Posts from the ‘Scrolling down’ Category

ASIN or ISBN

Barcode

So you labored over your novel and produced a 100,000 word work of art. What’s next? Editing… check…. Editing… Check Check… and just to be sure… Editing! Perfect, now the content is ready for Cover Art and Distribution.

But how is the work of art to be distributed. Well Amazon has the Createspace tool. That’s easy enough, isn’t it?

True Amazon has provided the means to create an eBook and they will give you an ASIN as they do not require you to use an ISBN if you use their Createspace product. What will you be left with. In fact, you will have an eBook that can be sold anywhere on Amazon that your rights permit you to sell.

Can you take that singular product and sell it on Barnes and Nobel or other mediums for distribution? That answer unfortunately is no.

What is an ASIN you ask?

As ASIN is an Amazon Standard Identification Number. In other words its Amazon’s sku… a unique number for Amazon to locate the product within its databases. Each product sold on Amazon is given an ASIN. If your book has a 10digit ISBN (traditionally bound) then the ASIN and the ISBN could be the same.

If you have an eBook with a 13digit ISBN that also does not have a print edition, Amazon will usually only display the ASIN.

So why use an ISBN?

What is an ISBN?

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors. The ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs at the direct request of publishers, e-book publishers, audio cassette and video producers, software producers and museums and associations with publishing programs. Bowker is the Official ISBN Agency for the United States. The ISBN will establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition. The ISBN, coupled with a descriptive meta-data record, ensures that information needed to make a level purchasing decision is communicated to the consumer accurately and reliably, particularly in cases where the same product or format is available for purchase on multiple channels. In the digital supply chain, most major search engines, e-tailers, library web sites, social network applications, mobile phones and other entities cataloging information about books continue to leverage the ISBN as a cataloging mechanism and to search-optimize such information for consumer discovery. The Internet has enabled an entire new paradigm of book discovery, whereby consumers can directly research and purchase books, perform price comparisons across multiple different sales vendors or channels and even download partial components of the books they seek on a preview basis. For e-books, the ISBN and a descriptive meta-data record can be utilized to communicate format-specific information such as compatibility features, accessibility and/or usage rights to specific versions of a product. This is particularly important for e-book formats that are available for discovery and sale on multiple channels, including and not limited to e-book retail web sites, within online library catalogues and search engines. While today, many e-book retailers and their respective business models are focused within single channels or a host of channels that are proprietary to their businesses, Bowker believes that it is inevitable that in order to maximize their marketing efforts, sales and distribution opportunities, many publishers will make their books available as e-books in numerous formats sold on multiple channels, similar to their traditional hardcover/soft-cover distribution and retail strategies.  Bowker 2010

If you create your eBook outside of using the Createspace tool, Amazon and others will require you to have an ISBN for your eBook. By converting your eBook professionally to the ePub and other formats you will be able to easily upload to other distribution sites with next to no additional financial output without being locked into a singular site. Barnes and Nobel along with Apple also welcome authors and small presses with professionally represented eBooks i.e. ePub conversion and ISBN number.

Think about the big picture and how you would like to position your book in the long-term.  Most readers resources use the ISBN to list your book. Make the marketing of your product that much easier by doing research to situate your content in the best position possible. 

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Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…

The overused adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is more of an author’s plea when they are not satisfied with their cover art that will represent their content. Some covers are a little less than works of art. Others, well you know they look like everyone elses. And still, there are those that you wonder what some were thinking when they approved the design.

What doesMan Browsing a book get judged by if not for its cover?

I have lurked in many a bookstore simply trying to figure out what makes the consumer procure the books that they do. Some it would appear have favorite authors that they rush to for the latest release. (How we love these readers). Some perhaps are browsing for something new.

Food for thought:

“A picture is worth one thousand words”

So does the consumer turn to the cover for 1K words at a glance or to the back cover where the author is supposed to create a hook, line, and sinker in about 200 words or less. Sounds like a bit of personal preference. Sounds like we’ll have to take a poll about that. Cover or blurb?

On a more serious note though covers are a very important facet to our books including the eBook. The cover art draws the attention for the unknown author – it is the face of the book, your billboard, and the one of the main reasons people take interest in your book.

The cover should consider quite a few things:

  1. The content of the book. Does the cover capture the feel of the story?
  2. If you printed a traditionally bound book, you will want to take a look at the proposed layout for the spine. Most books are spine out. What will attract your reader?
  3. The currently climate of the industry. As with the release of anything timing plays an essential part in a story’s success.
  4. Understand your demographics.

If you engage a graphic designer discuss the mood, tone, and voice of your book. You may not want to create a happy, warm, light cover if the tone of your book is sombre and moody. Try and capture the essence and message you as the author want to convey when considering the cover art. Take a look at see what your competition is producing and decide what works best in representing your work. If you are self-publishing you want to avoid having a cover that yells, kicks, and screams that you do not have a professional cover.

