Given the state of current economics we all have had to reassess our fiscal positions and adjust our personal and business belts accordingly.
As authors, determining which option will be most cost effective while providing the quality product we demand, can be a daunting task.
In our search for the right fit we investigate possibilities at our disposal and weigh word-of-mouth recommendations. We comb through volumes of literary news offerings that keep us abreast of industry trends, its newest innovations and the downside of the business.
Of late the majority of the news has placed focus the closing of long time publishing institutions and the downsizing and merging of others. With the number of publisher's dwindling the already competitive process of manuscript submission has gone to a higher level.
There will be new authors presented to the public, but for the most part publishers seem to be focusing on what they feel will bring in the largest return for their investment. Their investment, to the chagrin of the mid and lower list authors is the shrinking financial investment committed to their projects. On the other side of this is the author’s contractual obligation to promote the book; in most cases placing the primary financial burden upon them.
Companies offering alternatives to traditional publishing are very aware of the shrinking opportunities through traditional Houses. That knowledge has brought forth a massive advertising blitz promoting a need for their services in what seems to be desperate times.
What seems like desperate times can occasionally cause the most prudent business person to reach for non-traditional options. There is nothing wrong with alternate means of doing business. In fact, there is truth to the adage that necessity is the mother of invention. What you want to avoid, is necessity becoming the demise of your good works.
If you are considering publishing your book through non-traditional means I suggest you sit down and make several lists.
Items on the first list should include such things as: 1. Why am I publishing? 2. Do I know my target audience? 3. Do I have the time to commit? 4. Do I know what my publishing needs are? 5. Do I have the finances?
The second list: 1. Contact authors published through your top three considerations. 2. Ask about their experience with the company, quality of editing, production quality and marketing assistance
Third List: 1. What are the pros and cons of using this company? 2. Are they really publishers? 3. Will they provide all of my publishing needs? 4. Do I have to pay for everything? 5. If they are the publisher should I be paying for everything? 6. If they are the publisher should I be paying for books? 7. Will the cost to purchase books necessitate having to overprice the book? 8. Who owns the rights to the book?
The lists above can be added to as you deem necessary. The Point is, before you sign a contract you must understand your legal rights. Thoroughly investigate any company you are considering doing business with. Obtain the services of a literary attorney to help you understand terms of any contract presented to you. Most of all, know your rights.
If you have questions or comments I would like to hear from you.
Until next time be blessed and remember – There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God’s Kingdom!
Of late I have had many inquires regarding ownership of titles as it pertains to the ISBN (International Standard Book Number). My first response to this inquiry is – always understand your obligation and rights according to any contract you sign. Language will vary from company to company and according to any special circumstances worked out between publisher and author.
For those who do not know what an ISBN number is and where to obtain one you can follow this link.
For your convenience the FAQ from Bowker (the official ISBN distributor) is listed below.
What is an ISBN? The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally.
What is the purpose of an ISBN? The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.
What is the format of the ISBN? Every ISBN consists of ten digits and whenever it is printed it is preceded by the letters ISBN. The ten-digit number is divided into four parts of variable length, each part separated by a hyphen.
Does the ISBN have any meaning imbedded in the numbers? The four parts of an ISBN are as follows: 1.Group or country identifier which identifies a national or geographic grouping of publishers; 2.Publisher identifier which identifies a particular publisher within a group; 3.Title identifier which identifies a particular title or edition of a title; 4.Check digit is the single digit at the end of the ISBN which validates the ISBN.
Why do some ISBNs end in an "X"? In the case of the check digit, the last digit of the ISBN, the upper case X can appear. The method of determining the check digit for the ISBN is the modulus 11 with the weighting factors 10 to 1. The Roman numeral X is used in lieu of 10 where ten would occur as a check digit.
