Interview: Monalisa Foster and the Intellectual Property Tracker Kickstarter

What is Intellectual Property Tracker?

Intellectual Property Tracker is web-based software that allows writers to track all the important information associated with their product, i.e. their intellectual property (IP). Taglines, blurbs, sales copy, keywords, vendor and platform links, details about various formats (audio, POD, print, ebooks), publication history, submission history, IP rights management, details about advances, contracts, and promotion history, etc. Instead of keeping this important information in a tangle of spreadsheets, various documents, pieces of paper, etc., Intellectual Property Tracker allows you to have all the information in one place.

The Kickstarter ends on Wednesday, February 13th 2019, so check it out if you’d like to help fund the project AND get some of the awesome options available to supporters!

Meet Monalisa!

Monalisa is an author whose primary genre is science fiction with a bit (or a lot) of romance thrown in. She created Intellectual Property Tracker as a way to allow authors and publishers to track all the important information associated with their products.

The Interview

How can Intellectual Property Tracker help authors?

This application will free up time and energy for writing and creating. The idea for this product came out of the WMG’s Master Business Seminar in Las Vegas last fall. There I was sharing space with some incredible writers, a lot of them best sellers, most of them indies, and the ONE thing they all wanted (besides more time) was a way to manage all the information associated with their stories (i.e. their intellectual property).

Once you get to the stage where you have several stories out, you’re probably managing all sorts of information via binders, notebooks, spreadsheets, random pieces of paper, etc. The problem is that even when you do your best to keep everything up to date (whether in a spreadsheet or a notebook), taking that data and creating reports about what rights you’ve licensed, what rights are coming back to you, or which stories are performing better, or which series has the most read-through, can take up huge chunks of your time. Time that you’d be better off writing.

Let’s face it, as writers, we wear a lot of hats. And it’s easy to let details slip through the cracks, or not even be aware of which details to track. Even something simple like finding the blurb for ONE short story you wrote five years ago is going to eat into your time unless you have that information at your fingertips.

By giving you a structured system where you can organize everything in one place, Intellectual Property Tracker will free you up to do more of your creative work and spend less time looking for and managing the information associated with it.

The Kickstarter has met its funding goal, so what’s the advantage of someone supporting the Kickstarter at this point?

There are three advantages:

  1. saving money; the pledge levels offer you the plans at a savings.
  2. Dean Wesley Smith’s Magic Bakery Workshop on copyright and intellectual property is a $150 value on its own; you’re going to learn so many amazing things about copyright and how important it is to manage your rights in this class. Honestly, if you don’t know why stories are intellectual property and the value that intellectual property (IP) has to your success as a writer, you absolutely NEED this class, even if you’ve never published anything or if you’ve just had your first story accepted.
  3. for those that already have a few (or a dozen or a hundred) titles out and know about copyright and IP, the $500 Lifetime Plan is a Kickstarter special.

Why did you decide to create Intellectual Property Tracker?

The discussion at the WMG Publishing Master Business class was the seed for this project. Most people at the class were already attempting to do this with spreadsheets. And while spreadsheets are great for some things, what people were really trying to do required a database capable of not just tracking the information, but pulling data to generate reports and present them in a meaningful way. Some people try to use spreadsheets like a database, but often run into the problem of data integrity, and duplicate or conflicting data.

What is “The Magic Bakery,” and why is it relevant to Intellectual Property Tracker?

Dean Wesley Smith, a best-selling author and a wonderful teacher, uses the analogy of a “Magic Bakery” when discussing IP (your stories). And I think it’s an appropriate analogy for several reasons.

Imagine that your story is a pie. But unlike an apple pie in a real bakery, you only have to bake it once. You can slice it up (and not just into a dozen slices, but hundreds) and each one of those slices can be “sold” again and again.

If you’re doing it right, some of those slices come back to you to be “sold” again because unlike an apple pie, these slices don’t spoil. The slices in this case are analogous to the many different types of rights/licenses associated with your work.

