Monday, October 28, 2013

How to Present a Professional Appearance as a Self-Publisher

If you have self-published or are considering that route, you are more than just an author - you are a business owner. You have to think like a business owner and present a professional appearance. There are things you can do to elevate yourself to publisher status, which in turn garners you a little more respect along with some clout. After all, you are competing with the big boys. Plus there are added bonuses, such as access to larger pre-publication reviewers.

1 - A publisher name. Establish yourself with a company name, and preferably not your own. (Keep you the author and you the publisher separate.) Google several names to see what is available. You can register your business at the local county court house for a small fee. If your state collects sales tax, you will need to register your business at the Secretary of State website and get a resale number. (Sales tax is collected only on physical books sold within your state.)

2 - Register with Bowker Link. Once you have a company name, you can register with Bowker. This will give you access to their Books in Print database, the largest in the world, plus access to their services and products. You can list upcoming books in Books in Print, and booksellers will be able to pull up this information.

3 - Purchase your own ISBN from Bowker. They are the only company authorized to sell ISBNs - you can purchase them in batches of 10, 100, etc. Purchasing ISBNs from Bowker lists you as the publisher. (As opposed to “renting” them from CreateSpace, Smashwords, or a POD publisher. They are listed as the publisher, not you, and true self-publishing is defined by who owns the ISBN.) Many sites will allow you to upload and sell ebooks without an ISBN, but it looks a lot more professional with one. In a batch of 10 or more ISBNs, the prefix identifies you as the publisher, giving you more clout. Bowker also sells bar codes for print books.

4 - Get a Library of Congress Control Number. This only applies to print books - ebooks are not yet accepted. As a small publisher, you won’t qualify for the official LCCN, but you can register for a PNC instead. (The numbers are basically the same - the big difference is that the Library of Congress won’t design a CIP block for you for free.) The LCCN/PNC is listed on the copyright page. To look even more professional, you can hire someone to design a CIP block. (Catalogue in Publications) The CIP block helps libraries catalogue your book.

There are a lot of others things a self-publisher can do to appear more professional in the areas of editing, cover art, formatting, etc. But those items are often overlooked and most people aren’t aware of them. If you’re serious about your career as a self-published author, look into those four items. It could make a big difference in your sales!

22 comments:

J.L. Campbell said...

Good to know this information, Diane, especially for the advantage of distribution purposes. For us in the boondocks here, we buy ISBNs through the Caribbean Community Secretariat.

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

I knew most of the facts but it is always good to make sure. Thanks Diane.

Yvonne.

Stephen Tremp said...

Thanks Diane for the insight. I'm saving this article to my Favorites.

Elsie Amata said...

These are things I never though of doing. Thank you so much!

Christine Rains said...

Excellent post. I didn't know about these things. Bookmarking! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent suggestions for those who self-publish.

Pat Hatt said...

Never even knew about a couple of them hmmm

Stephanie Faris said...

As a full-time freelance writer, I'm still debating whether I need a business name or not for the work I do outside of my fiction. There are definitely good reasons to do so--for similar reasons to doing so as a self-published author.

Southpaw said...

Good, solid advice.

Robin said...

Great post, Diane!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I forget there are cultural differences between our two countries until I read posts like this. Here in Canada our ISBN is free, and upon publication the archive in Ottawa requests 2 copies of our book, also for free. The control numbers I've never heard of and suspect that pertains to only American authors.

Great post, Diane. Thanks.

M Pax said...

Great tips, Diane.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

There were numerous things there I didn't know. Thanks for sharing.

msmariah said...

These are great tips. Thanks.

Lynda R Young said...

Fabulous info here. You're making self-publishing a whole lot easier, Diane! :)

Renae Weight Mackley said...

Appearances are important and we do judge a book by its cover. Thanks for the info.

Toinette Thomas said...

Most of these I knew, but it's good to be reminded of them and to have them clarified. Thank you for this post. It's very educational.

Michelle Wallace said...

Diane, you are so knowledgeable about the self-pub business.
Good advice here, most of which is new to me...

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for this info! If I ever self publish again I want to be as polished as possible.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane .. I hadn't heard about Bowker International before - thanks for highlighting them for us ..

I can see the logic in the business owner and author aspects you mention ..

Cheers Hilary

Ruth Schiffmann said...

I'm in awe of all those who juggle these things along with the actual writing!

M. J. Joachim said...

Learned a lot in this post. Thanks!