So here’s a question to all those who have gone before me and have a book(s) published. I don’t care if it’s indie publishing or traditional, my question remains the same.

How the bleep did you do it?

I posted off a query email to my local ISBN Agency just asking about purchasing ISBNs for my upcoming WIP Guns of Perdition. What they sent me back managed to confuse and overwhelm the bleep out of me (see below for email).

Add this to the other list of things stressing confusing me and I am nearly ready to chuck it all in as too bleeping hard.

  • To go pro editor or not
  • How am I going to afford that?
  • Which publishing platform?
  • How does that even work?
  • Do I need copyright
  • How does that work?
  • Pasta or salad for lunch?
  • Where does cover art fit in with all this?
  • Formatting
  • ISBNs
  • Barcodes
  • That weird clown that watches me all the time
  • eBook or hardcopy or both?
  • Should I just try traditional publishing?
  • Rejection letters
  • Marketing


I just want to write bleep it!

Email from ISBN Agency in Australia;

Thank you for your enquiry and congratulations upon your self-publishing venture!

Purchasing an Australian ISBN will lead to you as self-publisher on Createspace/Amazon etc

ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) are internationally accepted identifiers for book publications used throughout library catalogue systems and the book trade. There is no expiry date on ISBNs.

Thorpe-Bowker Identifier Services is the registered ISBN Agency in Australia. If you purchase your ISBNs from elsewhere they may not lead to an international bibliographic database and may not represent you as an Australian self-publisher. Bowkers’ Books in Print is an established book database used widely throughout the book trade.  When you create a Sign In at MyIdentifiers you create a publisher record for yourself on Books in Print. You then control how you want your title information (metadata) to appear on Books in Print.

Your publication can however, be printed in any country you choose.

Self-publishers with an Australian address can purchase ISBNs, barcodes, EBook conversions and other products and services to help them in their publishing quest at our website -http://www.myidentifiers.com.au. It is a simple three step process: Register – Purchase – Report.


Firstly, you will need to create a MyIdentifiers Publisher account by clicking on the ‘Register’ button in the top right corner of our homepage, giving us the contact information of the publisher/self-publisher. If you are an author who is self-publishing ie organising the printing and distribution of your publication; you can use your own name, a name you create (pen-name) or a business name. If you are a printer, designer or editor you must use all of your clients contact details in this setup of Publisher account. (Note: Printers, designers and editors are not usually publishers) This Publisher name can also be changed later, but you will need to notify us to make the change.

During this registration process you will  create a “Sign In”. Your email address will become your Username and you will make up a Password (so make a note) for access to your account at any time.

Please note a one-off New Publisher Registration Fee of $55 will apply and will be added to your shopping cart at check out. This fee enables your titles’ ISBN and details to appear on “Books in Print” – a bibliographic database that is used widely throughout the book-trade and libraries, also seen online at Bookworld and google books.


Once that is sorted you can make an ISBN selection (Single ISBN = 44.00, 10 ISBNs = 88.00) or purchase one of the self-publisher packages we offer. Each format of a publication requires its own identifier. (eg for Paperback and ePUB and MOBI 3 separate ISBNs are required) so one title can have numerous ISBNs.  For this reason we recommend to start-off with a 10 list of ISBNs.  Barcodes are required for print publications that need scanning at point of sale. They cost 45.00 per ISBN and usually are purchased one at a time as required. Once purchased they are credited to your ISBN Dashboard for you to generate when needed.

When you have finalised your selections you can include your Credit Card details in the shopping cart and then you click ‘Checkout’ to finalise your payment.

Please note: Other methods of payment such as Cheque or Bank Transfer may take up to a fortnight to process.

Once your Credit Card payment is processed (which happens instantaneously) you will receive three emails. The Order Confirmation email will contain your requested ISBNs and valuable information and instructions eg. How to download your barcode graphic etc. One of the emails will be a Tax Invoice receipt.


This step is crucial for any title you assign to an ISBN. Without it, your ISBN/title will not be listed in ‘Books in Print’ or other important industry and retail databases.

At any time before your book goes to print you can Sign In to your MyIdentifiers account and add title information (metadata) against your ISBNs. Initially you need only fill in the mandatory fields (those marked with *) to create a ‘complete record’ which is uploaded to the ‘Books in Print’ database. The title information you include can be changed or updated at any time. Make sure your click Submit to save changes. Then you can return later to add more information such as cover image, main description, and author biography.  You have done all the hard work in getting your publication to this stage, you want to give it every chance to succeed and reach as many readers as possible, so this step is vital.


Please see http://www.nla.gov.au/content/services-for-publishers regarding Cataloguing in Publication and Legal Deposit requirements.


For questions relating to Copyright law in Australia – http://www.copyright.org.au


If you are interested in publishing an E-book check out our conversion services under the Publish Your Book tab > Ebook Solutions. There are also Cover Design and Printing services available.

