Yesterday, my friend Brenda – whose forthcoming memoir Ebb from the Shoreline is something you should really read – asked a bunch of us on Twitter yesterday about our LCCNs.  I promptly replied and showed my ignorance – “What’s an LCCN? Do I need one?”  2786203979

It turns out I might.  An LCCN is the old term for what is now called the PCN – Pre-assigned Control Number – issued by the LOC – Library of Congress.  (Creative writers so rarely get to use acronyms that I thought I’d get my fill in one sentence.)  This PCN is the number libraries use to reference our books.  So if I want my book to be in libraries, it should have a PCN.

I applied for one in about 47.8 seconds.  (You can do the same here.)


Yesterday, I also finished re-proofreading both the print and ebook versions of The Slaves Have Names.  A couple of readers had mentioned proofreading errors, particularly in the ebook, so I did a full read-through and corrected those.

You’d think between my 7 reads and the professional editor I hired we’d have caught it all, but as I’m also learning – as as we can all see in the pages of almost any book we read – catching errors is very hard.  Still, I want my book to be the best it can be for the people I discuss in its pages.

Plus, I don’t want to be part of that slog of mediocre work that gets self-published.  I want my pages to show my hard work – all three years of it.

This is the beauty of self-publishing though. I can edit the book again and reissue new, cleaner versions with relatively little hassle.


My book has been out for almost three months now, and still I’m learning things about publishing. I have no doubt I will learn much more as I continue this process.

Certainly, the logistics of publication are one area where a professional publishing house would be useful.  It would be awesome to have someone tell me the various pieces I need to put in place to help my book reach the larger audience.  But I’m learning – with the help of friends.

(In fact, one of my friends is thinking of starting a business to guide self-publishers.  If she gets that going, I’ll be sure to let you know.)

So this week’s self-publishing lesson is that I’m still learning.  I’m certain that next time I do self-publish I will do better, and I’m also certain that then I’ll still have more to learn.

But, well, isn’t that life? Always more to learn.  And isn’t that just awesome?

Those of you who have self-published or are thinking about doing so, where did you learn the process?