Self Publishing Questions Answered (Part Two)

Do I need an ISBN?

Every book needs to have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) if you want to sell commercially. If you're just making a little booklet and giving it out at your doctor's surgery then it won't be necessary. However, if you are going to be dealing with distributors and people that need to categorise certain things and put it into a database, then an ISBN can be used as a universal number that is recognised globally. ISBNs cost about $50-60, sometimes $100.

How much do I sell my book for?

Generally, non-fiction books sell for more than fiction books. Fiction books are produced more for entertainment and stimulation, whereas non-fiction books contain information and things to be learnt. Typically people are willing to pay more for information than entertainment. However, elements such as soft or hard covers can alter the price you charge as well. It could cost you perhaps an extra dollar to put a hard cover on your book than a soft cover, but that could increase the value of your book from $25 to $35.

As a first-time author, should I target a literary agent in my country or should I try to find one in the US first?

US agents do consider works outside the US, however, usually only once they have performed in another market first. Very rarely do they take on books without a prior track record; your book has to be really amazing for that to happen. It's recommended that you find a local literary agent, get some support, and build some credibility before you talk to someone about overseas markets.

What are the rules for using other people's ideas?

If someone shares an idea with you and you change it and put it into your own words, then it's your copyright; it's your information if you change it. However, keep in mind that different laws pertain to different countries. Ultimately, if you are using someone else's work then you should acknowledge them.

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Dale Beaumont is the author of this article. He is an internationally renowned book publishing expert, the author of 16 best-selling books and the creator of the Get Published Secrets Program.  

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