how to get isbn

How to Get an ISBN: Cracking the Code for Self-Publishers

In the early days of World War 2, the Japanese military sent messages back and forth. The Allies needed to crack their intricate numbering system to get an edge in the war and turn the tables. But how did they crack this complex system? MI6 recruited a young mathematician named Gordon Foster to work as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, where he scanned millions of numbers looking for patterns in the code.

Decades later, when the book industry needed a standardized tracking programme in order to coordinate the increasing number of titles being published each year, Gordon Foster was approached by WH Smith, a British retailer, to write a report on how to create such a system.

This report led to the 9-digit standard book number which went live in the UK in 1967, and eventually led to the ISBN system used worldwide. Several years later this turned into a 10-digit numbering system when a policy was needed for new editions and variations. Then, in 2007, the ISBN switched to a 13-digit format and is now the standard used everywhere.

ISBN stands for “International Standard Book Number” and, before it was implemented in 1967, the method and system for cataloging, ordering, organizing, and locating a specific book was a chaotic mess.

Today, to get your book into a bookstore, a library, or almost any book distribution channel on the planet, you need an ISBN.

But how does this long string of numbers on the back of books work? How do you get it? If you’re a self-publisher, do you need an ISBN? Why would you need one?

These are all questions answered in this article. It’s a mammoth of a post and will get quite technical at certain points. If you just want to know if you should get an ISBN as a self-publisher, and where to get it, feel free to skip these sections.

With that disclaimer, let’s unweave the intricate web of ISBNs and how they work in the publishing industry.

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How To Read an ISBN: What do the Numbers Stand For?

As of 2007, the ISBN is a 13-digit number. This came about in part because of the large volume of eBooks now being published every year. Knowing how to break down and interpret these 13 digits aren’t of much use and interest to most book readers, but for publishers and distributors it’s a necessity. If you want to publish lots of books under your own publishing name then it’s something you may want to pay attention to. You can tell a lot about a book and its author by reading the ISBN number.

The 13 digit ISBN number helps:

  • Identify the specific title
  • Identify the author
  • Identify the type of book they are buying
  • Identify the physical properties of that particular book
  • Identify the geographical location of the publisher

Let’s break it down and look at what all these numbers mean.

ISBN Breakdown

Here is the ISBN for a particular book:

978-3-16-148410-0

You’ll notice this sequence is divided into 5 number combinations. But the first three digits “978” indicates that this string of numbers is for an ISBN. if we remove these digits we have:

3-16-148410-0

First is the initial digit, in this case: 3

The 3 is the language group identifier which here indicates German. For English speaking countries a 0 or 1 is used. Numbers for language identification generally range from 1-5.

Here is a list of the most common Group identifiers:

0 or 1 for English

2 for French

3 for German

4 for Japan

5 for Russian

7 for People’s Republic of China

It’s worth mentioning that the rarer the language, the longer the number identifier will be. For example, Indonesia is 602 whereas Turkey is 9944. You can reference the complete list at the International ISBN Agency.

Next is “16”. This is the “publisher code,” and it identifies the publisher on any book that has this number. This number can be as long as 9 digits.

“148410” — This six digit series represents the title of the book. The publisher assigns this to a specific book or edition of the book, such as a hardcover version or paperback. This could be a single digit or stretch to multiple digits.

“0” is the last digit and is known as the “check digit”. This number is mathematically calculated as a fixed digit. This is always a single digit. This number indicates that the rest of the ISBN numbers have been scanned and is calculated based on the other digits in the code.

The ISBN and Barcode

The ISBN is usually found above the barcode on the back of the book, so it’s reasonable to assume they’re the same thing, right?

Except, they’re not. The barcode isn’t the same as the ISBN.

This is an important distinction because:

  • When you purchase an ISBN you don’t automatically get a barcode
  • The barcode of your book can change, while your ISBN can remain the same.

We’ve already discussed what data the ISBN carries, however the barcode includes extra information such as the book’s fixed price and the currency it’s being sold in. Barcodes are a necessary element of your book as they allow for most retailers and distributors to scan your ISBN for retail and inventory reasons.

