DISSECTING the © PAGE: P-CIP

One of the challenges of publishing your own book is to make it look and feel 'real' (or legit).  I knew that I would need to cross my 't's and dot my 'i's before releasing Big Mo into the Big world!

One of the first indications that a reader is holding a REAL book is a fully-fleshed out and accurate Copyright Page.  Every book has one, and few readers really pay much attention to them.  In this first installment of "Dissecting the © Page", let's look closer at the P-CIP.

Libraries have a lot of books.

  La Biblioteca de Babel  by Erik Desmazieres (inspired by Jorge Luis Borges novel of the same name), 1997.

La Biblioteca de Babel by Erik Desmazieres (inspired by Jorge Luis Borges novel of the same name), 1997.

Furthermore, librarians SEE a lot of books, and they have to find the proper shelf home for each one.  The purpose of the text block known as Cataloging in Publication (CIP) is to provide librarians with all the needed information to acquire and process a title.  Sounds reasonable, right?

To complicate things, there are two types of Cataloging in Publication: LC-CIP (issued by the Library of Congress Copyright Office) and the P-CIP (prepared by the publisher/agent).  Because the Library of Congress is swarmed by over fifty thousand titles each year, they do not accept self-published works unless the author has a proven history of creating books that are widely accepted by the nation's libraries (quite a daunting goal!).  For the nitty gritty: LC-CIP grit

Naturally, Big Mo falls into the P-CIP category as a self-published work.  Several companies offer authors a CIP-generating service, and I chose the very reputable Quality Books, Inc.  To create the data block, they ask for the book's (a) Plot, (b) Summary, (c) Keywords (for library searchie thingies), (d) Full Text and (e) Intended Audience.

One bit that caused me endless stress was drafting the "official" Summary as forged forever in ink (ie. may as well have been carved in stone) on the © page.  Since Big Mo has a major plot twist, I debated long and hard about the proper wording for the Summary, so as not to spoil the ending!  In the end, I received a lovely and compact block (affectionately, the "CIP Block"), which I then formatted to balance with the title page opposite:

Thank a librarian today!!