Thursday, July 5, 2012

DRM and Copyright and Format ~ Oh My!

Besides the things I listed last week, there is still much to do before self publishing that has nothing to do with the actual writing of the novel.  I wanted to share with you a few more steps I am currently working on while waiting for my editor to finish proof reading Always & Forever.

COPYRIGHT PAGE:  If you self publish, it is up to you to create your own copyright page. There are certain aspects that must go on this to protect your rights and save you from a lawsuit. Here's a website you can get more information from and sample copyright pages you may legally cut and paste to your own book.  What I didn't know is that copyright pages are, in fact, copyrighted, so don't copy one out of a book without changing the wording.

I've saved mine as a generic Copyright Boilerplate so for future books all I have to do is change the copyright date and insert the correct ISBN/MOBI/EPUB numbers.

DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT: You also need to decide whether you are putting DRM on your electronic book or not. This is supposed to help stop piracy of your work, but what I've heard is it just makes things hard for honest customers who might read books on multiple platforms (they can't do this without buying multiple copies of books with DRM). Interestingly, someone also said if the company hosting the DRM goes out of business in the future, the reader will no longer be able to access the book. My favorite books I will re-read many times over for years and years. I would be very upset if I suddenly couldn't access it ten years from now.

For these reasons, I've decided against DRM, but each author must make this choice for themselves. On my copyright page, I included a paragraph about where my book can be legally bought and if it wasn't purchased from those sources, the reader has received a pirated copy and where to report it. I think the convenience not having DRM provides to readers is worth the risk, but this is another thing to think about if you are self publishing.

FORMATTING:  Once my book comes back from the editor, I will need to format it for publication. This is a tricky process, but I'm going to try to do it myself. If you are not confident in your abilities to do this, you can hire a formatter. My friend and fellow author, Rachelle Ayala, formats e-books.  Check her out

However, I took a writing course How to Think Sideways from author Holly Lisle, and it has a comprehensive lesson on formatting. I'm giving it a go. We'll see how this turns out.

Someone also said you can have your books formatted by using this website - but I will caution you that I've not tried this and I don't know how it works.

Instructions are also provided for Amazon through their KDP program here.  Barnes & Nobles has information for their PubIt! formatting here.  Smashwords has instructions for the "Meat Grinder" (seriously, this is what they call it!) here. I'm not doing the meat grinder, as I've heard it is a headache and a half! I've decided to only submit to Amazon and Barnes & Noble for now.

I'm sure there are things I've forgotten to do and I will discover them as I get closer to publication. However, right now I'm waiting on my editor so I'm going to spend time writing my newest book.

Have a terrific week, everyone! Thanks for reading!


  1. If I am not mistaken, Smashwords works with Barnes and Noble. So if you make your work available on Smashworsds, ot gopes automatically to B&N as well. I could be wrong.

    1. Good point, Cyrus. I should have been a little clearer. Smashwords will submit your ebook to various vendors (Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, the Diesel eBook Store, Baker & Taylor Blio - according to their web site). However, I've heard through author friends it is much easier to format for Barnes & Noble separately and you get better results. Apparently, Smashwords is a little difficult. I don't know for sure, because I haven't tried it.

      However, you are correct. You can do it all through Smashwords, it seems. Thanks so much for pointing that out! Have a terrific rest of your week!

  2. Wow! SO much to do. I find it impressive all the steps that an indie must do. Bravo!

    1. Yeah - there's a bit more to do than I realized when I first decided to self publish. Then, of course, there is always the marketing! Have a great day!

  3. Hi Chantel! I'm going through this exact process right now, and was going crazy trying to figure out what/where/how to put in the copyright section. Really appreciate the info you've provided here. :)

    1. That's great, E.J. I'm glad this is helpful. The other web site really helped me figure out how to do this. Good luck with your book!


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