The standard barcode is known as the EAN (European Article Number) barcode, and your barcode must be in this format to sell your book in bookstores.

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(Breakdown of the typical EAN barcode on the back of a book by Publisher Services)

Reading a barcode: If you look at the picture of a standard barcode, you’ll notice two barcodes side by side. The barcode that appears on the left is the EAN generated from the ISBN number. The other number appearing on the right is a 5-digit add-on, called an EAN-5, that contains the price of the book. The first digit is a 5, and is a must for scanners to read. The 4-digits after the five indicates the price of the book.

For example, if the number reads 52995, this means the price of the book is set at $29.95. If the price of the book changes, a new barcode must be used, though the ISBN wouldn’t change. This would only be replaced by a new ISBN if the book is published as a new edition or as a new version.

To buy a barcode you must first purchase an ISBN. You can buy your barcodes at Bowker and they even offer a barcode-ISBN combo:

  • 1 barcode + 1 ISBN is $150.
  • 1 barcode + 10 ISBNs is $320.

The Difference between ASIN and ISBN

If you’ve used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program you’ve probably come across an ASIN. ASIN numbers are used by Amazon to manage and identify the products they are selling on their site. It’s a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier that’s assigned by Amazon.com and its partners. You can find this on your book page. In your browser, the Amazon ASIN will be after the product’s name and “dp”. The next place to find this is in your book or product details area of your book page.

However, an ASIN is not the same as an ISBN. You can only use it with Amazon. If you want to sell through other platforms or in brick and mortar stores, you’re going to need an ISBN.

Reasons Self-Publishers Need an ISBN

And now we come to the most pressing question on your mind: do you need an ISBN?

If you want to publish and sell your eBook on Amazon, then the quick answer is no, it isn’t necessary. Amazon will assign your eBook an ASIN number which will be used to identify and track your title.

However, that’s only with Amazon, and only with eBooks.

If you want your readers to get a hold of a print version of your book, then you’re going to need an ISBN. This might be important if you have a brick and mortar marketing strategy, or if you want your book to be accessible through libraries (more on this later), or if you’re looking to deal with wholesalers or other online retailers.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb: if you want to sell your book by means other than as an ebook on Amazon, then you’ll need an ISBN.

Should You Get a Free or a Paid ISBN?

You might have noticed that self-published authors can get assigned a free ISBN by Createspace, the On-Demand publishing company owned by Amazon. You can also get an ISBN when dealing with a whole host of On-Demand or self publishing companies, like Draft2Digital, Smashwords or IngramSpark. If you can get a free or cheap ISBN with them, then what’s the use in paying for your own one?

Here’s the problem: most of the time, you can only use those free ISBNs with the channels those companies distribute through.

Let’s say you get a free ISBN with Draft2Digital, but then you notice that there are some retail channels you can access through Smashwords that you can’t with Draft2Digital. You can’t use the Draft2Digital ISBN with Smashwords. Smashwords will only let you use your own ISBN or an ISBN they assign to you. So what do you do?

You get a free ISBN with Smashwords.

And now you have two ISBNs for the same book. Same book title, same book format, but two ISBNs.

You then hear of some exclusive channels you can get through eBookPartnership. The only wrinkle? You need an ISBN and they won’t take your Smashwords’ or Draft2Digital’s ISBN. So you sign up for their free ISBN instead.

Now you have three ISBNs for the same book. This problem can repeat itself again and again as you discover more ways to distribute your book. Sometimes you’ll have to pay for the ISBN, sometimes you won’t. But it leads to you having several ISBNs, all from different publishers, for the same book.

Can you picture how unprofessional that looks to a bookstore? Wouldn’t it have been easier to start off by buying your own ISBN? Wouldn’t that make you look more professional?

On top of this, each of those free ISBNs identify the self publishing company as a publisher. It’s the equivalent of using your business email address as [email protected] or [email protected] instead of [email protected] (assuming you’re named Matt). Not only does this make you look unprofessional, but there are some stores that will refuse to stock your book on this basis. If you have a CreateSpace ISBN, there are a number of bookstores that will refuse to carry your book.

