Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The justification for justification

Online or printed lines of type are said to be “justified” when most lines are the same length and they fill the space from left to right.

Justified type, which is still the dominant format for book printing, can look beautiful, but takes more time and money to do right. A lot of very ugly justified type gets printed, particularly in self-published and vanity-press books and in in newspapers with narrow columns.

The lines of type in this website are like most websites and a growing number of magazines and books. The type is set “flush left/ragged right.” Ragged right is much easier to produce, and people accept it.

Justified type has a more formal, polished look. Ragged is obviously less formal, but people can rightfully claim that justified type in abnormal and artificial, and ragged right is normal and natural.

My first self-published Print-On-Demand book, I Only Flunk My Brightest Students -- stories from school and real life, is very informal. Ragged right seemed to be appropriate for the mood of the book, and it saved time.

My second POD book, Phone Systems & Phones for Small Business & Home, is more formal, more expensive and is intended to be a reference book for business people. Justified type seemed appropriate, and I was willing to invest the extra time to make it look traditional.

When I finished my tedious labor, I was so pleased with the results, that I decided to re-do the "flunk book" with justified type, while I was making other modifications and corrections.

BE CAREFUL if you are justifying a book that was already completed with ragged right type. Most lines will expand to the right margin, and sometimes words that used to fit on one page will "creep" onto another page. You may have to change the page numbering for chapter beginnings, or cut words or make illustrations smaller to get what you want.

Sometimes the spaces between words will look lousy, and you'll have to experiment with hyphenation, and sometimes switch to shorter or longer words, or add or subtract words, to make things look right.

Be very careful to check the last line in a paragraph. Sometimes even three words are spead out full-width, and they'll look very stupid. You can just select the line and re-do it as flush-left, or (in MS Word) tap the Enter key after the last word in the line.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Market research trick

If you know what you want to write about, the Internet will make it much easier to do market research than before the world was online.

With a little bit of typing, clicking and reading you can find out what potential readers are interested in, and where you can reach them when it's time to sell books.

Use search engines to find terms like I’ve listed below. Simply replace “golden retriever” with “super hero” or “Argentina” or "beer" "or horseback riding" or whatever you want to write about.

“golden retriever forum”
“golden retriever message board”
“golden retriever bulletin board”
“golden retriever club”
“golden retriever association”
“golden retriever community”
“golden retriever organization”
“golden retriever news”
“golden retriever newsgroup”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Buying copies of your own book
(And, what none of the vanity publishers understand about retailing)

Every author needs to have copies of her own book, to distribute to potential reviewers, to give to family and friends, to keep around the house, or maybe even to sell. This is one area where you can really get soaked if you are not a real self-publisher.

Vanity press Wheatmark says, “You may purchase additional books at 40% off the retail price.”

IUniverse offers its author/customers book discounts ranging from 20% to 65% off the retail price. The discounts depend on the quantity ordered and the company offers an extra discount to authors for special events such as book signings at a “recognized venue,” whatever that is.

Outskirts Press, my least-favorite vanity publisher, has a strange system of pricing authors’ copies. For a 300-page, $14.95 book, the discounts range from 34% to 48% off the cover price. You get a bigger discount with the “diamond” package than with the “sapphire” package. However, since you’ll pay $300 more for the diamond deal, with Outskirts, if you want to pay less, you’ll have to pay more.

Xlibris offers discounts ranging from 30% to 60%, depending on the quantity ordered, which makes sense. However, they have an absolutely insane formula for setting the cover prices of its books, which in turn establishes authors’ prices. The cover price for a book with 106 pages is $15.99. If you need 108 pages, however, the cover price jumps to $19.99— even though the difference in the manufacturing cost is about three cents and can’t possibly justify a $4.00 difference in cover price.

Strangely, the price for a book with 398 pages is also $19.99! But, at 400 pages the retail price jumps four bucks to $23.99, and that price holds all the way to 800 pages. The author’s cost for a book with 108 pages can be $2.80 more than the price of a book with 106 pages; but the costs for books with 108 pages and with 398 pages are the SAME.

Lulu has a weird policy about selling eBooks to the authors of those books: it’s not allowed, even though Lulu makes 20% on each eBook. If you want to download a sample of your book, even if you are willing to pay for it, you have to log on to the Lulu website under someone else’s name.

These pricing systems demonstrate incompetence, idiocy, and ignorance.

