Understanding ISBN Numbers

How do I go about getting an ISBN for my book? Does that come after I find a publisher or do I have get it myself?

First let's define what an ISBN is—and we're going straight to the source, Bowker, the U.S. ISBN Agency, for ISBN assignment and registration:

They say:
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products, such as audiobooks. (It is not the barcode on the book, but is used when creating the barcode.)

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.

A typical ISBN number has 13 digits and represents five unique entities. For example, the ISBN # 978-12-34567-89-0 is broken down to represent the following:
  • 978 is the prefix

  • 12 identifies a geographic grouping

  • 34567 identifies a specific publisher

  • 89 identifies a specific title or edition (each edition—hardback, paperback, ebook, audio, etc—needs it's own ISBN #)

  • 0 is a check digit that is created mathematically to validate the ISBN #

Your publisher will provide the ISBN number for your book.

If you're self-publishing, you will need to get your own ISBN. Some printers provide them (like CreateSpace and others). They generally sell them at discounted pricing, however, your number will usually link your book to them as the publisher of record. If you're only publishing a handful of titles, this is the way to go.

If you're going to set up your own publishing company and are fairly confident you'll be publishing 10 or more titles yourself, then you can register your company with Bowker, the US ISBN Agency and get ISBN numbers straight from them. They are pricey. Single ISBN #s cost $125 each. The price drops significantly if you buy them in batches of 10 or more.


Missionary Fiction?

Quick question, do you know if lds publishers are interested in fictional stories about missionaries?

Of course. Why wouldn't they be? As long as it's well-written and not preachy, has intriguing characters that readers can relate to, an interesting plot line, and upholds LDS beliefs and standards, most LDS publishers will give it a look.

There's even some precedent for interest by national publishers. I know there are some I've heard of recently but Google is not my friend today. The only one I can recall off the top of my head is Charlotte's Rose by A.E. Cannon published by Wendy Lamb Books (imprint of Random House).

[Readers, if you can think of some other titles of fiction with LDS characters published by national publishers, leave the titles in the comments section.]

Just remember, good fiction needs to be good fiction. No one wants a preachy book or a thinly disguised version of the missionary discussions. It has to be real.


June 2011 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

If I Should Die by Jennie Hansen

One morning on a routine jog, Kallene’s running partner, Linda, confides that she’s filing for divorce. The next morning, she’s gone without a trace, leaving behind her frightened young daughter. Since Linda’s enraged husband refuses to notify the police, Kallene steps in to initiate a missing person search, not knowing it would soon become a murder investigation—or that she’d soon fall for the charming lead detective.

With Linda’s handsome brother also on her mind, Kallene must navigate the rapids of a double romance as well as the deepening suspicion in her upscale Utah neighborhood. Intrigue turns to danger as Kallene faces the consequences of hasty judgments. And when startling new evidence casts Linda’s murder as the work of a determined killer, Kallene needs the intervention of unlikely heroes to avoid being the next victim.

Jennie Hansen was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She lived in many farming and ranching communities in Idaho and Montana. Her family moved more than 20 times as she grew up. Born the fifth of eight children, Jennie had a ready supply of playmates during her childhood. Her brothers and sisters are still among her closest friends. She married Boyd Hansen of Rexburg, Idaho, and over the next ten years they became the parents of five children. They have made their home in Utah since their marriage.

Jennie graduated from Ricks College in Idaho then continued her education at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been a receptionist, a model, a Utah House page, freelance magazine writer, newspaper reporter, editor, library circulation specialist, mother and grandmother.

She has twenty published books to her credit, three stories in compilations, and has two more books currently under contract. Her published books include: Run Away Home, Journey Home, Coming Home, When Tomorrow Comes, Macady, The River Path, Beyond, Summer Dreams, Chance Encounter, All I Hold Dear, Abandoned, Breaking Point, Some Sweet Day, Code Red, High Stakes, Wild Card, The Bracelet, The Emerald, The Topaz, and The Ruby. She is one of three contributors to The Spirit of Christmas along with Betsy Brannon Green and Michele Ashman Bell. Jennie also writes a monthly review column for Meridian Magazine.

Mayan Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke

The discovery of a priceless artifact puts Julia’s life in great danger! From valuable artifacts to shady businessmen, the Yucatan Peninsula becomes a dangerous vacation spot for John and Julia Evans. While on assignment for the newspaper, the Evans’ try to enjoy a romantic vacation among the Mayan ruins, but when Julia accidentally comes upon a couple suspicious men exchanging an item, she quickly turns and leaves but it is too late. The men have seen her. As a reporter, Julia does not easily give up and her curiosity gets them in a mess of trouble. Before John and Julia realize what is going on, they are both in danger and find themselves running for their lives through the jungles of the Yucatan.

Linda Weaver Clarke was raised on a farm surrounded by the rolling hills of southern Idaho and has made her home in southern Utah among the beautiful red mountains and desert heat. She is happily married and is the mother of six daughters and several grandchildren. Clarke received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Southern Utah University and travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop,” encouraging others to turn their family history and autobiography into a variety of interesting stories.

Clarke is the author of the historical fiction series, “A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho,” which includes the following novels: Melinda and the Wild West - a semi-finalist for the “Reviewers Choice Award 2007,” Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Jenny’s Dream, David and the Bear Lake Monster, and Elena, Woman of Courage. She is also the author of the mystery series, The Adventures of John and Julia Evans, which currently includes the following novels : Anasazi Intrigue, Mayan Intrigue, and Montezuma Intrigue.

**Winner may choose either Anasazi Intrigue or Mayan Intrigue.

On the Edge by Julie Coulter Bellon

Dylan Campbell, a Canadian Security Intelligence Service agent, is recovering from a gunshot wound and looking for a new direction in his life. Armed with his newly found testimony in the LDS Church, he soon embarks on a routine fact-finding mission to Africa. While there he befriends Elizabeth Spencer, a beautiful American working to ease the suffering in Uganda. Their relationship is just beginning to deepen when Dylan discovers that a biological weapon has been manufactured in the private hospital where Elizabeth works. He realizes the terrorists plan to infect millions of innocent people across Canada and the United States.

Dylan must catch up with the terrorists in Greece to stop them from taking the weapon to North America. However, he is captured before he can act, and it takes every ounce of Dylan’s physical and spiritual strength to stay alive.

Can Dylan trust his heart and accept Elizabeth’s offer of help? Will he learn the true identities of his enemies in time to stop the biological weapon from being unleashed?

From the wilds of Africa to the ancient ruins of Greece, this book takes you to the edge of civilization and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Julie Bellon and her husband Brian are the parents of eight children. Julie's greatest joy is being a mother and spending time with her family. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education—English teaching, and she currently teaches a journalism course for BYU Continuing Education. When she's not busy being a mom, teaching, serving in the community or writing, you will find her browsing through bookstores to add to her book collection, at the library borrowing books, or reading the treasures she's found.

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