How to Copyright a Children's Book

By Alexis Lawrence

If you have just finished a children's book and are about to send it out to agents, managers and publishing houses, you first need to copyright that book. Technically a book is copyrighted the moment it is put down on paper, but a formal copyright is a legal safeguard that helps to prove your ownership of your work in case anyone tries to publish it without your permission. Get a copyright through the government's copyright office and follow its registration process.

Pick your registration method. The U.S. Copyright Office allows you the option of either completing the electronic form online or mailing in a paper form. Both forms can be accessed on their website (see Resources).

Complete the copyright form. The copyright form will ask for information on the author and title of the book, a description of its contents, the name of the owner of its rights and who should be contacted about those rights and where the copyright certificate should be mailed. You will also select the type of work that you are submitting. Formats such as literary work, music, motion picture and performing arts will be listed. Check "literary work."

Pay the registration fee. The 2009 fees are $35 for online copyright registration and $45 for registration by mail.

Submit the copyright form. If you are registering a copyright online you will need to click "Submit" to submit your copyright form for processing. When you submit your form, you will be provided with a shipping slip to use when mailing in your book. This will allow the copyright office to easily match your registration form and your book. It is also possible to print out the copyright form and mail it in with your book if you prefer to register by mail.

Submit one or two copies of your work. For a children's book, you will be required to submit at least one copy. You will not get the book back, so do not send your only copy. Use the provided shipping slip if you submitted your registration online or be sure to include a completed copyright form if you did not register online. Mail your book to Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20559-6222.

About the Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.