 The retail price of a book — unlike a car or a bathing suit — is often unrelated to its production cost. One fundamental point that the vanity presses all seem to ignore is that the retail price of a book is a marketing decision and may have little or nothing to do with its printing cost.

It does not cost any more to print a book with a $29.95 price printed on it than a book with a $9.95 printed on it. The vanity presses apply author discounts to the WRONG numbers. Even if these publishers don’t want to reveal their production costs, they could come up with discount schedules properly based on page count and trim size, NOT the cover price.

In real self-publishing, the price the author pays for copies of her book has NOTHING TO DO with the cover price. It has to do only with the cost to make and ship a book.

If my printer charges $5 to print and ship a 300-page book, and I am the publisher, I pay $5 whether the cover price is one penny, one dollar, $8.95, $10.95, $14.95, $24.95, or $150.

Monday, September 21, 2009

READERS BEWARE: Stay away from Books-A-Million

Books-A-Million (BAM) claims to be the third largest book retailer in the USA (after Barnes & Noble and Borders). It sells online at and operates about 220 stores in 21 states, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast and the District of Columbia. The company was founded in 1917 as a newsstand in Alabama. For the fiscal year ended 1/31/09, net sales decreased to $513.3 million, down 4.1% from the prior fiscal year.

For $20 per year. BAM offers a “Millionaire’s Club Discount Card” that gives members an additional 10% off purchases online and in stores, even on items that are already discounted. Members also receive special offers and coupons, and find out about new releases, author signings, sales, and more.

I have never been to a BAM store and can’t comment on their physical environments. The book listings on their website show that there is absolutely no reason to buy from them unless you have no other choice.

BAM’s web prices are higher than other online booksellers’ prices. They use phony, inflated, “retail prices” and then offer alleged discount club prices that bring the purchase price to just a few pennies below the cover price. Their prices are typically a few bucks higher than Amazon, B&N, or

To make it even worse, shipping takes much longer than with other online sellers. They want two to three days to process an order and then four to 10 business days for free shipping. They say the total time from ordering a book to receiving a book could be six to 13 business days.

One of my books has a $19.95 cover price. Amazon and B&N usually sell it for $17.95. BAM falsely claims that the “retail price” is “$21.95 and the “club price” is $19.75.They state that club members will “Save 10%.” In reality, club members will save 20 CENTS from the list price— a whopping ONE PERCENT. They say it “usually ships in 5-15 days,” while competitors ship within 24 hours.

This is not an isolated incident. Another book of mine has a $29.95 cover price and is frequently discounted to $26.95. BAM claims the “retail price” is $32.95 and “online price” is also $32.95. The “club price” is $29.65— you save ONE PERCENT.

Ted Kennedy's True Compass is available to everyone for $19.25 at BAM charges $21 unless you pay $20 to join their club. Members will pay $18.90— a big-deal 35 cents less than the Amazon price with no membership fee.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another delay

The man with the big brown truck just brought me what I hoped would be the final proof of my book about self-publishing.

A quick look shows six errors, including "cre-dit" and a comma stuck where it doesn't belong.

So far the other errrors are just mildly unattractive typography.

I could live with them, but if I make any repairs, I'd fix the typography, too.

My inclination is to delay publication once again to make the book as good as possible -- especially since it deals with book production and slams some bad books.

OTOH, if I read every word, I'll probably find more flubs, but may cause new errors while fixing them.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

2009 Bullshit Award for poorly done non-writing goes to unknown author for 452 words that say absolutely nothing useful, interesting or important.


The 4 line phone system is a novel medium that maximizes
the capacity of communication remotely. There is currently
existing technology that permits simulateneous discourse
among three persons. However, this technology permits an
added benefit by affording four lines instead of three,
thereby allowing for an increased capacity and different

In today's business world, where convenience in
communication triumphs interpersonal communicative
presence, the remote congregation is compatible with
today's business world. Meeting in person is no longer a
necessity where the same information can be communicated
and conveyed at a distance. Therefore, necessary meetings
can be supplanted by remote access at a designated time as
opposed to a designated time and place. The restriction
that is inherent in general telephone communication is
predicated on the number of persons communicating not the
content of the communication. Therefore, with the use of
the 4 line phone system, this drawback to communication is
eliminated. Instead, the use of this system permits the
four users to communicate in real time, expanding the
bridge of communication.

The advent of this system allows business owners to
accommodate a broad range of clientele in a more dynamic
manner. Instead, of one business owner or lead partner
being relegated to one client at a time, multiple business
owners or specialists partake in a broad and complex issue.

