Another of the many reasons to read POD-dy Mouth‘s blog: you get to hear about some pretty big and great news for self-publishing authors. So what is the good news? Let me give you a little bit of background first.
Any publisher, whether they are a self-publisher, vanity publisher, or traditional publisher, have to buy ISBNs (International Standard Book Number) in blocks of ten. I don’t know why, that’s just how the industry set it up. I believe it’s to make the ISBN cheaper since you’re buying in bulk, but in the long run it makes much more expensive to self-publish one book because you have to buy that block of ten. Anyway, this ISBN is one major key to getting your book published. If you don’t have an ISBN, it won’t matter how great or cheap your book is, no bookstore will ever carry it. Nor will any online store (such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders, etc) carry it.
What’s the point to all this? Well, Lulu.com has made publishing your book through them even easier. They are one of the largest self-publishing companies, and they fulfill my definition of self-publishing because they don’t format or edit anything. They aren’t vanity publishers because they don’t make you pay for anything, they simply take a commission from each print-on-demand order. They are, in other words, one huge and efficient printer of your work, and that’s it. You are responsible for editing and formatting your book, from the interior layout and copyright page to the cover. I remember checking them out back when I was looking for publishers for my first book, and at the time, I wasn’t too impressed because their book sizes were limited and I didn’t know enough about book layout design to do it. Lulu.com today is much better. You have the option of printing a mass market paperback sized book! What does that even mean? All those paperbacks you see in the grocery store? Mass market paperback. Most fantasy, science fiction, and romance? Mass market paperback. I don’t know why but I’ve always wanted to have my own MMP book, and the fact that Lulu.com now offers this is a big selling point for me.
But back to the ISBNs. How has Lulu.com made self-publishing even more powerful? Lulu.com is working in conjunction with the U.S. ISBN Agency to allow authors to generate ISBNs on a one-at-a-time rate. This means the ISBN is owned by the self-publisher, saving cost on buying more than is needed. This also means the work is not limited to only being sold on Lulu.com, you can migrate to other websites and submit it for sale. This is big. This is huge. This is splendid and wonderful and brought such a smile to my face. The service is called “Published by You”, and while I’ve been searching the site and haven’t found the exact description of the service yet, their press release assures me they are serious about it.
So. Go out there. Do the good thing. Be a self-published author!