Saturday Q & A With the Book Designer 01

by | May 14, 2011

I’ve often wondered what to do on my blog on Saturdays. When I was first getting started I didn’t blog on the weekends. But like all beginning bloggers I was pretty obsessed with my numbers, with the statistics and analytics and metrics and I hated to see my visitors disappearing on the weekends.

Eventually I started my Sunday curated link posts, but Saturday stayed up in the air.

Now I’m really excited, because I hit on something that seems just right. A video blog Q & A. I grabbed a question out of my inbox and answer it in this 6:41 video (with the help of a blog post on the topic).

If you have a question you’d like me to address next week, leave it in the comments. I think this could be fun. (If you can’t see the video, please reload or refresh the page.)

Discussed in this video:

  • Book metadata and why it’s so important for self-publishers
  • Discoverability in online search
  • Why you should know about annotation
  • Strategy tips for filling out boring forms
  • Book marketing hidden in Bowker’s Books in Print Database

Referenced in the video:

How to Set Up Your Book on Bowkerlink for Books in Print

Additional resources:

If you would like a complete treatment of ISBN, check out my Self-Publisher’s Quick & Easy Guide to ISBNs and Barcodes. It’s available now for:

Kindle at $4.99—Go to Kindle Store
As a printable PDF right here for $10—Go to Instant download

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Sara Loo

    Dear Joel,
    Can a person go back and fix the information on Bowker’s
    to make it better? And what if you do not remember
    answering these questions? What I am asking is is
    it possible that I missed it? I published my two
    books with smashwords and then did a print on demand with
    one of them that I listed with amazon. The whole thing is
    kind of fuzzy to me.


    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Sara,

      It depends on where/how you received your ISBNs. If you bought them directly from Bowker then you have an account there and can look up and edit the records for your titles. If you got a “free” ISBN from someone else, like Smashwords, you will have to ask them whether you can edit the entries.

  2. Cheryle Wood

    I am revising a children’s book that was published by another company. The author owns all the rights. The book will have a new ISBN and become a hardcover chapter book. Interior content will be changed and an additional illustration added. Microsoft Word was used for the original, but I am using InDesign. The original was printed by Lightning Source and in distribution by Ingram. I will use both for the revised book. Question – how should this book be listed in Bowkers – a revised edition? And, should it be listed on Amazon as a revised edition and the original out of print? Any help you can give me is very much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Cheryle,

      You can used “revised editon” or “second editon,” and I usually prefer the latter. Otherwise your plan sounds fine.

  3. Debra Weiner


    This is was very helpful–you are an invaluable resource and I love the Saturday video concept. Brilliant!

    Thanks again,

  4. Dana Ross Martin

    First off, this is a brilliant idea – posting a video blog of Q&A on Saturdays! Also, ( and I say this from having worked in the TV industry for 30 years) you come across quite well in these presentations. Well-spoken, easy-to-understand, and offering this info in a short format (can’t stand those 1 hour video presentations!!!) (oy!)
    Anyway, yes, I’m in the process of publishing my first book and would appreciate your guidance.
    For an eBook, is it best to upload my manuscript it to Smashwords AND Amazon Kindle (in order to cover all the eBook formats)?

    What is the proper order to apply for the following?:

    That’s enough questions for now. (oh, there’ll be more!) (ha!)
    Thanks, Joel

    • Joel Friedlander

      Dana, thanks for your feedback, I’m counting on readers to let me know what they think.

      Yes, definitely put your book with both Smashwords and Kindle, the only major retailer Smashwords doesn’t cover.

      You’ll be getting your ISBNs first, when you set up your publishing company, your LCCN while your book is in production, and your copyright after they book has been published.

      • Dana Ross Martin

        Thanks for the quick replies! Much appreciated, sir.

        Another thing I wanted to ask.
        When I’m filling out the forms at Bowker . . is that for the eBook version of my book or the PRINT version?
        (or, does it even matter; they’re both the same)
        I think I wondered WHICH ISBN to put on that form since there’ll be a different ISBN for the eBook and the PRINT version and the audiobook, too.


  5. Carolyn


    Nice video. It’s well done and informative, and a good addition to your excellent blog. I’ve freelanced in book design and production for over a decade, and appreciate the range of topics you’ve been covering. My work is shifting to include more self-publishers, or independent publishers, which is different than designing for publishing houses. Your blog has a wealth of information and is a wonderful resource.


    • Joel Friedlander

      Thanks Carolyn, it’s great to have you as a reader. I’ve also worked both for publishers and self-publishers, but these days 90% of my clients are publishing their own books. For many reasons, it really is a golden age for indie authors.

      Carolyn, if you think of subjects I’ve overlooked, I hope you’ll let me know.

  6. Karen Jeffery

    Hi Joel…love the video Q&A! And thx for answering some of my other concerns…as a fairly new publisher I have so many.
    A question I would like a more in- depth response to regards the various formats for different ebook platforms – iBooks, kindle, nook, etc, etc…and finding a suitable converter from word or PDF files.
    Do I need to translate each differently, or is there one piece of software (preferably shareware:) that will fulfill all? What’s your best advice on the whole translation issue?

    • Joel Friedlander

      Excellent question, Karen. I was just at a talk today by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. My advice is . . . it depends. I will plan on addressing e-book conversion options in the immediate future.


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