical, maybe fantasy – the Amazon listing isn’t clear

The patented formula for a multi-armed man by Unno Juza – Japanese Sci Fi/political satire (?)

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson (Calvin’s Dad is a patent attorney – he’s not the main character, but he’s definitely a hero)

The Schmetterling Effect by Ivan Cotter  – Adventure thriller

Pirates of Bollywood by Kalyan Kankanala (also, Road Humps and Side WalksRoad Humps and Side Walks ) – Legal thrillers

Girl on the Run  (formerly Patently in Love) by Me – Romantic comedy – er… not a thriller

 

It looks like most of these are thrillers. This is probably because most patent attorneys have a background in science and most retired patent attorneys are men (assuming the writing is a hobby, indulged in once the pressures of work have melted away). I think I’ve got my reading list sorted for the rest of the year.

Of course there are patent attorneys who write novels which do not involve IP – Michelle Paver (author of the Wolf Brother series) is the most obvious example, but I’m sure there are others.

It’s not surprising that IP attorneys and examiners would turn to writing. After all, these are people who have to painstakingly explain the difference between ‘comprising’ and ‘consisting of’ on a regular basis. (If you’re not used to them, patent claims can read like cryptic crossword clues).

Just for fun, I thought I’d try writing a set of claims for my story. But then I found this online: http://www.plotpatents.com  and decided to give up and go to bed.