I wrote a fan-fiction story and had emailed a company to get a license from them so I could publish it. (The license would cover copyright stuff, etc.)

However, the person in charge of licensing asked me how many copies I planned on printing... 1,000, 5,000, 10,000? I admit that I hadn't thought about that. I just wanted to self-publish and put my story out there, and if someone wants to buy it, great. If not, I'm still a published author.

What if I just want to print out 10 copies?

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    Welcome to Writers! Interesting question. Legal questions are definitely on-topic here, so all is well, but FYI, the Law Stack Exchange site is also a thing. Again, welcome to the site and please feel free to have a look at our site tour if you haven't already. Jun 12, 2017 at 2:57
  • How many persons do you want to read it ?
    – user18743
    Jun 12, 2017 at 12:17
  • You might get a better answer from the company you contacted (I assume they're the people who hold the copyright on the original material?). Do they have special allowances for people only printing a few copies, etc. I don't think there's going to be a general answer to this, because I think it'll depend on the terms of the contract between you and the copyright holders.
    – Kate S.
    Jul 13, 2017 at 11:28
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    It is interesting to me they assume prints, as most small projects opt for digital distribution now. Did they make any mention of this in their response?
    – Weckar E.
    Aug 3, 2017 at 7:54

2 Answers 2


Make sure you have permission first before you do anything. I tried that with a fic of mine and they flat out said "No" and that I was not entitled to self-publish or make any money as long as it was based on their universe.


I don't think you should plan on a specific number. If you plan on a small run, tell them it's small (less than a thousand). Maybe ask them why they want to know how large you're going for so that you can answer better. I think your answer should actually be that you don't know and that you plan to do "print on demand" which has the capability to grow, but would only print a copy when you need to print it. You should not print 1000 copies if you can only see yourself selling or even giving away 10.

My guess is that they are planning to offer to charge you a license fee and that depending on how big you're going they may want to charge you a different fee. That or they want to give you a license to a specific number so that if you go over it you have to negotiate paying them more.

  • Kirk has at least most of it, and the Question isn't difficult. How many copies are you planning to print? Ask either your agent or your search engine of choice how many copies the very-best sellers sell; how many the average author needs to break even; how many the average author actually sells. May 6, 2018 at 16:58

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