The opportunity to talk simultaneously with multiple
clients or, alternatively, with multiple business owners,
is in of itself an obvious and critical benefit. When the
need for a specialist or translator is required, a common
three line phone system would suffice. However, with the
addition of another line, the possibility for a more
enriching and dynamic conversation and meeting is amplified.

Sometimes conflict resolutions can be adequately and
sufficiently reconciled and rectified when all the
necessary parties to the problem are present. This
capability is afforded by the inherent functionality of the
phone line system, integrating multiple points of view by a
multiplicity of personalities and perspectives.

Yet another benefit of the system is its capability to
accommodate multiple persons, namely 4, for purposes of a
teleconferencing event. Although the allotted number of
participants is only four, a meeting can nevertheless be

Another benefit of this particular line phone system is the
ability of persons employing it to realize a better and
more comfortable means of communication. When talking
outside of one's presence, one is at leisure and liberty in
terms of their physical disposition. As such, the nuanced
gestures or affirmative physical acts are displaced for
more thorough and calculated discourse on the subject

To conclude, this particular phone line system employs the
same, existing technology. However, it is amplified by the
added capability of an additional line, to wit, 4 lines in

(BS cartoon from

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sometimes a bad mistake can be good for you

Yesterday the supposedly final proof of my book, Become a Real Self-Publisher, arrived.

Sheila, my eagle-eyed editor, flipped through the pages in an effort to detect any "HOLD THE PRESSES" errors that would be too embarrassing to allow to be printed.

We assumed there would be lots of minor errors that had escaped all of our previous inspections, and assumed they'd be minor enough to ignore for now.

Alas, Sheila found a major blooper buried at the bottoms of a few pages in the back of the book.

Somehow my page numbering went 426, 427, 428, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431.

So...since I have to fix the pagination flub and produce another generation of the text file for the printer, I will use the opportunity to take care of the smaller errors that might have stayed in the book for a few months until I do a major revision.

The book will go on sale a few days later than I planned. But it will be a better book because of the big bad error that Sheila found.

That's not so bad.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Virtualbookworm made a little improvement to their homepage, but they have a long way to go.

On August 26 I criticized Virtualbookworm for having terrible typography and other problems on their website.

Virtualbookworm is a pay-to-publish company. Allegedly they have some standards for accepting books and are not a vanity press. I think they are a vanity press.

In addition to their website designer's extremely ugly and inappropriate justified type (shown at the top, from their homepage), their copywriter could not decide between "Print-on-Demand" and "print on demand." The designer hid the last "demand" by placing white type on a white background.

Other pages had bad writing, bad typography, factual errors, bad grammar, an empty "news" section, and a non-functioning link to the company's blog.

Apparently one of the company's bookworms read my criticism and ordered a modification of the homepage graphic. Someone tightened up the type so the last word is no longer lost as a white word against a white background.

The justification, previously extremely atrocious, has been improved to the point where it rates just a "very ugly" (just like one of the Worm's books that I bought.)

Unfortunately, their copywriter still could not decide between "Print-on-Demand" and "print on demand," and the company is still lying about providing "a combination of self publishing and print on demand."

Just as no one can eat lunch for you, take a bath for you, have surgery for you or commit suicide for you, NO ONE CAN SELF-PUBLISH FOR YOU.

Only YOU can SELF-publish you.

If you pay a company to publish your books, you are NOT a self-publisher.

The company says, "After researching the various "alternatives," [the company's founder] discovered a number of subsidy publishers that would publish any author ... for a price. Unfortunately, many reviewers (and readers) thumb their noses at books from such houses, since all it takes is cash to get published by them." " with "traditional" publishers, we carefully review each manuscript and only offer contracts to authors who truly have exceptional manuscripts. We don't print garbage."

Unfortunately, I bought and read one of the Worm's books. It's not garbage, but it is ugly, inept, inaccurate, and unprofessional.

Sadly, the book is well-written and provides useful information, but it is seriously diminished by bad interior design, an ugly cover, inadequate editing, and a terrible index. There is also a big messy squiggle of glue on the first page. Apparently Virtualbookworm does not examine books before shipping. This one should never have been let out of the wormhole.

The company's website still has problems. There's a defective Twitter link. The news section still has no news. Online press releases have bad grammar, inconsistent spelling and terrible, almost childlike, writing. The site even says "book markers" instead of "bookmarks."

The company should not have to depend on ME to point out its errors.