This is a simplified version of things, but think of it this way:

You’ve got first publication, reprint right, audio rights, movie rights. Each one of those is a slice. Now take reprint rights. You can take that slice and make more slices if your story gets reprinted in one anthology this year and another down the road, or if your novel is part of a bundle or a box set.

Now imagine trying to track when your rights come back to you? What are your reversion dates? Did you have a snapback or clawback clause on that contract or that one? What were the reversion conditions?

Don’t know what I’m talking about? You should. And the Magic Bakery will teach you these things. That’s why it complements Intellectual Property Tracker so well and why we are so glad that Dean and WMG were generous enough to offer it for the Kickstarter.

What features do you plan to add to future versions?

We know that different writers have different workflows and that different things are important to them. Our current demo is very basic but will give you a “sketch” of the final product. It’s based on the discussion at the Master Business class. We also added a short second video based on a requested feature (the tracking and management of images).

So, as we get requests and input of what our writers want, we will continue to meet their needs. Someone wanted a way to track reviews, and that’s an example of a feature we’d add. Writers that don’t track reviews would just not use that feature.

Two things NOT in the demos are sorting features and reports. But both of those will be in the final product. So, for example, one report would allow you to look at all your titles and how they are performing, whether you want to look at that information arranged by date, venue, or market.

Another report I think is crucial is the one about reversion dates. So let’s say you want to know which titles are coming back to you in 60 (or 30 or 90 days) so that you can plan for a new cover or look for a new bundle. You’ll be able to generate a report showing you that information.

Do you want a graph showing you how well book 1 of a series is performing vs book 2 and book 3? There is going to be an easy way to do that. We know we haven’t thought of everything, but our goal is to keep our writers happy, so as long as they’re telling us what they want, we’ll continue improving Intellectual Property Tracker to meet their needs.

What story (or stories) are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I’ve just finished up a novel, a space opera (think Dune and Barrayar but with genetically-engineered samurai). I’m currently working on the sequel and another side story in the same universe (one of these, “Dominion,” is going to be included in WMG’s Fiction River series, the Face the Strange anthology edited by Ron and Bridget Collins (scheduled for 2020 release).

My stories are a mix of the far-future (as in nanotech and genetic engineering) and the past, fusing the best and worst of both to create a world in which very human characters fight for what they love. There’s adventure and romance, swords and spaceships, honor and sacrifice. I had a lot of fun writing this story. It’s definitely the type of story that I myself enjoy, and I think readers will too.

I’m also collaborating on a romantic time-travel adventure (think Roman Britain) and working on a sequel to my hard sci-fi novella, Promethea Invicta.

Find Monalisa!

Monalisa won life’s lottery when she escaped communism and became an unhyphenated American citizen. Her works tend to explore themes of freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility. Despite her degree in physics, she’s worked in several fields including engineering and medicine, but she enjoys being a trophy wife and kept woman the most. She and her husband (who is a writer-once-removed via their marriage) are living their happily ever after in Texas, along with their children, both human and canine.

She learned English by reading and translating books from the juvenile section at the public library. She’d walk to the library with her dictionary and a notebook and start copying sentences and then translating them by hand. At home in the evenings, she’d take unfamiliar words and write them out ten times, or more, to get the spelling down. After a few days of this, a kindly librarian took pity on her and offered her a library card and then broke some rules in issuing one to a ten-year-old. This was back in the bad old days when kids were still free range and parents didn’t get jailed for letting them go places unsupervised. But, the library was air conditioned, an important thing when the temperature reaches triple digits, so she spent the summer there anyway, and along the way discovered Robert Heinlein and science fiction. It didn’t take long to devour the juvenile section and move on to the grown-up books.

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Story spotlight: “Hawthorn & Willow” by T. Thorn Coyle


 
An enchanting tale of what happens to an ordinary person when magic leaves and it turns out getting it back is part of your destiny.