Equally you may want to take a look at what is going on in the world. While there is no recipe for success you may opt to delay your story about exploding buildings if a real life incident has just occurred.

So the question has to be asked. Which do you check out first? The Cover or the Blurb? We all want to know?

I Swear I didn’t type that!

Woman putting whiteout on a computer screen

Have you ever just wrapped up a piece of writing and thought wow, I’m finally done. As a wise source taught you, you shut off the computer screen and walk away from your project for a spell. Perhaps a week or so elapses and you begin the revision process with a fresh pair of eyes. Another wow escapes your lips. Did I actually write that? Well, either that wow escaped because your writing was realized to be deserving of a prize, or because you saw some errors. Perhaps a shift in POV, a grammatical error, or perhaps the Alpha Goblins stole a few letters here and there?

Or there’s alway my least favorite – switching between versions of Microsoft office and having your formatting go awry.

I digress…

My point is that we, as authors, are too close to our work to remain objective. Additionally we as not as exposed to the industry as perhaps an editor is. A fresh pair of eyes results in a world of difference to our writing. Editors look for more than just the grammatical error. Take a look at some of what an editor may look at when reviewing your work:

  • Grammar
  • Shifts in Point of View
  • Transition
  • Consistency
  • Character building and development
  • Dialog
  • Facts
  • Relevancy in today’s climate

The latter list is not exhaustive. Invest in yourself and have an editor review your work.

I might add for those who are interested in securing an agent. An unfounded myth floats around which suggests that after a literary agent picks up your work, s/he will give it to an editor who will fix all the mistakes and areas that appear daunting. I can’t stress how untrue this myth is. If you do not submit your best work for review it may end up in the slush pile. Make your contribution count and invest in yourself.

Misunderstood and rejected

One could be tempted into thinking that the days of rejection were over simply because the decision to self-publish had been made.

If that were the case that person would be quite wrong if they opted to choose the eBook format only. I’m sure it’s also difficult if they individual  had a traditionally printed book, but I cannot speak to that… only the difficulties experienced trying to get noticed with an eBook.

I am told that the dynamics of the publishing industry change on a regular basis and so I do my due diligence to learn about the industry that I’m trying to hard to enter.

Rejection, it would appear has become such a standard for me that when things automatically go through I have become a little gun-shy and leery of the small successes.

If I look at “A Blood Moon” this eBook was professionally formatted with the appropriate metadata and has its ISBN-13. There are levels of eBook; those developed with the Amazon CreateSpace or Barnes&Noble PubIT!  .and those that are uploaded to Amazon and Barnes&Noble by the author being considered a small publisher. I mention all of that to say this. I attempted to get on the Borders.com distribution listing and I was transferred to a small company called KOBO. They couldn’t accept my eBook because as a small publisher I didn’t have enough titles to list with them. Ten (10) is a nice round number I hear that the folks there are looking for.

There also seems to be a misunderstanding about the fact that Amazon assigns the eBook an ASIN. As a matter of fact Amazon only displays the ASIN, but it is not the only identification number for that eBook. After all, ASIN means nothing more than Amazon Standard Identification Number. A reader’s service who didn’t understand what an ASIN was sent me an invite and then declined it once they learned I only had an eBook format. 

That was rather interesting as I thought being new to the industry meant that I knew very little, but perhaps it just means that I am not predisposed by how things were and my research of how things are keeps me current. Who knows?

Don’t feel discouraged, if distributors other than Amazon, Apple, and Barnes&Noble are on your agenda you can use firms like Smashwords et al. that will help you get your content listed and take a pretty penny in doing so.

As an author if you are determined to continue down the highroad of self-publishing  without the assistance of a marketing team, then you may have to dig deep and persevere.

Don’t judge my book by its format! Let its content speak for itself.

The root cause of the problem lies in the fact that creating an eBook is becoming easier and easier. No one really has to review the content, an ISBN is not really needed because of the tools that are available, and at least one means of distribution is immediately available by the company that assisted in the creation of the eBook. These are the types of eBooks that the industry wonders about.  So rather than figure out if the eBook was developed properly (Written, revised, edited, reviewed, converted, and  then published) the entire eBook category is frowned upon.  It must be alright for a traditionally published book to have an accompanying eBook, but not to have an eBook that stands on its own.

What happened to the statistics that discuss the growing corner of the market for readers going digital. They supposedly are repeated offenders buying more eBooks per annum that the traditional reader procures the printed counterpart.

Oh well, I don’t suppose all avenues are ready to embrace it all and I’m in no rush. There’s a much longer limit to the virtual bookshelf than there is to the traditional bookshelf.

I love going on Amazon to see the words… “those who bought A Blood Moon by Bitten Twice also bought…”  I doubt ABM will ever see print… but who knows. One day I might give in.

Discover who likes your posts

WordPress has added to list of tools available to bloggers. For the self-published aspiring author who opted to take the high road of self-marketing, these additions are very useful.

