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Yikes! How Do I Protect My Work in the World of Self-Publishing?

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The Legal World of Self Publishing

Navigating the legal maze of self-publishing is difficult for any author, but Redemption Press has the experience and tools you need to safely publish (and protect) your work.

Copyrights and ISBN Numbers

After spending 25 years in Christian publishing, I’ve seen every kind of snafu, misstep, and botch job when it comes to copyrights and ISBN numbers.

I’ve met quite a few authors over the years who thought they could just put the copyright symbol on the page after their title page and that meant their work was protected. Not so. I shared what they call the “poor man’s copyright” on a blog post about what happens when you send us your manuscript.

But the official procedure is to fill out the Form TX and pay your fees to the Library of Congress. I’ve even met authors who filled out the form incorrectly and it took nine months for them to find out their work wasn’t protected!

Let’s face it, not everyone feels comfortable reading all the instructions and filling out forms like that for something as important as copyrighting their intellectual property. That’s where we come in. If that’s something you, as the author, would rather delegate to us—to make sure it’s done right the first time—we’re happy to help. We insure your work is copyrighted in your name, and protected properly.

At the same time, it’s important to have an International Standard Book Number assigned to your book, to insure bookstores and other resellers are willing and able to order copies for resale. I can’t tell you how many self-published books I’ve seen without any ISBN or barcode on the back cover…a sure sign of a book being unprofessionally published.

Barcode ISBN example for self-publishing - good and bad

Here’s a little known fact. There are two things that scream “I’m a self-published book!” As you can see in the photo on the left hand side, when a bar code ends in 90000 that means you are not showing the retail price of the book in the bar code. A dead giveaway. The other secret is, look just above the bar code at the ISBN number. Notice the numbers between the last two hyphens… -0-. Did you know that this number tells me that you are self-published? It tells me you bought ONE ISBN, which tells me, even if you’ve created your own small press, that you only have one book published, and are probably doing this on the side, and are not an industry professional.

When comparing self-publishing services and Christian publishers who offer to walk you through publication, it’s important to consider a company who will take seriously the publishing legalities and professional presentation every author needs.

In the bar code on the right, you’ll see a number of key elements that communicate professional publishing excellence:

1) Three numbers between the hyphens

2) Price in the bar code

3) Retail price to left of the barcode

4) Category listed above barcode

5) BISAC code listed below the barcode

Redemption Press is committed to the advice we give…if you’re going to self-publish, the last thing you want to do is LOOK self-published! Allow us to take care of the publishing details you’d rather delegate, so you look your best in print and protect the intellectual property that belongs to you.

Take a look at all of our a la carte self-publishing services.

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Meet the Publisher

I've been around Christian publishing since 1987 when I helped our ministry self-publish an important resource for Vietnam veterans and their families. That book went on to be picked up by a royalty publisher and has since sold over 250,000 copies with a million in print.

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