Tag Archives: isbn

T-minus three days and counting…

First of all, thank you, everyone, for your advice and thoughts on whether I should buy my own ISBN and/or set up my own publishing company. After coming off a major adrenalin rush, reading your comments, and making a call to my local Australian Bowker, I had a plan.

I’ve decided not to bother with a publishing company, because, as someone pointed out, people “in the know” will know right away. Several comments even stated that self-published authors may get more support, or that some readers may even seek fresh, new books by indie publishers. All that, plus I really can’t handle more “unwriting” work right now. My little engine is sputtering as it is.

I did, however, buy a block of 10 ISBNs. One of the reasons was vague concern that I will be stuck with Amazon and Amazon only (to be honest, I’m not at all clear on this yet, information overload). Another one was that it turned out Australian-purchased ISBNs are cheap as chips! This will be probably the one and only product that costs significantly less in Australia (I still can’t get used to the price of shampoo and houses. Or food. Or cars. Oh, America, how I miss your cheap prices…). Anyway, if you go to the American Bowker site, you have to shell out a cool $299 USD for a block of 10 ISBNs. But go to MyIdentifiers AU and you can get the same exact ISBNs for just $84 AUS, which is about fifty American (plus a one-off first-time publisher registration of $55 AUS). I’ve called them up and asked if I can use the numbers to sell in the US and they said yes, the key being “International” SBNs. I’ve already assigned one of the numbers to Shizzle, Inc as a forthcoming novel!

Screenshot of Bowker page

The ISBNs allowed me to register Ana Spoke as the publisher, so I’m all set there and even added the two numbers (ISBN-10 and ISBN-13, whatever they are) to my copyright page.

I’ve also been busy with the very last, definitely final, absolutely, positively final text polish. It’s amazing that after at least a dozen self-edits and three professional edits, I can still find things to tweak and improve. Today I’m about to buy a year’s subscription to Grammarly. At first I was all like “I’m not paying $139 after $3K of professional edits”, but after installing the free version for my browser, I’m sold. Grammarly is checking this post as I’m typing it, and I can’t help but think that it’s doing a better job than sometimes-retarded Word. I may decide to get just a trial month, but then I was thinking of how many documents I have to write for work, including constant job applications. Grammarly very well may make me a better writer.

Speaking of polishing, I’ve also finished (I hope) formatting the text. Here is the “before” shot:

Before makeover

And here is the same one with hair and makeup:

Text after makeover

I’ve done just a few things:

  1. Set up headings and a proper Table of Contents, which is supposed to translate easily to Kindle, with live links to chapters. Time will tell if it’s so.
  2. Changed font to Verdana. It’s on the list of recommended fonts for Kindle and one suggested as the easiest to read on the phone.
  3. Dropped caps, like they’re hot! Very easy to do, go to Insert – Drop cap or read this for a step-by-step guide: How to Create a Drop Cap.
  4. Offset paragraphs. I was reluctant to do that, I prefer the blockier office look, but when I looked at a few fiction books, they all had offset paragraphs. Here are a couple of very thorough guides on all steps you need to take in order to format your book for kindle: Amazon’s own guideFormat Book in Word blog (dedicated to book formatting) and CJ’s easy as pie Kindle tutorials.

Thank you once again for all your help. I will try to stick to my self-imposed deadline of this upcoming weekend. Look out for a buzzing, over-exuberant, tear-stained email in your inbox!

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Filed under Shizzle, Inc.

Imprint or stuff it?

I’m experiencing a major analysis paralysis. Just as the target is within reach, I seem unable to decide whether to get an ISBN from Amazon, or to go the more complicated route of buying my own ISBNs and registering as a publishing company.

The easiest way is just to upload the file and let Amazon take care of everything. The ISBN would be free, the only obvious (to me) downside is that “Amazon Digital Services” will appear as a publisher, and anyone “in the know” will immediately recognise the novel as self-published. Like it or not, there’s still a stigma associated with self publishing. I can also buy a pack of ISBNs, but then the publisher will be me, and again very obviously self-published. Creating a company would give me an “imprint” and ability to use that imprint for marketing (to be honest, I don’t fully understand the importance of this at the moment!)

Does it really matter? I mean, I was browsing a few self-published titles for research on how to format headings and came across one with track changes still visible in the table of contents. This novel was in top 10 in its category! Maybe readers truly don’t care about proofreading?

On the other hand, there are a number of online resources passionately advocating registering your own ISBN, like this Pearls Before Swine blog. Some, like the well known Book Designer, even advocate setting up your own publishing company.

Should I go the whole way and set up “Awesome Big Book Publishing Company”, or just get this project done without driving myself insane? Would I limit my future options by taking the easy route now? Should I take a nap? Probably the nap first…

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Filed under Self-publishing and marketing