All of these issues can be sidestepped by simply purchasing your own ISBN through Bowker.

If You’re Publishing An eBook, Don’t Ignore Libraries

We briefly mentioned that if you want to stock your book in libraries you’ll need an ISBN. However, that might be the furthest thing from your mind. You might have decided to focus purely on eBook publishing and what part do libraries play in eBooks?

A big one.

Libraries are becoming more important to the distribution of eBooks. Overdrive are the largest supplier to schools and libraries in the world (serving more than 30,000), and they circulated more than 105 million eBooks in 2014, a 33% increase from their previous year. They also supply to retail stores globally, making $100 million in sales in 2013.

And guess what you need to be able to partner with Overdrive? Yup. An ISBN.

How do I get an ISBN?

Hopefully you’re convinced that if you want to look professional in the industry and be able to access all distribution channels, you need your own ISBN.

But how do you get one?

ISBNs are free in many countries, provided either by the government or a publicly administered branch. However, in the US and the UK, ISBNs are administered by Bowker and Nielsen respectively, and require you to pay.

If you’re located outside the USA you can find out your local ISBN Agency here. While ISBNs are assigned locally, you can use them internationally.

If you live in the USA, you have to get an ISBN through myidentifiers.com, run by Bowker, the only company that is authorized to administer the ISBN program in the United States. You can purchase ISBNs as a single unit or in bulk of 10, 100 or 1000.

How to Register Your Book and ISBN

As soon as you purchase your ISBN through Bowker, or the International equivalent in your local area, and you publish your book, you should register here at Bowkerlink. This is an automated tool that will add your book to Bowker’s Books In Print and Global Books In Print. I recommend you download the free PDF “ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration” with step-by-step instructions on setting up your title.

How Many ISBNs To Get

So how many ISBNs should you get?

First off let’s clarify a few common mistakes:

  • You can only use an ISBN once. The ISBN is a unique number for that particular book, and can be assigned once, and only once, to that title. It can’t be used with any other book in the future, even second versions of the same book.
  • You don’t need an ISBN to sell in each individual country. ISBNs are international, they are just assigned locally. A US based publisher can purchase their ISBN through Bowker, but can stock their book worldwide using that ISBN.
  • You need an ISBN for every specific format of the book, and any new versions. Want to sell your book in print, as an eBook, and also as an audiobook? That’s great, however you need a different ISBN for each one. If you want to publish a revised and updated version you’ll also need a new ISBN. (This doesn’t cover fixing some typos and errors).
  • If you create a series of books you can’t use the same ISBN for them. You can use the same ISSN, however. Many fiction and nonfiction authors, have an ISSN number assigned to their book series. ISSN stands for International Standard Series Number, and can be purchased from the Library of Congress. However, each book in the series will need its own ISBN.

We mentioned that in the USA you can buy ISBNs as a single unit, a bulk of 10, 100 or 1000. Here are the prices:

Number of ISBNs You Get Price
1 $125
10 $295
100 $575
1000 $1500

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First off, it rarely makes sense to purchase a single ISBN. A single ISBN would cost you $125, but a bulk of 10 only costs $295. Meaning if you purchased 10, each ISBN would cost you $29.50, a 76% discount.

Buying a single ISBN might seem feasible if you only want to publish one title, but remember that you need an ISBN for each format. So if you want to publish your book as an audiobook, you’d need a brand new ISBN for that. As well as needing different ISBNs for your eBook and print versions.

Not to mention that you’ll need an ISBN for any future books you publish, perhaps as sequels to your book.

We recommend that if your serious in making book sales you purchase at least a bulk of 10 ISBNs. That gives you 3 ISBNs to use for publishing as an eBook, in print, and as an audiobook. You can keep the remainder for books you publish in the future.

Wrapping It Up

Now that you have a very good idea how to buy and use ISBNs for your own books, all the best on setting this up. If you want to be recognized as a publisher and have your books available to a larger global audience by registering through Bowker, consider investing in your own ISBNs. Think of it as buying a piece of property: You own it and it is registered in your name.

