What Is An ISBN Number?

images_005Just so you will know, I wrote this piece back in 2012, and I’m using this again. Look at all of the books in the picture and then wonder about their ISBN numbers. What are they, Where did they come from? What do these number represent? Let’s find out.

Have you noticed a group of numbers on all books? They are there for a purpose: for you, the writer and the publisher. This number establishes and identifies one book title from another. Booksellers, libraries, universities, and a whole lot more of people in the publishing arena use these specific numbers.

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, which used to be a ten digit number until 2007, when the numbers increased to thirteen. Let’s take a look at the old “10” number and the new “13” number. Grab yourself a book from your shelf or go to the library or a bookstore.  The ISBN number is found on the inside of the book where the information on the publisher, copyright, all rights reserved exist and again on the outside of the back cover.

The first digit gives the origin of publishing – 0 – equals English, while another number equals a different country. The next six numbers identifies the publisher and the next two numbers identified the title or edition. The last digit validates the ISBN number. There you have the 10 digit ISBN.

In the 13 digit ISBN number, you will find this in the same area inside the book and on the back cover. The only addition is a three digit number instead of a zero. This three digit number will have 978 numbers represent a group or country.

However, if you go through the traditional publishing avenue, your publisher will do this for you with their publisher numbers. If you self-publish, go e-book, you will need to do your own work, but some independent publishers will handle this for you. However, you need to know if your book is published hardback, paperback, e-book, etc., each will have their own ISBN number even though it is the same title, but a different type of publication. Once you use an ISBN number, you cannot use it again.

You might also want to have a bar code, which is a requirement for many sales publications.

What do you do if you have some 10-digit ISBN numbers and need them in the new 13-digit? Go to Google on how to convert from a 10 to a 13. Another avenue is RR Bowker. Once you have your ISBN numbers, you need to let RR Bowker know and submit your title information, and register with RR Bowker.

Okay, lots of information, but have some fun. Go through your books and study the ISBN numbers. Your book “A” published by XXX publishing, and study the numbers. Then your book “B” published by XXX publishing and this has different publisher identifier numbers. What? Check again. XXX publishing may have different entities.

Have fun. Study. Learn. Enjoy. Do not forget to write. This is what will get your book finished.

Happy Writing.


images_063We often look around and see things we think could be better, but we shrug and continue our journey. As, writers we CREATE and we DO to have our characters live and make changes to their lives. If our characters paid no attention to the things around them and did nothing but think of themselves, our readers would holler and scream. No, our characters need to take action, change the world, and most of all change themselves. Then our readers will enjoy the book.

We are the characters in our lives. How would your book read if you put yourselves in as the main character? Would you think about change and do something to make that change happen? Or would the image fade away and you remain stagnant in your lives? Change and action are scary words, even in our writing. Sometimes, too frightening even as we attempt to write a scene for our characters.

How about you? Would your scene stay the same or can you see places where a change is needed? Instead of looking, get off the sofa or out of the chair and become a ‘doer.’ What about using your skills as a writer to vent your ‘doer’ side to a newspaper or a magazine? Volunteer work can become addictive and a good way to make your ‘doer-self’ even better.

When you get yourselves our of the normal hum-drum and into the energy of the world around you, things began to change. A neighbor needs her/his dog walked and can’t do it because of illness. You grab the leash and head out with your new four-footed friend. Soon, you see things you never noticed before and make mental notes of what could be done to improve the sidewalks, trim bushes for safety reasons,. and the list becomes longer and longer. Does one of your characters have a dog? No. Bet she or he will in the next book.

The small changes you make for yourselves adds a new dimension to your lives. You are becoming a creator and that should NOT intimidate you. Look at all the creative avenues you have for your characters. Let your characters become your opportunity to get things done in your lives. Your next book will be more fantastic than you ever imagined.

Happy Possibilities. Happy Actions. Happy Writing. Happy You.



ASAPDare to do something different. If this a heart-stopper, then start off small.  Deposit all of your burdens that do not let you travel light into the trash. If you carry them around with you, your travels will be forgotten and you’ll still be at the same point tomorrow as you are today.

Let go of lists. Oh . . . they carry me through the day and keep me on track, and I ask, “track of what?” No, they do not carry you through each day, they slow you down. Play moment by moment today. Enjoy the present. This is the only time available as yesterday has disappeared and tomorrow is not part of today. Do not get hung up on what might be. Life can change in an instant.

As writers, we make things happen to our characters. We give them mountains they may never climb to the top, and then we can either let them fall down or have the handsome hero come to the rescue. We play with our characters and watch them laugh, smile, cry, run to or run away from something. Much like our own lives.

Look all around and enjoy what you can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste. Use all of your senses, some we have a tendency to stick back in a corner, but not today. Pretend you are your own character and write from her or his point of view. How does your character react to the sun on her face? What about the wind and rain beating down on his clothes, as he forgot the umbrella? Take your characters on a trip. This is the one you’ve wanted to travel and never found the time. Well, you have all the time you need, since you are breaking your own rules. Use your characters to fulfill your dreams of going to the highest mountain peak, the bluest ocean, brightest place you imagine, and there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

I found the notebook with ASAP and used this as a starting point. If you or your characters are always rushing around, where does the comfy part of life fit? Sure, there are things that need to be completed in to certain time frames, but remember to adjust these times and use some of the hours for play.  You and your characters will be happier, more contented, and you will have them jumping off the page into the lives of the reader.

You want to have dinner for breakfast, break your rules and enjoy a new kind of breakfast. Turn your day inside out and bring your characters along with you and watch a new story develop right before your eyes. Have you ever thought about sleeping all day long and using the night for your day?

This is your time. Do something different. Explore with out explanation. Run with the wind. Smile at everything and everyone for no reason. And LAUGH.

Happy Day. Happy Characters. Happy Writing.

Writing. Plotting. Thinking.

images_080These are the hard parts of writing and it is work. If you are one of the lucky writers and stay at home, this is your full-time job. Do you create your own work zone? Sometimes, we think we need a whole room, like a home office, but you can create your own corner, your special place.

You don’t see people, so why dress up? Why? Because you are going to work and should discard the p.j’s, slippers, and bathrobe. This might be a great time to try out the new hair style, paint your nails different colors, and a definite to makeup. Now, don’t you feel better?

If you are a male writer, the first three items are to be discarded, but you need to include a shave or at least brush the beard, spray a little cologne around your area. This will give your senses something to work with.

It is lonely. You do not see others, talk to others, just write, write, write. But watch out. You must set boundaries of times you are answering emails, checking out social media, writing your blog, updating your website, and leave the coffee-time friends until the day is over.

Keep track of your time and the number of words you added to this day. Of course, this might be the day for revisions, or new submissions, or research. This is a good way to keep your writing going forward and you feel great at the end of the day.

When you begin your workday, set an alarm to announce your work is done for the day. Put everything away, go for a walk, or just relax. Tomorrow is another day.

What about the writers who work outside the home? The creative space for you is still the same. A place where you know this for serious writing. Give yourself time to switch gears, have dinner with the family, walk the dog, play with the kids, and then, when the silence enters the rooms, and things settle down, you begin writing. Some days it is writing, some research, some revision, and new submissions. Yes, you do set your alarm and put everything away for the next evening.

Writing is work and we need to work hard and play hard.

Have a productive and positive attitude as you hit the 2015 year. May you accomplish your writing goals and dreams.