How to Copyright a Book With a Pen Name

By Timothy Mucciante

Many authors publish books under “pseudonyms” or pen names. An author might do this to preserve his privacy, as a marketing strategy or for other reasons. Stephen King has written under several pseudonyms during his career, including Richard Bachman and John Swithen. Thriller writer Dan Brown co-authored a humor book entitled "187 Men to Avoid: A Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman" under the pen name Danielle Brown. Using a pseudonym allows an author to write in other genres without being stereotyped.

Step 1

Launch your Web browser and navigate to the Copyright Office website (link in Resources). Click on "eCO Login," under "How to Register a Work." Click through the security and privacy notices until you arrive at the user login screen. If you are a registered user, enter your user ID and password to log in. If you don’t have an account, register as a new user and provide your contact information. Creating a new account is easy and takes only a few minutes.

Step 2

After logging in, click on "Register a New Claim." On the next screen, under the Copyright Registration heading, click “Start Registration.” Click on “Step 1: Complete an Application.” As you work through the registration process, you'll be prompted to indicate the type of work you are registering, whether it is published or unpublished, and the title of the work. Click “New” when you reach the "Author" section. You may enter your legal name as the author; then check the box to use a pseudonym and type your pen name in the space beneath the box. If you only want your pseudonym to appear, leave the author field blank.

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Step 3

Complete the “Claimant” section of the registration, which follows the authorship information. Click “New” and enter the claimant information. Note that using a pseudonym in the Claimant section may cause confusion in publication contracts and other business dealings pertaining to the work. The author's legal name is usually listed in this section.

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