Maybe Virtualbookworm can print virtual books for virtual worms, but I would never trust the company to publish a real book for real readers.

The company also has a stupid name.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Amazon repents for Orwellian episode is offering free books or $30 to Kindle customers whose copies of the George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm were remotely deleted from their Kindles by Amazon in July.

When Amazon erased the books from Kindles, citing a problem with the rights to the books, the company issued refunds to the buyers. The episode outraged many customers who didn't know that Amazon had the power to erase content that had already been purchased and downloaded.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said deleting the books from Kindles to address the rights question was "stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles."

In an e-mail sent to Kindle owners whose books were erased, Amazon offered to redeliver the titles for free, along with any annotations users had made. Or the customers can get a $30 gift certificate or a $30 check -- which could be worth much more than two Kindle books, because many of them cost $10 or less.

Kindle owners who bought both books will be eligible for $60 if they don't opt to have their books replaced.

When Amazon deleted the books, it said they had been added to its catalog by an outside party that did not have rights to the books. Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said Friday that Amazon has the proper rights to distribute the Orwell books.

The July deletion prompted a high school student to sue Amazon. Justin Gawronski said the removal of 1984 from his Kindle made the notes he had taken on the e-reader useless. He was reading the book for an advanced placement course in which he had to turn in "reflections" on each 100 pages of text. The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, calls for unspecified damages and a ban on future deletions.

Jay Edelson, a Chicago-based lawyer who filed the suit on behalf of Gawronski and an adult reader in Milpitas, Calif., said Friday he was pushing ahead with the suit despite Amazon's olive branch, which he called a public-relations move by the company. (info from The Associated Press)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another award-winner from the Borat Akademi of Writteningistics

(Unedited, from

Yes, it could be your first experience in self publish a book, however that is not an acceptable reason for you to commit mistakes. Making mistakes when self publishing a book demonstrates that it is carried out unprofessionally and can be a hindrance to your initial success. These are some common mistakes which should be easily avoid:

Poor Writing. At any time when we write, it is easy for us to overlook a punctuation, spelling or make other typographical mistakes. But to permit these mistakes to appear on our self published book, will get us appear awfully unprofessional. Just imagine readers enthusiastically reading the blurb page and finding mistakes on the blurb page which is avoidable if you only have enlisted somebody go through it for you before publication and distribution.

Other thing that you would have to consider is the organizational flow of thought. If your book not properly ordered then it might be hard for some to read and clearly understand. You would have to make sure that you have a good and detailed outline to aid you with the writing. If you are having mental block in writing and believe that you want another person to support you, then you might want to employ a co-writer or an editor to go thru your work.

Mediocre book editing, formatting, and page layout. You would got to put in effort on the formatting of the book. Book sales can be easily affected by a awful cover or unimpressive title. You may have to find a book designer to do book’s layout for you and your book cover. Booksellers recognize that book jackets and covers are really important in clinching sales. So do you best to get a professional to do the cover design.

Lack of distribution, marketing and promotion plan. Okay, you have by now written a good book. It has been cleaned from mistakes, wrong spelling and typographical errors. You would need to think of a good campaign plan. It is important not to undermine this step. A number of self-published new author have overlooked this by reasoning that having a good book with them would be adequate. But how will a book be purchased if no body even realized it exist?

Another matter that self publishing writers should not forget is acquiring ISBN numbers. Really, this is an easy thing to do. There are web sites that could give you instructions on how to purchase ISBN from RR Bowker, which is the official U.S. ISBN agency.

To self publish actually involves every aspect of publication. To be successful with the book, you are not only have to write a good book but create opportunities for readers to be able to get acquainted and buy it.

Here you can access quality self publishing resources to help you self publish a book successfully. Visit Now! It’s FREE.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Launch your new book with a party

When your book goes on sale, you can create some local "buzz" and perhaps generate some business by hosting a book launch party.

Invite friends, neighbors, business associates, politicians, and reporters.

The party can be at your home, a restaurant, a hotel, a library, or maybe a relevant historical site. Serve refreshments, make a brief speech, read part of the book.

Some authors sell books at launches. I think it’s tacky to make friends feel obligated to spend money. A few years ago, a neighbor gave a book launch party. My wife went. She felt obligated to support the neighbor and spent $25 to buy a book neither of us will ever read.

