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All About the Copyright Page for Self-Publishing Authors

When you write a book, there’s some really exciting material you must include in your book. That is the material on the copyright page of your book.

Before we dive into this important page in your book, here’s the very important disclaimer:

This is not legal advice. This is just one author sharing some info for another author.

First, you might be wondering what is copyright and do you need to file for copyright protection first. Your work is under copyright protection from virtually the moment it is created. From the moment you put your words to word processor. On paper, painted, filmed, or fixed in any other type of physical format. Automatic copyright is applied. So if protection is automatic, then why would you want to file and pay money for an official copyright certificate?

That’s all covered in this video, so you can check that out if you need that information first:

Why the Copyright Page is Important

The copyright page is of critical importance to librarians, publishers, bulk book buyers, bibliographers, and even writers who want to quote your book in their book. Open up any book you have on your shelf, and you’ll see the page I’m talking about it. A  typical copyright page includes:

  • And it has the copyright notice,
  • Edition information,
  • Publication information,
  • Printing history,
  • Cataloging data,
  • Legal notices,
  • ISBN or other identification numbers.

Some books also contain some credits for design, editing or illustration.

What Information Has to Be on the Copyright Page

The single most important element on the copyright page is the copyright! It’s the C symbol or the word copyright. Then, it has the year of the first publication and who owns that copyright.

The owner could be you, your company, or if you’re going the traditional publishing route, it will be the publishing company you’ve signed your rights over to. If you’re still trying to decide if you’re going to self-publish or traditionally publish, I highly recommend checking out this video.

You also probably should put a reservation of rights on the page where you outline what people can and can’t do with the material in the book.

For example:

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher.

You may also include the publisher’s contact information. Larger publishers will probably include their full contact details. As an indie publisher, you may want to include an email, or a website. This is really useful, if someone wants to purchase multiple books or ask you for permission to use more than just a quote from your book.

But of course, you can always put that material at the end of the book too. You might put any trademark notices, so if you’ve trademarked your book title, publishing company imprint, something else you may want to put a notice on that page. If you’re pursuing the Library of Congress listing, then you’re going to want that cataloging in publication data. See this video on getting your book into libraries. a

Should You Credit Others on Your Copyright Page?

Some authors use the copyright page to credit book cover designers, editors, or illustrators but this is not necessary. Personally, I use the acknowledgment pages for that. This is only one page in your book so put in the elements that are the most important to you as it pertains to the publishing of your book.

Want more on this subject? Some resources I used when fact checking include:

Shout out to a few resources that help me double check what I was telling you. This book, David Wogahn Register Your Book and a blog post from the Book Designer that actually gives you copyright page examples.