How do I write a book?

Subject: How do I write a book?
From: KAREN_OTTO -at- HP-SPOKANE-OM2 -dot- OM -dot- HP -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 1997 09:29:09 -0700

Item Subject: cc:Mail Text
I need a five minute tutorial on how to write a book.

I have plenty of experience in writing manuals, where I create the
information from personal experience of using the test set, and
supplementary specifications.
However, now I want to write a history book (not for the company),
and I have some basic questions:

1) If most of the information I want to write about will be learned
from other books, how much do I have to attribute the original
material? I do not intend to quote the books, merely learn from them.
2) What is the situation about copyrights in this case?
3) When do I have to obtain permission from authors of books I do my
research with?

supplemental question:
4) Which books can you recommend on "writing and publishing books"?

My theory:
If I merely summarize/paraphrase information in other books, it's a
research report, and I have to attribute almost everything I write.

If I add my interpretations to the material I learn, then it's really
my own.
Are these theories valid?

Practical example:
Say I want to write a book about Mother Jones. I can visit her
hometown, read articles about her activities, read books about her,
but there are few interviews I can do. What makes this an "original"
book versus a "survey of available material"?

karen_otto -at- hp -dot- com

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