Archives for March 2014

Video: How James Goll Got Started as an Author

This week I have a nine-minute excerpt from James W. Goll’s keynote address at the Write Your Book Workshop in Franklin, TN, January 17-18, 2014, explaining the “door that led to many doors” in writing and publishing.

James is a friend and the author or contributor to over 30 books, including an additional 20 study guides.

We are hosting another workshop in the Nashville area May 16-17. See for details.

Also, if you know someone who you think should write a book, please feel free to forward them this information.

All About ISBNs for Your Book

ISBNs seem to cause confusion with authors. Here are the basics of what you need to know.

ISBN means “International Standard Book Number.” It is a unique number that identifies your book in a worldwide numbering system. Not every book requires an ISBN. You can print and sell your book without an ISBN, but an ISBN is required if you want to sell your book commercially in a retail channel (like at a bookstore or online). It’s the way stores identify your book, in each format of your book (one for the paperback, another for the e-book, another for audio, etc.).

A bar code is a representation of your ISBN via a series of vertical bars. A bar code for a book looks like this:


It’s placed in the bottom-right corner on the back cover of a book so that a product scanner can quickly read the ISBN, price, and other bibliographic information attached to your ISBN.

You only need a bar code if you’re going to sell your book in bookstores, but I recommend having one regardless of where or how you sell your books.

Subsidy publishers or companies like CreateSpace create a barcode and put it on the back cover for you. You can create your own bar code free here, or you can pay a small fee to, Bowker, or another authorized ISBN agency.

How to Obtain an ISBN

There are four basic ways to obtain an ISBN:

1. Purchase one or more from Bowker Identifier Services and become your own publisher. To truly publish your book yourself, you must create your own account with Bowker (or your country’s agency), or an authorized agent, then purchase one or more ISBNs. (See below for more on this.)

2. Publish with a subsidy publisher (a company that charges you for their services—a subsidy—to publish your book), and they will provide an ISBN as part of the package. They will be listed as your publisher and will have certain rights to your book and its files. It’s important to know what those rights are before you sign a contract.

3. Publish with,,,, Kindle Direct Publishing, or another self-publishing service for print or e-book, and they will provide an ISBN for you for free or for a small fee. They will be listed as your publisher since you are using their platform to distribute your book, but you retain all rights to your book and its files.

[Read more…]

Still Single, Searching, and Sick of It: Winning Over Loneliness by Adonis & Heather Lenzy

Dating in B&W BookBaby CoverI am excited to share the excerpt below  from chapter 21 of Dating in Black & White by Adonis & Heather Lenzy. I had the privilege of working with them on this book and if you’re dating or know someone who is, it’s a great read for “keeping relationships on target.”  Read after the excerpt for more about the book and the authors.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Chances are that everyone has fought this battle at one time or another in their lives. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with the ability to take you on a journey in your mind, heart, and desires.

In an attempt to bring comfort and encouragement to Christian singles, the church coined a phrase that said, “Be single and satisfied.” The ironic part about that is the advice to be single and satisfied usually came from married people who had been married for years and had probably forgotten what it was like to be single. They came up with stuff like, “Fall in love with Jesus first and then love yourself.” Once again, I think this was an attempt to give a super spiritual answer rather than address the core issue of a single person who loves Jesus and themselves but was overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness and not being satisfied.

Loneliness is not a bad word, nor does it mean you are less spiritual and a weak Christian. It simply means that you have a desire to find that soul mate and spend the rest of your life with the person of your dreams. It’s like being content and discontent at the same time. You are passionate about God. You love yourself, but you still have a sense of being unfulfilled.

Don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way. It doesn’t mean that you are failing in your Christian walk; it means that you are human.

I can recall all my single years of battling the feelings of loneliness. I’m not going to lie; it was horrible. Wanting to find that special someone and spend the rest of my life with them seemed like a fading dream that would become less attainable year after year. The worst part was being around dating and married couples and seeing them so happy. When you’re single, every married couple appears happy. They’re not, so don’t rush your dating process to get there.

Still, seeing other happy couples magnifies your feelings of loneliness and sends you off on a tangent of desperately trying to find what they have. The older I got, the worse the feeling became. Unfortunately, I didn’t respond correctly to the feelings of loneliness in the beginning and, therefore, lost that battle several times. It drove me to enter relationships I had no business being involved in.

[Read more…]

Fair Use Guidelines and Permission to Use Other Authors’ Works

Using material from other authors can help you make your point more clearly and with greater credibility if a better-known source is reinforcing what you have to say. But is it OK to use material in your book that is not your own?

Don't mess around with copyright. Do it right.

Don’t mess around with copyright. Stay within fair use or get permission.

People often assume that if material is copyrighted, they cannot use any of it “without the prior written permission of the publisher.”

However, the doctrine of “fair use” does allow authors to quote a short portion of another author’s work. Quoting large portions or quoting excessively is not considered fair. You must also copy the original perfectly, in the intended context, and give proper credit.

If the purpose of your nonfiction book is to instruct for educational purposes, quotes from other nonfiction sources are likely to be considered fair use. However, if using the quoted material in your book could be considered depriving the copyright owner of income, this is not fair use. Using quoted material from other authors should help and further their cause, not take anything away from them.

Three sources authors seem to love to use that I recommend you avoid completely or gain written permission are:

  • Song lyrics (and sometimes the title of a song if it is trademarked)
  • Poetry
  • Online dictionaries or encyclopedias

If you quote the Bible, using fewer than five hundred verses from one Scripture translation (unless those verses constitute a major portion of your book) is considered fair use for most translations. Every translation requires that you acknowledge the source properly, using the words and format that can be found on the copyright owner’s website or at sources like, which contains multiple translations in many languages.

See below for sources that I recommend you seek permission for.

For more information about fair use, consult resources from Stanford University Libraries and attorney Richard Stim (who also answers many copyright questions on his helpful blog): one on fair use, and the other about four factors that measure fair use. Both are very helpful to ensure that the material you want to quote falls within fair-use guidelines.

Permission Required

Securing permission can be a long, stressful process. Sometimes a copyright owner can refuse to grant permission or require a high fee to use the material. If possible, avoid having to seek permission by: [Read more…]