Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Resurrection

It's back! The Gamebook that I and my collaborator had released only to quickly withdraw from sale, is back on sale.  At present, only in ePUB from LuLu, but the other formats and locations will come online over the next week or so.

What was the problem, you ask? We decided to write a book set in the "Barsoom" universe, it seemed like a good idea what with the upcoming release of  the "John Carter" movie. We thought ourselves safe to write in that universe as the John Carter books are in the public domain. Alas and alarms! Be warned!

We opted to star in our book, and indeed name the book after, a secondary character in the first book (Princess of Mars) by the name of "Tars Tarkas".  Having written the book and even started to sell it, did we realise that the words "Tars Tarkas" had been trademarked!

What did this mean to us as authors. Well to start with, we are both hobbiest writers, so getting into anything "legal" was not in our remit, we wanted no part of any court case, so we immediately withdrew the book from sale.  Although the book (Princess of Mars) is in the public domain, once a phrase or name is trademarked it can be legally protected forever if the trademark owner wishes. So we would have had no standing in court anyway.

Back we went to the drawing board. We decided to stay "true" to the Barsoom universe, but avoid the trademarked names. Unfortunately for us changing our protagonists name meant that the relationships between the characters established in "Princess of Mars" no longer applied. So we couldn't get away with just a cut and paste name change in our text.

We changed our protagonist be a tertiary character from the original book then set about the editing the story line to match the position of the new character. Fortunately this only required a minimal number of edits, a few changes at the beginning and and at the end of the book, with simple name changes being sufficient throughout the rest of the text.

So here we are a month or so later just starting to put the book back on sale. Detail of outlets will be added to my Book page as they come online.

15th July 2012 :A footnote to the above : We have decided to not sell the book in ePUB format. Although we initially created a fully working ePUB we found that on some devices the navigation from entry to entry failed.  It worked fine on Sony readers but would fail on some of the others. For instance, when navigating backwards on the Nook, from page 200 to 105, the page would  be aligned with the bottom of the page rather than the top. At times this meant you could not see the text. We found this issue insurmountable and have decided that the ePUB format is not ready for bi-directional navigation.

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