Indie Authors: Book Rights

This month I’ve started working seriously on my passion project, I Know Dino. One of my goals is to get a few dinosaur ebooks out, starting with a picture book I’ve been working on for a while about how Brontosaurus is not a real dinosaur (even though it used to be my favorite).

Last weekend, I found an amazing illustrator on Fiverr and have started work on actually finishing and putting together my Brontosaurus book. This got me to thinking of how to go about handling the rights, which got me to thinking about how indie authors handle copyright and their rights to their work.

Back in March, indie author Ron Glick shared an excellent blog post called “Intellectual Property and the Indie Writer,” which details what intellectual property is and how he protects his work.

There’s a lot that’s changing, for traditional and self-published authors.

Indie Author Rights

Indie authors worried about their rights must register their own copyright, which they can do so for a $35 fee via

And if you have more than 4 titles, you can be considered a small publisher and register books with the Library of Congress. New Shelves has an excellent post on applying to the Library of Congress and also getting a Cataloging in Publication record.

Indie authors also should consider what they can do with their work, in addition to selling stories as ebooks and print on demand. I recommend listening to Joanna Penn’s podcast with Orna Ross, which is called “A Guide to Rights and How You Can Exploit Them.” They cover selling short stories to magazines and anthologies, as well as creating short story collections. There are also audiobooks and foreign language editions. In some cases it may be worthwhile to get an agent to help. Joanna expanded on this concept further in a more recent post, “It’s Not Just One Book,” where she also covered other subsidiary rights such as multimedia. And she has another excellent post on licensing rights internationally.

Then of course, there are film and TV deals. On ALLi, Dialogue Berlin wrote a guest post. Dialogue Berlin works with ALLi to “to source the self-published stories that are most suitable for TV and film. If you would like to have your story considered by Dialogue for possible submission to producers and filmmakers, you’ll find full details in the Member Zone here.”

Traditional Authors

Traditionally published authors have just as much to consider as indie authors. Publishers offer contracts, and it’s up to the author and agent to decide what to agree upon. Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton shares “The Nuts and Bolts of Publishing Contracts,” which may be helpful for first-time authors to read.


What other rights do authors have to consider? Share in the comments!


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