For more information, you can find out anything you want to know by visiting the official Bowker page or at myidentifiers.com

Here’s a simple actionable checklist for ISBNs.

To buy an ISBN for your next book, here is what you should do:

  1. Go to the website https://www.myidentifiers.com
  2. Under the ISBN drop down tab, click on ISBNs—Buy Here. You can select 1, 10 or 100. For a bulk purchase, go to “Buying ISBNs in Bulk” and you can contact Bowker directly to discuss your options.
  3. Once you have your ISBN assigned, you can then use it everywhere that requires your ISBN number.
  4. At Createspace, under the “Setup” channel, you can choose to have Createspace assign you an ISBN. When you buy your own ISBN at Bowker, just put in the 13-digit number and Createspace will use this in your paperback.
  5. If you publish your paperback through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you can fill in your number in the “Paperback Content” section of your book when you log into your bookshelf. If you choose to have Createspace assign you an ISBN, KDP will ask for your 13-digit number if you are transferring your physical version over to KDP.
  6. Register your ISBN here at Bowker as soon as your book is ready for sale. Download the free ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration step-by-step guide.

Helpful Links & Resources

These links appeared throughout the post but here they are for easy access.

International ISBN Agency

https://www.isbn-international.org

ISBN.org by Bowker

https://www.isbn.org/faqs_general_questions

Bowkerlink Publisher Access System

https://commerce.bowker.com/corrections/common/home.asp

Bowker Identifier Services

https://www.myidentifiers.com

U.S. Copyright Office

https://www.copyright.gov

ISBN Set Up Guide

ISBN Guides: Basic Information

How to Self Publish a Book

How to Self Publish a Book in 2018

Historically, if you wanted to publish a book, you needed an agent to get a traditional publisher to look at your manuscript. In fact, many publishing companies won’t even open a manuscript if it doesn’t come through an agent. What’s worse is that even if they do open it, it’s still unlikely that your book will be published and sold in bookstores!

Is there a better method?

Yes! In fact, there is another way for your book to not only be published, but to even become a bestseller! This method has led to the success of many authors, and is changing the book and traditional publishing industry.

It’s called, self-publishing.

Personally speaking, I’ve self-published 6 bestselling non-fiction books on Amazon, sold tens of thousands of copies, and continue to collect thousands per month in royalty checks. The success of my books has been directly responsible for the strong performance of my business, which has grown to over 7 figures in less than 2 years.

Five years ago, in order to achieve this level of publishing success, you would have needed to be extremely lucky to even land an agent who would attempt to find you a deal at one of the “Big 5” publishing houses.

This is no longer the case. Not only do you no longer need one of the “Big 5” companies to publish your book, now self-published authors are actively turning down offers from publishing companies!

So If you are trying to publish your book and are having no luck landing a publisher, self-publishing could be the best option for you.

Because many writers get overwhelmed with the abundance of information about the self-publishing process, I’ve created a step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide that will walk you through on the beginning steps on how to write your book all the way to self-publishing it on Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network.

This guide will cover:

  1. Deciding Why You Want to Write a Book
  2. Writing Your Book
  3. Getting Feedback on Your Book
  4. Choosing a Book Title
  5. Hiring a Great Book Editor
  6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts
  7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  8. Formatting and Uploading your Book
  9. Self-Publishing Your Book
  10. Pricing Your Book
  11. Forming a Launch Team
  12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure
  13. Celebrate!

Let’s begin.

1. Deciding Why You Want To Write A Book

What you need to decide first when self-publishing a book, is WHY you want to write a book. I encourage going through this brainstorming process as it’s the only way to ensure that you’re 100% committed to writing a book (and doing it for the right reasons).

Here are some questions for you to consider:

  • Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book?
  • Do you want to leverage your skills and knowledge to become a paid speaker or coach?
  • Do you have a well established business and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
  • Or do you already have a successful story, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience?

Action Plan: Come up with at least 10 valid reasons why you want to write a book. Use the questions above as a starting guide to brainstorm.