But first, you have to leave your garden…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Hawthorn & Willow” is in The Faerie Summer collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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About the Author

A salty-tongued, tattooed mystic, Thorn is the author of the nine book Witches of Portland series, the alt-history urban fantasy series The Panther Chronicles, the novel Like Water, and two short story collections. The Witches of Portland series will be out in Spring, 2018. She has also written multiple non-fiction books including Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists & Other Creatives, Kissing the Limitless, and Crafting a Daily Practice. Thorn’s work appears in many anthologies, magazines, and collections.

She has taught magical practice in nine countries, on four continents, and in twenty-five states. Her other occupations have been numerous, and include working four years each on the Pacific Stock Options exchange (as a young Anarchist punk with a blue, flat-top Mohawk), in a woman-run peep show, and full time in the San Francisco soup kitchen she ended up volunteering at for twenty years. All of this, along with her activism, informs her fiction.

An interloper to the Pacific Northwest, Thorn joyfully stalks city streets, writes in cafes, and talks to crows, squirrels, and trees.


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Story spotlight: “Water Horses” by Lisa Silverthorne


 
 
Returning to her childhood home on San Juan Island…tough.

Mastering the ancient magic awakening inside her…worse.

Surviving senior year of high school as the new girl…impossible!
 
 
 
“Water Horses” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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Writing has been Lisa’s life-long passion. She’s been writing since she could hold a pen and have published two novels and over 70 short stories in the fantasy, science fiction, romance, horror, and mystery genres.

Lisa writes about the magic of ordinary things and about things that scare or anger her. Anything that moves her in some way is an inspiration for new work. That and the Pacific Northwest, which is a great inspiration to this Midwesterner. Much of her work is dark, and it often falls between the many cracks in between genres.


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Story spotlight: “Paulaleena” by Leah Cutter


Pauli, the most recent of the Paulaleena fairies, must creep out of the woods and renew the pact with the human mayor of the nearby city.

The pact that keeps the world safe from the Dark Ones.

The pact forged by blood.

When this human mayor insists on seeing the Dark Ones herself, they both get more than they bargained for.
 
 
“Paulaleena” is in The Faerie Summer collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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Leah Cutter writes page-turning fiction in exotic locations, such as a magical New Orleans, the ancient Orient, Hungary, the Oregon coast, rural Kentucky, Seattle, Minneapolis, and many others.

She writes literary, fantasy, mystery, science fiction, and horror fiction. Her short fiction has been published in magazines like Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Talebones, anthologies like Fiction River, and on the web. Her long fiction has been published both by New York publishers as well as small presses.


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Story spotlight: “The Women of Whale Rock” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch


 
Whale Rock’s sheriff, Dan Retsler, considers himself a practical man. But he has no explanation for the horrible deaths that take place on his beach. Nor does he know why so many locals fear the sea. The answer lies in legends of mermaids—not the pretty kind, but the kind that lure sailors to their deaths. Retsler doesn’t believe in them, but nothing quite explains the women he sees, near the beach when he investigates a friend’s sudden and tragic death.
 
 
 
“The Women of Whale Rock” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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New York Times bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in almost every genre. Generally, she uses her real name (Rusch) for most of her writing. Under that name, she publishes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. Her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in eighteen best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov’s Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award.


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Story spotlight: “Ondine” by Brenda Carre

Bernadine’s mother, Mama Ondine, is a diva—the premier diva of New York, and possibly the whole of the world. Her huge voice always seemed to reach to infinity, mesmerizing the entire audience, but especially rising up to Bernardine to rip out her heart.

Bernadine was just the opposite. Unattractive, awkward, and sickly – and she was especially sick right before Mama Ondine gave a big performance.

One day the province of British Columbia invited the diva to go to Victoria and sing for a Federal Gala. Three days on the far western coast of Canada. The pull of the ocean was irresistible to Bernadine and she talked Mama into the trip even though she had to lie to do so. Would it be a deadly choice for her or for Mama Ondine?
 
 
“Ondine” is in The Faerie Summer bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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Brenda Carre writes long and short fiction with a dark, mythic twist. Her short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Fiction River, to mention a few. Her indomitable character ‘Gret’ was the cover story in Pulp Literature Magazine’s issue 15. She is currently working on a big book mythic/epic fantasy series she calls: ‘Lara Croft meets a Wizard-of-Earthsea in the Pacific Northwest’. She also writes spicy romance under the name, Tess Cornwall. Brenda is a visual artist and educator, and teaches a workshop on mapping through story.


