In the 25th century a mysterious group of humanist philosophers rose from among the ranks of those Underground Archivists. They came to be known by the collective name “Mythmakers.” They composed works of rare beauty and symbolic power from which emerged a new behavioral code, a new system of morality based not on arbitrary prescriptions of religious dogma but on the humanist tenets of respect for life, the unity of humankind, and personal responsibility. [from The Termite Queen]
Of course, that title is delivered somewhat tongue-in-cheek, especially in my case since so far my books have hardly been best sellers. However, every author needs a literary executor and especially (as in my case) if they are no longer spring chickens and they have a large body of manuscripts and computer documents that have not been edited or published yet. I want my material to be preserved and treated with respect after I die, and I would hope somebody would like my books well enough to want to take on the task of continuing publication.
Unfortunately, I have no relatives or friends who would want to do this or even know how to attempt it. My present will has no provision in it for a literary executor, and I had better get on the stick and at least discuss the situation with an attorney. Maybe reading the following article will get me started. The links included in the article and the comments on those links are also valuable, particularly the first one cited.
A series by Susan Uttendorfsky – Owner of Adirondack Editing –
(10 What Happens When You Die?)
Wait, wait, don’t run away. This is not a religious post. This is a practical, necessary discussion about your writing, your books, your accounts, etc., when you bite the dust.
It’s going to happen to all of us, sooner or later, and writers have additional details to worry about—or their heirs and estates, if the writers don’t address it. What happens to your copyright? What happens to your accounts? Who can keep selling your books? There are lots of questions to answer, and it’s best if you think about it ahead of time. You’ve learned a lot through your journey of writing, publishing, and marketing. How many years did it take you to get where you are today? Are your heirs going to have automatic knowledge and know what to do? Probably not.
First, let’s learn the language. What we’re talking about are your “literary assets” and “literary estate.” Your writing can also be called your “intellectual property” (IP) and “intellectual property assets.” The person who manages these things after you’re gone might be called a “literary trustee.”
So what does happen to your IP after your death? That’s up to you, so start thinking. Who is going to be your trustee? How will royalties and income be distributed? Will there be any provision for extending your copyright, which expires 70 years after your death?
This article is fairly big on questions and fairly skimpy on information. That’s because each country, state, and family is different. What works for one author might not work for another, so you have to make your own decisions. I can only offer places to start. A lawyer will be needed to set up the trust and other arrangements. A will is a definite necessity!
Here are the blog posts from which the ideas for this theme were taken:
Along these lines, I mentioned accounts. Passwords will be needed by your trustee in order to manage your assets, so be sure you keep a list—somewhere, offline, frequently updated!—of your important passwords. Your Amazon.com password, CreateSpace, private printers, etc.—anywhere you do business on a regular basis. Your trustee will be able to find account numbers and usernames on the subscribing emails, if you kept them, but passwords change. Without the passwords, your trustee’s job will be much more difficult. Many companies, not just those involved in publishing, neglect policies and procedures for transferring accounts to an heir or trustee. They just don’t think that far ahead. So you need to.
About 1000 years from now, Earth and its inhabitants have
survived several apocalyptic events, climate change, religious and political
wars and even a 'Dark Ages' type period, resulting in a future where politics,
religion and people's mindsets/priorities are quite different from ours in many
Space exploration was revived, resulting in a first contact,
which eventually introduced Humans to three other diverse types of intelligent
beings who allowed Humanity to join their Confederation and accompany them on
their exploration of other worlds.
A new world is discovered.
Unfortunately, the intelligence of one of its creature races was not discovered
until after the death of one of them and the abduction and death of another. The
reason was simple, unlike the Confederations four races, these creatures did not
speak vocally, nor were they telepathic, they communicated in a completely
As well as creating a believable future Earth and four
races, the author cleverly explains how to
surmise a language from a previously unknown form of non-verbal
Although the story involves all five races, the emphasis
is on the discovery of intelligence, the building/understanding of a new
language and the return journey to the newly discovered world (including a
romance between two scientists who are polar opposites in every
This book enticingly paves the way for the next book in what
promises to be a fascinating series.
For good measure, here are extracts from another review of the same book and from a 5-star review of v.2, which concludes the 2v. novel.
On v.1: "If you like science fiction that's full of science, this is for you. If you like
a side of emotion and romance, this is doubly for you. I'll be moving forward to
see what happens and to ultimately settle my opinion on the central
characters...mostly I'll be carrying on to observe more of the alien culture,
which is the most polished and shining aspect of this book(in my opinion)." -- T.A. Miles
On v.2: "The whole of the story is also high and sacred myth retold. We find nods to the
Mabinogi, classical Greek myth and the New Testament as well. Of the former,
some aspects of Gwidian's life mirror the old Welsh tales. Kaitrin's retelling
of the Polyphemus episode from Odyssey for her Termite audience is a real hoot
and requires a good bit of cross-cultural gymnastics. Always a bit of an enigma
for Taylor's 30th century, post-religious, humanistic and generally agnostic
humans, the Nameless One -- the Creator as she is known by the Shshi -- and her
communion with her Termite children comes across very well from the Termite
perspective. Here we find several nods to the New Testament, including the
sacramental nature of the Termites' nectar and how the goddess describes humans
as 'not knowing what they believe'; and thus she must resort to vaguish signs to
communicate with them rather than the more direct visions she uses with the in
many respects more innocent Shshi. It struck me as an interesting parallel to
the teaching of Jesus that one must go to the Heavenly Father "as a child"
(i.e., with innocence and openness) and this pretty well describes the Shshi
vis-a-vis the Mother. They have a kind of innate openness and innocence and
acceptance that I think humans lack. Very nicely done!" -- Chris Brown
See links to all TermiteWriter's books in the side bar of this blog!