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View Full Version : Self-publishing, Pen-names and ISBNs



Anarchic Q
11-11-2012, 10:10 AM
ISBNs are free to register in Canada, which in my mind, is awesome. But I have some questions.

If I were writing under multiple pen-names and wanted to order a block of ISBNs for the purpose of self-publishing, what name do I order the ISBNs under? My legal name? My pen-name? Is there a way that people can connect my pen-name to my legal name though the ISBN?

If I use this ISBN in my Createspace or Smashwords account instead of their own, will it connect to my legal name?

Thank you.

moreferarum
11-11-2012, 01:18 PM
This is a tricky question, hopefully someone with more experience would be able to help you further.
I personally, would link them to my legal name, or if you really didn't want your name linked to your writing in any way at all, your most used pen-name.
Some people don't want the names linked at all, have you tried contacting where you register for ISBNs in Canada?

(It's great that they're free though! In England I think it's around 90 for 10, and even more expensive per code if you can haggle and just purchase one!)

retlaw
11-11-2012, 04:52 PM
Hopefully someone here will have some concrete experience they can lend. I recommend trying here:

http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/contact-us/Pages/contact-us.aspx

They even include a phone number.

Anarchic Q
11-12-2012, 12:04 AM
Thank you, I have fired off a question to them and I will update with my answer for others who'd like to know as well.

Dreadful Romantic
11-12-2012, 09:02 AM
I have an account with Collections Canada, so I may be of some assistance.

I set up a publisher account with CC online, which was really easy and it took far less than the 10-15 day wait they tell you to expect. You don't get ISBNs in blocks the way Bowker issues them (as I understand)--you generate one ISBN at a time (it's instant!) and fill in the required fields. You don't have to use your legal name at all; just register it under your pen name and you have an option to list whatever imprint you choose, if you don't want your book listed as being sold by CreateSpace or Amazon Digital Services.

You can use the same Collections Canada publisher account for different pen names. You're assigned a unique publisher prefix in the numbers, but that's the only identifying information. My book's ISBN is registered under my pen name for the three ISBNs assigned to it (Smashwords requires a unique ISBN, I have one with CreateSpace for the print edition, and a third for everywhere else).

As far as I know, the only time you have to provide identifying information is if you're submitting your book for legal deposit with the Canadian National Archives. My first two books were published years ago, under a variation of my legal name, and the CIP information on the copyright page listed my legal name and year of birth per Canadian publisher requirements. As the latest book isn't being submitted for legal deposit, I don't have to let everyone know how old I am :)

It's been a while since I set up my account, so I can't remember what it asks for specifically, but I believe you have to register it under your legal name and list your contact information. None of that is public.

You can register for an account here: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca (http://http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca) (Warning: Their site is difficult to navigate. Just putting that out there!)

I hope that helps.

Anarchic Q
11-12-2012, 10:19 AM
Oh thank you so much, that helps greatly!

Dreadful Romantic
11-12-2012, 10:41 AM
You're welcome, I'm glad to help.

I just wanted to clarify one more thing, because I don't think I was specific enough in my original reply. You set up your publisher account under your legal name; the ISBNs can be assigned to whatever pen name you want. I'm sorry if that creates any confusion.

Anarchic Q
11-12-2012, 10:44 AM
Yeah, that's how I read your first reply. Thanks again.

Old Hack
11-12-2012, 11:13 AM
Just remember that if you set up an account with a specific publisher named on it, then it's likely all ISBNs you buy will be linked to that publisher no matter what pen name you put on them. If you want complete separation between your various pen names then you're going to have to think carefully about that.

Dreadful Romantic
11-12-2012, 09:11 PM
Just remember that if you set up an account with a specific publisher named on it, then it's likely all ISBNs you buy will be linked to that publisher no matter what pen name you put on them. If you want complete separation between your various pen names then you're going to have to think carefully about that.

The ISBNs generated for a self-publisher all have the same prefix as an identifier, but in Canada (I don't know about ISBN-issuing agencies elsewhere in the world), the self-publisher has the option of listing a pen name in association with it. Listing an imprint is optional--all I've ever had to do when I've managed my logbook is click on "Assign New ISBN" and fill in the type of media, page count and book dimensions if applicable, language and worldwide rights, contributor information, and supplier information. So it is possible for someone to track down an author writing under two names using the unique prefix, but seems unlikely.

I'm under the impression that it's a bit more of a hassle and more expensive in the United States. I was shocked to find that buying an ISBN will set a self-publisher back $125.

Ann Joyce
11-12-2012, 11:18 PM
I'm under the impression that it's a bit more of a hassle and more expensive in the United States. I was shocked to find that buying an ISBN will set a self-publisher back $125.

This is true, unless you buy them in multiples. I paid $250. for 10, knowing that I have more books to write. The larger block you buy, the cheaper it gets.

Anarchic Q
11-14-2012, 08:41 PM
I received a reply.


Hello,

If you wish to use pen names, you must put the pen name as the "Publisher Name" and any other pen name in the "Other name" box. Please use your own personal name as the contact name.

The online CISS system isn't linked to anything. I do not know how CreateSpace would identify you but I'm assuming it would be by Publisher name which in your case would be the pen name you chose.

Dreadful Romantic
11-17-2012, 05:19 AM
The online CISS system isn't linked to anything. I do not know how CreateSpace would identify you but I'm assuming it would be by Publisher name which in your case would be the pen name you chose.

If you're providing your own ISBN to CreateSpace, you can list whatever imprint you choose. That's what I did.