Notes from the How to Publish Your Book Independently Workshop

The Workshop was Presented March 25, 2018 During the National Black Writers Conference
The presenters were Paul Coates, founder of Black Classic Press and BCP Digital Printing; Troy Johnson, founder of and co-founder of Edit 1st; and Carol Taylor, bestselling author and co-founder of Edit 1st.

These are notes from the workshop. They were last updated March 25, 2018.

Resources, is the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books by or about people of African descent. We provide help authors reach readers through banner advertising, Newsletter promotion and more.

BCP Digital Printing

BCP Digital Printing specializes in digital color, short run books and just-in-time printing of manuals and presentations. BCP Digital Printing powers A Good Day To Print and AALBCPrints Books

Edit 1st: Manuscript Editing Service

Edit 1st Provides a full range of editing services including, line-editing, developmental editing, proofreading, copy-editing and more.

SB Book Design

SB Book Design provides design services for independent publishers, self-publishers and organizations. This includes book covers, inside text layouts and coordinated marketing products such as bookmarks, business cards and posters.


The mission of #readingblack is to encourage everyone to read quality books written by Black people and to purchase those books from independent booksellers. We strive to develop strategies that will make it easier for book buyers to support our mission.

Get an ISBN and Barcode

barcode for Voices of the Harlem Renaissance: Originally Published as The New Negro an Interpretation Edited by Alain Locke and Introduction by Troy Johnson

Book Cover Voices of the Harlem Renaissance: Originally Published as The New Negro an Interpretation Edited by Alain Locke and Introduction by Troy Johnson

Bowker is the official ISBN agency in the United States

What is an ISBN?

  • 978 (first three digits) is the “Bookland” Country Code
  • 3 (last digit) is a check sum bit and is calculated from the previous 12 digits

The following portion of an ISBN may differ in length

  • 1 is an English Language Book
  • 56852 is the Publisher Imprint designation
  • 840 is one of a maximum of 1,000 books than can be assign to this publisher imprint. This section of the ISBN also gives you an indiction of the size of the publisher (or at least the number of ISBNs purchased). If it is 3 digits long, the publisher purcahsed a block of 1,000 ISBNs, if it a single digit, they oruchased a block of 10.
  • The ISBN10 equivalent for 978-1-56852-840-3 is 1-56852-840-X. The only difference is the addition of 978 and the and different checksum digit on the end. In the case the checksum digit is 10, an “X” is used to keep the length of the ISBN10 to 10. There is no ISBN10 equalivalent for ISBN13 that starts with 979. AALBC stopped using ISBN10s to track books, years ago. We only use the 13-digit ISBN.

© Copyright Your Book:

Visit the Copyright Office for the most up-to-date information on copyrighting literary works including short online artiles, blog entries, and social media posts.

Your Book’s Metadata

Metadata is important information, related to your book, that you must share correctly and consistently; in online databases (Books in Print, Amazon), on your website, with distributors (Ingram) and booksellers (, and social media. Metadata makes it easier for readers most likely to enjoy your book to find it.

  • ISBN
  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Publication Date
  • Version
  • Series Number and Name
  • Page Count
  • Format
  • Genre
  • BISAC Categories
  • List Price
  • Book Description
  • Book Cover Image
  • Author Photo
  • Author Biography (evergreen)
  • Publisher Name
  • Publisher Imprint
  • Key Words
  • Target Audience

Editing Your Book

Pricing is not based upon word count. Each book is different. A manuscript review is performed (Edit 1st’s Process).

Printing Your Book

Printing Options Include

  • Offset
  • Digital
  • Print on Demand POD

Designing Your Book

Book Designers

  • Interior of book formated book to industry standards for print (and ebook)
  • Design Cover, hire artists, and secure rights or license images
  • Coordinate design of bookmarks, posters, flyers

Marketing Your Book

Includes all the activities including identifying your target audience, advertising and publicity required to expose your target reader to your book and compel them to buy, read, and share it others.

  • “Troy’s Triangle” for Publishing Success
  • Don’t forget traditional techniques.
  • Online promotion and advertising: measure, evaluate, and revise.
  • Most frequently disregarded activity by indie publishers (Troy’s anecdotal observation)

Distribution Includes

  • Warehousing
  • Order fulfillment
  • Inventory management
  • Sales and marketing support
  • Databases

Additional Resources