Frequently Asked Questions: Last Update 5/6/2016

Signum Ops Imprint


Details regarding operational and functional aspects of media production with Signum Ops are covered here and should be considered universal. However, we reserve the right to maintain agreements with any particular author as we deem necessary. Certain requirements are the same for all potential clients. For example, we generally do not deal with anyone who does not have an email address. We do not publish any works produced by juveniles.

How much does it cost to produce a book?

Basically, the only fees that might be encountered today, aside from what Signum Ops charges for setup, would be those for copyright registration, which runs around $85.00, and there might be a fee for the purchase of an ISBN, although when you publish works at CreateSpace, they award an ISBN to you free of charge. Otherwise, if you buy the ISBN yourself, it costs $50.00 per ISBN or more, depending upon where you purchase it. We do not buy ISBN's.

You must also maintain an email account if you want to update your materials or transfer your materials to Signum Ops for processing. We no longer support the transmittal of materials via other media, aside from printed volumes direct from printers.

What you may not have considered as an expense is your time to produce your material, and the time we spend on that material to have it available in the market. Our labor expense is the first consideration when selecting a project for publication. 

Our fees depend entirely upon the material you submit for publication, what auxilliary material you want us to produce for you (maps, graphics, etc.), indexing if desired, cover production, and the number of revisions you might require.

What is an ISBN?

The International Standard Book Number is an indexing number, now 13 digits long, used to identify a book. Each book sold in the public market today almost always has an ISBN. The ISBN changes whenever a new edition of a book is released. Bibliographic catalogs depend upon the ISBN to identify any particular edition of any modern book. Books published before 2007 and after 1977 have a 9 digit ISBN. Usually the ISBN is printed as a barcode on the back cover of a book and it is printed on the bona-fides/publisher declaration page at the front of the book.

Can I copyright my book on my own?

Absolutely. However, YOU must submit the material we produce for you to the Copyright Office, and we can only provide that to you when you are ready to go to press. Generally, we've found the best practice to be submission by the author, and we no longer act as agent in the submission process.

How do I secure a copyright registration?

We no longer routinely submit copyright registration online at the Electronic Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.   As of November, 2015, the cost is for registration is $85.00 when processed through the U.S. Mail.  Difficulties with the Electronic Copyright Office mechanism online over several years have prompted Signum Ops to advise authors to make the copyright submissions themselves, using the paper forms, to wit "TX" as found here: Form TX.  Currently, you submit two copies of your book, the completed TX form(s), and a fee of $85.00 to the copyright office and a certificate is returned in approximatley 13 months.

If I produce an original work such as a book, isn't it already protected by copyright?

Yes, essentially, if you wrote it, you can claim the copyright without filing for the registration. However, by having a copy of your work registered with the Library of Congress, officially, you can always use the filed work, and your APPLICATION for copyright as proof of intent.  Keep a copy of your application on hand until you receive your certificate.  You need the registration certificate for eventual proof at law.

How long does it take to obtain copyright registration certificates?

Sometimes only a few months, but we've had them take as long as two years before being completed. The process can be expedited if you are willing to pay an extra $700.00 or so. The process time claimed at the copyright office website is 13 months.

Can I provide the cover design for my book?

You can suggest a cover design, and you might be able to provide a full cover, however, we've never had an author provide a cover that did not require considerable additional work to satisfy printing requirements. We discourage the use of third party cover design for a number of reasons, the main one being that we never know the exact dimensions for a full cover layout until the printed content has been submitted to the printer. Spine, back cover and front cover must all be spread into a single graphic. Bleed on the edge must be taken into consideration for placement of ISBN barcode, imprint location, and color background field margins.

Truly, a book is judged by its cover. The reading public today will always make a judgment on purchase of a book by scanning the shelves, and selecting a book by interest in the cover image. Then they will turn the book over and read the synopsis of the content on the back of the book. Next, they page through the book to see if it appears to "read" well with appropriate gutters, headings, page numbers and font sizes. They will examine the illustrations, captions and index. But, the first thing that will induce a spontaneous examination will be the cover.

Furthermore, in today's online market, one only sees a much reduced cover image of your book initially, and it may be displayed in a listing with competing volumes of similar content. If the cover of your book is bland, it will not present itself well in this digital realm of iconic reality. The same holds true for paper catalog presentations.

Can customers examine my book online as they might in a bookstore?

Yes. Amazon and the Kindle Bookstore, have virtual editions of our books wherein the customer can read at least 12 pages of the book including the front and back cover. If the book is indexed, a good portion of the index will be included in this 12-page selection. For the majority of the books the index will provide a very precise indicator of the book's content depth.