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Some people say that the famous disclaimer, "This is a work of fiction, yadda yadda yadda is purely coincidental" is required for the first page of a novel/short story. Others say that it doesn't have to be used, since readers would automatically assume that the story they're about to read is already fictional, anyway. I haven't written this disclaimer for my first few ebooks. Is it really necessary? I mean, the last two short stories I've published are m/m erotica. Does there have to be a disclaimer for this particular genre? I mean, my characters are fictional (though several locations are real). It's not like I'm writing autobiographies.

But still, does this disclaimer apply?
 

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For all I know you're story is giving me a blow by blow *wink* account of what you did last weekend. And you know, that second character sounds REMARKABLY like my cousin. He says so too! So he's decided to sue your ass for defamation of character because his wife is PISSED.

Just sayin. This is why you put in the disclaimer. May seem far fetched but why risk it?
 
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Stephanie Marks said:
For all I know you're story is giving me a blow by blow *wink* account of what you did last weekend. And you know, that second character sounds REMARKABLY like my cousin. He says so too! So he's decided to sue your ass for defamation of character because his wife is p*ssed.

Just sayin. This is why you put in the disclaimer. May seem far fetched but why risk it?
It's there to stop people suing you. I wrote my first book and my friends still think its them in it. One even thinks I used their daughter as the MC (I didn't, but blow me down if when I finally met her she looked just like the one in the book...)
 
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There is no law that requires it, but it is considered best business practices. There is no reason not to include it. Not including it is simply another red flag to a reader that your book is probably self-published, and there are still readers who shy away from self-published books.

Of course, there is no reason you can't have a bit of fun with it. I write fantasy and horror, so my standard disclaimer is along the lines of. "This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living, dead, or undead is coincidental and, truthfully, a bit odd."

 

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It is called covering your butt.  Just do it.
Movies do it too.  Though I must admit it looked odd at the end of a Jesse James (the outlaw) movie.
 

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And if it's a fictionalized account of a true story, is it okay to say that names and some situations were changed to protect the identities of the people involved? Because that's what I put in a book that's heavily based on one family's history.
 

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Joyce DeBacco said:
And if it's a fictionalized account of a true story, is it okay to say that names and some situations were changed to protect the identities of the people involved? Because that's what I put in a book that's heavily based on one family's history.
Absolutely. "This is a fictionalized account of true events. Names have been changed to protect the innocent" or something along those lines.
 

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It began with the movie studies and moved into the book trade. It has no legal basis and will not stop someone suing you in fact it might even make things worse as the plaintiff argues that it is based on my life and to rub salt into the wound they claimed it was fictional. It does get into hilarious situations such as a book whose main character is a well-known figure from history and the disclaimer says "This is a work of fiction. Characters are not based on any person, living or dead." I've read that the disclaimer was sent up wonderfully by the Three Stooges who had as their disclaimer to a historical piece "If this movie bears any resemblance to persons living or dead it would be a ****** miracle."
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
There is no law that requires it, but it is considered best business practices. There is no reason not to include it. Not including it is simply another red flag to a reader that your book is probably self-published, and there are still readers who shy away from self-published books.
Actually, what the presence or not of this whole "This is a work of fiction blah blah" disclaimer tells me is not whether a book is self-published, but whether the publisher is American. Because such disclaimers are a very American thing and hardly ever found in less litigitous societies.
 

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I can't recall the book title now, but one disclaimer I read went something like this: "This is a work of fiction. It has aliens in it, for Pete's sake. Get a grip."

I keep mine a bit more mundane, but I have a bit of fun with it too, adding "or yet to be born" after "resemblence to persons living or dead".

I play a little with my "All Rights Reserved" message too. If someone's actually going to read it, I'd prefer that they were at least a little entertained, but enough of the standard message remains for it to be legit, I think.





 

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Mine is going to say,
This is a work of fiction,  if you think you are in it, you aren't and please check your ego.
 

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Rick Gualtieri said:
You're so vain, I bet you think this book is about you...
I would love to use that but I bet Carly Simon and James Taylor would not appreciate it.
 

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To the best of my knowledge, the disclaimer does nothing in the legal sense to protect you from liable or slander.  However because it's been in use for 85 years it's become one of those myth things that the collective conscious believes to be true.  As others have stated there are plenty of reasons to include it and I cannot see any reason not to include it.
 
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