Way back in September I began the process of getting permission to use quotes in my up-coming book, Leaving the Hall Light On (to be released May 9, 2011 by Lucky Press LLC). And I must say the process seems to go on and on.
Actually I heard from Random House that the Anne Lamott quote from Operating Instructions I want to use falls within the realm of fair use and doesn’t need permission – at least by Random House. However, they referred me to the Wylie Agency for permission to use the quote if my book will be distributed in the United Kingdom. Of course to be prepared I have now embarked on getting the Wylie okay.
My other request to use a quote by Ann Pachett from her book Bel Canto has had several back and forths by email, but still no okay. I was told both publishers would take about five weeks to process the requests. Right now I’ve been waiting about eight.
One other request was for use of two lines from one of Paul Simon’s songs. Still no word yet on that one – no emails, no requests for more information, no nothing. I think I’ll check back with them next week to make sure my request didn’t go into the round file.
So the permission process continues to be an interesting problem. Two things I know for sure. It pays to start early and provide all information exactly as asked.