Three Things to Know about Literary Copyrights

When it comes to literary copyright is there are several things that you want to know. Lots of people worry when they start sharing their work as a writer that it is going to get co-opted by someone else and published under their name. That’s why they are often unwilling to share their work in writing workshops or online for fear that someone that they’ve asked for a critique from will try to pass off their work as their own. But that is unlikely to happen and the reasons for that have to do with understanding literary copyright.

Do You Actually Have to Register a Copyright?

The truth is you do not actually have to register a copyright for your book or short story in order to for it to be yours. As soon as your short story or novel is published to some medium, whether that be through a traditional publisher or through any of the independent publishing platforms that are out there, your work is automatically copyrighted. You do not even have to put the word copyrighted on the page anywhere. In fact, when you send your work to an editor or agent, anywhere in the USA from an editor in New York to an illustrator in Los Angeles they will often see this as the work of an amateur since they know that your work is protected. You can even email your short story or novel to yourself or uploaded to Google drive or some other medium and that will allow you to prove that it is your work as well.

What Are the Benefits of Registering a Copyright Anyway?

If you choose to pursue going after an official copyright anyway there are a few benefits that can be derived from it. Essentially, you will be getting what is called a super copyright. When your work is published by traditional book publisher, you’re going to get a copyright anyway because that is how publishers do business and how lawyers recommend that they go about it. Formally registering a copyright definitely would give you leverage in court if someone were ever to try to claim that your work is there. If you have an official copyright and you see someone for plagiarism, then the damages and compensation that you received could be greater because of the fact that you have an official copyright. You shouldn’t have to worry about any legitimate editors or agents trying to plagiarize material. Sometimes other writers do this, but almost never has an editor or agent that is legitimate been accused of this.

What about a “Poor Man’s Copyright”?

You may have heard of the poor man’s copyright when you mail something to yourself in order to prove that it is yours. This used to be done through the snail mail process. However, today you can just as easily get the same sort of copyright by uploading your work to something like Google drive or by simply emailing it to yourself. This proves that it is your work at a particular date stamp.

Pros & Cons of Adding Pictures to a Children’s Book

One of the decisions that you are going to have to make is whether or not to add pictures to your children’s book. This will depend upon several factors such as whether you have access to the artwork in the first place and what age group you are targeting. Some age groups are almost required to have pictures if you want them to sell while others can do without them. Let’s take a look at some of those factors now.

Traditional versus Self-Publishing

One of the things that may make a difference is whether you are publishing through traditional means or self-publishing. If you are asking how to publish a children’s book through traditional means, then you’re going to have very little control over whether or not your books have pictures. If they are in those age groups where pictures are required, then your publisher will hire out for an artist to create the pictures. For chapter books and easy readers, your publisher may still contract out for some sketches to add your book. If you are self-publishing, then you have to make those decisions yourself. Of course, you also have to do all of the acquisition work to get those pictures.

Are You the Artist?

If you are an artist, then you definitely have an advantage over authors that have written a book but have no artistic talent. If you can paint or draw pictures yourself that will go with your book, then you won’t have to worry about hiring someone to create them, paying them money to commission the work or what rights you get for doing so. Many children’s book authors are also artists and they create their own artwork to go with their books. If you are publishing traditionally, then it will still be up to the publisher whether or not your own drawings will be included with the book or whether they want to contract out to someone else.

What Age Group is Your Book Targeted Towards?

You also need to consider which age group your book is targeted towards. For example, board books and picture books are required to have pictures. That is, after all, the definition of that type of book. Even easy readers and chapter books should have some pictures in them because children are transitioning from those picture books to books with a lot more words and having books with no pictures can be rather intimidating. For older children, pictures are not strictly necessary.

Print Book or eBook Format

You also need to consider whether you are publishing your book in print or e-book format. If you are publishing in print, you are going to have a lot easier time formatting your book, but it is also going to cost you more with a traditional service like print on demand. Color pictures can add several dollars your cost whenever someone orders one of your books. This is not the case with e-books, but it can be tricky to do the formatting to your pictures display properly.

Where to Find 2019 Writing Contests

There are a lot of places the public a few one point 2019 writing contest. Some of them are going to be listed online, but others are to be more difficult to find. The most prominent ones are the ones that are talked about the most, but there may be smaller ones were the competition is a lot thinner and where the prices are still worth it. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can find writing contest.

Professional Writer’s Association Forums

One of the best places that you can look is on the forum of your genre specific professional writers association. For example, the Horror Writers of America have their own form and you can check it out in see if there’s a thread where people list contest that they’ve heard about.

Writer’s Magazines

Writer’s Magazines are one of the top resource when it comes to finding out whether or not there are any contest worth entering happening this year. These periodicals make it their business to know which writing contests are coming up and especially which ones are best for the aspiring writers that they target.

Social Media Feeds

Social Media is another great places you can find writing contest. If you search social media feeds for writing contests, there’s a good chance that you will see ones coming up as the organization behind them announces them. Not every organization will promote the contest on Facebook and Twitter, but the majority of them do, so you can check their regularly for updates.

Online Search

Looking online is also an option when you’re trying to find writing contest. The problem is that many of the websites that this writing contest did always differentiate between ones that were held for the last few years, ones that were held once last year and the current better contests. You’ll have to look at each deadline manually and see if they are holding any this year and if you are still eligible to enter the contest.

Schools & Libraries

Ask your local librarian or someone at your high school or college if they know of any upcoming contests. A lot of times, librarians will get advance notice on these contests in the form of posters or flyers that they can post up around the library. The same goes for schools when it comes to contests that high school and college students are eligible for. There are usually quite a few contests available for high school students and they can include things like poetry, playwright, fiction, nonfiction and even song lyrics in some cases.

Within Your Local Community

Check within the local Chamber of Commerce or other source of information within your city or town. There may be writing contests that specifically apply to people that live in your city, county or state. There may be contest that are open to those that are willing to write about the state that you live in as well.