One of the most common questions I get from new self-publishers is, “What do I put on the copyright page?” For some reason, the copyright page seems intimidating with its legalistic language and weird numbers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many different ways to layout your copyright page. After looking at 100’s of books in my genre, I noticed that every copyright page was slightly different. Some were very simple, and some were more complex. I opted for a very simple copyright page for Champ and Nessie, and Sandy the Cat. There are a few things that must appear on your copyright page, but it’s up to you how much more information you want to add in after that.
What is a Copyright page?
The Copyright page carries the copyright notice, edition information, publication information, printing history, cataloging data, legal notices, and the books ISBN or identification number. In addition, rows of numbers are sometimes printed at the bottom of the page to indicate the year and number of the printing. Credits for design, production, editing and illustration are also commonly listed on the copyright page.
Do I need to purchase a Copyright?
Your book is protected by copyright laws from the minute you write it, but for added protection against theft, you can file for an official copyright through the U.S. Copyright Office. It is not necessary for the book to be published for you to apply for a copyright.
What Has to be on Your Copyright Page No Matter What?
The single most important element on the copyright page is, no surprise, the copyright notice itself. It usually consists of three elements:
- the © symbol, or the word “Copyright” or abbreviation “Copr.”
- the year of first publication of the work; and
- an identification of the owner of the copyright—by name, abbreviation, or some other way that it’s generally known.
Together, it should look like this: Copyright © YEAR, Author Name
Because the © symbol isn’t available on typewriters or most common computer terminals, the copyright symbol is often approximated with the characters (c). Unfortunately, this form of notice may not stand up in court. There are several places online you can download a template. Or you can copy and paste this symbol, as the quickest way: ©.
What Else You’ll Find on the Copyright Page
Many of these items may not be applicable to your book, but this is where the publisher has to fit all the legal notices and other information for use by the book trade. Keep in mind that a reservation of rights is vital, and the publisher’s contact information is practical and appropriate. So here’s the rundown of other elements on the copyright page:
- Reservation of rights, where you outline what rights you reserve and which you allow.
- Publisher’s editorial address. Larger publishers will likely include…Ordering information, Trademark notices, Catalog and Publication Data.
- Edition of the book. For instance, a second edition might or might not be noted on the title page, but will definitely be indicated on the copyright page.
- Printings and years indicators. These are the odd strings of “funny numbers” often seen near the bottom of the copyright page. This is for the use of the publisher’s production department, and is likely to become obsolete (or so I read).
- Lastly, some publishers use the copyright page to credit the contributors to the book including designers, production managers, proofreaders, indexers, and editors. I personally dedicate an entire page for my “Dedication’s and Credits”. Click here to download a copy of my 32 PAGE PICTURE BOOK TEMPLATE.
When it comes to creating your own copyright page, pick the elements that seem most suitable to your book. Keep the whole thing as simple as possible and you can’t go wrong. Especially for a Children’s Book’s, I would suggest doing a simple copyright, see below. Click here to download.
Nowadays, anyone can write a book and easily self-publish it. Not everyone aspires to be a Best Selling Author, but if you want your book to be a success, there are a few steps you need to follow in order to present the most professional book possible to your readers! Check out my resource library for more Self-Publishing Help and FREE Templates.