In the world of publishing, having the right title is almost as essential as having the right cover. An attention-grabbing title can be a great marketing tool and a surefire way to catch the interest of your readers. In fact, titles are so important that at times, publishing houses have changed the titles of books or series from the author’s original intention. For instance, did you know that The Fellowship of the Ring was originally called The Return of the Shadow? And 1984 was originally titled The Last Man in Europe.
Because book titles are so important to your book as a whole, it’s understandable to want to trademark them. In most cases, the USPTO will not allow the title of a single book to be published. You can, however, trademark a series title. Let’s discuss why there’s a distinction.
Book Title vs. Book Series Title
Book titles are generally difficult, if not impossible, to protect as intellectual property. Your book title is not, itself, a part of your branding. It’s more like the title of a painting or photograph in an exhibit. An artist might promote the exhibit, but not the title of the art itself. And because book titles are so short, they usually can’t be copyrighted, either.
However, a book series title is a part of your brand. Fans of that series will eagerly seek out the next book by searching for the title of your series. The book series title is used to sell the series and help it reach the right audiences. However, in order to trademark the book series title, you need at least two books within that series to already be out.
Why Trademark Your Book Series Title?
Even when it can’t be trademarked, no author likes to look at another author’s book and think, “They stole my title!” This is even more important, however, when it comes to a book series. Let’s say you have a popular mystery series that shares the same name as another mystery series. If one of your fans calls a bookstore to order the three most recent books, they might accidentally buy the other series by mistake. This would be disappointing to the fan — who didn’t get the books they wanted — and to you, who didn’t make the sale you could have.
The more distinct your book series title, the more easily your fans can find it. It can also help to boost your author brand as a whole. When you’re referred to as the “author of the [trademarked title] series,” people are more likely to know exactly what that is, because no other series in your genre has that name. In the event that they do, you can even legally request that they change their title because you own the trademark.
Popular Trademarked Book Series Titles
Ever heard of The Magic School Bus children’s series? Or the “[Blank] For Dummies” series of instructional books? Or maybe the Goosebumps series? These are all examples of trademarked series titles. Often, it’s not just the words of the title that are distinct, but the fonts and imagery in which the title is displayed. Take, for instance, the eerie green goop of the Goosebumps title. This goes along with the trademark of the book series title, much like a logo. It’s all a part of the brand, and a way to make your series distinct.
How to Trademark Your Book Series Title
It starts with the creativity of you, the author. You can brainstorm the best series title you can think of, one that you truly want to see your books associated with. From there, you may work with a trademark law attorney to research book series trademarks and go through the registration of your own trademark. Your attorney will handle most of the technical, legal work, so you can focus on the task of finishing the next book for your readers!
Contact Garcia-Zamor today to learn more about protecting your author brand or to schedule a consultation.