Who can assign ISBNs to a publisher? There are over 160 ISBN Agencies worldwide, and each ISBN Agency is appointed as the exclusive agent responsible for assigning ISBNs to publishers residing in their country or geographic territory. The United States ISBN Agency is the only source authorized to assign ISBNs to publishers supplying an address in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico and its database establishes the publisher of record associated with each prefix. Once an ISBN publisher prefix and associated block of numbers has been assigned to a publisher by the ISBN Agency, the publisher can assign ISBNs to publications it holds publishing rights to. However, after the ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs to a publisher, that publisher cannot resell, re-assign, transfer, or split its list of ISBNs among other publishers. These guidelines have long been established to ensure the veracity, accuracy and continued utility of the international ISBN standard.
As defined by the ISO Standard, the ISBN publisher prefix (or "root" of the ISBN) identifies a single publisher. If a second publisher subsequently obtains an ISBN from the assigned publisher's block of ISBNs, there will be no change in the publisher of record for any ISBN in the block as originally assigned. Therefore, searches of industry databases for that re-assigned ISBN will identify the original owner of that assigned prefix as the publisher rather than the second publisher. Discovering this consequence too late can lead to extensive costs in applying for a new prefix, re-assigning a new ISBN, and potentially leading to the application of stickers to books already printed and in circulation.
If you are a new publisher, you should apply for your own ISBN publisher prefix and plan to identify and circulate your books properly in the industry supply chain. You may encounter offers from other sources to purchase single ISBNs at special offer prices; you should be wary of purchasing from these sources for the reasons noted above. There are unauthorized re-sellers of ISBNs and this activity is a violation of the ISBN standard and of industry practice. A publisher with one of these re-assigned ISBNs will not be correctly identified as the publisher of record in Books In Print or any of the industry databases such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon or those of wholesalers such as Ingram. If you have questions, contact the US ISBN Agency for further advice.
Who is eligible for an ISBN? 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.
How long does it take to get an ISBN? Allow 15 business days for non-priority processing from the time an ISBN application is received at the agency (not from the date sent by the publisher.) Priority processing is two business days from the time an application is received at the agency. Express processing is 24 business hours.
How much does it cost to get an ISBN? There is a service fee to process all ISBN applications. Service fee information is contained on the application. Priority and Express processing involve an additional fee.
NOTE: The processing service charge is NON-REFUNDABLE.
What do I do when I receive the ISBN and where is it printed? An ISBN should be assigned to each title or product, including any backlist or forthcoming titles. Each format or binding must have a separate ISBN (i.e. hardcover, paperbound, VHS video, laserdisc, e-book format, etc). A new ISBN is required for a revised edition. Once assigned, an ISBN can never be reused. An ISBN is printed on the lower portion of the back cover of a book above the bar code and on the copyright page.
How & where do I register my ISBN? Once ISBNs have been assigned to products they should be reported to R.R. Bowker as the database of record for the ISBN Agency. Companies are eligible for a free listing in various directories such as Books in Print, Words on Cassette, The Software Encyclopedia, Bowker's Complete Video Directory, etc.
NOTE: Receiving just your ISBNs does NOT guarantee title listings. To ensure your titles get in the Books in Print database you must submit your title information.
Can a publisher have both an ISBN & an ISSN? Both numbering systems are used for books in a series and with annuals or biennials. The ISBN identifies the individual book in a series or a specific year for an annual or biennial. The ISSN identifies the ongoing series, or the ongoing annual or biennial serial. If a publication has both, each should be printed on the copyright page.
How do I select the correct amount of ISBNs? ISBNs are sold in blocks of 10, 100, and 1000. When purchasing ISBNs, we recommend that you estimate the amount of publications you will be publishing within the next five years, and select the block that best suits your needs. It is always best to select the block that will last you for a few years because you will be able to maintain one publisher prefix, and minimize the unit cost per ISBN. When purchasing a larger block of ISBNs, the price per ISBN decreases. What is the format of the new ISBN-13?
Every ISBN will consist of thirteen digits in 2007. The thirteen digit number is divided into five parts of variable length, each part separated by a hyphen.
