Have no place, I can be, since I found Serenity

Sorry, it’s just that the ION network on Direct TV is airing Firefly every night this week, and I watched several eps last night. It gave me a Happy.

So does the New Year.

I’ve already decided, based on a complete lack of evidence to the contrary, that this year is gonna be a good one, dammit.  I’m tired of the piles of crap the past few years have turned into, and declare that 2011 is gonna be fan-fuckin’tasic.

My mood is up, my stats are amazing, I’ve made some changes that I’ll refrain from calling New Year’s Resolutions, they’re really just changes that started in December and are gonna keep going. So far they’ve filled me with a sense of anticipation for a good, healthy year with more to come. (been hittin’ the gym 4 nights a week, eating better, etc)

You may have noticed I changed the look a tad bit, both here on the blog and over on the web page. I just felt it was time for a more “professional” or maybe “adult” look on the web, and something pretty on the blog. I think it’s still snowing, that’s an automatic thing that ends some time in January. Kinda cool, though.  Did you notice it follows your mouse?

One thing I haven’t talked much about lately that you may notice on the webpage – each of my titles now has their own ISBN.

I should probably discuss that, for those who were following along earlier last year.

Over at Smashwords (God love’em) you can get an ISBN for every title you have up there, and they have choices you can pick from. You just have to remember the ISBN you put on your Smashwords eBook cannot be placed on your printed book, if you do printed books too, like I do.  But I’ve found them unnecessary for the prints.

What Smashwords is offering now are three choices:

You come to them with an ISBN already purchased, specifically designed for your eBook, and you assign it.  You’ll have to do all the registering stuff with Bowkers and whatnot, and you can only assign the ISBN to one version of the eBook per Bowker and the International ISBN Agency rules.  So if you’ve assigned that ISBN to the pdf version of your eBook, you can’t use it for the EPUB version.  (stupid rule, ain’t it? I mean, seriously, ass-crunchingly stupid rule)

The second option is a Free ISBN, paid for by Smashwords as a service to you, the author, that will list Smashwords as the Publisher, and you as the Author.  Remember, owning the ISBN does not automatically award you copyright or ownership – – then again why in the hell would you buy an ISBN if you weren’t the writer, eh?  So listing Smashwords as your Publisher of Record is either a big deal with you, or it ain’t. It doesn’t change your legal ownership of the work one iota.  Remember this is going on the EPUB version of your book only, and I’ll explain that further down.

I should mention that you can only add an ISBN to a Smashwords book if it has been accepted into their premium catalog – – but all of your titles should be there anyway. All you had to do was follow the instructions and format everything correctly. You’ll know if you did it right or not.

The third option – the one I chose for 7 of my 8 titles there – is the Premium ISBN.

For $9.95, Smashwords will sell you an ISBN that lists you as the Publisher, instead of them.  (caveat: Some of the retailers don’t give a shit about details, they’ll still list Smashwords as your Publisher, because they don’t even look at the Bowker data).  But legally, and technically, you’ll be listed in Bowkers and Books in Print as the Publisher of Record. (Smashwords will take care of the listings, you don’t have to lift a mouse) Your name, your publisher name if it’s different (aka: Midnight Reading) and your contact information will all be legally registered in all the right places, attached to that ISBN.

Again, the ISBN is only for your EPUB version, because of the laws regarding these things, and because the majority of the retailers (Apple, B&N, Sony etc) prefer the EPUB. They can make Kindle or NookBook’s out of those, and they’re more universally read by various devices.

Now, the reason I went with the Premium ISBN is all ego.  Yes, I wanted Midnight Reading to be listed as the official Publisher of Record in Bowkers.  Why?  Like I said, pure ego.  Sony, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers don’t look at the Bowkers data, so they’re going to declare your book was published by Smashwords anyway, so it’s somewhat moot, but try telling that to my ego.

Go ahead, try.  My id has failed so far.

I had to pick the Free ISBN for The Legend of Darkness and Light, because that book is free – and at this time, the only option for a Smashwords ISBN on a free book is the Free ISBN, listing Smashwords as your publisher.  That will change, perhaps this year, and you’ll be able to buy a $9.95 version for a free book, but for now the only option is the freebie, and I didn’t mind.

Speaking of $9.95 –  Smashwords doesn’t make you pay up front.  If your balance (sales) are less than that, perhaps you’ve just now listed the book and haven’t sold any yet, or you might have just received your quarterlies and Smashwords has reset your balance to zero (since they, like, just paid you, duh) no worries.  Smashwords lets you owe them.  Just assign the ISBN, and your balance will show negative until you’ve sold $9.95 worth of your book. Easy, peasy.

(nigglers like me will note how that means you’ve LITERALLY paid not one cent to publish and sell your writing, by the way)

Literally.

Not one red (well, sort of copperish colored, really) cent out of pocket.

Okay, so why can you only put an ISBN on one version of your eBook?  That’s not a Smashwords rule.  Remember that nagging Bowker’s I mentioned? And the International ISBN Agency?

Blame them.

Farkin’ jerks made that a rule, regulating ISBN’s, and forcing eBook authors to purchase a completely separate number for each version of their book.  They claim it’s for keeping things straight, but no one’s fooled.  It’s a money-making scam.

Seriously, if we can all be honest here for a second, ISBN’s are ridiculous, unnecessary, and really just serve to confuse writers and employ people.  Sure, you’ll be listed with Bowkers and Books in Print, but as far as Joe Public is concerned, well, ask yourself how often you’ve searched for a book to read by typing in the ISBN number at the Barnes & Noble site.

Go ahead, ask yourself.

Just keep in mind – an ISBN is not a necessary thing.  It can be a helpful thing, yes.  It’s definitely an ego thing, for sure.  And Smashwords made it such an easy, affordable thing, I couldn’t resist.

Next week I wanna chat a bit about some of the best parts about being Indy – like readers, figures, longevity and retailers.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is feeling positive and energetic about the New Year. I’m already thinking of Spring, bright colors and flowers. It’s been a mild winter thus far, rains when it’s cloudy, clears up when the temperature dips into the 20’s.  Seriously, there’s nothing more energizing than a crisp, cold, utterly clear blue sky day.

But I predicted this, didn’t I?  Buying that SUV for “winter driving” virtually insured there’s be no winter in the Great Northwet to drive in.

You’re welcome.

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2 thoughts on “Have no place, I can be, since I found Serenity

  1. How many times have I searched for a book using an ISBN?

    Thousands.

    As a personal book-buyer, not too often, but when I worked in the used bookstore…it is pretty staggering how much of my day was made out of ISBN. Title searches can be unreliable (how many books are called any given title? Which is the one I mean?) and author searches likewise. it makes for a disasterous database system, until you bring ISBNs in. I got really fast at entering ISBNs in with the little numerical keypad.

    How useful they are for eBooks, that I leave to your expertise. But I know I’m grateful they exist for physical books and grumble at the LACK of them before, what, 1964 or so (I don’t remember the year). Any time I’m entering books in and I go before that, it always gets trickier. (both when I worked at a bookstore and now, when I’m slowly, slowly, trying to put all of my books into Goodreads so I can keep track of what I own.)

    So. I’m glad you have ISBNs. And I’m glad ISBNs exist. And I think, on the whole, that Smashwords is a gift from the gods. I can’t think of a thing you’ve ever said about them which makes me think anything but “what really awesome people.”

  2. I’m glad you got your ISBN.

    I do know that when I’m ordering a book from the bookstore, I often give the clerk the ISBN just to help eliminate any communication problems between what I want and what they order.

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