Sunday, June 12, 2011

That pesky copyright page

One of the aspects of self-publishing that has had me oddly stumped has been the copyright page. This shouldn’t be difficult, yet for some reason, I’ve been stalled for weeks because I haven’t had anything on that page. I did numerous Google searches, scanned publishing blogs, dug through the Kindle DTP community forums… you name it, I looked.  But the only mentions of copyright I seemed to find were mentions of where to put the page, questions about the page not being linked properly in the TOC, and a ton of forum posts about obtaining copyright from the US Copyright Office. And while the latter amused me (as soon as you put words down on paper, it’s copyrighted, so in my opinion, it’s silly to shell out the money for an “official” copyright for a novel), none answered my question. All I wanted was someone to say “Hey, here’s a copyright page you can either adjust to your needs, or copy straight out.” I eventually found a few places that did that and was able to cobble something together, though what I mostly ended up doing was copying parts of the notice from print books I own.

So, in case anyone else finds themselves in the same situation, here’s a basic copyright page you can use:


Copyright © 2011 Your Name
Cover art by Artist Name  (If you did your own cover, you can leave this out, unless you want to explicitly credit yourself. I did, because I’m a credit whore like that.)

[You may also need to add lines to credit other materials used. For example, I have a line crediting the source for a photo used on my cover. Another example would be if song lyrics were quoted in the book. You would credit the songwriter and publisher here, but you must have obtained permission from the publisher to use them. I used to work in music copyright, so I tend to be particular about this. If you’re self-publishing, it’s probably best to avoid including any previously-copyrighted material, such as song lyrics, in your work. The permissions process isn’t always easy, especially with popular music.]

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

There are longer versions of the above “all rights reserved” notice, but I think the short & sweet route works well enough. It can then be followed with contact information for the publisher, though I don’t have that in mine right now since I’m self-publishing. I still need to figure out if anything would go there in my case. Obviously, I don’t want to put my own address or phone number there. I may instead include my author website.

Also, there is another notice commonly included on the copyright pages of novels that you may want to use. Here is the text as I most often find it:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Personally, I chose not to include that notice since a large portion of my novel takes place on the Titanic. Not only is the ship real, but most of the people I surround my main characters with are real, historical figures. Granted, my portrayal of them is largely fictional, as I had to use my imagination where their individual personalities and actions on board the ship were concerned, but their names and basic facts are very much real. I thought about tweaking the statement to fit my situation, but in the end decided to leave it out.

So that’s one more step past me! I also think I got my “about the author” page done, though I’m not sure I like it yet. For now, it’s fine. All that’s left is finishing this last-minute edit (I’m changing part of the book’s ending), then I can finally put it back on my Kindle to do that last pass-through for mistakes. Woo! Progress!


  1. Oh my god, I know this is old, but thank you so much. I thought I was somehow missing the magic Google search terms that would turn up a copyright page template! And I'm still not sure how so many people are clearly out there creating copyright pages, but without agonizing over it. (Okay, maybe I'm just an agonizer by nature, but still.) Really, thanks a lot.

    1. Glad I could help! I'm an agonizer by nature, too, so I completely understand. Especially when it comes to anything legal - I want to be sure I get it all right.

  2. I wanted to say thanks for this as well! I have been stressing out over a copyright page, this really did help a lot! :)

    1. You're welcome! Glad I Could be of some help. :)