Quick and Dirty Guide to Formatting, Copyright Pages

What says fun more than copyright!?

Am I right? Of course I’m not. Bleck. Nothing is much more banal than messing around with a copyright page. But it’s a vital little bit of banality, so let’s get on with it!

As I mentioned earlier in this formatting course, there is nothing that says your copyright page has to go in the front matter, but it does have to be in the book somewhere. The only compelling reason I can think of for including the copyright page in the back is to not use up the free sample portion of an ebook with clutter no one wants to read. This obviously only applies to ebooks. So for your paperback, it makes the most sense to tuck your copyright page on the verso (left-hand) page right after the title page.

The Must Include Stuff

There are some basic components that every copyright page must have. We’ll cover those first. The copyright contents must include your full book title and your full author name. This is a modern twist due to automated self-publishing platforms such as KDP. I've had KDP get angry with me for not having the title of the book on the copyright page exactly match the title on the cover. So, make sure these match the title page and the front cover so you don’t get hung up when trying to publish.

Your copyright page needs to include the text, “All rights reserved,” or something similar. Here’s some verbiage that will get the job done nicely:

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

Or you can roll with something like this:

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law.

You also must include the ISBN if you are publishing a print book. If you are only using Amazon Print for your print book, you can choose to stick with Amazon's free ISBN. Just be aware that this ISBN will list Amazon as the publisher and you won't be able to use it on any other print versions of your book. So if you decide to use IngramSpark later on (which you should), you'll need to get an ISBN at that point.

Ebooks don’t require an ISBN, but it can still be a good move to get one if you can. The ISBN, while an outdated system that probably won’t exist twenty years from now, enforces that this version of your book will always point back to you as the publisher. For print books to be accessible to bookstores and libraries, they must have an ISBN. If you are in the U.S. head here for ISBNs.

The Good Idea to Include Stuff

It’s a good idea to include stuff like, year, edition, website, disclaimer, and credits. The year is simply the year the book was and/or is being published. Including your website is a way to allow people to reach out to you in case they want to reference your book in anyway that requires legal permission.

It’s a great idea to include any other technical credits such as the cover artist and/or designer. It’s fairly standard practice to include the name of the publisher and the publisher’s address, including the country. Feel free to include your name as the publisher if you want. If you used an illustrator or a professional formatter it’s common to include their credits here as well. Having said this, you should always check with contributors as a professional courtesy. It’s possible your editor or designer may not want the extra attention or inquiries that could result from having their name on your book.

As for a disclaimer, you might have seen some copyright pages that say something like, “This book is completely fictitious. Any likeness or similarity to real life individuals is purely coincidental.” This text isn’t required but can be beneficial in the case that your imagination sparks some random person’s fury.

As luck would have it, you can lift this disclaimer from any number of free boilerplates out there. Speaking of boiler plates, let’s take a look at a couple that do the job nicely. Joel, “The Book Designer,” is always a reliable source for formatting information.

And if you just gotta go more in depth on all of this copyright stuff, I recommend clicking on this post for a deeper dive. Just keep in mind, the nice thing about a copyright page is that once you have your template you can use it over and over forever. All you’ll have to change are the basics of your title, ISBN, date, and any credits you want to include!

Get 'er done and then go back to writing!

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dmb

David is an authorpreneur, and StoryShop co-founder, determined to discover the natural evolution of digital storytelling. His published works span across all ages and several genres. Mostly, he enjoys exploding things. If you‘ve read for twenty pages and nothing has been blown up or shot, then David must be losing his edge.

Feel free to google, poke, fan, or like him. But do so quickly, before he is disappeared by the FBI. Raised in Central Texas, David Mark Brown learned to ride horses at a young age. Then learned to hate them after a disastrous attempt to impress a girlfriend. He was five. Turning to a life of prose, he migrated north to the University of Montana (the Berkeley of the Rockies) and became the Redneck Granola.

David invites you to enjoy the show!

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