So I’ve decided to self-publish a novel. My views have changed slightly from what they were before. Some of this is due to the time I have spent since then studying the industry, agents, publishers, and editors. I’ll give you one or two things I’ve learned, and then move on. For one, you’re expected to do your own marketing. Pretty much all of it. You may have a budget and guidance that you most certainly don’t have self-pubbing, but the work is still there. There are many many perks to traditionally publishing your novel, don’t get me wrong. Wish I were one of those on their acceptance wagon.
Or do I?
They will rewrite your novel to fit their cookie cutter first novel mentality. I had no problem with this on most of my work, but on this one I do. A few of the “must have” items in their first novel list will ruin my story.
There are fads to follow. I’ve never been one to do that. If your story hits the right fad at the right time, yippee! Otherwise, forget it. And btw, these fads are not always with the readers. Readers don’t read what agents and publishers do. They read what they want to.
So, the reason for this post:
Writers are told to never copyright their work, that it makes you look like an amateur. Really. Did you know that even though your work is copyrighted the moment you write it, that copyright protection will not hold up in court?
So, as soon as your book is done, and before you self-publish it, you might want to copyright it. But what if it’s part of a series? I’ll get to that. I talked to a lawyer. They wanted $250 an hour. OK. But it doesn’t take an hour, let alone two, to copyright material. I did it in 30 minutes for $35. www.copyright.gov. Click on “register a product”. Now, you can upload your novel and be done in a snap! You will have to register with a crazy password, username, test question, etc. You will have to provide all sorts of info. You can also include your pen name. If your work is being published under a pen name (mine is) then you can include that. (There’s a separate box for it, so please register under your legal name.) You can include other people that can discuss it. If your work is still untitled, that’s OK. If your work is part of a series (mine is) then you can include the series name (or untitled) as part of the first book’s registration. Cool, huh? It’s all there. There is no reason to go looking for these things. All the items I mentioned are part of the walkthrough process.
But you can NOT include many items like multiple authors, borrowed works, etc. So, be sure to read the fine print every time and read it well!
Up next-that contract with your illustrator for cover art.