Take a look at this page, for this is the page you will encounter once you decide to self-publish. See that row of beige and yellow boxes up top? You get to go through every last item in each of those boxes. The darker boxes show when you’ve completed the steps, so if you don’t complete them in one sitting, then you know where to pick up next time you work on this.
One of the first steps is to purchase an ISBN, which you do through an association called Bowker. You will fill out information about your book; these thankfully are straightforward questions. Then you get two ISBNs: a 10-digit one, the ACTUAL one, and a 13-digit one that is printed with a barcode on the back of your book.
Then there’s the meta data, perhaps the word with the silliest definition I have ever read. However, it’s probably the most important step you can take with your book set-up. Why? Because any search that takes place going from any entity, be it an individual or an academic institution, will use this meta data to FIND YOUR BOOK and present it to the searcher. Now you can imagine how, now after 3+ months of working on the corrections to the content and the technical specs for this book, that at this point I wanted to hurry up and be done. Instead, I took a breath and started very deliberately filling out this part as best I could. This is a difficult process because not only do you want to introduce broad terms like children’s, picture etc., so that more searches will initially include your book, but you really want to be targeted about the more descriptive terms (luck, Miao/Hmong, kindness, community) you include so that your book will be categorized and subsequently found by the person or entity who really wants to find you.
Another important step that might NOT have occurred to you is to register for copyright. You cannot use the copyright symbol unless you can show proof that you’ve registered. And besides, it’s a quick, low cost step to take.
Next post, we’ll get to more set-up details, like distribution channels and LCCN numbers.