I just submitted the mms of the novel to the US copyright office. For 35 bucks, it's peace of mind that my work is protected. Extra thanks to my dad for bringing it up. I would have never remembered.
This is my second (!) work submitted to the copyright office. The first was submitted in 1990, by an attorney who knew someone at the RI Council on the Arts, and he did the work pro-bono.
Here's some fun facts that not too many people know. I had written a play that won a major national award, it was produced for a few performances at the Kennedy Center, and was directed by Jack Hofsiss. It was a two-hander, and one of the actors was Sabrina Le Beauf. She chewed me out for watching a bit of the "closed" rehearsal from the doorway until I explained that I was the playwright. Then she was absolutely lovely, and they invited me in to have a seat and watch rehearsal for a bit.
Anyway, the RI Council on the Arts was involved in the whole shebang, since it was a Very Big Deal (cover of the ProJo arts section, wearing horrid watermelon colored pants). The attorney did loads of pro bono for them, and was in DC for the play, and offered to do the copyright for free. They even paid the filing fee.
Of course, that was before The Interwebs were discovered, so copyright was this Big Scary Secret Process. Now you just go to a web site, fill out a bunch of pages, submit the credit card info and boom! Copyright filing done.
Of course, the DIY method was not half as glamorous. Back then, I visited a lawyer in a fancy office in a high rise building in Providence, and they had a soda machine that dispensed soda for NO MONEY WHATSOEVER! Twenty years later, surrounded by dirty dinner dishes in the kitchen, I protected my copyright without an ice cold free Diet Coke. But it's protected.
Next it's onto finishing the book cover, getting the ISBN number, formatting into the various ebook formats, and then I can send it out to bloggers. And I keep going back and forth about doing a website. Part of me is just UGH about spending the time and money developing another website that I am not so sure is necessary. But in for a penny...
And so much of this admin work is keeping me from working on Book Two, but it's work that needs to be done. Of course, now that we are getting down to it, I am getting super nervous about shoving it out into the world, so procrastination is kicking in. But I committed to doing this, and I can't chicken out.