Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On Doing the Right Thing

I'm touched by the story "Go buy The Billionth Monkey" on the A Perfect Example blog in which Stewie dubs me "a-okay" and "a class act" because I: a) asked permission to use two photos that he had posted online, and b) followed up by sending him a signed copy of the book as a thank-you.
Here I thought I was simply doing the right thing. It makes me sad to think that many don't do likewise with the work of other artists/creators.

One thing I discovered in producing The Billionth Monkey is that asking permission is almost always met with "yes." Even when finding the right person to ask is challenging, the effort is usually rewarded. I've reached out to photographers, graphic artists, corporations, estates, bureaucrats, famous musicians, and a well-known actress, and all of them [with only one exception] generously granted the requested permission for my novel. Some permissions were gratis, others charged a modest license fee (which was worth it to be able to tell my story way I wanted it told).

The upside to doing the right thing is that it also builds goodwill. Turns out Stewie is also a-okay and a class are all the other cool people that I would never have met if I hadn't written them asking permission to quote their lyric, use their photo, etc. And that, in turn, makes the world a fuller, happier, and more interesting place to live.

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