Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lions and tigers and IBSN#s -- oh my!

Dear Reader,

As promised, here is another fascinating and scintillating post about the launch of Good Manners Kids Stuff Press.


First, an update: Kecia started sending me illustrations earlier this week. They are adorable. (Did I mention before that there are about 30 little character heads she has to draw?) I can't wait to have the whole book in my hands. And I can't even begin to imagine how I will feel when I can make it available to you!

Now, Dear Reader, where did I leave you last post? Ah, yes: with my halfway laid-out children's fantasy novel and no clue what I should do next.

I had been checking out to self-publish my books -- both the children's fantasy and my good sports book that Kecia is illustrating. While it seemed a good resource to print my books if I didn't want them to be available elsewhere than my website or their online store, I suddenly realized that I would definitely want my book(s) to be available to as many people as possible.

To do that you need to have an ISBN# for the distributors to use to list your book. And it's also not just the #. It depends on who is printing/publishing your book as to whether they will/can list you.

Oh, the murky, murky world of publishing and distributing.

Blurb doesn't have ISBN#s to give you. If you want one, you have to go and get it yourself along with the bar code that all the distributors need. Then, once you have it, you can add it to the Blurb template. From Forum comments, that appears to be problematic because Blurb has their own bar code (which has nothing to do with ISBN) and the placements can be wacky.

(There was also some confusing stuff about including price on a bar code -- as I said, the murky, murky world of publishing and distributing. But for clarity's sake, I think I'll cover that on another post. Just know that it is confusing to get to the bottom of, and makes you wish, for the millionth time, that some one would have just published you and taken care of it for you!)

Apparently you can purchase your own ISBN#s at the Bowker Agency and then when you print the book, Blurb would include that number on your book and you would become the publisher. You would then have to pay extra to have the Blurb logo removed that would still be there because Blurb was still the printer. Once you did that you can try to get the book picked up by distributors to put on their lists which they make available to retailers such as Barnes & Noble.

Sounds great, right? But those distributors don't include Amazon.

So I was sort of back to the beginning. If I wanted more exposure, I certainly think that I would want to be on Amazon.

More murky details and thoughts to consider:
In the Help Forums, people mentioned Lulu and Lightening Source and Createspace as other print-on-demand resources that did offer listing with those distributors (only Createspace, which is part of Amazon, automatically lists there) and the option to use their ISBN#s (which makes them the publisher) or use your own, which makes you the publisher.

Suddenly, a light bulb turned on in my head: As my Good Manners Kids Stuff site grew in scope, I'd come up with other manners topics for books. Granted, I have yet to print or publish my first book, but all the pieces were falling into place for a much bigger picture. Why not have them come out through my own publishing line?

During this time I started checking out Lulu, Lightening Source and Createspace, checking out their forums, looking at their templates and processes. And I visited the Bowker site, hemming and hawing until I finally committed and bought a block of ten ISBN#s listing Good Manners Kids Stuff Press as the publisher.

I've hit the big time!

Suddenly I am getting mail and emails addressed to the Press. Hee, hee.

Maybe someday I will be a powerful force to be reckoned with in the publishing world. But for now, I'm just excited to be about to come to life with the launch of my first two books!

I think that's probably enough anyone cares to read about ISBN #s today. So, until my next fascinating and scintillating post, Dear Reader, I wish you happy reading!


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