Answers About Illustrators and Copyrights

The following is an e-mail I received from Jon Bard, CEO of the Children’s Book Insider Clubhouse (yes, the same one I talked about in my last post).  Anyhow, since both of these questions had come up at times in the Accokeek Women’s Writing Group, I thought I would share this on Women’s Pages.  The copyright response is applicable to all writers, not just children’s writers.  Happy writing, all! 

Hey there, it's Jon from Children's Book Insider.  Hope you're busy working
on your children's book!  🙂

I'm back with quick answers to the two most common questions new writers
ask us. 

1. I'm only a writer, not an artist. Do I need illustrations to send my
manuscript to a
publisher?

A:  It depends.  If you're sending your story to a traditional publisher
(someone
like Scholastic or Random House, let's say), the answer is "No".  If a publisher
buys your story, their art director will match your words up with the right
illustrator.  The publisher will pay the illustrator and you may share royalties
for books sold.

If you're self publishing -- either electronically or in print -- it is up to
you to
find and pay an illustrator,  You can find illustrators many places, but one
resource we really like is http://99designs.com

If you're hiring an illustrator, you most likely will do it on a "work for hire"
basis (you'll pay the illustrator a flat fee for the work and the you will own
it
and not pay royalties for further usage fees).

2. Do I need to copyright my work?  

A. Here's what the US Copyright Office has to say:

"As soon as the idea for your novel, poem, or manuscript
is written down in a fixed copy, the work automatically
has copyright protection. "

(Fixed copy means that the idea has been fixed in a material
object that can be read or visually perceived directly or with a
device -- for example, either with a computer or a physical
copy of a book.)

So, essentially, if you create a story and place "Copyright (year) (name)"
on your document, it is copyrighted.

There are some advantages, though, to formally registering a copyright.
To learn about those, along with complete instructions on how to do it,
go to http://bit.ly/copyright-basics  

I highly recommend you check out this link - understanding the dos and don'ts
of copyright is vital.

That's it for new.  Keep writing!

All the best,

Jon Bard

* Managing Editor, Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's
Writers

* Fightin' Bookworm in Chief, The CBI Clubhouse -- The Essential Children's
Writing Resource.  Visit http://cbiclubhouse.com and Come Join the Fightin'
Bookworms!"