2. Writing Your Book

If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you might have had moments where you’ve stared at a blank page for hours with nothing to show for it Feeling frustrated, you resort to procrastinating and get nothing done! This is normal, writing a book is hard work.

In order to start writing your book, you must develop a writing process.

Here’s are some effective ways to develop the writing process:

  • Buy a calendar. The best way to have your book complete is to have a calendar that schedules your goals per day/week.
  • Create an outline. An outline is like a map of your book that provides direction to your story. It keeps you on track and ensures that your ideas are organized.
  • Develop a writing habit. Condition yourself to write at the same time every day. With this practice, it will soon become a habit that will make writing a book automatic.

To learn more tips on how to write, here’s a tutorial video of the simple process I use to write over 1500 words per hour:

Action Plan: Create a resistance plan! Figure out which methods best filter out negative noise to get you into the writing process.

3. Getting Feedback on Your Book

When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible. As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought.

Not only can a fresh set of eyes on your book help you catch typos and grammatical errors, but a new perspective can give you ideas for tightening up your story and making the theme more clear. Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.

Action Plan: Reach out to a few friends who could provide good feedback, and ask them if they’ll be willing to read a chapter or two (or the whole book!) as you finish writing.

4. Choosing a Book Title

Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft. This is because choosing a book title first often results in you “writing yourself into a corner” because you’re trying so hard to align your story to the title of the book instead of writing what needs to be written.

Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.

The key to choosing a perfect title is: the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to keep it simple. Your title should also be clear on what your readers will receive by reading your book because experts state that a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.

Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable title:

  • Is your title going to teach a high demand skill?
  • Can your title impact someone’s life?
  • Can your book solve a very difficult problem?

Action Plan: Once you’ve narrowed down your book titles, send out an email to your friends and family or put a poll up to your audience asking what title they’d prefer. You could also ask a community of other authors what they think. To learn more about book titles, check out our article on Book Title Ideas.

5. Hiring a Great Book Editor

Hiring a great editor can mean the difference between writing a bestseller, or a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary on this stage of the process.

To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network. Do you personally know any English teachers or others in the editorial field? Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor?

If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry! Depending on your budget, you can either hire a professional book editor, or hire a more budget-friendly editor from Upwork. Self-Publishing School also has a Rolodex of approved and vetted book editors who all do a great job.

No matter how you find your editor, make sure you’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum ($25 or so) to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book. Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 3.5 weeks or less including back-and-forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you. If you don’t feel you’re a good fit following a sample edit, then let that $25 go, and find an editor that’s going to work out rather than sinking more money into a relationship that might be a mistake.

Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process! If one editor isn’t working out for you or meeting your needs, find another.

Action Plan: Find a friend or professional editor who can make sure your book is error-free, and start working with them sooner rather than later!

6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts

When it comes to self-publishing, a high quality book cover is one of the most important elements that will get your book to convert into sales! The reason is because your cover design is what readers see first and will immediately determine whether they want to read your book or not.

So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.

You can find amazing book cover designers on freelancing sites such as:

Prices will vary depending on what type of service you want, but the end result will be well worth the spend.

Action Plan: Find a book designer with any of these sites and your book will stand apart from the rest of its competition!

7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account

Amazon has a self-publishing service called Kindle Direct Publishing where you can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and audio books. You can even link it with CreateSpace to offer print books to your audience. It’s the best way to start selling books quickly, and I’ve used it for all my self-published books. I highly recommend it for all new self-publishers!

Setting up your KDP account is very simple! Start by following these steps:

  1. Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and create an account with either your existing Amazon account or your email address.
  2. Next, you must complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
  3. Once your tax information is complete, hit “Finished” and your account is complete!

Action Plan: Follow these steps to create your KDP account! With this platform, you can publish your book within minutes and soon have it appear worldwide!

8. Formatting Your Self-Published Book

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of resources online that can tell you how to format your book yourself for free. You can start by looking at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forums where there are plenty of discussions on book formatting. You can also use KDP’s free resources to help format your book. Formatting can be a frustrating experience for the uninitiated though, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you might consider paying someone to help you.

