More Than Just a Book

Part I: Assigning an ISBN (i.e. being the formatter)

Yes this is for freelancing, but it applies here as well.

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to get my previously self-published books ready to be re-self-published. Why? You might ask. Well, when I decided at the beginning of this year to embrace being a writer again, I decided this time, I would try to do things differently. As hard as it might be, I would do my best to avoid shortcuts.

That being said, I’m still a would-be writer on a budget. So that means no fancy editor, no fancy cover designer, no fancy formatter, and certainly no fancy agent. Instead, it means I have to be all of those, plus the writer and now the marketer…it’s a bit daunting. I don’t blame anyone in the slightest who finds a way to save up for the hybrid services available out there.

Today’s topic is a small part of being a self-formatter.

As a solo venture-ist into self-publishing, I decided to go with the route of having and distributing my own ISBNs. I can’t say that there has been any difference in availability to date, but I am excited to see about getting my books into local libraries. And I know that can’t be done with only an Amazon published book. Just realized my own library card is expired, so I’ll need to be renewing that before trying to make any requests…

Now I’ll do my best to share at a later date the exact ups and downs of ISBN purchase, assignments, etc., but for now, here’s a quick run-down of what I had to do for my latest update (as an addendum, technically speaking, not all eBooks need to have their own ISBN, and I found out that if you publish an eBook separate from your physical copy, the Library of Congress control number applies to both).

Step 1: research if ISBNs are technically needed (LOL)

Step 2: try to find my log in info for the Bowker/ISBN identifier site (this took up about half of the total time spent updating everything)

Step 3: identify a new ISBN with it’s new project – fill out everything as needed (and this also was a bit of a hang up for me, as I could not understand why it kept asking me for a contributor’s info…it was because I hadn’t marked myself as the author…#facepalm)

Step 4: I did my ISBN assignment in tandem with uploading the files to Amazon Kindle (while I also plan to upload to IngramSpark as well for further distribution, I was getting a bit grumpy with the process last night. It’s not a cut corner, per se, just the path of least resistance to follow up on). This dual process helped me to make sure my ISBNs matched, I knew what my pricing was going to be, and just as an overall double checking process.

Step 5: Once all files were uploaded (be aware that the dimensions are very specific on cover dimensions, but for eBooks, only the front cover is necessary), then it was time to set parameters for distribution, save, and complete.

Steph 6*: Today, I went back and did the rest of the work to also get my eBook title available on IngramSpark. For those who have only worked in Amazon and the KDP platform, let me just say that while the formats available with Amazon are SUPER helpful, getting everything uploaded into IngramSpark just sort of feels like joining the big league LOL.

Anyway, that’s my great insight into the many, many, many, many steps it takes on getting a title ready. And I missed some vital steps. This is really more like Part 7, but as I already had my paper copy ready to go, this was something akin to finishing checking off boxes. I’m also going to be venturing into the world of YouTube videos in the near future, and I’m hoping with my third re-publication, I can make a few how-to videos to try and help any of my fellow would-be writers avoid the time draining, painstaking, errors I did. That’s the goal, anyway – I’ll just finish up my second title to try and iron out some more wrinkles so I don’t bumble through the third try. After all, practice does make perfect.

Well, I’m down to 9 days until the start of NaNoWriMo2021, so I’ll be having to update a lot of this stuff in a very short window. I’m just going to go out on a limb here and wish myself luck.

Any and all fellow would-be writers, please feel free to share your tips and tricks of the trade. Love connecting with fellow would-be and full time writers!

Until next time,


Published by L.E. Gibler

Writer, rider, and future crazy cat lady

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