DCL are now handling all our ebook conversions. DCL quotes ‘uncompromised quality 100% of the time’. The customer service is also worry free which is important. Your ebook conversion will never be turned down by retailers due to poor quality which can happen with some of the cheaper options available. We have several options available or you can use our Free Quote service at https://www.myidentifiers.com.au/bowker_ebook_solutions

Many apologies for all the bleeping cussing in this post.

Words of wisdom or advice would be greatly appreciated.


55 thoughts on “Overwhelmed

  1. When I published a while ago I used Createspace and then Lulu (because they pay to paypal) but both allocated an ISBN number automatically. I’ve heard many authors prefer to buy blocks of ISBN’s to use which allow them to register the books for sale anywhere but it’s an expensive game and Createspace advertise the book everywhere anyway. I would imagine you could use a Createspace one for now and change to your own at a later date when you have available cash.
    Hope that’s of some help.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Published through Amazon. No need to worry about rejection letters that way :/
    I skipped the pro editor, because I’m poor and hoped my own eye would catch any problems, it mostly worked.
    I don’t think my book has an official ISBN but it has a number allocated to it by Amazon that people can search.
    Literally just write ‘Copyright [your name] 2017’ or something to that effect in your book and that’s that problem solved, that was the conclusion of my research on that anyway.
    For cover art I was intending to get an original piece done but then I found an image I really liked, I messaged the artist to ask if I could use it and he was super chill about it.
    Amazon has a book creator type thing to set up the format of your book with the cover and what not. I don’t know about else where.
    For the actual formatting/page set up, that’s partially your preference. Choosing a font is important and laying out your page so it looks good on the size of page you want is all about tweaking it until you’re happy. Though obviously make sure you have your page breaks at the end of chapters.
    I went for both e-book and printed, mostly because Amazon only charges me for it when someone orders a copy and has to print it, so the charge comes out any profits.
    Also Amazon has marketing stuff but it’s nothing that’s going to really work like having a proper publishing company at your back.
    That’s the main bonus of the traditional route, you’ll have people to help you market your book and make sure it looks good. The down side is they might ask you to change things you don’t want to (oh and rejection :p)
    I hope at least some of this helps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hansen you make it sound so easy!! Why does it feel NOT that way when I’m thinking about all the steps involved? I’m going to copy your advice and stick it up on my desk. Then write, stop over-thinking it! at the top. Thanks so much, you’ve definitely helped me through my little panic attack. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I make it sound easy because I’ve already done my best impression of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ while worrying about all this stuff myself.
        Now I get to have a bit of experience with it. It doesn’t matter whether you calmly and gracefully collect together your work and put it out there, or you got around the room doing your best impression of a t-rex panicking about what you have to do. At the end of it you can say “I have experience now”
        I was definitely the latter by the way. I literally spent a day working up courage to press the publish button.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Jess, it’s super simple. Just keep handing them money and eventually it will be enough and they’ll give you some numbers that you can use till you run out. Repeat as needed. The trick is to give enough money to each entity. Arrrgggh!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll have to admit; I’m like @_@ upon reading your post and I stopped reading the email after the 3rd paragraph. 😅

    I’m not a published author (unless you count posting on free websites as publishing 😅) so sadly I can’t offer you any tips, but what I can offer is support; I hope your publishing go well! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I publish traditionally, so the specifics won’t be much help, but the basic answer is that you do it slowly. It takes as much work to publish as to write, and it’s just as much a part of the process only it’s a lot less interesting. You just keep hacking away at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay, first of all. Above all else, avoid the clown.
    Second, salad is healthier, but pasta tastes better. Use the Force to decide which is best for you today. (Given your stress, I’m thinking pasta and cake.)

    All right. Publishing. In the US, things may be slightly different, but the basic premise is the same.
    • Start making a chronological to-do list. When you can tackle the production one step at a time, it will seem less daunting.
    • If you want a big publishing house, you will need an agent, which means a query letter. Expect to wait years from your initial search until your book is published. (And that’s if you make it at all.)
    • If you want a small press, they will handle the copyright, ISBN, distribution, editing, cover art, etc. You will probably have very little say, but other than marketing, you’ll also have very little to do.
    • If you choose to go the indie route, you will make the most money per sale, but you’ll also have to assume responsibility for all of it, cradle to grave.
    – The easiest way is Amazon eBook only. You will be assigned an ASIN (that’s an Amazon ID number) and you won’t have to pay for an ISBN. But you won’t be the publisher of record; Amazon will be.
    – The second indie option is to buy the ISBNs yourself. The more you buy, the cheaper they are per number. But you’re right; they are pricey. Add in editing and cover design, and the dollars do add up quickly. The nice thing about the ISBNs is you are the publisher of record. You can use your name and truly look indie, or you can create a label name and look like a small house is behind you (which can add to your credibility, because, let’s face it, indies have come a long way, but there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing). You only need the barcode if you’re doing print books.

