09-18-2011 10:44 PM
I am writing a jaw-dropping memoir that includes some very incriminating information, and readers who know me, the author, will know exactly who the people are in my book. Should I change the names to avoid slander and defamation charges? How do I do that when the people in the book include my ex-husband, co-workers, judges, FBI agents, friends and family? How do I keep the story accurate without the risk of incriminating the characters and/or face legal issues?
09-18-2011 10:52 PM
09-18-2011 11:09 PM
Thanks, I think it will be far more compelling as nonfiction and I don't want to wait until I'm dead to publish. My goal is to have it on shelves by Spring. I know other authors have bound to run into this dilemma....just not sure what kind of carnage it will cause, especially to ME!
09-18-2011 11:18 PM
09-18-2011 11:18 PM
09-19-2011 07:09 AM
While an attorney will cost - it is the safest way to make sure - especially if you are determined to write it as non-fiction.
Typically these types of books are written as fiction. However, even with fiction, you are taking risks if people are too identifiable. If I was concerned about being sued and risking losing everything I have, plus the concerns that were raised by having the FBI involved - I would talk to an attorney.
I have a friend who writes historical 'fiction' and she waited until some of the parties had passed on, changed a lot of names and other major details before even starting to write the first one. I don't think her books have the same risks attached to them that you indicate your have.
If you insist on writing this as non-fiction - you better make sure you have documentation (not your own) to back up everything that you write about and say about others. It's isn't necesaarily libel if it is true.
However, I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV - so my primary advice is still to talk to an attorney. The risks if you are sued can be pretty steep.
09-19-2011 07:28 AM
I think you're right Carol.
However, the story might not be as intriguing as our fellow Lulu'er thinks. The book may not sell.
Why get into legal costs when you have no idea if you're going to recoup?
Personally, I'd use a pseudonym, change all the characters, places and times while maintaining the storyline, and then 'publish and be damned'.