Day: June 15, 2013

New Adult/MM Romance by Bella Stanberry

What I love most about a submission I received for The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance from author Bella Stanberry is that it has a new adult focus combined with m/m romance elements. I hadn’t specifically asked for that in the call for submissions, but when I started reading it I fell in love on page one.

In fact, I loved it so much I contacted this author and asked if she would be willing to submit three short stories to make the first story part of a small trilogy. And she not only did that she blew me away with the two stories that followed.

The story begins with the main characters in college, and then it moves forward and ends with them living their new adult lives after college. That one year in the final story is almost like a bridge between their young adult lives and the lives they will one day lead as adults. It involves a gay man, a bisexual man, and straight women. There are romantic scenes that are very sexy, but not quite what I would consider hardcore sex. These are more subtle, and lean more toward the emotion and feelings of the characters. When I asked authors to submit to this book, I told them they had the freedom to do whatever they wanted to do, and I wasn’t disappointed.

And as the editor, my goal with this book is to share the voices of these authors and remain in the background.

Here’s one excerpt that I remember very well from one of Bella Stanberry’s stories. This comes from the third story where the main characters are driving cross country, on their way to San Francisco to begin new lives. I love the feeling it captures…almost as if it is describing an era we’re living in right now.

We planned two weeks for the drive. We decided we might never get a chance to actually take a road trip like this again and we wanted to see and do all the pop culture historical things Jack Kerouac had done on his cross country road trip in the novel, On the Road. This had been Luke’s idea…fantasy…because he’d always been a fan of the beat generation. In many ways we identified with Kerouac because he’d been just as unusual for his time period as we were for ours. In other words, we knew we weren’t mainstream and we didn’t want to be. We thought of ourselves as the best part of our generation because we were breaking all the rules. And, at the same time, we weren’t doing anything that differently in a literal sense from previous generations.

Self-publishing: ISBN Numbers Vs ASIN Numbers

I’ve seen a lot of information on the Internet lately about what authors need for self-publishing, and one topic that never ceases to interest me are ISBN numbers and ASIN numbers. Up until I self-pubbed my first book, Chase of a Lifetime, I didn’t know the difference. My publishers took care of all this and the ISBN numbers appeared magically. At the time, I didn’t give it a second thought.

But there are a few things you need to understand if you are looking into self-publishing.

First, ISBN means: International Standard Book Number…this number identifies a book as unique. You can read the full definition here. It’s the least complicated definition I’ve found.

And ASIN means: Amazon Standard Identification Number…this is the number Amazon uses to identify products. In the case of  Amazon books, the ISBN is the ASIN. You can read the full definition here.

In my case, with e-books I only want to release on Amazon, I don’t have to pay for an ISBN. I don’t need one. Amazon assigns me an ASIN and that doesn’t cost me anything.

However, if I release and distribute a book anywhere else…like Smashwords…I need the ISBN. They won’t recognize the ASIN from Amazon.

E-publishing services like Smashwords offer ISBN numbers when you sign up for a package, but someone is paying for it.

ASIN numbers are assigned to you through Amazon when you self-publish with them and they don’t cost anything.

But once again, you can’t use the ASIN number anywhere else. You can only use it on Amazon. I think that’s an important point to repeat. With my new release, Internal Desires, I’m putting it up on Amazon for three months to opt into the lending program. I won’t be distributing the book anywhere else for three months because this is an exclusive with Amazon. I love the fact that the ASIN number doesn’t cost me anything and makes my life easier.

This is interesting, too. You can buy an ISBN through a place like Smashwords, or another option is to have a free ISBN assigned, but you must state that the work was published through Smashwords. It gets even more complicated. You can read more here. In most cases the cost is affordable, though. And to be honest that’s what matters to me the most.

I have also seen other self-publishing services that will sell you ISBN numbers. The cost varies and I’ve raised my eyebrows more than once. So beware.

But there is a lot of information out there.

Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate, is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. The company is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operations in England and Australia.

You can read more here, where they go into a detailed explanation about self-publishing in general.

This is a great ariticle, too.

If I continued, I would only be repeating what others before me have said and written on the topic, but I did think it was important to point out the difference between ISBN and ASIN, especially for newbies who might be thinking of self-publishing…or even seasoned authors who would like to get their backlisted books out.

Now, as if that isn’t enough. You don’t need and ISBN or an ASIN if you are going to sell your book yourself. I’ve mentioned this before, how I think authors will one day be selling their own books on their own web sites and bypassing third parties altogether. This web site answers a few more questions.

If you are selling your book on your own, you are not required to have an ISBN. If you want to sell your book in bookstores, place it with distributors and wholesalers, and put it in libraries, you are required to have an ISBN on your book.

The ISBN not only identifies the book, but also the publisher. So if you have self-pubbed a book and a publisher acquires it the publisher will give the book a new ISBN.

It gets tricky sometimes. But I try to look at it in simpler terms, and I try to do this with posts like this one. I knew I needed either an ISBN or an ASIN when I self-pubbed my books because I wanted to distribute them widely, and I found the best and most affordable ways to get them. And that’s all you really have to know about this for now. Don’t let anyone charge you too much. And if you think it’s too much money, check around.