What’s an ISBN? Do I Need One?

What’s an ISBN? This is a great question! It’s an industry acronym, short for International Standard Book Number.

ISBN Explained

I know, jargon.

You’re not supposed to use industry jargon. But we’ll let this one pass—just know that ISBN is a number your book gets when you publish it.

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Oh wait, so all books get them?

It depends. If you’re publishing your book and selling it on your own, then you don’t have to get one.

However, if you want things like distribution and placement in bookstores, then you do need to have one.

Don’t worry if you already published your book without getting an ISBN—you can still get one post-publishing. It’s fine.

As long as you have the number you can add it as a sticker to your book or give the number to the distributor. Really, it’s fine.

Free downloadable tip sheet You've Decided to Write a Book...Now What?

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Once you’re there, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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What if I wrote a book but someone else is publishing it?

Whoever publishes the book obtains the ISBN. Think of it this way. Whoever is taking the financial risk on the book is the person, business, or organization who applies for the ISBN.

Does one ISBN cover an ebook, a paperback and an audio book of the same book?

No. You will need three separate ISBNs. Also, if you publish an updated edition you’ll also need a new ISBN for that. Oh, and also a hardcover and in 17 different languages? Yes, all different ISBNs.

Where do I get one?

Every country has its own way of doing it. In Canada, you apply for an ISBN through the Library and Archives Canada at no cost. In other countries there may be a fee or service charge.

Is an ISBN the same as a bar code?

No. A bar code is a graphic with vertical lines that gets scanned at a retail outlet. The ISBN is a 13-digit number. That said, you can have your ISBN translated into a bar code.

Still more questions? No problem, just let me know. But I hope this has at least unravelled part of the mystery to the question what’s an ISBN. Crazy-boring, hey?

Other resources

What's an ISBN? It's an industry acronym, short for International Standard Book Number. Just know that ISBN is a number your book gets when you publish it.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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What's an ISBN? It's an industry acronym, short for International Standard Book Number. Just know that ISBN is a number your book gets when you publish it.
Do I need an ISBN? Do I want an ISBN? Do I have to have an ISBN? What's an ISBN? Does someone else take care of the ISBN? What's my responsibility anyway?

Building Relationships is Marketing | Focus on This Important Task

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned is building relationships is marketing.

Building Relationships is Marketing | Tips for Freelancers

And in my opinion, relationship building is the most important marketing task in growing a successful freelance business.

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Building relationships is marketing

When I look at my freelance writing business trajectory, there’s a clear connection between my steps forward and the relationships I’ve formed.

Whether it’s an introduction, a referral, advice, support or instruction, we don’t operate in a vacuum. We rely on others to belay us. They anchor us and help us climb higher.

Without relationships, our progress is much slower.

If you want to build a successful business, you need to focus on building relationships with three key audiences: your customers, influencers and your competitors.

Entrepreneur.com

I like how this article breaks the different types of relationships with key audiences into these three categories. Customers, influencers and competitors.

Building Relationships is Marketing

Clients and potential clients

First of all, treat other people like human beings. Don’t look at your clients or prospects with dollar signs in your eyes—look at them as comrades on this life journey.

Try and see below the surface.

  • What are some things they’re struggling with?
  • What are their deepest needs?
  • How can you help them?

When we treat others like a means to an end you may have a successful transaction but it may not lead to more or ongoing work.

Fruitful partnerships come from the foundation of a strong relationship. You don’t need to be best friends, but there should be trust, love and acceptance.

Extra reading: Get Your Freelance Business Noticed

Industry influencers

I listened to a podcast about professional jealousy and it made me think about how easy it is to compare ourselves and our careers to others’.

If we look at the heavyweights in our arenas as superhumans who we’ll never measure up to then we’ll never work up the courage to build relationships with them, let alone dare to get into the ring.

Influencers have power and, well, influence. Imagine if you had mutually-beneficial relationships with these influencers and an opportunity came up.

