As we are all well aware, we happen to live in an argumentative society. For this reason, authors often include a book disclaimer, also referred to as a copyright disclaimer, on the copyright page.
The disclaimer acts as a safeguard against the possibility of a lawsuit. From the reader’s point of view, a disclaimer can also act as a practical warning to not blindly accept an author’s claims as truth.
Disclaimers generally provide two vital functions.
First, a book disclaimer clarifies the author’s credentials or lack thereof in a certain field. Second, the disclaimer denies responsibility for any outcomes resulting from the reader’s subsequent actions.
While inserting a book disclaimer is no guarantee against legal action, it certainly cannot hurt to add one.
Disclaimers are particularly important for nonfiction genres. A self-help book that promises miraculous health cures should include an FTC-derived disclaimer informing readers results are not guaranteed.
As another example, money management books require a disclaimer aligned with SEC policy to remind readers that the book is for informational purposes only.
Does every book require a disclaimer? No. However, adding a disclaimer is a simple step that can provide nonfiction authors with an added layer of legal protection. Read on to learn how to write a book disclaimer.
How To Write a Book Disclaimer
Fortunately, book disclaimers tend to follow a fairly predictable formula. When writing a disclaimer, you can be as creative as you wish, or stick with tried-and-true varieties. The book disclaimer appears toward the bottom of the copyright page.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when formulating your book disclaimer:
- Use your voice. The disclaimer can showcase your author voice, meaning it does not have to be written in a dry or dull fashion. This is especially true if your book is in the humor genre. Go ahead and have some fun with it.
- Keep it concise. A disclaimer should be succinct. A disclaimer length of a few lines to a couple of paragraphs will suffice.
- Adjust according to genre. Your book’s genre will influence the specific points made within the disclaimer. Read on to see examples of disclaimers for various genres.
Book Disclaimer Examples
You can peruse the disclaimers in books within your genre at a local bookstore, or use Amazon’s Look Inside feature to check out copyright pages online. Books that are similar to yours can give you some ideas of what an effective disclaimer looks like.
Check out these examples of copyright disclaimers for books:
When penning a memoir, the author walks a fine line between writing an authentic “tell all,” and provoking a legal challenge. This often happens when someone recognizes themselves in the book painted in an unflattering light.
Example of a memoir book disclaimer:
This work depicts actual events in the life of the author as truthfully as recollection permits. While all persons within are actual individuals, names and identifying characteristics have been changed to respect their privacy.
Nonfiction Relationship Book Disclaimer
The popular self-help relationship genre offers dating advice and guidance for improving marriages or other forms of intimate partnerships. A disclaimer can protect the author from legal challenges if the reader is not satisfied with outcomes in their own relationship.
Example of a disclaimer for a nonfiction relationship book:
Neither the publisher nor the author is engaged in rendering professional advice or services to the reader. The ideas, suggestions, and procedures provided in this book are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional guidance.
Neither the publisher nor the author shall be held liable or responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising from any suggestion or information contained in this book.
Nonfiction Finance Book Disclaimer
The nonfiction personal finance genre provides helpful tips for improving financial health. Authors in this niche are always advised to include a book disclaimer.
Example of a financial book disclaimer:
The information provided in this book is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of financial or legal advice. Making adjustments to a financial strategy or plan should only be undertaken after consulting with a professional. The publisher and the author make no guarantee of financial results obtained by using this book.
Nonfiction Wellness Book Disclaimer
The self-help space is filled with books encouraging readers to follow advice to help them lose weight or reach health-related goals. A disclaimer can help prevent the author from liability if an unexpected health issue arises.
Example of a disclaimer for a health and wellness book:
The information presented is the author’s opinion and does not constitute any health or medical advice. The content of this book is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease.
Please seek advice from your healthcare provider for your personal health concerns prior to taking healthcare advice from this book.
Fiction Book Disclaimer
Nonfiction book disclaimers are especially important; however, fiction readers are not exempt from litigation. This is why some works of fiction include book disclaimers. This is especially true if actual famous figures, agencies, or public institutions are integrated into the fictional story.
Example of a fiction disclaimer:
This is a work of fiction; therefore, the novel’s story and characters are fictitious. Any public agencies, institutions, or historical figures mentioned in the story serve as a backdrop to the characters and their actions, which are wholly imaginary.
Do I Need To Add a Disclaimer to My Book?
The simple answer to the question of whether your self-published book requires a disclaimer is: it depends.
If your book happens to be a work of fiction, adding a book disclaimer is not absolutely necessary. The fiction genre features books that are purely creative works, products of an author’s imagination.
However, if you have written a nonfiction book, you should include a book disclaimer. Nonfiction books are works that are based on true, actual events and facts. When writing in this space, a book disclaimer is able to provide additional legal protection.
Protect Your Nonfiction Book With a Disclaimer
When you begin the process of buttoning up your self-published book project, do yourself a favor and check out the editorial services provided by Gatekeeper Press.
These publishing professionals will guide you every step of the way, including advising whether you need to include a book disclaimer. Contact us today to get started!