by Lorilyn Roberts
First, buy your ISBN’s from Bowker – not from a secondary vender, though they are a lot cheaper – but you will end up throwing them out. They are worthless.
Should you incorporate or make yourself a publisher? What I did is I used my business name, Roberts Court Reporters, as I am already incorporated and have been for about 20 years.
The only advantage to getting your own ISBN’s (rather than using Smashwords or Create Space) in my opinion is if you want to try to sell to bookstores or more easily to libraries. If you use the Create Space ISBN and publish only through them, you will never be able to get your book into bookstores unless the bookstore is willing to open up a Create Space account and buy directly from Create Space. If I were a betting woman, I wouldn’t count on it.
I want to get my books into bookstores. Why? I don’t like having just one revenue stream for selling my books. While Amazon is a big part of the pie, it just makes business sense to “spread the wealth” – and yes, I consider my books an asset, even if nobody else has figured that out yet.
Okay. Don’t mean to be cocky, but the point is, you are limiting yourself if your dreams begin and end with Amazon. I got my ISBN’s, and I will be publishing through Lightning Source shortly. I honestly don’t know if you can publish through Lightning Source as an independent author. I think you have to become a publisher. You also have to show credit worthiness, which is why I went with my business name – too many hoops otherwise. Maybe an LLC is easier. It’s about $500 in Florida to incorporate, and unless you are making a profit, I don’t know whether it’s a good business decision to do it. You will pay more in taxes – CPA fees, et cetera, to help you not pay so much in taxes.
But if you want to get your book in bookstores, you have to have returnability of books, and Create Space won’t give you that.
This is what I am doing: I am republishing with Lightning Source, using my own ISBN that I bought from Bowker, both for the ebook and the print copy, you need two different ISBN numbers because then you have to go back and register those books with Bowker. I will republish with Create Space using my own ISBN number for both ways of publishing.
I also got a Library of Congress number – and that was not easy because I didn’t know how to do it, and I did it all wrong. YOU MUST GET YOUR LIBRARY OF CONGRESS NUMBER BEFORE your book is published. After it’s published, you can’t get the number.
I wanted the number to help get my book into libraries. Plus it just looks good. I believe it will help me to get some reviews from people who review books with those numbers, because libraries use those numbers to determine which books they want to order.
I know you don’t have to be incorporated to publish with Lightning Source or to get a Bowker number, but you need more than just being an author. Essentially you become a publisher. It’s a lot more of a hassle, but anything worth having sometimes just takes a lot of work.