About Catherine

I’m Catherine Tucker, a small town, chocolate-loving, coffee-craving, God-fearing, fiction writer and blogger who lives deep in the heart of Texas. In my bi-weekly posts, I will be sharing fresh and engaging content from my insight, as well as other published authors, which I hope will be informative and inspiring.

Who Owns It?

Guest post from award-winning author and publisher, Anita Dickason.

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Anita Dickason

“I do.” This is a typical response from many authors when I ask, “Who owns your book?” In the strictest sense, they are right. An author owns the copyright to the content. Unfortunately, ‘own’ does not always apply to the finished product: the published book. Two other components can be a significant game-changer for an independent author: the ISBN and cover.

ISBN

The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is what I term the social security number of the publishing world. It is a unique identifier for each version of a book: softcover, hardback, eBook, etc.

Bowker is the U.S. agency that sells and administers ISBNs. For every ISBN assigned to a book title, Bowker maintains a record of the book’s details that includes the name of the publisher. The ISBN assigned to books submitted to distributors such as Createspace, Smashwords, and IngramSpark will be confirmed with Bowker to determine the identity of the publisher. If the author is not the publisher of record, the submission will be rejected. Simply stated: Whoever owns the ISBN controls distribution.

As an example, CreateSpace (CS) has three options for the assignment of the ISBN. CS will provide a number that is free, or the author can purchase one for $99. The third option allows the author to use a number purchased from Bowker.

Selecting the free number sets up CS as the publisher of record. Once the book is published CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform is listed as the publisher in the detail section of the book on Amazon websites and with Bowker. The book can only be sold through Amazon and distributed by CS to other retail outlets through the Extended Distribution Channel. The author cannot use the free ISBN to publish the book through another distributor such as IngramSpark. This same scenario applies to any distributor or publisher that offers a free ISBN whether for a paperback or eBook.

The $99 option provides the author all the distribution rights that would be available had the author purchased the number from Bowker. The advantage is CS will handle the title set up with Bowker using the publisher name provided by the author. A disadvantage is the expense when an author intends to publish additional books. A block of 10 numbers can be purchased from Bowker for $295, or $250 when there is a sale.

Which option to select for an ISBN is dependent on the author’s goals. I know several authors who are very satisfied to stay within the realm of Amazon and choose the free option. That is not always a wrong decision as the author has only one account to manage. If, however, an author wants to expand their book distribution beyond Amazon, which does have limitations, it is important to understand the role of the ISBN before selecting the free option.

Book Cover
The other ‘gotcha’ is the cover. Book cover templates provide an easy method to design a cover. Use of the template, however, can cost the author the copyright to the cover.

CreateSpace’s Cover Creation is an example. CS owns the copyright to any cover created on one of their templates even if the author has uploaded images. The cover can only be used on the paperback distributed by CreateSpace or on the Kindle version. If an author intends to use IngramSpark or an eBook distributor such as Smashwords or Pronoun, a new cover is required.

The second concern is images used by the designer. Images are subject to copyright. If the designer does not have the legal right to use the image, the book may be subjected to litigation. When a copyright complaint for an image in a cover is filed with Amazon, the book is removed from Amazon sites and cannot be sold until the issue is resolved.

The author should also ascertain whether the designer’s right to use the image includes full rights or is there a limitation. This can affect how and where the cover can be displayed.

Whether it is the use of a template, purchase of a pre-made or a custom designed cover, the author should ascertain who owns the copyright before electing to use the service. If the designer or company agrees to release the copyright, the author should request written confirmation along with the print-ready PDF file and JPG. The transfer agreement should stipulate the author has full rights to the final files that includes unlimited use of any images.

The publishing environment is in a constant state of flux. Companies, individuals, and websites have a way of disappearing or going out of business. Knowing your options for the ISBN and cover design can eliminate a ton of grief down the line.

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Anita Dickason is an Award-Winning Author, Publisher and retired Dallas Police Officer. Her law enforcement experience, (patrol, undercover narcotics, SWAT team, and advanced accident investigator) provides the background and plots for her FBI Tracker suspense novels, Sentinals of the Night and Going Gone!

Her publishing company, Mystic Circle Books and Designs, LLC provides manuscript and design services to assist authors in publishing their works. Anita is also the Fiction Editor for Indie Authors Monthly Magazine. Her column, ON THE HUNT, is a series of articles on publishing, distribution, and promotions and is featured in the magazine and on her website: https://www.anitadickason.com/

Fierce Women Who Happen to be Authors – A Conversation with Sue Latham

Just in time for Halloween, I’d like to introduce to you the fourth author in my Fierce Women series Fierce Woman Paranormal author Sue Latham. Sue is the author of two novels The Haunted House Symphony and The Science Professor’s Ghost. In our conversation, Sue talks about the ghosts in her stories and ghosts in real life. She shares an interesting story of paranormal activities she observed on a particular ghost hunting expedition with her Ghost Hunting Group.

fierce-women Sue also talks about her experience as a writer and shares great writing advice for aspiring writers perfectly timed for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Sue has traveled extensively. And in Europe, she walked in the footsteps of Beethoven, Mozart, Einstein and Van Gogh and was once blessed by the Pope.

Join me for a “spooky” yet fascinating conversation with Sue Latham!

Sue’s books can be found on Amazon.com.

The song featured in this post is called “Neo Soul Day” by Texas Radio Fish.

Fierce Women Who Happen to be Authors – A Conversation with Deondriea Cantrice

I am so excited to introduce to you Deondriea Cantrice, one of the most dynamic women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Deondriea is a true success story! And I’m honored to include her in my Fierce Women series.

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Statistics would have told you Deondriea would be a high school dropout living on welfare. That’s because Deondriea was a teen-mom. Despite having this life-changing event as a major obstacle to overcome, Deondriea persevered to become a celebrated author, motivational speaker, and youth coach.

Deondriea is also a marketing maven who has been able to not only build her brand, but she has been able to assist others in building a sustainable brand as well.

Deondriea was awarded the Distinction of Excellence Award by Stiletto Woman in Business Award (SWIBA) in 2014 and named a finalist for the SWIBA Author of the Year in 2014. She is intelligent, hardworking, and everything she does is done in excellence!

Please join me for an enthralling conversation with Deondriea!

Deondriea’s books can be found on Amazon.com:

Tip Toes, Steel Toes and Stilettos, Rhythm Can’t Keep Time, When Emotions Lie, After the Rain, Write and Grow Rich, You! Branding Yourself for Success!

The song featured in this post is called “Neo Soul Day” by Texas Radio Fish.

Fierce Women Who Happen to Be Authors – A Conversation with Author Arianne “Tex” Thompson

In today’s segment of Fierce Women Who Happen to Be Authors, I’m talking with multi-talented, multifaceted author Arianne “Tex” Thompson. A home-grown success story, Tex is the author of Children of the Drought, an internationally published epic fantasy Western series. Tex talks candidly about her writing journey, her successes and some of the unexpected pitfalls of writing and publishing. I have to tell you, I had a blast talking with Tex! Join us now for a fun and engaging conversation!

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Tex’s novels One Night in Sixes, Medicine for the Dead, and Dreams of the Eaten can be found on Amazon.com.

The song featured in this post is called “Neo Soul Day” by Texas Radio Fish.