Here are 5 book formatting mistakes to avoid.

If you want to pay for formatting, Liber Writer is a low-cost, effective option for converting a Microsoft Word file to Amazon’s Kindle format. If $60 is too much, you can also find people on Fiverr to format your book for Kindle.

Action Plan: Make sure your book is formatted properly by using the free online resource above, or hiring someone who can handle the formatting process for you.

9. Self-Publishing Your Book

When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book.

  1. On the KDP mainpage, locate and click on “Your Bookshelf”.
  2. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions”.
  3. Then, locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
  4. Finally, click on “Upload eBook Manuscript”, and upload your manuscript file from your computer.

Amazon also allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon. It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience. To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose.

Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors.

Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book. Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard.

Afterwards, you should be ready to publish your book, at which you’ll click “save & publish” in the book editing screen!

Action Plan: Follow these steps to upload your book. You are allowed to upload your manuscript as many times as you want with each upload overriding the previous.

10. Pricing Your Book

One of the most important decisions when it comes to self-publishing a book is how to price it. The most common question I get from new writers is, “How much should my book cost?”

To answer this, my general rule of thumb is to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $5.99.

To be more specific, when beginning a launch, I would begin by pricing the book at $0.99 for the launch period. Then I would set the price to 2.99, and I would moderately increase the price by $1 every week and measure how well the new price performs. Once you see a sales dip, that will determine the exact price of your book that will guarantee book sales.

Action Plan: Find the perfect price by using this strategy that will attract your readers and best drive long term success.

11. Forming a Launch Team

Your launch team is the group of people who are dedicated to helping make your book successful. should be a passionate group of individuals who are eager to make your book launch successful. Remember, one highly skilled team member is better than a group of mediocre ones!

To find quality candidates, here’s an questionnaire you can use to assess applicants and see if they’re qualified to market your book:

  • Why do you want to support my book?
  • What goals are you trying to reach with this project?
  • How would you market this book?
  • Which influencers would you reach out to and why?

Action Plan: Create an application with questions that align to your thought process. Try to be open-minded with those who think outside the box – they maybe the perfect candidates that can get your book to become a bestseller. To learn more about book marketing, check out our article on How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book.

12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure

As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, be sure to leverage your launch team and your audience to help you market your book! It may be odd to ask your fans for help, but your fans are there to support your project and want to see you succeed. You might be surprised how willing they’ll be to help you if you just ask!

Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team and audience to do:

  • Share content from your book as blog posts across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon
  • Help build your book’s website
  • Reach out to influencers for a future guest post or podcast feature
  • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
  • Buy extra copies to gift their friends

The additional exposure generated from your launch team and audience will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, which will drive more sales!

Action Step: Create your book marketing launch plan using these methods. Measure each of these methods to see which will best get your book in the hands of new readers and convert into sales.

13. Celebrate! (Now, decide what’s next)

Publishing a book is just the beginning. Depending on your goals for your book, self publishing can get you more customers, free publicity, and establish you as an expert in your niche. This can help you land speaking gigs and build a business within your area of expertise. Your book sales can also help fund your lifestyle with passive income.

Dream big about what you want your book to do for you. When you have a vision for where you want your book to take you, it will be easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Getting clear on what you want will also help you to be more effective when expanding your network along on your journey.

So there you have it…that’s how to self publish a book. If self publishing a bestseller is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need to watch this free 4 part video training series, where I walk through the exact steps I’ve taken to write, publish, and market 6 of my own best-selling books (and how I’ve helped 1,000’s of students do the same).

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

book launch

SPS 041: Using Books to Drive Product Launches with Danny Iny

There needs to be a driving force behind product launches. Danny Iny has found that using books is the perfect driver. Danny is the founder of Mirasee, the host of the Business Reimagined Podcast, and bestselling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!, The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich. He is also the creator of the Audience Business Masterclass and Course Builder’s Laboratory which has graduated over 5000 value driven entrepreneurs.

