By Carla King (@MissAdventuring)
Recently I was interviewed by a journalist for a story in a big magazine who is writing an article about self-publishing. A former Self-Pub Boot Camp student told her about me—thank you Susan!—and we had a very long talk. The journalist didn’t know very much about self-publishing but she sure does now! I wonder how she’s going to distill the information I gave her into a one-page article.
“What do self-publishers need to know most?” she asked.
“BUY YOUR OWN ISBN NUMBERS!” I replied, without hesitation. Oh no, did I shout? Maybe.
In the USA you can buy a set of 10 for $250. You may not need 10, but one costs $150 and you need at least three: one for PDF (print), one for MOBI (Kindle) and one for EPUB (all other ebooks). You might also need one for your audio book and another for your multimedia edition.
Why You Need Your Own ISBNs
The point is that with your own ISBN you can change services as you wish. That means your book will never be trapped with a single service.
In other words, when you buy your own ISBNs you will not be sucked into purchasing a publishing package from one of the many services run by companies like the notoriously unscrupulous Author Solutions. Why? Because they do not allow you to apply you own ISBN number to a book they produce for you. Lesson: If you cannot apply your own ISBN, your book is essentially trapped with the company that owns it.
So that’s my reminder to you today. Please buy your own ISBNs. It’s the single most important action item for you to do in order to remain an independent author.
Where to buy ISBNs
USA, $250 for 10: Bowker Identifier Services
UK and Ireland, £132 for 10: Nielsen UK ISBN Agency
Australia, $84 for 10: Thorpe-Bowker
Residents of these countries get free ISBNs:
New Zealand: National Library of New Zealand
South Africa: National Library of South Africa
Your country not listed? Just Google it!
Want even more information on ISBNs? Here are two more posts you might find useful:
By the way, I also pointed the journalist to experts in my tribe… people who have founded companies based on their desire to help authors and who have participated in my Self-Pub Boot Camps, which are now online as a virtual program. (I want to thank Nina for participating in both the physical and virtual programs. Find the new virtual program here. ) And if you want more information on how to become a self-published author, click here.
About the Author
Carla King is an adventure travel journalist and book author whose solo journeys around the world are published widely online and in print. She also runs the Self-Publishing Boot Camp educational program of books and workshops, an outcome of her many years in technology and her enthusiastic experimentation with emerging tools and services. Her self-publishing books are the Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors, which is a step-by-step manual to publishing, promoting, and selling your book in print and every popular ebook format, and an easy-reading companion to the guide titled How to Self-Publish Your Book, an updated compilation of her PBS Mediashift columns since 2010.
Photo courtesy of Kookkai_nak | freedigitalphotos.net