Do It Yourself - ISBN and Setting
ISBN and Copyright Information
ISBN stands for International Standard Book number and all published books have one. The number is generated by a number of National ISBN Agencies. Of course nobody can force you to have an ISBN number for your book but if you do not, it cannot be stocked in libraries - or sold in shops or by third parties on the Internet - and you won't look in the least professional either. Buying ISBN numbers is not all that easy because if you set out to buy them yourself directly, you may find that you have to purchase them in blocks, often of five or more. You can get round this by buying your ISBN number from one of the companies that specialise in offering this service. There are many and since I haven't used any of them myself I can't point to any one as being better than the others. I can only suggest that you look them up on Google, or you may find one advertised on the google ads on this site.
As always, caution is necessary, so don't be sucked into buying anything you don't need.
Your book will also need to have copyright information. Generally speaking this is also located on a left-hand page immediately prior to the Title Page. It consists of your name and the copyright symbol, with the year the book was published. (Have a look at a few books and you will see what I mean). This is your protection against having your work stolen or reproduced without your permission. If you make the sort of statement that most books carry with this regard, you could, technically, sue anyone who infringed your copyright. You don't have to pay anyone to have copyright on a book, so don't believe anyone who tells you that this is the case and who tries to charge you for it. The fact that you print this information in the book represents its own proof that the material is yours.
Setting the Manuscript
Setting these days almost always employs a computer program, known as a 'desk top publishing package'. There are many different types on the market, such as Quark Express and 'Pagemaker'. Generally speaking, anyone who knows how to manage a word processing program such as 'Word' can come to understand desk top publishing. It involves working with specific templates, to make sure the size of your book, its margins, headers, footers, page numbers and even its general design are all dealt with properly. I have been in this business for a very long time and have used a number of different desk top publishing packages but in a general sense I don't do so. This is because I am a 'writer' and not a 'setter'. However, if you want to publish your own book and wish to do it cheaply, you may have to learn to become both.
Once again this is a job that you can employ someone else to do for you. How cheap or expensive it will be depends on who you choose and how quickly they work. Have a look at some of the google ads accompanying these pages and, if you wish, get a few quotes. Bear in mind that if you want to do this job yourself you have another steep learning curve in front of you and you would also have to get hold of the software necessary.
Be careful regarding the finished size of your book and stick to one of the common sizes that will surround you on your bookshelves and on the shelves of your local library. If you are doing the job yourself, also do your homework because you don't want to have to start all over again if you get something wrong early on in the process.
Whether you do the setting yourself or farm it out, what you will end up with is a set of 'proofs'. These are print-outs of the set, paginated pages (Pagination is particularly important and you will need to read about this carefully if you set the book yourself.) Once you have the proofs, you can check them very carefully, and also get someone else to check them. Make a note of any mistakes and either put these right yourself or get your setter to do it. Mistakes will still get through because they always do. I bear in mind the religion of Islam, in which architects and builders always made a deliberate mistake when creating one of their wonderful masterpieces. They did so because only 'God' is perfect!