Danny is on top of his game, and a great friend of mine. He doesn’t lose sight of the importance of impact and making a difference in people’s lives. Today, we talk about mistakes Danny made with his very first book. The tactics he used to write and market his official first book, and the importance of creating value for everyone you are involved with from readers to customers and collaborators.

You can find Danny here:
Mirasee
@DannyIny on Twitter
Books by Danny Iny
Danny Iny on LinkedIn
Engagement from Scratch!
The Audience Revolution
Teach and Grow Rich
Audience Business Masterclass
Course Builder’s Laboratory
Business Reimagined Podcast

Show Notes
[01:37] Danny’s actual first book was a book about writing published in 2006. It’ a self-published book and Danny knew nothing about marketing. The lesson learned from this book was that he needed to learn about marketing.
[03:13] In 2011, he published Engagement from Scratch! this was a compilation book about building engagement with your audience.
[04:00] This book was about building an audience when you don’t have one. This book put Danny on the map and grew his initial audience.
[05:36] His co-authors were people who had an audience and reach that he worked hard to build a relationship with. These people are rock stars now and it helped Danny build his reach.
[06:40] Danny was guest posting everywhere. His pitch invited people to contribute a chapter.
[10:32] When asking present what is in it for them and be honest about it.
[11:27] His strategy was to glean knowledge and get extra promotion from his guest authors for the book. He also sent each co-author two or three copies.
[13:03] Measuring up against expectations of people who help you out.
[14:40] The large amount of people who get a book deal and then don’t deliver.
[15:17] With self-published books, you can control everything.
[16:32] How giving away free books actually boosted sales and helped Danny’s career.
[18:13] Having a book support team of people with an audience.
[20:01] If people download a book from your website, you can reach out to them. Danny told his list he was available for podcast interviews.
[23:59] Using the book itself as part of the prelaunch process.
[25:04] People look at things differently when they are learning as opposed to being sold to.
[25:54] The importance of delivering real value and information in a way that people are receptive to it.
[26:41] How a real book can be powerful. Educate the market and help readers accomplish something meaningful.
[28:04] More people will optin in for a download rather than a video. The pages of your book determine how much people will read.
[31:49] Properly resourced projects tend to do well.
[32:52] The book should be great, but your offer is the core of what you are doing.
[34:43] Structure of a launch. First video helps people to see an opportunity that wasn’t there before. Second video helping them to see that it is possible for them. Overcome objections. Third video show what life can be like after the journey.
[36:52] 1 star reviews can be frustrating, just accept it and move on.
[38:35] Books as a long term play. It leads into a launch or an evergreen offer. A book is part of your body and work. The more you create the more visible it is. Create great stuff and write a great book.
[40:25] When cool things happen it is not a surprise. Writing something great will attract a higher caliber or better fit of students or customers.
[42:29] Think about why you want to write and publish a book. Don’t have things that are just steps in the ladder.

Links and Resources:
self-publishingschool.com
Spsfreetraining.com
Mitch Joel
Guy Kawasaki
Seth Godin
Copyblogger
Self-Publishing Summit
Disrupted
Mirasee
@DannyIny on Twitter
Books by Danny Iny
Danny Iny on LinkedIn
Engagement from Scratch!
The Audience Revolution
Teach and Grow Rich
Audience Business Masterclass
Course Builder’s Laboratory
Business Reimagined Podcast

amazon categories

How To Get Approved for More Amazon Book Categories

When it comes to self-publishing your upcoming book, do not make light of selecting your book categories! Although it may appear to be a small detail, you must realize that your readers often resort to categories when looking for books on a specific topic. Therefore, selecting the best book categories for your upcoming bestseller is a critical decision as it will impact your book sales.

Here are more notable reasons why your book should have best fitting categories:

  • It can help you become a bestseller. Like the New York Times bestseller, Amazon can also tag your book with an orange badge that says “#1 Bestseller”. And with thousands of Amazon categories to compete and rank for, this means that there’s plenty of opportunity for you to become an Amazon bestseller!
  • You can gain more exposure on Amazon. By appearing on different categories, your book can appeal to different audiences. And if your book ranks in the top ten of any category listings, Amazon will include your book to its “Recommendations Engine”  which will generate more publicity!

