Monthly Archives: May 2009

Be Sure To Copyright Your Book!

After you’ve worked long and hard on your masterpiece, you are finally ready to self-publish it and get it out into the world. Before you take that step, though, it would be wise for you to copyright your work even if it is "only" a book of family recipes. While many people don’t realize that most works created after April 1, 1989 have copyright protection, taking the extra step of officially obtaining a copyright gives you a record that is traceable if you ever need to sue for copyright infringement. The action of getting a copyright for your book legally protects you from having someone else steal what you worked so hard to produce. It’s not difficult to do and you may have cause to thank yourself for it later.

  1. Put the copyright symbol on the book by either adding a circled "C" in the front section (imprint page) of your book or the word "copyright" with the date and author’s name following it (example: Copyright 2009 John Doe).
  2. Contact the U.S. Copyright Office ( to start the steps needed to copyright your book.
  3. The current fee for applying to copyright your book online is a mere $45.00 (increases to $65.00 on August 1, 2009), payable by electronic check, credit or debit card, or Copyright Office deposit account.
  4. Fill out a short form if your work is totally new and you are the sole author. Fill out the Standard TX form if there is more than one author of the work or other sources were used. Use form SE if you are publishing a periodical or a serial.
  5. There are plenty of tutorials on the U. S. Copyright Office website to help you through the process if you get confused.
  6. You can also send a paper form by snail-mail to the Copyright Office, if you prefer not to fill things out online.
  7. If you file for the copyright before your book is published, you’ll have to refile for another copyright of your book after it’s published. Basically, this means you’ll have two copyrights for the same work (and you will have paid two fees). If you think you’ll avoid this by waiting until after your book has been published before getting a copyright, keep in mind that you’ll have to send two bound copies of the book to the copyright office along with your registration paperwork.
  8. You can not copyright the book’s title! You can not copyright the name of a character, either. When you obtain a copyright, you are protecting the work within the body of the book, not the title itself. A copyright is meant to protect how you used the words, not to protect the words themselves.
  9. Works written as an employee actually belong to the employer, not to the author.
  10. When you copyright your book, the rights generally extend for your lifetime plus 70 years.
  11. There is no such thing as an international copyright. Different countries treat copyrighting differently, although most will protect foreign works under certain conditions.

Going through the steps to copyright your book is not really that difficult and it’s something every self-publishing author needs to do. You’ve taken the time to write your book, now take the time to safe-guard your hard work!

For more information about how to copyright your book, contact the book printing experts at, call them at 1-800-698-2071, or email them today.



Filed under Self Publishing Tips

Getting An ISBN – Do I Really Need One?

You’ve spent untold hours (years?) writing your book and have poured your heart and soul into rewrites and editing. You’ve finally gotten to that magic moment when you can start thinking about getting it into print. There are so many details for a self-publishing author to think about, but one of the most important decisions any author needs to make is whether or not to go about getting an ISBN number. Do you really need one? The short answer is: yes! You need an ISBN number for your book if you intend to sell it in a retail setting.

The ISBN (the acronym stands for International Standard Book Number) is the 10-13 digit number that identifies your book as unique from everyone else’s. You have to have one if you want to sell your book through a retail outlet. Think of it like the UPC number or barcode you see on items in the grocery store or on tags for just about every item you can purchase. It’s the number that allows the retailer to scan your book through the cash register at checkout. The number is in barcode form on the back of books (or on the back of the dust cover on hard-bound books) and also printed on the Imprint page in the front section of the book. It makes you a publisher in the eyes of the book industry.

Now that you know what the number is, how do you go about getting an ISBN?

  • First of all, stay far, far away from self-publishing vendors who offer to purchase the ISBN for you. If a subsidy press gets the ISBN for you, they own your book!
  • The only place to go for getting an ISBN is R.R.Bowker – they are the exclusive USA source for ISBN numbers (
  • You’re going to be buying a block of ISBN numbers from Bowker. This block of numbers is assigned to the particular publisher who purchases it: if you buy a single number from an online vendor, that number will be assigned back to them and they’ll be the publisher of record, not you.
  • Have your contact information, publishing company name, and the name of your book at the ready.
  • Fill out the online application or print out the application and send it in by snail-mail.
  • Getting an ISBN is much like anything else – have your credit card ready if you are applying online!
  • Allow 15 business days for processing your ISBN application.
  • After you get your ISBN, register it with Bowker’s Books-In-Print by signing up for BowkerLink, a free online tool for uploading book information (price, page count, etc). This is the main directory used by libraries and bookstores when they want to order a book for a customer.
  • Register your book’s copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Getting an ISBN is not really that difficult and it’s something that every self-publishing author needs to do. You’ve taken the time to write your book, now take the time to safe-guard your hard work by publishing it correctly. Having an ISBN number doesn’t automatically mean your book will sell, but you’re going to be glad to have that number assigned to it when your book takes off!

For more information about getting an ISBN number, contact the book printing experts at, call them at 1-800-698-2071, or email them today.


Filed under Self Publishing Tips