Like, oh, I don’t know, a potential book deal? A big client pitch? Or an introduction to an editor?

Now imagine how powerful it would be if they put in a good word for you. Or lent their support. Or made the introduction.

Stop thinking small and get in the ring. Build authentic relationships, find ways to be helpful and refuse to be intimidated by those who are further down the path.

Extra reading: Literary Citizenship and Why the Writing Industry Needs It

Competitors and colleagues

No matter the industry, there will always be other businesses offering similar services or products to what you offer. You can choose to view these other business owners as threats or as comrades.

The first approach uses a scarcity mindset, believing there are winners and loseres and business is a fight to win.

The second approach uses an abundance mindset, believing that there is enough work to go around and that each business brings a new unique perspective to the industry.

Extra reading: Network with Freelancers to Grow Your Business

To me, one of the most important marketing tasks I invest in is building relationships. Nothing else in my business moves the needle forward like honest and authenic relationships with clients, influencers and colleages.

Sure, it means I have to trust people. And yes it’s possible they won’t have the same approach. But I choose to believe there are more people like me out there than not.

One more thought, by approaching my business in this way I believe I attract likeminded individuals and repel those who aren’t like me. And I’m good with that.

Pin for later: Building relationships is marketing

One of the most powerful lessons I've learned is building relationships is marketing. And in my opinion, relationship building is the most important marketing task in growing a successful freelance business.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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One of the most powerful lessons I've learned is building relationships is marketing. And in my opinion, relationship building is the most important marketing task in growing a successful freelance business.

Smart Tips for Cold Pitching Get More Freelance Work

Cold pitching is not magic and it takes hard work but it’s also not as scary or intimidating as it seems once you get going. Here are a few tips for getting this strategy up and running.

Cold Pitching To Get Clients Fast

In case you’re not familiar with this term, in the freelance world, “cold pitching” is what happens when you email or call strangers hoping to get work.

This can be overwhelming at first and requires a different strategy than reaching out to warm leads (people with whom you have existing relationships).

But if you want to grow your freelance business, it is a necessary step.

free pitch templates

Wondering how to craft a cold pitch? I have four pitch templates for you! These are free downloads but you’ll need a password to access them in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Pitch Templates.”

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Cold pitching to get clients fast

I see a lot of freelancer posts in networking groups talking about how they’re tired of searching job boards for a decent opp paying a reasonable rate or sick of pitching magazine and newspaper stories that don’t pay well.

They’re feeling frustrated and stuck but they don’t know where to look for those niche clients who pay well.

The fastest way I know how to make money as a freelance writer is to pitch companies with marketing budgets. Yes, you can also pitch publications but the turnaround time is longer.

And you can also sit back and hope your website will earn you passive ad income or affiliate sales or whatever else, and that’s fine too.

But it’s a long game. And if you need money now, it’s not a great short-term strategy.

Bonus tip: For freelance writers searching for stable corporate clients, LinkedIn may be their shining beacon of hope.

Cold pitching companies is also a better, quicker strategy than responding to posts on job boards or prospecting on a freelancer bidding site.

For starters, in these places the competition is fierce and often, because of the large pool of willing writers, the pay is low.

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Here’s a quick three-step cold pitching strategy to get you going

If you’re ready to make this a part of your regular prospecting, schedule one to two hours per day for cold pitching. Some of this time will be research and some will be emailing.

Trust me, you’ll need all of the time.

  1. Research. Search for and make a list of marketing and advertising agencies. You can use Google, LinkedIn, local directories, etc.
  2. Find a specific email address. Look for someone like a marketing manager or communications director, someone who would be an actual contact and do your best to find their real email address (rather than “info” or “contact”)
  3. Send a cold pitch. Also known as a query or letter of inquiry (LOI), send a short email asking if the company works with freelance writers

If you get a “yes, we do work with freelance writers,” then you can continue the conversation by letting them know who you are and how you can help them (this is where an elevator pitch comes in handy).

networking tips for introverted writers

By the way, I have some elevator pitch templates in available for download my resource library! You’ll need a password to access the free library so pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send it to you.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Elevator Pitch Templates.”

