Book-making: The Copyright Page, ISBNs and Bonus Content
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Q. We’ve already had the ten-minute InDesign layout article… But, what I’m looking for is a little more along the lines of odds and ends in making a book come across less amateur and more professional.
Tips on indicia information, including a table of contents and whether or not it’s really needed, extras like cast pages…
Strip commentary, too much or too little… is there a proper balance? Should you include it below the associated strips?
How much extra/premium content/stuff not included on the Web already… Is a six-to-nine-strip story worth pimping that you have exclusive never before seen material as a selling point?
So, I’m basically just looking for a little bit of an odds and ends “Pro Tip” style article on polishing a book design based on things you’ve figured out.
If you haven’t registered a trademark, don’t use ®. That could lead to big trouble. You may use the superscript TM to indicate an unregistered trademark.
You automatically have copyright over your own work, and it’s customary to indicate it with the common notation: © Year, Name.
© 2016, Brad Guigar
I add the phrase “All rights reserved,” but that’s pretty superfluous from a legal sense.
I also include the following disclaimer:
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used ficticiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the copyright notation, I put the ISBN. You should buy your ISBNs from R.R. Bowker (here’s why).
Under that: “First edition” (or second or whatever is applicable)
And then, under that, this series of numbers*:
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Depending on your printer, you may be obligated to add another line, such as “Printed in Canada.”
* The number line indicates the number of editions the book has been through. If it ends in “1,” then it’s a first printing. If the number line were: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4, then this would be the fourth printing.
This system is a holdover from a very old system that relied on the ease of simply removing the last number in the series rather than creating a new printing plate.
I don’t think you need a table of contents unless you’re doing something like a longform comic that could be broken down into chapters — and a reader could be well-served by having a guide to where those chapters begin.
Also — if you’re printing your book overseas, there needs to be a note — either on the copyright page or on the back cover — that indicates where it was printed. For example: “Printed in South Korea.” If US Customs does a random check and doesn’t find this notation, your books may not be allowed into the US (or the shipment may be delayed).
If you have a copy of the “How To Make Webcomics” book, we discuss the issue of strip commentary starting on Page 143. We came out against it.
As far as including extras in general, I think that’s a great idea — if it adds value to the reader. That’s the key determination. There are several good ideas I’ve seen launched over the years, such as:
- Including a small amount of strips or a very special story arc that was not previously published before as a way to entice people to buy the book.
- Creating a small number of strips — maybe two pages or so — that are exclusive only to the book and won’t be on the web at all
- Guest comics
- Character bios
- Bonus stories/backstories.
- Coloring old black and white comics
- Instead of commenting under each comic, consider writing a short essay at key points in the book.
How much extra is enough extra?
Extra content is not measured by the pound or by the foot. It’s judged on the amount of interest or excitement it brings to a book — in other words, the value it brings to the reader. It could be one page or it could be several.