Self-Publishing Information

The following offers answers to common questions about self-publishing books, as well as provides some internet links where additional information can be found.

1. What are some of the advantages of self-publishing and why is it an attractive option?

When you self-publish, you have complete control over the publishing process. You are the only one who makes the decision to publish - and you avoid the frustration of being "turned down" by traditional publishing organizations.

As a self-publisher, you make the final decisions and "sign off" on each important aspect of your book's development. See our
21-point self-publishing checklist.

You maintain complete ownership of your works.

Self-publishing, combined with print-on-demand technology, eliminates the risk of maintaining large quantities of your book.

2. What is an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is a unique numeric system used to identify a book title or other book-like products (such as an e-book) to which it is assigned. The assignment of an ISBN to a published product becomes the unique identifier to only that product, and can not be used a second time. This number enables booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and book distributors an efficient way of marketing a book.
An ISBN is a number, not a barcode. For more than 30 years, ISBNs were 10 digits long. On January 2007 and because the old system was running our of numbers, the ISBN system switched to a 13-digit format.

Only publishers can purchase ISBNs from the authorized goverment agency and issue them to publications. An author who wishes to self-publish can purchase an ISBN directly from the authorized agent. In the United States, R.R. Bowker is the authorized agent. For more information about ISBNs, click on the following links.

R.R. Bowker

Frequently asked questions about ISBNs.

3. How do barcodes work?

The barcode symbols that appear on the back of books are know as Bookland EAN or ISBN-13 barcode symbols. Since a book already has a unique number to identify it, the ISBN, the EAN barcode is generated from this number. When encoded in an EAN-13 barcode, the ISBN is preceded by the digits 978 or 979, and the ISBN check-digit (last digit) is replaced with a barcode check-digit.

There can also be a five digit "add-on" barcode along side the main barcode symbol. If the add-on is the book's price and the pricing is in U.S. dollars, the five digit number will begin with a five.

For more information click on:

ISBNs and Barcodes.

4. What is Books-in-Print?

Books-in-Print is a large database managed by R.R. Bowker, of books in print or that are about to be printed, and is based on the ISBN numbers issued by them to publishers. The database lists books that are currently available in English and in the United States from major publishers, and is a major reference resource for bookstores, libraries and publishers.

For more information on Books-in-Print, click on:


5. What is a Library of Congress Control Number?

The Library of Congress Control Number, or LCCN, is a unique identification numbering system that the Library of Congress assigns to a catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians use it to locate specific Library of Congress catalog records in its national database. If you are planning to promote your book to libraries, an LCCN would be a necessary book reference to obtain. For more information, click on:

Frequently asked questions about LCCNs.

6. What is a copyright?

A copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship, fixed in a tangible medium of expression. A copyright can cover both published and unpublished works. It is not necessary to copyright your self-published book, unless you have transferred rights, as you are the owner of your published works in the form of expression that you have created. To learn more about copyrighting, click on:

Frequently asked questions about copyrights.

7. Reference books for self-publishers

The following is a short list of some of the most popular reference books on self-publishing.

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.

Successful Nonfiction, by Dan Poynter.

Self-Publishing Manual Volume 2, by Dan Poynter. 5.0, by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow.

Finish Your Book by Karen Hodges Miller.

Sell Your Book by Karen Hodges Miller

How to Write a Nonfiction Book by Bobbi Linkemer

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