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Story spotlight: “Kelpie Christmas” by Steve Vernon


What brings Rhonda (full-time assassin for hire), Lady Macbeth (part-time assassin and full-time librarian), and a kelpie (mythical sea-beast) to a dark wintry city alley?

What secret is hiding inside of the Salvation Army cauldron?

All of these answers and more are waiting for you in this short paranormal romance shoot-em-up story—written for readers who HATE to read romance.
 
 
 
“Kelpie Christmas” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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Steve is a writer and an oral tradition storyteller; he learned the storytelling tradition from his grandfather, and regularly tells stories to in-person audiences ranging from 5 to 5,000 spectators. He writes horror, paranormal, dark fantasy, and ghost stories, and specializes in the fine old art of booga-booga.

Think of Steve as that old dude at the campfire spinning out ghost stories and weird adventures and the grand epic saga of how Thud the Second stepped out of his cave with nothing more than a rock in his fist and slew the saber-tooth tiger.


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Story spotlight: “Brown and the Hotel Colorado Haunts” by J. A. Campbell


Join Brown for some ghost hunting fun!

When she’s not busy herding sheep, she uses her border collie eye to keep wayward spirits in line.

As the guest of honor at a Halloween celebration at haunted Hotel Colorado, she’ll have plenty of ghosts to keep her busy, but she’s the dog for the job.
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Brown and the Hotel Colorado Haunts” is in the Haunted collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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When Julie is not writing she’s often out riding horses, or working sheep with her dogs. She lives in Colorado with a handful of cats, some sheep, Kira and Bran her border collies, her Arabian endurance horses Triska and Cavalier, and her Irish Sailor. She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories the Tales of the Travelers series, and many other young adult books. her passions include horses, writing about horses, dogs and writing about dogs. She writes fantasy, sci fi, horror, and all related genres. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association, Science Fiction Writers of America, and the Dog Writers of America Association and the editor for Story Emporium fiction magazine.


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Story spotlight: “Salt Water” by Deb Logan

Maris, a fifteen-year-old girl from Wichita, Kansas has never seen the ocean. Intentionally. Her parents have an unreasonable fear of the sea. When Dad allows Maris to accompany her best friend on a family vacation to Portland, Oregon, he has no idea that their ultimate destination will be Cannon Beach … and the wild waters of the Pacific Ocean. Maris is about to learn the truth behind the family taboo against salt water.
 
 
 

“Salt Water” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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A prolific copywriter by day, Deb Logan has been published in WMG Publishing’s Fiction River anthologies, Dreaming Robot Press’s Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide anthologies, Windrift Books’ Chronicle Worlds anthologies, and other markets. She has also released several short stories, short story collections, and novels for young readers, including the popular “Dani Erickson” series.


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The Faery’s Choice

Three faery boys—Nuár, Aodh, and Táinar—are spending their day pretending to be great hunters when they come across a human girl. Annie accidentally crossed from her world to the Land of Faerie, but doesn’t know how to return to her home.

Táinar tells Annie she can’t go back to her world, and offers to show her the wonders of Faerie. The children head off to visit a group of river naiads, and maybe even see a kelpie, but Nuár is troubled.

Why did Táinar tell Annie she can never return to her own world? And is he truly interested in showing the girl the magic of Faerie—or does Táinar have something else in mind?
 
 
“The Faery’s Choice” is in The Faerie Summer bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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Jamie focuses on getting into the minds and hearts of her characters, whether she’s writing about a saloon girl in the Old West, a man who discovers the barista he’s in love with is a naiad, or a ghost who haunts the house she was killed in – even though that house no longer exists. She’s curated a number of short story bundles and anthologies, and is working on several more, including a monster-themed anthology series she’s co-editing with DeAnna Knippling. Jamie lives in Colorado, and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies, since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep…yet…


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