If you can afford to, give books away. They’ll probably cost you only a few bucks each and will help create buzz. If you can't afford to give out lots of books, maybe have a free raffle where three lucky ticket holders win books. Whether or not you give out books, you can give out bookmarks or business cards that promote the book.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Amazon opposes Google book plan warned a federal judge Google will be able to gouge consumers and stifle competition if it wins court approval to add millions of more titles to its already vast digital library. At least two other Google rivals, Microsoft and Yahoo, are expected weigh in with their opposition, also.

Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon are part of the Open Book Alliance, formed last month to rally opposition to the Google book settlement. Other participants include the Internet Archive, the New York Library Association, the American Society of Journalists and Authors and The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

The U.S. Justice Department, which is taking a look at Google's book deal, has until Sept. 18 to share its thoughts on the case. That filing may provide a better indication whether Justice believes Google's deal with authors and publishers would violate U.S. laws set up to prevent predatory pricing and promote competition.

Amazon's brief brands the provisions of Google's settlement as "a high-tech form of the backroom agreements that are the stuff of antitrust nightmares."

Although not all the critics have been as strident as Amazon, opposition has been mounting to Google's plans to create a registry that will sell digital copies of copyright-protected books on behalf of U.S. authors and publishers unless they withdraw from a class-action settlement. Even the German government expressed its opposition to the settlement earlier this week, even though the agreement only covers U.S. copyrights.

Google is downplaying the objections of Amazon, as well as the anticipated protests from Microsoft and Yahoo, as potshots from frightened rivals. "The Google books settlement is injecting more competition into the digital books space, so it's understandable why our competitors might fight hard to prevent more competition," Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said.

The Authors Guild, one of the parties that reached the settlement with Google, thinks Amazon is opposing the settlement because it wants the its Kindle eBook reader be the primary method for buying and reading digital books. "Amazon apparently fears Google could upend its plans," said Paul Aiken, the Guild's executive director.

Google would turn over most of the revenue from its digital book sales to the authors and publishers, just one of the many benefits that the company is touting. What's more important, Google contends, is that millions of out-of-print books and other works collecting dust on library shelves would be more accessible if they are stored in its digital library.

More than 10 million books already have been scanned into Google's electronic index since 2004. The settlement would clear the legal hurdles that have been preventing Google from scanning and storing even more digital books to show and possibly sell.

While the concept of a library accessible around the clock from anywhere with an Internet connection has plenty of supporters, opponents cite concerns over how much control Google would be able to exert over pricing and how much information the company intends to collect about the books that people are reading.

"This is a pivotal moment in the history of access to recorded information, not unlike the introduction of movable type or the birth of the Internet," wrote Susan Benton, president of the Urban Libraries Council.

A court hearing on the settlement is scheduled in New York on Oct. 7. (info from The Associated Press)

Many of worries about the book settlement appear driven by the market power that Google has already gained while running the Internet's most lucrative advertising system along with the Web's most popular search engine.

In its brief, Amazon suggested the agreement could pave the way for Google to supplant Amazon as the Internet's largest book store, too.

Amazon maintains it uses its clout to negotiate lower prices for its customers "by playing one publisher off against another."

If Google's settlement is approved, Amazon believes it will lose negotiating leverage because prices will be set through the central registry that is supposed to be created. Authors and publishers joining the registry can either name their own prices or depend on a Google formula that the company says will generate the most sales. Amazon derided the registry's pricing rules as "highly suspect, if not per se illegal."

"The use of collective pricing by a single organization without any checks or balances presents a significant danger that consumers will be overcharged," Amazon warned.

What's more, Amazon contends the settlement will give Google the right to make digital copies of a huge stack of books that won't be available to any other online seller or electronic subscription service. In particular, Amazon and other critics are focused on a part of the settlement that will enable Google to scan millions of "orphan works" - out-of-print books that are still protected by copyright but the whereabouts of the writers are unknown.

Google maintains those concerns are unfounded because the settlement is nonexclusive, but Amazon and other opponents say it would be too expensive and time-consuming for potential rivals to secure the digital rights to orphan works.

"Google's ability to offer and sell far more titles than Amazon and other booksellers will make Google's Web site the destination of choice for persons desiring to view or purchase books over the Internet," Amazon said. "Google will certainly find a way to use that economic advantage to make consumers pay more."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Library of Congress Control Numbers

If you copyright your book, a copy of it will reside forever in the Library of Congress (“LOC” or “LC”).

Actually it will reside there until it rots or until a future librarian decides to clear it out to make space for something newer or more important.

Most authors have other relationships with the LOC. It issues copyrights and is the source of an important number that goes on the copyright page of many books.