Understanding who is reading the material and when becomes important. Being a self-published author often makes me feel like the writing of the 85,000 word novel was the easiest task. Post publishing the hard work follows. It all could be quite dauting if we didn’t have technology at our disposal.

Websites are always on, marketing for us if properly done.

Blogs lend our voices attracting interested readers.

If we use the available reporting and tools we can make sure that the right content is being put out there.

Discover who likes your posts.

I’m a writer. I’m ok with that. Who are you?

I can tell who you are by the first six words that come out of your mouth in response to the question: “So, what do you do?”

After the pleasantries have expired, with the “hellos” and the “how are yous”, it all boils down to how you see yourself. And how you see yourself lends to how others perceive you.

So before someone asks the question of you, perhaps some self reflection is in order.

Who do you want to be?

I cannot answer for you, but my response to this question is: I want to be a writer – a good one.

Being able to answer that question overcomes the first hurdle. Now it doesn’t really matter how many times the response changes to that question. The changes in the response means that you may have to go through the exercise of redefining yourself again.

Is this a dream or a goal?

…and yes, there is a difference. A dream is something we just think about doing now and again, or quite often as our personality may have it. We may even take some tiny steps towards it, but never clear any major hurdles to make it become a reality. On the other hand, a goal is something we break down into objectives. The long-term objective ofreaching the goal and the stepping stones or shorter-termed objectives so that we can take palatable chunks and action them to achieve the goal.

Once you have derived the answer to that question perhaps some wheels may need to be put in motion to help you become who you want to be.

For me:

I want to be a writer.

So I write. Sounds simple enough. But, I also want to become a good writer. What does that mean? I want to ensure that my story has a good plot, some unexpected twists, with relatable characters. So that also means that I need to understand the structure of a good story. Additionally, I will want to have a professional read and edit my story so I can receive feedback and insight on how to improve my writing and the story itself. What I write about is also key. Consistency in one area will help me to hone my skill. So what will I write about? That answer is easy… Science fiction and fantasy! My escape from reality into the surreal- where all is fair until it is unfair.

The last thing on my list is the change my circle of influence. I need to surround myself with like-minded people. Folks that have been in the business of writing. The industry is chock full of publishers, agents, editors, and where would we be without them – writers. This can be accomplished by joining a writer’s group, a writer’s association, attending conferences, networking and research. Depending upon the type of writer that you want to become, hobby or otherwise, so much more can be involved with kicking it up a notch – the writing is often the easy part.

I digress…

How do you want others to perceive you?

I want people to know that I am a writer, an author of a published novel “A Blood Moon” (Macedo Ink series)“, as a matter of fact. So that has to be the first thing out of my mouth.

Yes I am a mother of two wonderful and beautiful children first and foremost, however, if that is the first thing out of my mouth that will be the only thing the receiving party may hear. I could also give them my job title where I work. I am proud of that position and it is a great company to work for. However, if I don’t claim myself as a writer with confidence then who else will? I did start off claiming I was an aspiring writer until I was sure that I had an audience. Then I could smile, then I felt much better telling the world I’m a writer.

Typically there’s one shot when it comes to getting someone’s attention and capturing their interest. I have to make sure that I represent myself when speaking to an interested party.

So I know who I am and who I want to be:

I am Bitten Twice, published author writing in the science fiction and fantasy genres on love and conflict.

Who are you?

Armed and ready

2010 FWA Conference-Karen Lieb 733-Bitten TwiceA couple of weeks have passed and I’m still trying to process the volumes of information absorbed at the 2010 Florida’s Writers Conference.

Having taken a moment to sort everything out from how to successfully eBook, through Internet Marketing campaigns I’m slowly trying to process and implement all that I’ve learned. After all what good is it to learn the new tricks if you cannot perform them on your own.

So having to work around the schedule for my j.o.b., I have decided that a workable plan is required if I am going to meet my own schedule of producing/publishing two more novels by June 2011.

I need a routine that will get me on track to accomplish all I have set out to.

Drawing upon my skills as a project manager, the only way to attack this unknown and new territory of science fiction and fantasy is with logic.

With limited time I review my busy schedule and carve out a couple  of hours here and there that I will commit to working my plan leaving some time for writing of course.

Typically I would itemize ten things per day to accomplish. Six ‘must be dones’ and four ‘it would be nice if’s’. Having so little time I opted to pare this down to something workable for my current lifestyle or lack thereof. For me it will be three ‘must be dones’ and two ‘it would be nice ifs’.

Using a trusty planner (electronic or otherwise) I write down what I want to accomplish and plan it out. You have to get serious about your goals. If you don’t they are no more than dreams. Writing them down inspires commitment, and there is a difference between thinking about it and writing about it. Writing about it gets you that much closer to doing it.

Armed with a smile, let’s get it done.

I don’t know about you, but I have a couple of books to get out there.