How to Set Up a Title with IngramSpark - Part 1

Monday, June 25, 2018

Your IngramSpark account setup is complete – now what? The first step in moving forward is uploading a book into your account, so here’s how you would go about doing that!

You can add a new title by selecting “Add a New Title” on your Dashboard, or you can add a new title from the “Titles” section of your account.

Print Book or Ebook?

To start, you’ll decide if you’d like to set up a print book, ebook, or both. We recommend setting your title up in both print and ebook formats simply because you don’t always know how your readers will prefer to read your content, so it’s helpful not to limit your audience if your readers have a format preference. It also costs the same amount to upload both formats as it does to upload a print book alone, so there’s added value in uploading both versions at the same time. Some genres lend themselves better to ebooks and some better as print books, so do your research and be sure you make the decision that’s best for you, your budget, and your title.

Book Metadata

When you begin the title setup process (whether for ebooks or print books), you will be asked to provide information about your book. This is what we refer to as book metadata. The metadata conveys information about your book to customers, bookstores, libraries, and other retailers. For this reason, it is best to make your book metadata as accurate and specific as possible. 

Book metadata is important to your book’s categorization, discovery, and overall book sales. It should be part of any author's overall book marketing strategy, and successful self-publishers know how to incorporate as much quality book metadata as possible into their sales plans.

For tips on successful book metadata, check out our free online course.

As far as book metadata is concerned, more is better, because the more information you provide, the better chance your book has to be discovered by the right readers. For example, we only require you enter one BISAC subject code, but we offer you the opportunity to provide up to three. While one code is required, a book is rarely about only one thing, so why not provide all three to help readers and retailers know exactly what your book is about and where they should stock them? We understand some people want to be able to upload their books quickly, however, so we only require what’s absolutely necessary for your book to become available.

What's Required for Title Setup with IngramSpark?

As you navigate each title setup step in your IngramSpark account dashboard, you will see a red asterisk beside required information. You will not be able to continue to the next step until required information is completed. Fields without a red asterisk are not required, but you are given the option to include more information in these fields that will enhance and improve your metadata. 

  • Title – This is the title of your book, and it is one of the first things customers, retailers, and libraries will see.
  • Language – This is the primary language in which the book is written.
  • Full Description – The book description should describe what your book is about and provide the reader with a general idea of what to expect when reading your book.
  • Contributor – At least one contributor is required (e.g. author, illustrator, etc.). Take note that this is the name that will be publicly listed as the author (or other contributor) of your book in Ingram’s database and distribution network; so, if you write under a pen name or pseudonym now is the time to lock it in. Click the “About Contributor” button next to any contributor to provide an author bio or additional information about that contributor.
  • Imprint - An imprint identifies a branch of your publishing company and is typically displayed as the publisher on most retail sites.
  • Subjects – Subjects (also referred to as BISAC codes) describe and categorize your book with standard codes accepted by the book industry. You can search subject codes by clicking on “Find Subjects.” You can also access a complete list at the Book Industry Study Group website.
  • Book Types -  There are also Regional and Thema Subjects. Regional Subject is a list of geographical places used to modify the major subject. For example, a book on the football team "Tennessee Titans" would have a BISAC category as "Football" with the regional BISAC of "Tennessee". Thema Subjects offer global and unique subjects to categorize your book.
  • Audience – Classifying the intended audience is required by some retailers, and it helps categorize your book even further. If your book is not marketed to a particular age range, it’s best to default to adult/general.
  • Trim Size – If you’re publishing a print book, this is the finished cut size of your book. You should make your decision based on what you think would be the best fit for your book and its genre. You can base this off of popular book sizes.
  • Interior Color and Paper – Here you will select if you would like your print book to be in black and white or color. If selecting black and white, you will have the option of white or crème paper. If selecting color, you will have the option to choose between four color interior options.
  • Binding Type – If you’re publishing a print book, you will select either paperback or hardcover, which come with several additional options to choose from. Note that not every interior or binding type is available for each trim size. To see the combinations of available offerings, you can use our Print and Shipping Calculator or view our trim sizes here.
  • Page Count – This is the total number of pages in your interior file (including blank pages).
  • ISBN – The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique number assigned to every book and is required for distribution. No two books can have the same ISBN. Additionally, each format of a book must have its own ISBN. For example, a paperback, hardcover, and ebook of the same title will each have its own unique ISBN. Bowker issued ISBNs can be purchased at a discount from IngramSpark during title setup for US accounts.
  • SKU – If you do not want to purchase an ISBN, you may use a SKU instead. It is important to keep in mind that SKUs are not accepted in the distribution channels, so distributors will not be able to stock or sell your title if it has a SKU instead of an ISBN.

For more tips about title setup with IngramSpark, be sure to check out Part 2 of this series! And for more tips on book metadata, take our free online course!


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IngramSpark Staff

Hi there! It's your friendly IngramSpark staff here, happily sharing a wealth of publishing knowledge with people from all walks of the self-publishing biz.