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30/05/2014 at 00:13

As most are aware. I have thought, designs etc on setting pen to paper and writing a book.  Yes, you have guessed it. The book will be on gardening.  I have sort of planned out the contents.  A brief bit about the basic tools you might need,  Then a few words on general digging and planning.  Some photos of parks and garden displays.  A few charts of important need to know matters.  A bit about the various types of gardening.  Back yard gardening. Allottments, Smallholdings etc.  Gardening under glass and plastic.  Some pests and diseases. A few tips about house plants.


It is not my intention to write an encyclopedia.  One of my biggest problems is.  Obviously at the end of the day.  Even for the academics. So much of what we say, quote, write about.  Someone before us has said it before.  In which case under present day law. There probably exists a copyright.  Now having over the years studied many subjects.  I so often come across a section known as bibliophiles etc.  Long lists of previously published works, that in som form or other have been incorporated into this book.  Does anyone know.  How would a person like me, go about getting the OK to quote frome these writings.

30/05/2014 at 00:31

...I think you mean bibliographies rather than bibliophiles.... I'm not sure you need worry unduly about're not plagiarising anything exactly, just referring to earlier works....I wouldn't have thought you needed any permission to do that... some are long since passed away in any case...

..hopefully others will help you out more here...

30/05/2014 at 08:36

I started a book when I was 19 or so.  Still mean to continue with it.  I'm sure it will make a lot of money for me 

I think there is a book in most of us....?  I have written one for sentimental reasons though .......

Good luck Mike with it 

30/05/2014 at 09:00

Mike - if you're quoting from other books, then you need to state the name of the book and the author, either in the text as you go along, or in a bibliography at the back of the book.

However, I get the impression that your gardening book will contain information from your own experience and stuff that you carry in your head - you may have learned it from a book, but unless you're quoting an extract from that book then you should be in the clear 

30/05/2014 at 09:06

Hi Mike,

As far as I am aware you need to seek permission from the author or publisher if you intend on quoting published work. You may have to pay a fee or just make an acknowledgement in your work.

As Salino says the work may have passed into the public domain if the author has been dead for 70 years+

I believe you also require permission if the work is unpublished, from the author unless the rights have been relinquished elsewhere.

Ideas are not subject to copyright so for example if you were going to write about how to prune a tree, it doesn't matter if 20 other books also say the same thing, and 20 books say something different. It could not be written verbatim however.

It's a murky water. If you intend on getting a literary agent they will be able to advise you. Alternately the Writers and Artists Yearbook is published each year and has information on copyright law and libel issues etc.


31/05/2014 at 03:34

As Victoria Sponge says - the Writers and Artists Yearbook usually has the most up to date copyright issues detailed.  I think the British Library used to have a hand-out (free) to use as guidance.  There used to be a good clause on an allowance of 50 words using a direct quote from specific publications with, as mentioned above, being dependent on naming the publication, year of publication and author.  But things change a great deal nowadays with complex issues relating to whether your item would appear 'online' in various formats.  There are a number of old gardening publications from 19th century onwards which, whilst they appear fairly rare or obscure publications with perhaps not a great deal of modern reference potential - which do have copyright restrictions due to rarity and uniqueness of text and plant knowledge.

However, many of the most popular books are those written by individuals about their own gardening experiences using unique anecdotes and language which is individual to the author.  Your own words and methods of description would allow you to completely bypass any copyright issues, probably be much more fun and be a much more interesting and enjoyable popular read.  Whilst some gardening books are very much 'reference' books on the shelf, many gardeners absolutely love just reading about someone elses experience or a diary of a year in an individual's garden or something like that.

I think you could come up with a really good read if you be yourself as you are and include your adventures and misadventures.  It would be great!


31/05/2014 at 07:23

Yarrow, that sounds a brilliant idea - I'd love to read such a book about Mike's gardening career and experiences 

31/05/2014 at 18:15

Mike......why not expend your energy on a Blog ?

A book such as you describe has been done so many times before and the publishing world these days is a cut throat industry. You will at the very least need an editor and then either you or your agent will need to tout your finished work around the publishing houses.

Self publishing (in hard format) can be rather expensive. 

You could maybe look at self publishing in electronic form...........won't cost you and you may earn a few bob if your book attracts attention.

Not trying to rain on your parade........these are just a few thoughts for you to consider...........gardener's "diaries/experiences" are always interesting to like minded people but the format isn't new and there is a lot of competition out there these days.

You can get a lot of pleasure from just recording your experiences and ideas and leaving for your family and friends.......or just posting on various forums.

Hope you are still recovering well from your op


31/05/2014 at 19:08

..very good advice I's the modern way isn't it..?  there are some good blogs on this site...I also read Graham Rice on the RHS...amongst others....

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