Does the ISBN-13 have any meaning imbedded in the numbers? The five parts of an ISBN are as follows: 1. The current ISBN-13 will be prefixed by "978" 2. Group or country identifier which identifies a national or geographic grouping of publishers; 3. Publisher identifier which identifies a particular publisher within a group; 4. Title identifier which identifies a particular title or edition of a title; 5. Check digit is the single digit at the end of the ISBN which validates the ISBN.
Okay everyone I’m back on track. Now that my granddaughter has completed all of her senior projects, traveled the country for DECA, posed for her spectacular senior photo shoot, attended the prom, received awards and now – blessedly – received her diploma – I’m free!!!!!!!!
Having a family and day job along with a teaching and writing ministry is a balancing act that takes considerable planning. Rather than stress I’ve decided to take a summer vacation.
I’m taking it slow and keeping things flowing by doing what I can (want) and not worrying about what I can’t (won’t). My summer mantra – It will be there when I’m ready to get to it. LOL
What will I be doing?
I’m sticking close to home in order to complete a few preferred projects. Although I won’t be traveling much, I will take a bit of time to enjoy a book or two lounging on the beach or poolside at a resort at least once before summer’s end.
I invite you stop by and share what’s on your agenda for the summer.
Are you furiously writing the next best-seller?
Researching that one subject that will blow the minds of your readers?
Taking any continuing education courses?
Attending or hosting any book events?
Or, are you taking it slow and keeping it flowing? Inquiring minds want to know.
For years my mother sang with the Senior Choir. One of the songs they kept in rotation was Jesus Be A Fence Around Me. Basically the singer is asking for God’s protection in the form of a fence.
Physical fences give a sense of real and sometimes, false security. They are made from a variety of materials and can be plain or ornate. These man-made barriers have a proper place in our lives, but can also become the crutch it was not meant to be.
That brings me to the one fence we have yet to discuss – the invisible fence.
By combining technology and obedience training, a system was developed to keep pets within the confines of their owner’s property without the physical presence of a fence.
In a sense many writers place themselves behind an invisible fence as they succumb to writing only what they are told that the reading public wants. Industry has sold the spin that says that they know best what the reader wants and therefore you (the writer) must conform in order to be marketable.
For years, in order to be accepted we have placed ourselves, our souls, our stories our flavor behind the false security and constraints of the invisible fences designed inside literary board rooms.
By playing it safe we became complacent and our readers have suffered. Lost has been the opportunity to read about the little girl who flew to the moon or taking a journey through starlit skies with a chocolate hued superhero.
We are in an industry built upon expressions born out of our creativity. So then why do we accept those expressions going unwritten or watered down for the sake of compliance?
Fences in and of themselves are not a bad thing, but when we allow them to keep us from moving beyond our own yards, stifle our growth and creativity, we need to revisit the reason why we write. Are we doing so only to be like the others, or will we dare to step away from the norm and give depth, intrigue and the unexpected to the deserving reader?
Developing a novel into something memorable takes dedication and skill. You owe it to yourself and your craft to utilize those tools in order to move beyond the confines of the familiar; that safe haven behind the fence.
Despite the spin, readers are clamoring for more. Because they are I leave you with this:
Fences – are you NOT writing to your full potential behind one?
Until next time be blessed and remember – There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God’s Kingdom!
The other day I was sitting with my laptop poised to work on an editing project. Instead of working my spirit was filled with conversations I've had with peers. Some were angry, others were embarrassed by complicit actions as they gave in to what others deemed suitable for the book buying public.
Subsequent conversations revealed that although they acquiesced to industry pressure, altered and unpublished stories cried out stirring them from sound sleep.
It caused me to reflect on how as an author I was caused to grow up fast within an industry that I once saw through innocent eyes. I learned that I had options and that there is an audience for a variety of works that recognize my culture, speaks to my value system and presents my people in realistic rather than stereotypical settings.
Lost in thought my pen to write. Below is the result of that subconscious flow. I do not consider myself a poet, yet I believe that this was placed in me to give to you as a form of encouragement.
The Loss of Innocence
So often I reminisce about days gone by Those days when only sunlight blinded innocent eyes
When I rubbed my eyes, cloudy became clear I am ashamed to say I was beset with fear
What happened to us? Where did we go? Did we give up our value for new seeds to sow?