Until recently, books displayed a Library of Congress catalog number. Now it’s called a control number (Library of Congress Control Number, or LCCN), and it’s important to have one for two reasons:

 It will be very difficult to get libraries to buy your book if it does not have an LCCN.

 It makes your book seem more professional, even if you don’t care about selling to libraries.

Books can get control numbers either before or after they are published.

The Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program enables the Library of Congress to assign control numbers in advance of publication to those titles that are theoretically-most likely to be acquired by the LOC as well as to some other categories of books.

The publisher prints the control number in the book to aid cataloging. The PCN links the book to any record that the LOC, other libraries, bibliographic services, or book vendors may create. Only U.S. book publishers are eligible to participate in the PCN program.

This program is not for books that have already been published, books for which Cataloging in Publication data (more later) has been or will be requested, or eBooks.

Publishers must complete and submit an Application to Participate. When the application has been approved, an ac-count number and password will be emailed to the publisher. Then, the publisher logs on to the PCN system and completes a PCN Application Form for each title that needs a PCN. Based on the information provided by the publisher, LOC staff pre-assigns a control number and the publisher prints it on the copyright page in the following manner:
Library of Congress Control Number: 2007012345.

You can apply at You should get an email confirmation of your application within a few minutes. If additional information is required, a PCN Publisher Liaison person will contact you. Application processing can take about a week, and varies with the volume of requests. I received a control number in a few hours.

If you need to revise the information on your application, don’t submit another application. This will slow processing. After you are assigned an account number, you will be able to update book information by clicking the “Publisher Information Change Request” button on the PCN web page.

There is no charge for a PCN. However, publishers that receive PCNs are obligated to send a complimentary copy of each book to the LOC (address below). The books are not returnable.

The Cataloging in Publication (CIP) service is generally not suitable for self-publishers. Almost any American publisher can use the previously discussed PCN program. But, to be eligible for the CIP program, a publisher must have published books by at least three authors.

If you’ve formed your own company to publish your books but have not also published the work or two other authors, you are ineligible. Publishers ineligible for the CIP program should be eligible for the PCN program.

The CIP program creates bibliographic records for forthcoming books. The bibliographic record (also known as CIP data) is sent to the publisher and then printed on the copy-right page. A machine-readable version of the record is also distributed to libraries, booksellers, and bibliographic net-works worldwide.

What follows is CIP data for a great book about humor writing. The last line shows the LCCN
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Sacks, Mike
And here’s the kicker : conversations with 21 top humor writers on their craft / by Mike Sacks
p. cm.
ISBN 978-1-58297-505-4 (pbk : alk. paper)

1. Wit and humor—Authorship. 2. Comedy—Authorship. 3. Humorists, American—Interviews. I. Title
PNG149.A88S23 2009

Published works are assigned an LCCN during the cataloging process if they are selected for addition to the LOC’s collections. Since there is no guarantee that the LOC will select your book, if you want an LCCN, apply before publication.

Complete information about the LCCN process is at

A publisher may try to tell you that there is a fee for an LCCN or that it has to charge you a fee because it needs to obtain an LCCN for each edition of your book. Don’t believe either claim! Unlike an ISBN, the LCCN is assigned to the work itself and doesn’t change with each new edition or version.

The CIP program and PCN program are mutually exclusive. Titles processed in one program are not processed in the other.

There is no charge for registering for CIP or PCN, but, immediately upon publication, the publisher must send a copy of the “best edition” of the book to which the LCCN was assigned. The “best edition” is the version of the book printed on paper expected to last the longest. Here’s where to send your book:

Library of Congress
US Publisher Liaison Division
Preassigned Control Number Program
(or Cataloging in Publication Program)
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4280

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

OK, I'll say something nice about Lulu

I've had a lot to criticize about Lulu lately. They publish some really crappy books, and have lousy customer service.

The company, however, does have one useful and fairly priced service.

Using Lulu to print one or a few books, when you’re not in a hurry, can cost about half as much as using a local copy shop. Lulu charged me $13.12 to print a 432-page 6x9-inch book, plus $6.53 to mail it. The mailing charge was over twice what it should have been, but the total was reasonable because there was no set-up fee.

Once you get up to around 15-20 books (depending on page count) it would probably be less expensive to use LightningSource for printing. Lightning charges an upfront fee and you'll have to jump through a few hoops to become a customer, but the price to print each book is about half of what Lulu charges.