Frequently Asked Questions
As a general rule, writers do not welcome ideas for books from outside parties, for any number of reasons, not least of which is the potential for intellectual property lawsuits. Most writers also object to outside ideas for more philosophical reasons, the foremost of which is that if the idea belongs to someone else, then that person should be the one to write about it.
If someone still wishes to get an idea to John Grisham (or any other writer, for that matter), the best bet is to get in touch with the writer’s publisher or (if known), the writer’s agent. Please do not send any correspondence to us to forward to a Mississippi writer. We are an information resource about the lives and published works of Mississippi writers; we are not equipped to handle correspondence to writers in our database, and in many instances, we have no more contact information about a given writer than is available by simply reading the copyright page of one of that writer’s books.
We strive to keep our database of Mississippi writers as comprehensive and
up-to-date as possible. We are limited, however, both in our staffing and funding,
which is one reason why some writers, especially newer ones, have not yet been
added to our database; we may simply not have gotten around to that writer yet.
We do have a rather lengthy backlog of writers scheduled for inclusion, but
because of our limited staff, we simply have not yet had a chance to research
and add that writer to our listings.
It will depend to some extent on the field in which you are writing. For most
English and humanities classes, the style to use is the Modern Language Association
(MLA) style, which follows this general format:
Johnston, Carol Ann. “Eudora Welty.” The Mississippi Writers Page. Online. Internet. 10 April 2002. Available <http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/welty_eudora/index.html>. 31 Aug. 2002.
Note that the title here is the title that appears on the page itself, not the title that appears in the web browser’s title bar. For pages that do not have a specific author — the bibliography page for Eudora Welty, for instance — omit the author and begin with the actual page title:
“Eudora Welty: Bibliography.” The Mississippi Writers Page. Online. Internet. 10 April 2002. Available <http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/welty_eudora/bib.html>. 31 Aug. 2002.
Usually, we set up links to articles that are not yet available in order to make it easier for us when we do get around to adding an article on that writer. Ordinarily, when you come across a page on a writer for which the article is “not yet available,” it means that we have added some information somewhere else in our site — for instance, in the “New Books” section — that relates (and hence links) to that writer, even though we have not yet had the chance to add an article on that writer. By creating the link to what will be the writer’s page, even though it does not yet have an article, we are able to save the later effort of going through and re-coding every instance of that writer’s name to link to the article page.
Intellectual property rights are a serious matter about which you should always get expert legal advice. The first step in getting permission is ordinarily to get in touch with the writer whose works you wish to adapt — through the writer’s publisher, agent, or in the case of deceased writers, the executor of the writer’s literary estate. We do not, in most cases, have information about who specifically to get in touch with regarding permissions, though a good first step is to contact the writer’s publisher.
Our copyright policy allows third parties to link to our site, or any page within it, and to briefly quote from our content for such “fair use” provisions as reviews, criticism, school papers, and the like, provided the source is clearly indicated. We do not allow anyone to profit financially from any part of our site, nor do we allow any republication of our pages or their content in any medium, print or electronic. What this means is, you may “link” to pages in our web site in your own web site (or list such links in a printed book or article), but you may not (a) save our page onto your own web site, (b) copy an article from our site into a page within your web site, or (c) republish any original content from our site in any other form without specific written permission from the copyright holder. Throughout our site, unless otherwise noted, the copyright holder is the author of an individual article (if it is “signed” with a byline credit at the end of the article) or the English Department at the University of Mississippi (in the case of all “unsigned” articles or pages).
Most of the images and illustrations in our web site are published either as a courtesy by the copyright holder or are public-domain images that are available for general use. We cannot offer permission to third parties for their use, but in most cases, we can let you know who to contact to request such permission. In these cases, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
No. We do, however, allow third parties to link to individual pages within our site.
To be considered a Mississippi writer in our web site, a writer (1) must have been born or have lived a considerable amount of time in the state of Mississippi, and (2) must have published or contributed to at least three book-length works cataloged by the Library of Congress. Writers whose works are published primarily by electronic means (such as e-books or web sites), vanity presses, or print-on-demand publishers are, for the most part, ineligible for inclusion in our web site under these criteria.
Writers who publish by vanity presses (or their more recent cousins, print-on-demand publishers) ordinarily do not qualify. Our most pressing goal with this web site is to provide accurate and timely information about writers and their works to visitors to our site. Our goal, in other words, is not to sell books. We also must strive to present information on writers who are most likely to be read by the public. Without passing judgment on the merits of vanity press publications, we must restrict our attention to writers who are being published by more traditional means and whose works are therefore more readily available in libraries and bookstores.
All this is not to say that writers published by vanity presses may not qualify for inclusion here. There have certainly been instances in which writers got their start by such publications, and we do occasionally make exceptions to our criteria in noteworthy cases. As a rule, however, we must decline requests for vanity press publications (and their writers) to be listed in our site.
One of our long-range goals of The Mississippi Writers Page is to offer some digitized texts by Mississippi writers, but for now, there are two formidable obstacles: time and money. Time is the biggest obstacle, since our staff is so small and there is such a tremendous backlog of writers to be added to our listings. Money is the other prime consideration. Most writers who are still alive and publishing expect (rightfully so) to be paid for publication of their works. We do not have the financial resources to pay for the right to publish copyrighted material in our site, nor do we wish to make our site a subscription- or fee-based service that might allow us to publish original works.
The first step is to see whether someone else is already working on an article on your subject. Write us at email@example.com to make sure no one else is planning to submit on that particular writer. Once you’ve determined that a writer is available, you should read the submission guidelines; the guidelines offer specific details of the sorts of information that should be included in a biographical/critical article on a writer as well as the additional information we include in addition to the article.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and all general inquiries should go there. If necessary, your request will be forwarded to someone else who might know the answer.
In a word: we don’t know. We have received reports that our pages do not, for instance, display properly on Macintosh computers running Internet Explorer, and I have not been able to determine why. One of our ongoing tasks is to try to make our pages display properly on a wide variety of systems and web browsers. (By the way, if anyone does know why Macintosh Internet Explorer has this display problem, please email us to let us know.)
Our site has several different kinds of information, but the bulk of our focus is on the Writer Listings, each of which includes a biographical/critical article on the writer and a list of the writer’s books. Many pages also include additional information, such as a bibliography of secondary materials pertaining to the writer or his or her works, adaptations (stage and screen) of the writer’s works, and links to web sites related to the writer. Each page also typically includes additional links (near the top of the page on the far left) to “Writer News” (i.e., news in our news archives pertaining to that writer) and “Book Info”: links to more detailed information about books published by the writer since 1996. A few writers also have additional “Gallery” pages, which are typically photographs of or by the writer.
The other major sections of the web site are indicated by the descriptors at the top left of each page. They are as follows:
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