So, what is an ISBN?
It doesn’t stand for Intelligent Smart Brilliant Novel. (Sorry!)
It’s the International Standard Book Number that allows you to distribute your book (and obviously sell it) through retail channels.
There are a few ways you can get one.
If you are published by a traditional publishing house, you will receive an ISBN as part of everything they do for you.
If you are self-publishing a book, you can get an ISBN free-of-charge from Createspace, for example.
The company will give you that number and that is all. They don’t own the book; it only means you that they are considered the publisher of record and they’re listed on amazon, etc. (You own the copyright; this has nothing to do with that.)
I didn’t get a free copyright, however. I chose to go through R.R. Bowker which is the company that sells the ISBN and I bought a bargain of 10 copyrights for $250. Why oh why did I do this?
Because at the time I was reading different books on self-publishing, including Carla King’s great Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors. Somebody, and I don’t know who, suggested that I buy my copyright and then set up my own publishing company. I even picked my own name, Kent & Cordell, because it sounded lofty and literary. I didn’t want people to know ’twas I who I was publishing. I thought it would look more professional –and I’d sell more books—if I had a so-called publishing company backing me up.
Then I read Catherine Ryan Howard’s book, Self-Printing, and she ratted me out. She said it’s so obvious when authors allegedly start publishing houses and the first book they happen to publish is their own!
So, I did away with Kent & Cordell. In my book, on the copyright page, I say this:
Copyright © 2012 Diana Bletter
All rights reserved.
In the smashwords edition, I also say (as required by them):
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
But I don’t make mention of my publishing company. In fact, there’s no publishing house anywhere on the book.
I admit I’m still sheepish about telling people I published this myself because it seems less legitimate….and most newspapers won’t review self-published books…and you’re going through the back door…
But I’ve come a long way since self-publishing first. In fact, when my novel, The Witches’ Secret, (out soon!) won a semi-final award at the Amazon Break-Through Novel Award a few years ago, Createspace offered to print it and then get it on amazon absolutely free so that I could start selling it. But, I was full of sniffling self-pity and scorn. I refused to settle for anything but a traditional publisher. Just think, I could have already been selling my book for all these years but my pride got in the way!
Yes, it’s true that traditional publishers sometimes overlook great books…and publish books they think they can make money on. (Duh!) And I still would have loved it if my agent (who believed in The Mom Who Took Off…) had been able to sell it. But I’ve learned that it is better to embrace reality and decide what to do about the facts than to keep wishing unpleasant facts will miraculously change and not do anything but feel sorry for myself.
What does this have to do with an ISBN number?
Because…here’s the deal…You can take one off my hands! If you think you have a really good book and you want one of my ISBN numbers, and you want my new publishing company, Kent & Cordell, to be listed on all retail channels as your publisher of record, write and tell me why! And it’s yours! The winner wins a sparkly new ISBN number!
So, the photo: my son, Ari, sent me the photo of the Diana cigarettes. The point is this: if it’s good, people will buy your books. And even if it’s bad for you, people will buy your cigarettes! So the ISBN number or your publisher really doesn’t matter in the end.
I’m also pointing out Mark Coker’s fab book on ebook marketing which you can download for free here.