    If you have specific questions, email me. I’ve had an agent, I’ve been published through small presses, and I’ve self-published. I’m happy to try and help you navigate the process, whichever option you choose.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. First and foremost – decide if you want to try and go the indie way, or uif you want to do the rounds with traditional publishers.
    While there are authors that started self-publishing their first novel, and were picked up by publishers (your fellow Aussie Matthew Reilly, for instance), this is not a given. Many publishers might decide they won’t touch your manuscript if the book was already self-published.
    So, evaluate the two options and, if in doubt, first check traditional publishers.
    The drawback – you might have to wait for over one year to get a reply.

    If you want to go solo, you will have to take care of everything: editing, cover art, formatting, marketing.
    By publishing through Amazon you take care of a lot of details – they’ll give you a ISBN, for instance – but still you have to find affordable partners or do the rest of the work yourself.
    There are cheap ways.
    My suggestion – invest a few quids in Guy Kawasaki’s “A.P.E. – Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur”, for my money the best book about self-publishing ever.
    Also, if you don’t have it already, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “The Freelancer’s Survival Guide” might help when panic strikes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Dave! You always bring the good stuff 😊 I really appreciate the help. I knew submitting queries took ages but up to or over a year… I don’t think I’ve got that ability to wait. I’ll look into those titles. Many thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow Jess. You are a brave woman. I knew writing a book was going to be a big task, but I am just starting to understand all of it. Thank you so much for getting out front of the battle line for the rest of us newbies! Your sacrifice is appreciated! A wealth of information here! Bless your heart Jess. Hang in there. Guns of Perdition sounds like an amazing book which I for one, am anxious to read! Deep breath girlfriend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Jess, Staci and the others already covered so much in their answers, so I’ll finish with a few other thoughts:

    David is correct that you need to decide if you want to go indie or the traditional route. You have a good chance of getting picked up by a small press if you go traditional, and they’ll take care of everything for you. You’ll be able to give input on your cover design and so forth, but they’ll make final decisions. They’ll also stand the expense of multiple rounds of editing, cover art, ISBNs, copyright, even some marketing expenses. I happen to know a line with Kensington (my publisher) where your book might fit if you want to submit it for consideration. Email me if you’re interested and I’ll point you in the right direction.

    I am with Kensington’s ebook arm (Lyrical Press) although they also put my titles in print through POD (no expense to me). Lyrical has a couple of sub-lines (I publish under Lyrical Underground which is basically mystery, suspense and dark fiction). There are other lines as well and I think Guns of Perdition could fit a few.

    If you decide to go indie, get a copyright. I don’t know how it works in Australia but in the U.S. it’s a simple matter of applying online and paying a $35.00 fee. I have three indie titles to my name and I paid for a copyright on each of them. I know a lot of authors don’t bother, but to me I won’t take the chance on something I’ve worked hard to create.

    Finally, when I published my first book (book #9 is releasing in July and I’m under contract for 3 more) I thought I would go INSANE! The learning curve was steep. I remember thinking many times I would never be able to grasp it all. Rather than looking at the whole thing, take one step at a time. There are plenty of authors online who have been through this and are available to help. I had many authors help and guide me when I started out. Trust me, you WILL get through it!!

    The very first thing you need to do is decide if you want to go traditional or indie. That will determine what you need to do next and so on. If I can help, drop me an email. {{hugs}}

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I did not buy my ISBN’s I used the free ones from CreateSpace. The only reason to buy them is if you want to sell in a store. I figure the people who will buy my book are going to buy it from Amazon. I also used Draft2Digital. Check them out. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very good point Colleen. I never buy from bookstores anymore. I know a lot of people still do, but there’s so much on Amazon I figure I’ll do all my shopping in the one spot. I think a lot of people are going that way. Thanks for your advice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Mae’s answer is of interest to me. This is something I’m struggling with at the moment. I’m leaning toward traditional (even if it’s a small press) because of the expense of doing it myself. I know I’ve heard you can cut corners but I’ve also heard that it’s not for the best. I didn’t give myself a shot when I wrote years ago. I submitted to agents but the rejections piled up. Life got in my way. Now, here I am, starting over again. I don’t know if there’s an “easier” way but your choices will be doable. Trust in your story and good luck, Jessica!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Traci. I’ve always been a creative person but not into ‘small picture details’. I can landscape a whole garden, but maintaining it? Nope. In many ways I think publishing will be the same. I’m happy to write the damn thing but publishing it? Phew.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on Penny Lane's Thoughts and commented:
    Please check out my friend Jess’s Blog. She manages to keep her sense of humor while struggling with getting her first book published. She shares her knowledge and experience willingly and has been a tremendous source of support for me. Her writing is sure to bring a smile to your face!

    Liked by 1 person

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