Maybe It’s Just a Number, or, How Life Gets in the Way

Sometimes despite my best intentions, blogging needs to take a backseat to the Day Job (more on that in a future post), parenting, or incipient illness. When my life became a perfect storm of all three over the last two weeks, I was tempted to put the writing on the backburner and let things settle down. But then the most amazing thing happened: My book got a number.

I took a big step forward in my journey toward publishing Damaged Goods recently when I began the setup process for publication through the CreateSpace website. Step one, set up account: check! Step two, enter title: check! Step three, ISBN… ISBN? Wait, my book will have a number?

For the uninitiated, ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Every book commercially available for purchase has one, even ebooks. In fact, once Damaged Goods is published, it will have TWO ISBNs—one for the print edition and one for the electronic version. You find ISBNs on the copyright page, right below all that legal language, just before the story begins. When I was younger, I loved reading that page. Where was the book published? What year? Is it in the Library of Congress? What does this long number mean? That page, with its digits and copyright symbol made a book real to me. It held power. It gave the writer the authority to call herself a writer.

With the aforementioned perfect storm, I wondered if maybe my excitement about an ISBN didn’t warrant a blog post. I mean, maybe it’s just a number. Shouldn’t I be doing dishes or helping the boy with his homework or lying on the couch drinking ginger tea in a vain attempt to ward off that stomach bug? I could think of a hundred reasons not to blog. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have an ISBN. My book is real.

1496198026. That’s my number. I’ve added it to the copyright page. I’ve uploaded the novel to CreateSpace. I’m designing the jacket cover. Slowly—maybe a little too slowly—that idea I had about a little boy’s secret is taking form. I’m not finished yet, but I’m close. And I have the number to prove it.

writing bionicle ISBN

My Writing Bionicle helpfully points out my ISBN.


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