Do I Need An ISBN To Publish My Book?
If you wish to sell your book, most vendors require an ISBN.
Can I use the same ISBN for a print book and an ebook?
The book supply chain relies on the ISBN standard, which specifies that an ISBN uniquely identifies a product. Because an ebook and a print book are two different products, they need two different ISBNs.
I need an editor. Where do I find one?
There is a service called Bibliocrunch that allows you to post a writing project, and then take submissions from publishing professionals interested in working on it with you. This includes editors. There are also two other great online sources to find an editor - the Editorial Freelancer's Association and Writers and Editors.
Production & Design
Where do I put my bar code on my printed book?
The Book Industry Study Group has a great resource about bar coding books in the US. Bar code positioning is covered here. Additionally, Bowker includes an FAQ about bar codes on its My Identifiers website.
I bought a bar code from Bowker. Now I have this image downloaded onto my computer. What do I do with it?
The image gets placed on the back cover of your book. As you're putting images on the cover (illustrations, typography), you can add the bar code as one of those images, and it will be saved onto the cover when you save your file.
What do I do if I've already printed the book, and there's no bar code? Do I need to reprint my book?
You will need to generate labels to stick on the printed books; you will not have to reprint the book. BISG has a list of bar code suppliers here.
What's the difference between an EPUB file and a Kindle or mobi file?
EPUB is a file format (like Word or Excel) for ebooks. It is an industry standard, maintained by the International Digital Publishing Forum - meaning many ebook vendors (such as Barnes & Noble or Kobo) sell EPUB files. Amazon is not one of those vendors. Amazon's format is a proprietary one, which it acquired from a company called Mobipocket, so it is sometimes abbreviated as "mobi". Amazon has upgraded that format - for books that are heavily illustrated or use a lot of charts, for example - to something called Kindle Format 8. Amazon will accept EPUB files and convert them to mobi or KF8, but the quality of those conversions may have issues if they are heavily formatted with a lot of pictures.
How Can I Get Readers To Find My Book?
The competition for shelf space in physical bookstores is shrinking. Online discovery is how most books are getting found. Using keywords, BISAC codes, and remembering that good marketing is a great conversation are all good ways to drive discovery. You can also heighten awareness by creating a "View Inside" widget, or using a QR code. Most importantly, maintaining your metadata will ensure that potential readers see an accurate and robust listing for your book on websites.
What's the difference between a book app and an ebook?
It's a matter of where the book is sold. A book app is available in the various app stores - Apple's iTunes, the Android app store, Google Play. It's a standalone ebook. A good example of a book app is The Elements (beware - sound plays automatically). An ebook is one of many books offered in an ebook environment such as Kindle, nook, or Apple's iBookstore, where readers are already shopping. Apple tends to reject apps that are better suited as ebooks, preferring to sell primarily text in the iBookstore, and favor those apps with a lot of interactivity.
Do I need a distributor?
It depends on how you want to sell. If it's sufficient for you to put your book up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, then no, you don't need a distributor. If you'd like to get your book into bricks-and-mortar bookstores, libraries, specialty stores, and other locations, it makes sense to partner with a distributor, who has a lot of reach into venues you might not be able to pitch to. We include a list of ebook distributors here.