Many writers spend weeks, months, and even years crafting what they hope will be the next book to captivate the world. Because of this, waiting to see your work in print can be depressing. It is for this reason that so many writers are choosing to self-publish. Through professional printing companies, your work can be on the shelf in a matter of weeks.
One of the most important things any self-publisher can do for themselves, however, is get an ISBN for their book. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a 10-13 digit number that identifies your book as separate from any other. It is the barcode form that is found on the back of a book or on the inside jacket of a hardcover. Did you know that, without an ISBN, your book cannot be sold in a retail setting?
To get an ISBN complete the following steps:
- Visit http://www.isbn.org. The site is owned by R.R. Bowker, which is the exclusive US source for ISBNs. The majority of your steps will be completed here.
- Choose the appropriate package for your situation and the number of titles you want assigned.
- Fill out the application. It can be completed online or you can print it and mail it through the post office.
- Wait through the 15-day processing time to receive your official ISBN.
- Once you have your ISBN, register it with Bowker’s Books-In-Print by signing up for Bowker Link. This is a free online tool that allows you to upload book info (title, price, page count, etc). It is the main directory that libraries and bookstores will use to order your book for customers.
- Last, but not least, register your book’s copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.
The steps required to get an ISBN are simple and easy to follow and it’s the best way to ensure your book can reach the widest audience possible through retail outlets everywhere. You will want to be sure to sign up for Books-In-Print because it is the leading provider of bibliographic data. Your book will be exposed to many facets of the book industry just through this single web application. However, be sure to complete these steps yourself. Some self-publishing vendors might offer to buy your ISBN for you, but this would make them the owner of your book, instead of you!