But with plenty of book categories on Kindle Direct Publishing as well as the plethora of books competing for attention, how do you choose the right categories to make your book stand out to your reader?

In this post, we will share our best strategies to help you pick the right categories for your book that will increase your sales rank and obtain maximum exposure through Amazon’s search engine.

Here are the three topics we will cover:

  1. How to Research Your Competition
  2. How to Strategically Select Your Category
  3. How to Acquire Additional Categories

Let’s get started!

1. How to Research Your Competition

If your goal is to appear on the first page of search results on Amazon, then you must take advantage of every window of opportunity to succeed. In order to do so, you first must research your competition.

When you begin researching for book categories, you should start by scanning the bestselling books on every first page results of your target category.

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The reason is simply due to the fact that the first page results are most likely what your readers are going to be looking for! Therefore, it’s important to identify the top selling books for each category you want to target.

Next, go through each of the books on the first page results and study its category string links. For example, here are the category links for Taylor Pearson’s book, The End of Jobs:

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Notice that for a book on Entrepreneurship, it’s ranked highest for “Labor & Workforce” and “Economics”. This goes to show that by placing their book into such unique categories, the author completely understood their target audience which is why The End of Jobs appears on several first page results.

So if you want to have a high ranking for your category, make it a priority to research your competitors’ categories and emulate their methods with your book.

Action Plan: Research the first page competitors in five categories of your choosing. Take note to any unique categories your competitors rank in, and apply them to your upcoming book.  

2. How to Strategically Select Your Category

Because the Amazon’s Kindle Store has thousands of categories to choose from as well as an overwhelming amount of books fighting for attention, the competition can be relentless and unfair to new writers. But there is one approach that will have you stand out: Select trending categories with little competition.

What is considered a competitive rank?

We find that any categories with books ranking higher than #2000 is considered very competitive and not a recommended category for new writers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t place your book in a competitive ranking, but if you do, be sure to have a well planned book launch with a sizable audience that can provide a lot of verified reviews. For new authors with a smaller following, we recommend aiming for certain categories with books that rank between #10,000-30,000.

Once you’ve completed this research, you should have a list of thriving categories to place your book in that will outrank your competitors.

Action Plan: With the five categories you’ve researched, take the time to review your competitors’ ranking that fall between #10,000-30,000. For even better results, we also recommend using the KDP Calculator to calculate how many books you would need to sell in order increase your ranking.

3. How to Acquire Additional Categories

When you upload your book for the first time, Amazon will offer you a select list of categories to choose from. At a first glance, you will notice that the selection seems rather limited and is missing plenty of categories that you’ve seen other books rank for. Unfortunately, Amazon has done this intentionally so that they can place new books into their own kindle categories.

Don’t let Amazon determine your categories! There’s thousands of sub-categories you can rank for, and you can even include an additional eight sub-categories not found in the usual channels.

Here how you can acquire these categories:

  1. Use Amazon Keyword Selection. Include the name of your category as one of your “Amazon Keywords”. In order to obtain a particular category, you must include specific keywords in the Kindle submission form. For more information on Keyword requirements, visit Amazon’s browse category page to learn more.
  2. Place your categories in strategic places. To convince Amazon that your book should be placed in specific category, strategically work the words of the category onto the title, subtitle or even the summary of your book page.
  3. Contact Amazon. You can contact Amazon and request your book to be placed in a particular category. Amazon will then assess your entire book and determine if it’s an appropriate fit for the specific browse category. If approved, These categories will appear in the “Look for similar items by category” at the bottom of the book page.

Action Plan: Experiment with these strategies to acquire additional sub-categories for your book. Remember you can include eight additional keywords that can convince Amazon to place your book in the categories of your choosing.

If you want a successful book launch, you must not overlook even the tiniest of details. By following these guidelines on how to select your book category, your first book will have maximum exposure and the best chance to appear in the Amazon bestseller list.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!