The March To the Novel: Little Steps To The Real Thing (or, the ISBNification of me)

From Idea to ProductA book is transformed, slowly, from idea to physical creation to consumer product. The transformation from idea to physical thing is long and painful and fraught. Creating the thing isn’t easy and never was and never will be. If it has value, it shouldn’t be easy (though this is a kind of value judgement, I suppose). And the physical creation component can be broken down into an idea as it is revealed to its creator (on paper, on a computer screen) and then a thing that is about to be put out in the marketplace for consumption (ie: you could be giving it away for free but the idea of that and of selling it is the same – get it in consumers’ hands). Obviously, if a writer doesn’t want anyone to read their work, they will not embark on this transformative journey. typesetThe path from physical thing to consumer product is also long and slow but hopefully less painful, though no less fraught. This is when the thing starts to accumulate the elements that will render it into an item for sale: packaging (design), marketing plans (how do we get this into the hands of the consumer?), and the technology that will grease the path forward. For books, that technology is simple: the ISBN. The International Standard Book Number. Every book on your bookshelf (or virtual bookshelf) has one. Or should. It is what a machine will read when it scans the barcode at the store. It is how the world’s bookstores will find your book. Without it, you have to ask if your book even exists. Yes, this is analogous to a tree falling in the forest.tree falling
So, the past few weeks: the cover pretty much finalized; an early discussion about marketing; a first draft of typesetting; the ISBN. And then, magically, the book starts to appear in the ether. On Goodreads. On Amazon (Canada, US, UK, you name it). On Barnes & Noble. Chapters Indigo. Go on. Give it a search. It can be preordered. Because the book is about to be a thing. That you can purchase. At any bookstore, bricks n mortar or virtual. And you can do this even though the pub date is 5 months hence. April 15th. After a season that has yet to even start is pretty much finished.
When the idea becomes a thing and then a product, the creator cedes control of it. At least for a while. It becomes the readers’ thing (does your Egg McMuffin belong to you or MacDonald’s?). Another product in the marketplace. And, frankly, it’s about time. I’ve lived with this thing for long enough. Take it, it’s yours. For a low convenient price.

The second you purchase this baby, it's yours.

The second you purchase this baby, it’s yours.

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