What became of our heritage as we harvested new crops? Did we devalue them as unnecessary like evaporating dew drops?
No longer confined to the rural life of small towns and farms We have moved to the city, oblivious to unseen harms
Gone are the leisurely days of reading old friends Instead we are bombarded by volumes of texts with disturbing ends
What happened to Zora, to Nikki, to Langton? What happened to literature I once ravenously fed on?
Where are the stories that speak to who I am? What value do I derive from the King of Siam?
The written word is a gift that should be continually opened Not quailed by the edicts in boardrooms where our voices have not spoken
We’re not buying this, the reader isn’t looking for that, they say How would they know, their attention has not come our way
I am not just a ball player, a drug addict, a hooker, a joke I know that I have something of value to say, for people listened when I spoke
I am more than a hustler, illiterate and gay I speak with love, caring and authority, why do you dismiss what I say?
The value of my heritage is not yours to legislate for a dime Give me what I desire to read, for what you push on me is a crime
Stop telling me who I am and who I should be Come down from your ivory tower and deal with me
I be the one who writes the words that sing I be the one who writes the words that soothe as well as sting
I be the one who writes the words that give hope for an expected end I be not the one touting statistics of a predisposition to sin
I be the one who reaches into your soul to encourage you to walk in authority I be not the one who suggests that you remain on bended knee
I be not the one to beg and plead to shine I be the one who looks to the future understanding the destiny that is already mine.
So if I know this and come to you presenting my valid case Who are you to deny my right by insisting that I stay in my relegated place?
A place where only the fast life, the prison, low-living and the sports court is what you want me to see The sun is out of my eyes, I see so much more than that in me.
My place is where God sends me whether that be to the masses or a collective few Your job was to guide me, to present me to the public as new
What I’ve come to understand as my anger subsides and my eyes see anew I see that for now I cannot change your mind, for you are determined to be you
So you do you and I’ll do me With or without your help if that is the way it must be
I will write the stories that uplift, educate and teach I will do so in the spirit of excellence within my reach
Do not be fooled into believing that my reach is limited My reach is as wide as God desires as long as I keep Him in it
In what you may ask and I’m glad that you did The answer is simple, my purpose, my gift from God, via the vision that is His
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Rather than succumb to the limitations you place, but pretend not see
I cannot place all blame fully upon the practices you choose You are addicted to the power driven by a system rooted in YOU
So in knowing what I know I must simply say Today is the beginning of a brand new day
I return to a place where my understanding is not skewed I will see through new eyes the panoramic view
I will write, I will learn, I will publish, I will market I will take full responsibility for the gift in my pocket
My gift is of value it is woven in the heritage of my community It is a place where we help one another, where ideas and practices are rooted in purity
We will write the stories of love and of grace We will use the pen to indelibly champion the plight of our race
Our place is among the stars, in the boardrooms, kitchens, garages, wherever we choose Our places were predestine, we were given a choice, with God on our side we have nothing to loose
Tonight as I reminisce about days gone by I will do so with intension, no longer seeing through innocent eyes
Of late I have had serious conversa- tions with close friends.
Over the Internet, the telephone and across the table from one another, we have reminisced over days gone by, our personal goals, the economy, family, retirement and of course our new president.
Two within my inner circle are the happiest homemakers you could ever meet. One, for the first time since her children left home, has entered the workforce. Another has moved from being a hands-on professional into the realm of academia. Me, I’m juggling a day job, family, ministry and my passion for the arts.
The commonality of the varied conversations rested in the fact that each of us have dared to step out to make at least one of our dreams, reality.
In my quiet time I began to reflect on what took me so long to reach for the stars. Why was I such a late bloomer? Was it a lack of education, time, finances or opportunity? To be completely honest it was a bit of all of the aforementioned.
I love writing, but without the foundation of an English or journalism degree I believed I could never be a writer. Busyness, rather than effective use of time was a convenient excuse for not admitting to my lack of discipline. Finances was something I had, but did not consider to be enough for meeting my business need. Opportunity must be recognized and coupled with preparedness in order to be seized for success.
