First published on www.triskelebooks.blogspot.com
I chose to own my ISBNs, but you don’t need to go to that expense. Again, it was a question of being in control. In the UK you have to buy them in minimum blocks of ten, which costs £132 including VAT. Per book that’s quite reasonable. I’ve already used four. When my distribution fee expires on THE TESTAMENT OF MARIAM and A RUNNING TIDE, I plan to reissue them with CreateSpace, so I will have used six in the first year. Not that I plan to continue that rate of production!
There are disadvantages, of course. It’s a lot of work and a lot of responsibility. It is a help if you have other writer friends to discuss things with. If you handle your own ISBNs, you have to register each book with Nielsen Book Data, but that does mean the details of your books are circulated to British booksellers. CreateSpace circulate these details in the US. Although CreateSpace is part of Amazon, I found the details went up very quickly on the Barnes & Noble site. Also, as an independent publisher you are responsible for sending a copy of each book to be lodged in the British Library. I’m not familiar with the American process, but I suppose something similar applies, perhaps to the Library of Congress.
Of course, THE big disadvantage for independent publishers is the difficulty of marketing. Most authors aren’t cut out for this and even find it slightly embarrassing to promote their own books. Above all, there are still huge barriers erected against us, barring us from booksellers, libraries, published reviews and literary prizes. One organisation working to overcome these barriers is the Alliance of Independent Authors, which we should all join. If we are united, our voice may be heard.