Copyright law is confusing but you can navigate through it as well as anyone. I suggest you go to the U.S. Copyright Office website then look for a link to “Copyright Basics” and download that file. If printed out it would be 19-20 pages of fairly clear information. You might also want to check your local public library. Just make sure the book was written after 1976, the year of the last major changes to the law, known as the 1976 Copyright Act.
The law states that you don’t have to do anything to get a copyright. According to the U.S Copyright Office “Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.”
If this isn’t enough comfort for you, you can register your copyright with the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress. That procedure, the application forms, and the fees are explained on their web site. There are advantages to doing the registration. Most important, registration clearly establishes the date your work was created, which is important only in a case of infringement. Whoever came up with the work first is the copyright owner.
It is recommended that you put on each copyrighted piece the copyright notice, using the copyright emblem (a “c” inside a circle) or the word “copyright” followed by the year of copyright, followed by the name of the copyright owner. E.g. “copyright 2002 owner,” or “c (in a circle) 2002 XXX Corp.” TIP: The copyright symbol can be printed on most computers by holding down CTRL and ALT while typing a lower case letter “c” =©, if that doesn’t work try holding down CTRL and ALT while typing the number 069. Putting a copyright notice on each piece is not required, but is considered advisable so as to put everyone on notice so they cannot claim they copied not realizing it was copyrighted.