Understanding The ISBN

Seal of the United States Library of Congress....

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For more than thirty years International Standard Book Numbers or ISBNs have been in existence. They were created through the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) in 1970. Currently R.R. Bowker is the United States agency for ISBNs and there assignment. Publishers and self published authors currently in the U.S. Can get ISBNs from www.isbn.org.

The ISBN is a books ordering number/identifier, in regards to it’s title. ISBNs are not required , anyone an publish a book without them. The problem with doing this makes it difficult for potential readers to find your book in the market place. Printed books, pamphlets, audio books, CDs and DVDs will have an ISBN assigned to them. Journals, periodicals and newspapers are a few examples of items that won’t ever have an ISBN assigned to them.

The format of an ISBN is broken up into 5 parts. You probably have seen the 978 or 979 prefix, which is always 3 digits. After the prefix is the registration number which is the country, geographical region or language area. This element can be 1 to 5 digits in length. The numbers next will indicate the publisher or imprint and my be up to 7 digits in length. The publication element is next and will identify a particular edition or format of a title. The length of this segment can be up to 6 digits. Finally, the check digit, it validates the rest of the numbering sequence. It is calculated by a Modulus 10 system in alternates of 1 and 3. when its all said and done an ISBN number will look like this:






EAN = European Article Number, now the International Article Number (IAN)

Group = English Speaking Area

Publisher = Llewellyn Publication (in this example)

Title = True Police Stories of the Strange and Unexplained (in this example)

Check Digit = This is used and is a method of verifying redundancy.

Confused yet? You are certainly not alone. With all that is involved in assigning an ISBN number that is unique to a title, it’s no wonder only a few agencies have this task. To learn more about ISBN numbers, please visit www.isbn.org or visit the Library of Congress site at www.loc.gov or Publisher Services at www.isbn-us.com.


Foreshadowing: Where To Begin?

Shadows in the late afternoon.

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I’m not exactly sure what foreshadowing is, but I think I need to learn more about it and utilize it in my middle grade novel. Janice Hardy has a pretty good grasp on the subject at The Other Side of the Story.

Here is an excerpt:

But what is foreshadowing and how can an aspiring author achieve it?

I’ve discovered the most simple way is to either work backwards (in the case of a single book) or give yourself “play room” for future books in a series. To achieve a backward foreshadowing, you need to pick an element of the plot that you want to tease the reader with and then figure out a way for the character to come into contact with the element innocently. One example is our first Cat Adams novel, Magic’s Design. Publishers Weekly noticed the clever foreshadowing we used which I managed by backwards plotting.

Read more here:


Book Festivals

Children's Book Festival logo

Image by Surrey County Council via Flickr

If you’ve never been to a book festival, well shame on you. There is certainly lots happening and even more to celebrate. You get to talk about your favorite books with others who love books as much as you. Keynote speakers are giving great insite and answering lots of questions. Authors, booksellers, and publishers create a spectacular party atmosphere to celebrate books!

Book festivals offer more than just books. You can find music, food, fun activities for kids and poetry. If you want to know what book festivals will be close to you be sure to visit www.bookfestivals.com for a list of events.

What has been your book festival experience?

Too Busy Writing!

I am sorry to say I have neglected this blog for a little while now. I have so many projects going on it’s hard to keep up. I am working on two stories for kids. I am getting one of them illustrated. And by the way, the illustrations are awesome for “Princess Penelope and the Pickle Festival” I can’t wait to show them off.

I have also partnered with a few other authors to launch a new online publishing company, Three Rabbits Publishing, which we hope to launch October 1st. I have been working on the sites web content and getting all of the legal contracts together. It’s a lot of work but a labor of love.

What interesting projects have you been working on these last few weeks?

Best Links for Writers and Publishers (September, 9) « 40kBooks




Best Links for Writers and Publishers (September, 9) « 40kBooks.

I came across this wonderful site that has loads of information for authors. Especially those who are wanting to self publish. Check it out.