The last question from my young friend: 4) anything dealing with copyrighting
As long as you add "Copyright 2016 by Your Name Here" you are covered. However, you can also apply for a copyright from the federal copyright office for a minimal fee. The difference is that if anyone were to plagiarize or steal your ideas/stories with the unregistered copyright, you could only sue for damages from profits they make on the story. The registered copyright gives you the right to sue for damages in addition to profits. (i.e., if they don't make any money stealing your work, you get nothing under scenario 1. In scenario 2, you can collect even if they don't profit from stealing your work).
I have read articles that say traditional publishers view you as amateurish if you apply for a copyright on your own and then submit to them. As an independent, the option is yours.
If you have something you'd like to see answered, feel free to drop me a line!