Friday, 6 June 2014

Part 04: Mili Fay In Trouble!

Date: April, 2013 (?)

The worst part about starting your own business and working on your own is that there are many things you don't know that you don't know. I am a meticulous person. I have spent years researching illustration and publishing, before deciding to publish a book on my own. I thought that I had a good grasp about business of it all, but the truth is my views were very naive.

When I first decided to publish my own book, I thought that all I needed to do is write the book, illustrate it, and then find a printer to print and bind it. Publishing in reality is much more complicated.

There are registration papers to be filed, legal licences obtained, cataloging, archiving, getting the ISBN... Many, many things, that I gratefully discovered in the book "Self Publishing in Canada: A complete guide to designing, printing and selling your book" by Suzanne Anderson.

So, after reading the book I thought, "NOW, I know it all."

I was wrong.

As I mentioned before, the trouble comes when you do not know what you do not know. It is easy to figure something that you know you are unfamiliar with; that is what research is all about. However, what do you do when you make mistakes without knowing they are mistakes?

You get in trouble, that's what.

In my case I almost illegally used a font that I had no idea I was using illegally.

The main font in my picture book is Jenkins 2.0. I had that font forever. It was in my programs in school, and I've used it occasionally for years. It is my favourite font that mimics hand-writing. It suits the style of my book perfectly. So I figured, "If I had the program then I can use the font."


That font is copyrighted. I had to purchase a license to use it commercially. 

I was lucky, because I stumbled on the copyright notice of the font in a friend's comic book. She used the font, and loving her comic so much, and being about to publish my own book, I decided to check out her copyright page. It was there: "Jenkins v. 2.0" by Ben Balvanz for Jenkins v. 2.0 is copyright (C) 1999

"By Mili Fay" is written with Jenkins v. 2.0 Font
The moment I read those words I broke out in cold sweat, my stomach clenched, and I was about to hyperventilate. I saw myself being hit by lawsuits, forced to pay money I don't have, finding myself in jail, being labeled as a "jail-bird" and not being trusted with anything ever again, my fledgling career in shambles, and years of integrity washed down the messy toilet of life!

A bit dramatic?

Well, what do you expect? I am an artist. :-)

It was after I almost gave myself a heart attack, that I reminded myself that my book has not been sent to the printer. I could change the font if I could not obtain a license. It will mean more work, but I have designed fonts before, I could design a font again.

In the end, obtaining the license proved reasonable and easy enough. For my purposes a twenty dollar fee is all that it took.

However, this little episode makes me wonder what other faux pas are in store for me. How many important things are out there that I do not know and that I should know?

I tell myself, "At least one more." That thought keeps me humble. Nevertheless, I also tell myself to stop fretting about such things and to deal with issues when they arise. 

The next time I was prepared. 

A while back, I discovered that I need to do something to the barcode to have funds and taxes and other money things work the way it should. I'm not sure what I should do, but at least I have a question I can ask.

I also discovered that registering the business name, did not handle all aspects of registering a business. So, I'm going to fill out a HST form registration later today.

Life rarely works out the way you plan it should, you have to be ready for all its nasty surprises, and not fret over the past you cannot change. The one thing I have learned from all this is that life makes no sense, and follows no plan. All you can do is deal with it as it comes.

Until next time...


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