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Copyright IS Our Business
Did you know that one of your biggest advocates is the US Government? When you write something it is automatically protected by copyright law, whether you register it or not.
Copyright means no one can profit from your work except you! The government rightly understands that when someone spends time creating a story, novel, photograph, work of art, and so on, they need compensation. If anyone is allowed to use what you create, then why would you spend time creating it?
The US copyright laws protect your creation for your lifetime, plus seventy years. This means that your ancestors will also profit from your work! Your creative work part of your estate.
All of that creative work is collectively called intellectual property or IP. It’s valuable!
You Should Register Your Copyright
While your work is protected automatically, I always register my copyright with Copyright.gov. It’s a simple process, with a modest fee. Our business IS copyright! You might think our business is selling books. Instead, if you start thinking about it as IP, you’ll see that the copyright is crucial.
a cartoon is created based on your character.
your storyline becomes the inspiration for a movie
your plush characters become popular in WalMart
a virtual reality game is based on your story
The possibilities for using IP are endless, fascinating, and potentially lucrative.
Each of those uses requires someone to pay you! The amounts will vary depending on the projects, your negotiation skills, and the popularity of your story and characters. But none of it matters if you don’t understand the importance of your copyright and IP.
I just received this Copyright Certificate of Registration for my middle grade novel, KITTYWOOD! It was published last year, but COVID delayed the process of issuing a certificate. I have a notebook filled with these certificates!
How to File Copyright for Your Children’s Book
It’s simple. Just go to Copyright.gov and follow directions.
For a picture book, you may need to file two copyright applications, one for text and one for illustrations. If you do a royalty arrangement with the illustrator, the illustrations copyright are usually in the name of the illustrator. You should still file this as the publisher.
If you do a work-for-hire agreement with the illustrator that means you have bought the copyright also. The illustration copyright would be in the legal name on your agreement/contract with the illustrator. I do those in the name of my publishing company, so the illustrations are copyrighted by my company. If it’s in your personal name, you may be able to file one copyright claiming both text and illustration.
For novels, it’s much easier because you only file for copyright on the text. The cover illustration isn’t included.
It usually takes 3-6 months to receive your certificate. Keep it safe! But if it gets lost, the copyright office still protects your work.
Kittytubers, Book 4
While Kittywood’s copyright certificate just arrived, I have Book 4 of the Kittytubers Series planned. In fact, I’ll launch a Kickstarter campaign in late August for this book. Kickstarter is a brilliant way to take pre-orders and jump start reviews and sales on your books. I’ll be focusing on a couple campaigns soon.
Read more about a Kickstarter Campaign I did last year!