Make it easier for potential readers to find your book by making sure its BISAC code is correct. There are several which include numerous sub-categories as well. They’re not always easy to search since they’re often not in any discernible order.
BISAC stands for “Book Industry Standards and Communications” which are subject headings developed by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). To quote from Wikipedia, “BISG has been involved with technological advances such as bar codes and electronic business communications formats. It developed BISAC (Book Industry Subject and Category) Subject Headings, which are a mainstay in the industry and required for participation in many databases.”
These categories have numbers followed by tiers of description that look something like this:
FIC027130 Fiction / Romance / Science Fiction
FIC028000 Fiction: Science Fiction – General
CGN004190 Comics & Graphic Novels: Manga – Science Fiction
If you’ve listed your story with a distributor or sales site, you’ve most likely been asked for its BISAC. The question is whether or not you selected the correct one? With hundreds to choose from, it’s possible you didn’t bother to scrutinize the listing carefully enough to find the best fit for your work. I have found, much to my frustration, that when they’re listed as a pull-down menu, such as on sites like Google Play, ironically they don’t appear to be in any order! Thus, the temptation is to pick the first one that sounds even remotely like you story. It doesn’t really matter, does it? Wrong!
Considering that there are millions of books out there, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out there needs to be a way to classify and organize them. Librarians have been doing this for years through Library of Congress designations and/or the Dewey Decimal System for non-fiction. However, if the BISAC Subject Headings are “making inroads into library classification” as suggested by Wikipedia, then it’s important that you recognize what they are and why they’re important.
Still wondering why should you care? Here’s why: Because if you’re an author, the proper classification of your story can make the difference of whether or not your readers find it.
There are hundreds of categories for fiction alone. You can find a complete listing of codes on the BISG website. Note that this organization has been around since the 1970s and is located in the heart of the traditional publishing industry in New York City. This is an organization you should take seriously.
Being an Indie author means having to learn how to navigate the particulars of the publishing industry, often with less than even a crash course. BISAC subject headings are one aspect of it that’s a mystery to most Indies, yet could have a direct bearing on your sales. For example, if a book store or library wants to purchase a specific genre based on patron requests, if your books fits like the proverbial glove, won’t you want them to find it?
I rest my case.