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Two extra tips

They may ask for samples or portfolio links, have them ready to send (another option is having your LinkedIn profile optimized and sending that link, totally acceptable!).

It’s possible they’d like references—have a couple ready to go, previous clients who can vouch for your work and character.

Like I said before, this will all seem scary and intimidating until you get the hang of it. Cold pitching can be terrifying if you overthink it.

And yes, you’ll experience rejections, although many won’t respond at all, and that’s OK. It’s all part of the process.

Here are a few more ways to increase your odds of getting to “yes” from cold pitching

  • Warm up the connection as much as possible. Find common ground wherever possible, like a mutual connection or membership in the same organization
  • Send cold pitches to companies that look like they’ll need your services. Rather than shooting a buck shot, try targeting your pitches to places where it makes sense and your skills match
  • Narrow your search by thinking local rather than global. You’re trying to get quick pickups here, so look for places that likely aren’t getting as much pitching
  • Keep your email short and to the point. In your first outreach your goal is to get a response to begin a conversation. That’s it.

Once you get into this prospecting strategy, you’ll realize you need a tracking system and a follow-up system. In fact, following up is one of the most important pieces.

How many times have you intended to respond to an email and just let it get away from you? A short, polite follow up is sometimes all it takes to prompt that positive response.

If you’re ready for it, here’s a great three-step follow-up system from Jennifer Goforth Gregory.

Other articles you may enjoy

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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Cold pitching is not magic and it takes hard work but it's also not as scary or intimidating as it seems once you get going.

5 Effective Ways to Promote Your Online Store

Even if you only offer services at this point in your business, adding products may not be too far off the horizon. Here are a few innexpensive and smart ways to promote your online store.

5 effective ways to promote your online store

Promote your online store

Online shopping trends are always changing, and finding ways to have your products stand out online is a constant challenge.

Whether you sell homemade items or have gone down the drop shipping route, it’s important to reach out to the right audience.

Running an online store can take a lot of work, but it can also be lucrative if you find the right product-audience mix.

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Here are five effective ways to promote your online store

Email marketing

Email marketing is a versatile and cost-effective solution for any small businesses.

You can use email marketing for a variety of reasons including:

  • Retargeting campaigns
  • Incentives for reviews/recommendations
  • Announce a launch, promotion or event

Here is an eCommerce email marketing 101 to get you started.

Encourage customer reviews

One of the best ways to get your customers to leave reviews is to ask for them. You can also incentivize reviews by offering future discounts or promos. While you can’t pay for good reviews, you can get good reviews by offering exceptional quality and service.

Reviews as the lifeblood of online commerce and customers expect expedient shipping and accurate delivery.

If shipping is your hurdle right now, it may be worth working with a professional shipping company. Depending on the country you live in, some companies may be able to offer you cheaper delivery according to the size and weight of your items and quicker shipping times. 

Boost your social presence

These days, being online isn’t enough, you have to get noticed on social media. Being visible online is also a cost-effective marketing solution. Optimize your social media accounts and post engaging content for your target customer.

Video marketing

Creating engaging and effective videos is easier than you think. By using one of the best video editing apps available, you can make a professional-looking promotional video from your home computer.

Upload your videos on social media and consider using paid ads, if appropriate. Video content on your website will also attract more users and is good for SEO and is great for any initiative to promote your online store.

Optimize your site for SEO

To draw organic traffic to your website you need to optimize your site for SEO. This includes using keywords in your content, link building and improving its overall structure. It’s also essential to make your site as user-friendly as possible.

Google’s latest algorithm has a strong focus on user experience. If you want your site to rank high on the search engine results pages, it needs to load fast, be free of bugs and easy to navigate. Here is a complete guide to eCommerce SEO from Ahrefs. By optimizing your site and boosting your online presence, you’ll bring more business to your online store in no time.

