On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Great Market for Self-Published Books

An important and often overlooked market for self-published books is public libraries, and you need to prepare for this market before publication.

This market requires a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN). An LCCN is a unique identification number for your book in the Library of Congress’ catalog record. Since you’ll be applying before publication you need to get a Preassigned Control Number (PCN) (http://pcn.loc.gov/ ). The PCN requires cataloging in publication (CIP) data, so you will also need to get your book data, called publisher-generated CIP data. The librarian I chose gave me a good price and fast turnaround of a few days at http://www.cipblock.com. There are other people who do this also; you can compare prices etc. with a google search. The CIP data allows individual libraries to categorize your book for their own shelves.

If you obtain a PCN, you will need to send a copy of your final book to the Library of Congress once it’s published.


  1. So, does this mean you can't get your book into libraries if you don't get this number before the book goes to publication?

  2. Hi Kat, If the book is recently released, and especially if your publisher is using POD technology to print books, it may be worth it to register for the PCN and get the CIP data, then reupload the interior file with this information included on the copyright page.

    The CIP data is used by the librarian to file your book -- if you don't have this data, it's unlikely the library will bother to acquire your book since correctly assessing the book for category purposes will be time-consuming.

    Good luck.