Why Authors Should Register their Books with the USPTO Pronto

At AuthorU.org, we have had the pleasure of two workshops with Molly Kocialski, the Rocky Mountain Regional Director of the USPTO—the United States Patent and Trade Office. Fingers crossed, Molly’s schedule will allow her to be with us again at the Extravaganza in September to do the Deep Dive Workshop on Thursday, September 7th.

One of the beliefs that have floated for years was that an author should mail a copy of the manuscript to him or herself and that was all that was needed. It’s wrong.

Here’s what today’s Copyright law covers:

The Author’s copyright becomes automatic as soon as a creative work is captured in a tangible form. In other words, think paper, a file on your computer, any recording device … and of course the finished book. The reality here is that as soon as you start noodling and there is a traceable/findable scrap of paper (who knows—it could be a napkin or the back of a menu you started your masterpiece on), the author has started copyright protection.

For online registration, your cost is $35. To snail mail your book in, the cost is $85. It’s part of your “publishing is a business” scene.

With that said, AuthorU does recommend that you take the next step. Register your finished book with the US Copyright Office. Do it within three months of your initial publication. Why? If there is an infringement, it increases the amount of damages that may be awarded. Oops, you are thinking—your book was published two years ago. Okay, register it anyway. You can’t be awarded the multiple of damages if a suit goes in your favor, but you are still in the game. In other words, do it anyway—your book becomes “searchable”.





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Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of AuthorU.org, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35 was published in 2016: How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos. Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2017, the dates are June 22-24th.  Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow.

Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.

header-logo1.pngAuthor U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps, and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre-, during and post-publishing of their books. Join AuthorU.org today.

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