Copyright Registration is an important part of your book’s publication process. Although you can file a “pre-publication” copyright, it is not necessary since the self-publishing process doesn’t take years to complete. Photo of a laptop computer and writing pad with pen and stack of books in the background, linked to post about The Business of Publishing

We recommend that you wait to start copyright registration until after your book has been sent to the printer. If you live outside the United States and are planning to publish your book in the US, you will need to consult with an American copyright attorney for help in determining how to register copyright for your book.

The US Copyright Office has both online and paper filing systems. Their paper system can be confusing and costs an additional $10 to file, so we recommend you file via their online “eCO” system. Filing fees are $35 for eCO and $45 for paper processing. Go to: and follow the steps to obtain a US Copyright Office account and file your copyright.

After completing the process, watch your email for detailed instructions and a packing slip that will be emailed to you from the US Copyright Office. Print out the packing slip and mail it to the US Copyright Office (address below) along with two copies of your book when you get your first order from the printer.

Copyright Registration is a detailed process. If you find you’d like to have someone take care of these details for you and retain all of your rights and royalties, contact us at We offer a wide range of services and several affordable packages depending on your needs.

THE BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING—Control Number and Cataloging in Publication Registration

To register your book with the US Library of Congress, you can choose to obtain an LCCN or Cataloging in Publication (CIP) data. Read through each section below to decide which one to get.

Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)Photo of a laptop computer and writing pad with pen and stack of books in the background, linked to post about The Business of Publishing

After you receive your ISBNs and an estimated page count from your interior layout artist, you should register the book for a Library of Congress Control Number. The LCCN is entered into a directory that allows libraries within the US to order a copy of your book. If your book is published outside of the US, check with your local library for the equivelent of an LCCN. This number will appear on the copyright page along with the ISBN. To apply for an account with the Library of Congress and an LCCN for your book, go to and follow the steps.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication (CIP)

Library of Congress CIP data is a detailed description of your book’s subject matter, that is registered in the main Library of Congress database. It helps libraries find, order, and stock books faster. While libraries can order the book with an LCCN, CIP data gets the book in front of them and makes the ordering process even easier. It is beneficial if you are eligible. There are several requirements for getting CIP data, primarily that you are not a self-published author.

As a self-published author, you will not be eligible for Library of Congress CIP information. However, there are two ways to possibly get around this block. First, you can try and register your book for CIP information and just not indicate it is self-published. If you plan on publishing titles by you and two other authors, you will be considered a “small press” and will become eligible for the program. Or you can get Publisher’s Cataloging in Publication data, which doesn’t get you into the main library database, but it does assist libraries with stocking your book, so they are more likely to order.

To try to register for Library of Congress CIP data, go to and apply for a CIP account using the same instructions as for the LCCN/PCN account. The pages and forms are the same. They will research your information and make a deterimation as to whether they feel you are eligible for the program. If they contact you and say you are not eligible, but you really want libraries to be more open to carrying your book, you should contract a library distributor to create P-CIP data for you. The largest library distributor in the US is Quality Books. They can be reached at:

Quality Books 1003 W. Pines Rd. Oregon, IL 61061 800.323.4241

Other Requirements

When you have published your book and get your first order, you need to send one copy to whichever place you have registered it (you can only apply to register it via CIP or LCCN). Use the addresses in the boxes below to submit a complimentary copy of your book. If you chose to use a P-CIP through Quality Books or another company, you must contact them for the rules of submitting copies of your book.

Publishing a book is a detailed process. If you find you’d like to have someone take care of these details for you and retain all of your rights and royalties, contact us at We offer a wide range of services and several affordable packages depending on your needs.


In the process of getting your book printed and distributed, there is the consideration of the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) prefix. If you don’t already have an ISBN prefix, you can obtain one in the US from RR Bowker at If you’re planning on writing and publishing more than one book, it is less expensive and easier to order 10 at a time when you register through their site. It may take up to a week for the processing of your application, so don’t wait until your book is ready for printing to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions About ISBNs

Do I have to get an ISBN?Photo of a laptop computer and writing pad with pen and stack of books in the background, linked to post about The Business of Publishing

If you are going to market your books directly and have no desire to sell them in a retail store or through an online retailer, you don’t have to assign an ISBN to your book. If you want to sell books through any retail outlet (other than one you may own) or if you want libraries to order it, you must obtain an ISBN.

What’s the difference between an ISBN and an ISBN prefix?

The ISBN prefix is included in each ISBN. It is the first several digits that are the same in each ISBN assigned to you and identifies your publishing company to retailers. If you use all your ISBNs and apply for more, you will receive another prefix as well. A publishing company may have an unlimited number of prefixes depending on how many books they publish.

What’s the difference between an ISBN and a barcode?

The ISBN is the number itself that you purchase. The barcode is a computer-scannable image (like a UPC) generated from the number. It can be generated by using a software program or purchased from RR Bowker (

If I don’t get an ISBN barcode from RR Bowker, where can I get one?

A printable ISBN barcode file can be obtained free from You may give that website to your cover designer or submit the information yourself. If you decide to do it yourself, be sure to follow each step on the website carefully. When you have completed the process, download the file(s) to your computer) and give the barcode image file to the cover designer to be included on the back cover of the book.

