Welcome to Tammy's Tidbits here at Writer's Words of Wisdom. Each week I'm sharing something I've learned during my journey to become a published author and the founder of a small independent publishing house.
The last two posts I shared with you some of my experiences formatting and distributing electronic and print books. This week's topic goes right along with those. In fact, I probably should have discussed this one before those, but just like many self published authors, I was so excited to share the information, I skipped a few steps. LOL!
Seriously, in today's digital publishing arena it's too tempting to jump into the deep end without doing your research. Many authors are so keen on putting "published" next to their name, they intentionally skip some of the steps. You know what I'm talking about and for the purpose of this discussion we'll not go into all of them.
Today is all about the ISBN: International Standard Book Number. This is a 10 or 13 number sequence assigned to any published book. "The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors." ~Bowker Identifier Services.
What that means is this number is the best way to link YOU as the publisher of your work. It's unique to the title. You have to have a separate number for your print and ebook formats, but once assigned, these numbers are forever associated with that specific edition. In other words: you own all the rights to your book. Period. End of story. :)
Why are these numbers important? Can't you just use the numbers assigned by Amazon, Smashwords, ARe, Draft 2 Digital and any other distribution channel?
To answer the second question first: yes you can use the free numbers assigned to you when you upload the book to those sites BUT...and this is a big one...you will NOT be listed as the official publisher of the book. Those sites will.
This is a big deal when it comes to book stores and other retail outlets ordering your books. Some refuse to stock anything that lists Createspace as the publisher. In order for you and your work to get to the largest markets, worldwide, you'll need your own unique ISBN, listing you as the publisher. This helps you get noticed in this vast ocean of new books out there every single day. You need to have these little extras to help build up your brand (you!), find your niche, and build your fan base.
Bowker is the only agency in the United States that can assign ISBNs to books published in this country and surrounding territories. You can choose to purchase a single ISBN or in blocks of them. I found for my purposes—and budget—the block of 10 numbers for $250 was right up my alley.
The site is easy to navigate and you can set up your account in minutes. Once you purchase your numbers, you then assign your titles to them. You'll enter all the information about your book: author, editor, cover artist, cover art, blurb, page count, pricing, etc. All of this information along with your publisher information is registered to the book with the ISBN you assign. No one else will be able to use that number and you can't use it for another book either.
For more information on this topic:
Until next time,
Learn More About Tammy
Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.
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