Even if you only offer services at this point in your business, adding products may not be too far off the horizon. Here are a few innexpensive and smart ways to promote your online store.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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8 of the Best Inspirational Literary Podcasts for Book Lovers

Book lovers everywhere, rejoice! There are so many wonderful, literary, bookish podcasts to binge, consume and otherwise indulge that it could become overwhelming.

Podcasts for Book Lovers

Here are eight of the best book podcasts to try, everything from author interviews and conversations to book recommendations, reviews and more. Perfect for book lovers!

9 steps to planning a podcast worksheet

If you dream of launching a podcast but you don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place. This workbook will guide you through the nine steps you need to take to plan your podcast BEFORE you start recording.

A one-page sample of the workbook is free with membership to my resource library. This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by signing up here (or by popping your email address into the form below).

You can also purchase the in-depth ebook.

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8 literary podcasts for book lovers

The Literary Salon

Damian Barr’s Literary Salon tempts the world’s best writers to read exclusively from their latest greatest works and share their own personal stories. Star guests have included Bret Easton Ellis, Jojo Moyes, John Waters, Helen Fielding, Diana Athill and Louis de Bernières—all in front of a live audience at leading glamourous locations. Suave salonnière Damian Barr is your host. Don’t worry it’s not a book club—there’s no homework. Salon Selective!

I’m a Writer But

We’re writers, but…I’m a Writer But is a podcast from Lindsay Hunter and Alex Higley. We talk to writers with jobs/kids about how they make it work, or not.

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Between the Covers

Author interviews with today’s best writers—established & up-and-coming—in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Hosted by David Naimon, Tin House & KBOO 90.7 FM, Portland, Oregon.—The Guardian’s 10 Best Book Podcasts—Book Riot’s 15 Outstanding Podcasts for Book Lovers—the most intense and awesome podcast I’ve ever been a part of—Gary Shteyngart.

Nerdette

Nerdette is a safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, and encountering IRL. Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts, and more.

What Should I Read Next?

What Should I Read Next? is the show for every reader who has ever finished a book and faced the problem of not knowing what to read next. Each week, Anne Bogel, of the blog Modern Mrs Darcy, interviews a reader about the books they love, the books they hate, and the books they’re reading now. Then, she makes recommendations about what to read next. The real purpose of the show is to help YOU find your next read.

Literary podcasts for book lovers

Literary Friction

A monthly conversation about books and ideas on NTS Radio hosted by friends Carrie Plitt, a literary agent, and Octavia Bright, a writer and academic. Each show features an author interview, book recommendations, lively discussion and a little music too, all built around a related theme—anything from the novella to race to masculinity. Listen live on NTS Radio.

Fully Booked

Get the ultimate insider’s scoop on the best new books. The editors at Kirkus Reviews interview your favorite authors, tell you whether or not the books on the bestseller list are worth the read, give you behind-the-scenes insights, and introduce you to great books you may otherwise never find.

Book Club for Masochists

A Readers’ Advisory Podcast about becoming better library staff by reading books we hate! Every month we read books from a new, randomly picked genre; then on the podcast we discuss our reading choices, experiences, opinions, appeal factors, and other related topics as friends and library workers. (Warning: Language)

Other Podcast Related Posts for Writers and readers

Book lovers everywhere, rejoice! There are so many wonderful, literary, bookish podcasts to binge, consume and otherwise indulge that it could become overwhelming. Here are eight of the best book podcasts to try in 2020, everything from author interviews and conversations to book recommendations, reviews and more.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Book lovers everywhere, rejoice! There are so many wonderful, literary, bookish podcasts to binge, consume and otherwise indulge that it could become overwhelming. Here are eight of the best book podcasts to try in 2020, everything from author interviews and conversations to book recommendations, reviews and more.