By: Sara Matz | A two-minute read
By now I am sure you are hyperaware that how your book is cataloged is extremely important to the ease with which your reader can acquire your book. We’ve talked about keyword optimization, but that is only part of the battle. A bookstore, online retailer or library needs their own direction as to where to sort your book by genre, making it as easy as possible to find your book organically. The BISG or “Book Industry Study Group” sets the standard for research and information and standardized practices and with the creation of BISAC code have streamlined content classifications. BISAC, which stands for Book Industry Standards and Communications, is the language in which we classify book content.
What do Subject Headings mean?
There are two parts of a BISAC code, the three letters representing the broad subject, and the six numbers that follow directing you to the specific genre of your book. For example, a general fiction book would be classified as FIC000000, but what book is simply general fiction? If your book is fiction that goes into the paranormal but can also be a little erotic FIC009050 FICTION / Fantasy / Paranormal and FIC005050 FICTION / Erotica / Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror are a much more direct path for a reader to home in on the perfect book. Be as unique as possible when picking your headings, set yourself apart from your genre
If your book covers a broad span of a topic, such as a history textbook, using the HISTORY/ General heading is recommended.
For a complete list of BISAC headings, click here.
Pick Your Poison
The first step in picking the ideal BISAC code is to pick one of the 54 headings that best describes your book. This can be a little daunting as many books have complex subject matter, but don’t worry, you can pick up to 3 headings that best fit you! Think of it as picking which shelves your book would fit on in a bookstore, and how many different shelves do you belong on? If your book can sit on multiple genre shelves, spread it out! A great example would be if you have a young adult LGBTQ+ book that also discusses mental health and suicide, the headings YAF031000 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / LGBT, YAF058140 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Mental Illness, and FAM056000 FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / LGBT would get you to 3 totally different yet enthusiastic readers.
When thinking of the age of your reader Juvenile is considered 0-11 and Young Adult is 12-18
If you feel there is not a correct heading for your style of book, don’t hesitate to ask your publisher. We’re here to help! If we find there is really not a heading for your content BISG does allow suggestions and updates are released every fall.
As one of the Author Success Consultants for AnewPress, it’s my goal to assist you in getting your book from concept to sales. If you have any questions about publishing, let me know.