How to Copyright a Book

What is Copyright? Learn what you need to copyright your book and how to go about doing so!

Today, we’ll be covering why you rightfully need to copyright your book and how to go about doing so, especially if you’re a first-time writer and don’t know about the copycats out there who might take a fancy to your original content and try to rip it off….

Why do you need to copyright a book?

  • A copyright over your book establishes that it is your intellectual property.
  • It establishes that only you, the copyright holder or author, hold exclusive rights to make copies, distribute, publicly display, and create derivative work based on the original creative work.
  • Copyrights do not, unfortunately, extend to ideas or facts and concepts but can help you in preventing entities such as book stores from printing their own copies of your original manuscript to sell or profit from.
  • It also prevents plagiarism from other authors and works for both books published using traditional platforms as well as self-published works.
  • Protection of your work via copyright also ensures that your work contains tangible and creative output that is your own and nobody else’s, and you can prove this in court against copyright infringement.

How to copyright your manuscript

  • Visit the Copyright Office website.
  • Register an account to access the portal.
  • Select the literary works category.
  • Register your work using the standard application form where you are required to fill in the details of your book.
  • Pay a fee. Usually, the price ranges from $35-$85 for first-time registration.
  • Submit your final polished manuscript to the copyright office, and it will be taken care of. Usually, the process takes 8-13 months, but the copyright lasts for a lifetime and additional 70 years, after which it is claimed as a public domain work.
  • When registering for the copyright, include both your legal name and pseudonym (if it applies) as it is legally binding.

What does a copyright page include?

A copyright page is included in all works by both self-published and traditionally published authors. It contains the following information about the book and copyright holder:

The copyright symbol

This symbol looks like this: ©

It will be next to the copyright holder’s name (the copyright holder is the author and not the printer or publisher, by the way): ©2018 by Johnny B. Goode

Copyright year

The year in which the copyright was provided to the author.

List of all edition years, starting with the latest, if your book has more than one iteration. Example: ©2018, 2012, 2003. This is the year that the book was published and not written. 

ISBN (international standard book number)

ISBN is a 13 digit long number that corresponds with regional codes such as particular editors, publishers, etc. It also acts as an identifier for the book, and there are various ISBNs for various formats like paperback and hardcover.

Library of Congress Controller Number (LCCN)

This is especially important so your books can be stocked by a library, as without the LCCN, libraries do not accept books.

Disclaimer

A disclaimer protects you from potential lawsuits, especially if a plotline in your book resembles real life, people, or reflects real events. These are included for both fiction and nonfiction, such as memoirs, but can also be used if the work is a blend of fiction and nonfiction. It is also included if the work contains sensitive material.

Examples of some disclaimers:

  • All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address the publisher.
  • All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address the publisher.

Permissions notice

This is required if you’ve borrowed excerpts from other works or articles.

Examples of some permission notices:

  • Portions of this book are works of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
  • Portions of this book are works of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Credits

It is important to credit your photographers, illustrators, proofreaders, editors, etc. This is optional and can also be included in an acknowledgment section separately.

Country of printer, number of editions, and volumes

Publishers information

This includes the name and address of the publication company, even if you’ve self-published the book or own the publishing company.

Author’s website

Or personal website if you’re self-publishing. This also helps promote the work. Check out our upcoming blog on how to build your own Author’s website!

Thanks for tuning in, and we hope this post was or will be useful to you in your writing career. Do share it, and stay tuned for more content in the future!

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