Sunday, April 22, 2012

DID YOU COPYRIGHT IT?

When I began as a new author I didn't understand anything about copyrights. Should I? Shouldn't I? When to do it and why I should? Oh and the Poor Man's copyright ... all that was overwhelming.

So here's the skinny on it from my experience and research.

IF YOU ARE JUST FINISHED YOUR FIRST DRAFT

So you just finished your first draft. It's on your computer - on googledocs and you've printed it out. Is it safe? Should you copyright it before you let anyone read it?

~NO~ Do not copyright it at this time. It's safe to prove that you've written the novel you have it on your computer, backed up as a file in your googledocs profile and have emailed it to yourself a few times. If you only have don't one of these - you have proof that the story is yours and you are protected

YOU'VE EDITED IT AND ARE SENDING IT TO LIT AGENTS FOR QUERY

Now you've got a cleaned and edited manuscript, you are mailing out parts of it and your query letters with a synopsis of the entire novel to literary agents or even small publishers - SHOULD YOU COPYRIGHT now?

~NO~ You are still protected by your actions above (manuscript is saved to your computer, backed up as a file in another location - so you are safe)

Note: Now if you want to play it safe - you can file for a pre-registration of your copyright only if you are concerned someone will still it (I think it cost about $20 but check her to find out Copyright.gov - I suggest doing it electronically since it's so easy)

YOU ARE SELF-PUBLISHING IT AND sending to Printers/Ebook Publishing

At this point if you have decided to publish it yourself in any format, after it's fully and professionally edited - then you apply for your copyright online and it will cost you $35 (https://eco.copyright.gov/status/index.html) After you finish the electronic form - you upload the finished document and they will mail notification of the registration of your copyright to you.

YOU FINALLY LANDED A LIT AGENT or a PUBLISHER

They will handle the formal copyright registration of the book. Ask them their process.

YOU'VE PUBLISHED YOUR BOOK ALREADY in ANY FORMAT

So you forgot to do your copyright and you've already published? No fear, you can register the copyright even after the work has been published. You just have to note the published date and the other specifics for registration.

WHAT SHOULD YOU COPYRIGHT?

It depends. I stick with novels, short stories, poetry, and blogpost I'd like to use as articles one day.

SO HAVE YOU DONE IT YET? DID IT TOO EARLY? TOO LATE?

~ If you don't mind, can you visit my daughter's new blog? 'Thoughts Of Someone Who Actually Cares'
 she's branching off and would like some great blogs to follow as well as some to follow her. So list your blog address in the comments if you don't mind.

7 comments:

Linda Jackson said...

Thanks for the info, LM. Just followed your daughter's blog, btw. :)

Kelly Hashway said...

You are a wealth of information, LM. You never cease to amaze me. :)

SA Larsenッ said...

Seriously. I need to bookmark this post. I haven't thought of copyrighting my work as yet, especially blog posts. That's a great idea.

Sarah Negovetich said...

Great info LM! I've always heard this is something we don't need to do so it's nice to learn about those few times when we should. :)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Oh my goodness, what a helpful post!!! Thank you for sharing:)

Catherine Stine said...

All good tips for the initiates to indie pubbing! You are a wealth of info.

Lisa Gail Green said...

You know I never really thought about copyrighting being an issue now that self-publishing is so prevalent. But yeah, if I were to go that route, I would definitely want to do that.