There are millions of books in the world, with more being published and distributed every day. The only way to keep track of them is with unique identifiers, which we call International Standard Book Numbers, or ISBNs. Each format of a book should have its own ISBN—its unique identifier that belongs only to that title and format—so that customers and retailers can place an order for the exact book they want.
When you think of publishing, you may have one format that jumps to the forefront of your mind. Maybe you grew up in libraries and bookstores, so you want a printed book in your hands. Or maybe you grew up with a tablet in hand, so an ebook is your go-to format for reading. Whatever your background, it can be easy to think that publishing in one format is the end-goal of your publishing journey. But honestly, you should seriously consider taking advantage of multiple formats—paperback, hardcover, and ebook.
I first encountered the term ‘beta reader’ while reading Harry Potter fanfiction online. From the author notes, I surmised that beta readers were the first people to read a story, and that they helped to polish them into finished pieces. I assumed that a beta reader was like an editor, but not paid.
I eventually learned that beta readers are not unpaid editors, but serve a key purpose in the writing process nonetheless. In fact, I’d had beta readers before and didn’t even know it!