Tuesday 13 February 2018

Getting a South African ISBN for Memoirs of a Guardian Angel

I'm about to release my seventh fiction book, entitled Memoirs of a Guardian Angel, and up to now, I've been relying on the free ISBNs generated by Smashwords (for the e-book) and Lulu (for the print versions).

The problem with that is twofold. First, those ISBNs are American ISBN numbers, which means that, even though I'm South African, books with those ISBNs are listed as being published in the United States. The second problem is, because those ISBNs are actually owned by Smashwords/Lulu, those companies are listed as the "Publisher" when someone looks them up.

That second part isn't that big of a deal for e-books (readers seldom actually look up ISBNs in the global registry), but for the print versions, it can be a big problem because the "Publisher" is listed as "Lulu" at retailers it's distributed to.

Obviously, as self-publishers, we don't want that. We are the publishers of our books, by definition!

Although it's rare, I have seen other self-published authors talking about getting their own ISBNs, so I thought I'd research it. I found this post by Dave Henderson of MYeBook, entitled How to apply for an ISBN in South Africa - Everything a self-publishing author needs to know,

I thought this was going to be complicated, but it wasn't. I e-mailed Kholofelo Mojela on a Sunday evening, and by mid-morning on Monday, I had my ISBN! She was very helpful, and directed me to the National Library of South Africa, where I will need to e-mail a copy of my epub file once it's published. And it's completely free.

When I do the print version a couple of months later, I'll follow the same process, but this time there'll be a nominal cost involved, because I'll have to have a copy printed and posted.

So there you are. South Africans. If you've been scared of doing this, don't be. It's super-simple.

In case you're wondering, the ISBN of the epub edition of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel will be 978-0-620-78888-5.

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