Until I understood that the only thing holding me back was me, I stumbled around with a severe case of the ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’s’. We all have dreams. Some of us even have visions of grandeur. The point is that dreams remain dreams unless acted upon. If I wanted to become a writer I had to do more than think about it, I had to learn how to write. Beyond this I had to learn to manage my time in order to study. With the goal of someday publishing, I began to realistically look at my budget in order to determine how this endeavor would be financed. When the opportunity came to present my manuscript to an editor, I was as prepared as I could be. That preparedness combined with the chance meeting led to the success of publishing my first novel.
Beyond the publishing, my teacher gene kicked into overdrive. My passion for helping others is as strong as my love for the written word. As strong as my passions were and are, there have been serious challenges to the dream. There will always be challenges to achieving your dreams and it will cost you something. What you will have to determine is if you are willing to pay the cost for achieving your dream and in the process, lend a hand to help another?
Virtually every newscast speaks to the downward spiral of the nation’s economy. The close of 2008 saw our nation in an economic decline many equate with the Great Depression.
The end of the year, in the eyes of many brings the opportunity to refresh. In many cases the results of our national condition has placed the necessity before us. Do not dispair, that forced choice, refreshing, may be the blessing we did not know we needed.
As authors we may be concerned about the possible decline in contract offers, grim forecasts for future sales, offers for and/or extension of invitations for public and private events. The list of concerns can become extensive.
Today’s post comes to encourage you.
I am reminded of the story of Abram and Lot. God told Abram to leave his home; to separate from that he was familiar with. But, Abram took Lot, his nephew. Although Abram was blessed, he also had to deal with controversy. One such challenge was having too much property and having to decide to separate from Lot in order to maintain without strife between them. Given the choice, Lot, seeking self-preservation, chose the most fertile land, leaving Abram, the Uncle who provided his wealth, with the lesser of the land.
Often we believe that the situation we’re in is our source and apart from it we cannot survive. Lot believed that by selecting the preferable land he would have all he needed to continue to maintain the lifestyle he had grown accustomed to. In his haste, he neglected to understand that often, less is more.
After the separation, God spoke to Abram (Genesis 13:14-15) “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.”
By today’s standards Abram would be considered a fool. That view comes from not understanding that, sometimes, in order to grow, to be further blessed, you may have to let go of what has become familiar; what you thought was the maximum blessing.
The unfamiliar brings with it a measure of uncertainty and for some, a bit of fear. Fear of the unknown is not uncommon. What is far too common is allowing it to stunt your growth.
Some of us may lose contracts, opportunities to speak, friendships we thought had been forged in the fire and maybe even that job that allowed us to support our writing career. The fear of this is natural, but we cannot allow it to cause us to spend more time lamenting about it than taking advantage of the time, the blessing, that may be placed in your hand.
If you find yourself in any of the aforementioned situations I encourage you to revisit your most current written vision and then think on these things:
*How do you see yourself going forth despite the stumble in the plan? *Is there necessity to upgrade/tweak the process? *What ideas do you have that you have wanted to develop, but haven’t had the time to do so? *What continuing education can you now take advantage of in order to hone your writing,
oratory and/or marking skills? *Who do you know who needs mentoring and could benefit from your generosity and expertise? *Are you willing to mentor for free? *Have you considered cross-promoting with others?
I encourage you to go forth looking at the half-full glass rather than the one that is half-empty. In your trying times be mindful that: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Hi I’m Linda Beed. Some of the titles I function under are author, book reviewer, educator, speaker and Children’s minister.
BWChristianLit Blog is the sibling of BWChrisitianLit, our online Christian Artist's group. The purpose of the Yahoo group as well as this blog is to share, learn and discuss the state of Christian works. Here a voice is given to the known and the unknown. We are here to encourage, inspire, promote and educate YOU -- the aspiring, novice and accomplished Christian artist.
Stop by often. Leave a comment. Ask a question. We’re here because of YOU and for YOU!
Be Blessed – Linda!