Writing a book? If it’s your first one, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. Editors and readers, both, will critique everything from your plot lines to your punctuation.
Even if you’ve mastered your prose, you still must nail the more obscure details. We’re talking about things like your glossary, index, and copyright page.
If you don’t know-how, this article is for you. Today, we’re talking about the copyright page. If you want to ensure you use the proper format, so your copyright isn’t rejected, read on.
Copyright Page Format
When you’re figuring out how to write a copyright page for a book, where do you start? First, you must know where your page fits. What comes before and after the page?
Your copyright rests between the title page and your dedication page . That’s followed by your table of contents, foreword or preface, and the body of your book.
These are the elements to include on your page:
- Your copyright notice
- The year of your book’s publication
- The author’s name
- The edition of your book
- Your book’s publication information
- Your book’s printing history
- Your book’s cataloging data
- Any legal notices
- Any credits to your book
- Your book’s ISBN
- Your book’s website address
- Your disclaimer (if applicable)
There are two different types of copyright pages: the essential and extended versions. If you’re self-publishing, you only need the essential version. It includes both your copyright notices and your legal notices.
Copyright Page Example
This is an example of an essential version. You’re welcome to add additional legal notices. The following example uses only the bare essentials.
Copyright © 2020 Bill Gates
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner.
The next example uses the extended format. You may exclude any portion(s) so long as you keep the copyright and legal notices.
This book you’re reading is a work of fiction. Characters, places, events, and names are the product of this author’s imagination. Any resemblance to other events, other locations, or other persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2020 Bob Jobob
The author reserves all rights. You may not sell or reproduce any part of this book without written consent from the copyright owner.
First paperback edition April 2020
Book design by Betty Boop
ISBN 987-6-5432-1098-7 (paperback edition)
Published by Edison Publishing
Take note that the order of the elements isn’t critical. If you have all the elements on the page, your work is complete. The same would not be true if you followed an APA style guide or MLA style guide.
A Detailed Look at Each Element
You may not need a book design template for your copyright section because many of these elements are self-explanatory. A few aren’t. Be sure to read each to ensure you headed down the right track before you construct your page.
Your copyright notice declares that you are the sole owner of the copyrighted material therein. It consists of 4 pieces:
- Copyright: make sure both the word and symbol are included.
- ©: this is the universal symbol for copyright.
- Copyright owner: the name of the person who legally owns the copyright.
- Publication year: this is the year you publish your book, not the year you wrote it.
As long as these pieces sit side-by-side, alone, and on the same line, your work is complete.
All Rights Reserved
This is the most common type of legal notice used in written work. As long as you include the words “all rights reserved,” you’ve covered your bases.
That deceptively short phrase indicates that you, the copyright owner, reserve all the formal rights granted by copyright protection. That prevents others from publishing, distributing, or creating derivatives of your work without your permission.
Some books also include a line about their moral rights. It might read something like, “the moral rights of the author are also asserted.” Many countries outside the US consider economic and moral rights to be disparate parts.
Your disclaimer is included for one purpose. It’s there, so you don’t get sued. There’s a long history of wealthy authors who’ve been sued by wannabees who say the authors stole their work.
That list includes J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, and Cassandra Clare, to name but a few.
Be careful when using ideas, characters, or places from another artist’s work. These fall under the Fair Use laws, which are often misinterpreted.
For instance, using copyrighted images is illegal. But you might circumvent the law by including a sketch you drew that you modeled after a copyrighted image. That would fall under the Fair Use laws.
Did anyone else offer up their own art for your book? Who illustrated your cover? Did you include other images among your books, many pages?
If so, include them in your credits. If the artist uses different copyright, follow the same basic format that you used for your own copyright notice. If it doesn’t, you only need to include the artist and the art on your book copyright page.
- Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Jane Goodall
- Cover art by Edgar Allen Poe
You’re welcome to get wordy if you include these elements. You’re safe as long as you include the artist, the art, and copyright (if it exists).
The International Standard Book Number, or ISBN, is like a fingerprint for your book. You must acquire one if you plan to sell copies of your book. Note that the same book has a different ISBN for each book format, e.g., eBooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers.
Books that last usually go through different editions. It’s a hold out from the time when books were expensive to print and produced in small batches. Changes occur between each edition.
Since this is the first time your book is coming out, you may include “First Edition.” You can also skip it altogether. Look at a book design template if you need help.
If you’re self-publishing, this is a chance to promote yourself! Your details should include the following:
- Your publishing company name
- Your publishing company address
- Your publishing company website
You may print them on the same line or have each on a separate line. If you choose the latter, use single line spacing.
Now that you know how easy it is to create your own copyright page, it’s time to get started. The first step is to sign up for an ISBN number. The rest is simple. Just fill in the blanks.
After you finish your manuscript, don’t forget to shop around before you self-publish. Prices can differ widely, so contact a printing expert for your quote today.