Should I embed the price of my book in the barcode?

Along with the ISBN, the retail price of the book can be embedded in the barcode as well. It is easier for retailers to find the price of your book if it is embedded in the barcode, so the practice is recommended, however it is your option to decide. For additional information on how to format the price of your book, consult

What do I do once I get my numbers?

After you get your ISBN numbers from Bowker (, you’ll need to assign an ISBN to your book. Once an ISBN is listed in the Bowker Books in Print database, it cannot be reassigned to any other book title.

Can I use the same ISBN for hardback and paperback versions of the same book?

ISBN rules require you to assign a different ISBN for each different format of the book. A paperback, hardback, and e-book version of the same title must each have their own ISBN. A new edition of a book title must have a new ISBN.

Does the ISBN barcode have to be a certain size?

The ISBN barcode comes in a standard size, but the recommended size is actually a little smaller: 1.75 inches wide by 1 inch high. This size is still scannable by retailers and looks cleaner on the back of a book. The barcode should be placed on the lower right-hand side of the back cover, at least a half-inch from the bottom and spine.

I’ve heard that reviewers and some booksellers can tell if I’m a small publisher by my ISBN number. Is this true and will it affect sales?

ISBNs are coded with a number in what is called the “penultimate block.” If you purchase a block of 10, that number appears as a single digit. A block of 100 is a double digit and blocks of 1,000 show triple digits. By looking at the ISBN, booksellers can see how many ISBN numbers you’ve purchased, and from there figure out how large your publishing house is. However, if your book is well-written, professionally edited and designed, and if it is an interesting subject to readers, it will sell no matter which block you purchased.

What do the numbers in an ISBN mean?

Country Code

Article Identifier

Penultimate Block

Check Digit Price Code

Publisher Prefix


Obtaining an ISBN for each of your published works is a detailed process. The information given does not represent all of the requirements necessary. Go to and follow the steps to apply for your ISBN. offers a wide range of publishing services and several affordable packages depending on your needs.

Writer’s Workshop

Recently, our I Am Published! Director, Joe Eckstein, had the opportunity to speak to a group of writers at Joanne Derstine Curphey’s 6th Annual Writer’s Workshop in Bradenton, Florida.

Joanne Derstine Curphey's Writer's Workshop, Joe Eckstein at podium



His topic was, “The Quest to Getting Your Book Published and Why You Need Help!”. Joe’s talk was an honest look at the details of publishing a book and the many areas that require expertise for a book to be respected in the marketplace.

Joe’s talk was recorded and if you’re interested in hearing what he had to say, contact us and we will let you know how you can obtain it.


Writer's Workshop-Joe Eckstein at the podium and attendees










Joe was able to attend the entire conference and met some seasoned and aspiring authors who showed their appreciation for his talk and came by his table between sessions to speak with him and ask questions about publishing their books.

Joe Eckstein's Book Table at Joanne Derstine Curphey's Writer's Workshop


Joe is always impressed at the creativity and passion of people who want to put their vision in print. He met many of them at this conference and looks forward to staying connected.


Writer's Workshop Joe at Book Table


If you’d like more information about Joanne Derstine Curphey’s Writer’s Workshop, she has a Facebook Page where she shares information about the event and speakers.

If you’re writing a book and need help with the publishing process, please let us know how we can help you. We offer a wide range of services and several affordable packages depending on your needs.


Traditional Books That Were Originally Self-Published

Traditional Books That Were Originally Self PublishedThe Elements of Style by Strunk and White
All time best-selling writing/reference guide in the US.

The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
Now considered a “masterpiece;” dedicated to the 15 publishers who rejected it.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Now a movie with three sequel books in the works all bought by a traditional publisher.

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles
Six million copies are in print in 11 languages. It spent 288 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Picked up by Ten Speed Press (owned by Random House).

The One-Minute Manager by Spencer Johnson and Ken Blanchard
Spencer Johnson then was traditionally published with Who Moved My Cheese?

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
The largest advance ever paid for a self published book—$4.125 million.

Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts
Sold 486,000 copies before selling out to Warner Books.


In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters
Over 25,000 copies sold directly to consumers in its first year, sold to Warner and the publisher sold 10 million more

The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
Still a “classic” available in bookstores worldwide.

The Beanie Baby Handbook by Lee and Sue Fox
Sold three million copies in two years and made #2 on the New York Time Bestseller list.

A Time to Kill by John Grisham
This title was sold out of the trunk of his car.

Feed Me, I’m Yours by Vicky Lansky
Rejected by 49 publishers, self-published and sold 300,000 copies. Bantam purchased it and sold eight million more. Since then, she’s written 23 more titles.

Twelve Golden Threads by Aliske Webb
Rejected 150 times. After she sold 25,000 copies, HarperCollins asked her to sign a four-book contract.

Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown
Purchased by Rutledge Hill Press (owned by Thomas Nelson) and sold more than five million copies.

Satin Doll by Karen E. Quinones-Miller
She sold 24,000 copies of this novel before it was sold in an auction to Simon & Schuster—less than one year after its release.