If you plan to publish your book with a traditional publisher, you’ll need an agent. Most publishers only work with agents.
Even if you find a publisher who will work with you directly, you should still use an agent.
Why is that?
Because an agent will negotiate a better contract for you than you could possibly do on your own. Even if you are a lawyer or know one, an agent is still in a better position to get you the best possible deal.
Of course, if you plan to indie-publish, there is no need for an agent.
Do you wonder about getting ISBNs for your indie-published books? It’s not too important to have an ISBN for e-books. I’ve heard of several successful indie authors who see no point in it.
However, having an ISBN does make a book seem more professional and part of mainstream book publishing. But aside from the image it conveys, I’m not aware of any tangible advantage for e-books.
You don’t need ISBNs for print books either, but I think they’re important. They facilitate ordering and tracking. Though bookstores typically don’t want to deal with self-published authors (unless you are local or have a connection with the manager), they will need the book to have an ISBN to order it and track it in their system.
Note that you need one ISBN for each format your book is in hardcover, paperback, e-book, audiobook, and so forth. If an organization will provide an ISBN as part of its services, look carefully at what you may give up when you use their ISBN.
Each chapter in my friend’s book starts with a quotation. Most of the quotes came from internet sites. She wonders if she needs to include a page citing sources where she obtained each quote. Here’s what I said to her.
For Traditionally Published Books
For traditionally published books, your publisher will have its own requirements for you to follow. And each publisher likely has a different approach. In addition, they also have a legal team that will help keep you and them out of legal trouble.
In general, they will want you to attribute your source. I’ve even heard of one publisher who insisted on a signed release for each quotation. This is burdensome and a good reason to not use quotations.
For Indie Published Books
If you are indie-publishing your book, my opinion (not legal advice) is to cite all your sources. In my books, I try to avoid using any quotes, in any way, from any source. That’s the surest way to avoid getting sued for plagiarism.
However, in your case, this gets messy because the website where you found the quote may have copied it from someone else—that is, they stole it from the original author. Then you perpetuate their plagiarism—and their crime.
Final Thoughts about Citing Sources
If you can remove the quote and put the concept in your own words, that might be your best approach.
I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice about citing sources. It’s just my opinion. For a great resource on this subject—as well as other important legal considerations for writers—check out Helen Sedwick’s excellent book Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook.
Do you have questions about formatting numbers? There are two main rules that apply to writing numbers:
1. Write out single-digit numbers (one through nine) and use digits for numbers for 10 and higher, or
2. Write out one hundred and everything less. Use numbers for everything greater than one hundred.
Some style guides say to write out common numbers and use digits for all others. This would result in:
Of course, they’re exceptions and special cases. One example is that if a sentence begins with a number, always spell it. If this looks awkward, rewrite the sentence so that it doesn’t start with a number. In this case:
One thousand, two hundred and fifty-seven people were present . . .
The attendance was 1,257 . . .
Follow these pointers on formatting numbers to cover the most common situations.
Self-publishing is all about art, and making money from art isn’t the point—or so they say.
The motivation of self-publishing is making books available to the public.
The hardcore self-publisher does everything, from the cover design to editing, to interior layout, to marketing. Unfortunately, it shows in the final product. And for that reason,I hate reading self-published books.
Self-publishing finds its place with the writing hobbyist.
Indie-publishing finds its roots in the entrepreneurial spirit.
Indie-publication is a for-profit endeavor with a clear objective to monetize the value of books as a business.
The motivation of indie-publishing is profit from the art of books.
The indie publisher assembles a team, tapping others to assist with the publishing process, from cover design to editing, to interior layout, to marketing.
Indie-publishing finds its place with the writing professional.
From all this, I realize that when I say I plan to self-publish some of my books, I really mean indie-publishing. Though I view my writing as art, I also see the results as a business opportunity. And I’ve been an entrepreneur longer than I’ve been a writer—though not by much.
Yes, I still have a goal to traditionally publish some books. I also plan to indie-publish other books. Together they will help me to one day make a living writing full time.