BISAC CATEGORIES EXPLAINED
What is a BISAC?
Posted by Love of Books. BISAC is an abbreviation for “Book Industry Standards and communications.” Essentially, BISAC Codes and Subject Headings are a long list of various topics created by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG).
BISAC Codes are a publishing industry approved list of nine-character alphanumeric codes that represent broad descriptors of genre or subject matter. There are thousands of BISAC codes, and they allow libraries, retailers, and online stores to accurately catalogue and “place” your book among their millions of other offerings. Your book can only be accurately categorized if it has the right BISAC Codes.
Tips for Selecting the Right BISAC Subject Codes
I. Lewis – Director Love of Books Australia-wide says: The right BISAC Codes are ones that describe your content in an accurate and concise manner. It’s never a good idea to go for code that are applicable to only a few chapters or touch on one peripheral topic or theme of work.
However, if your book has more than one subject matter, you may select more than one subject code. BISG best practices is that you select no more than three BISAC Codes. Choosing three BISAC Codes is considered the best practice to help ensure the broadest reach for your book. It’s not a good idea to give your book only one opportunity to be found when you can give it three. As a rule of thumb, look for codes that reflect the breadth and depth of your book’s content.
Consider how your customers view themselves when looking for a book on your topic. If they think of themselves as parents who have a challenge with a child, for example, then maybe parenting is the right category.
The first subject code should be the best, most accurate, and most specific code possible. When your code is more specific, there are more chances to attract more targeted readers who are more likely to purchase.
I. Lewis – Director Love of Books Australia-wide says: If it’s possible, consider selecting codes from multiple top-level BISAC categories to broaden discovery. To do this, there are certain rules you should follow:
- Do not use “General” Codes.
- Classify your book depending on its content and the key aspects that will resonate with potential buyers.
- There is no point of including a “General” code if already you’ve chosen a more specific code for a given category or subcategory.
- BISAC codes are supposed to exhibit consistency across different formats of the same work.
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
BODY, MIND & SPIRIT
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
CRAFTS & HOBBIES
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY
GAMES & ACTIVITIES
HEALTH & FITNESS
HOUSE & HOME
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES
SPORTS & RECREATION
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING
YOUNG ADULT FICTION
YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION
“35 Girls. 1 Crown. The competition of a lifetime.”
– The Selection
Regardless of whether this is your kind of book or not, I think this tagline is brilliant. It tells you exactly what kind of book and storyline to expect, and also gives you an idea of what’s at stake.
“Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.”
– An Ember in the Ashes
This immediately tells you to expect romance while at the same time communicating the key conflict and characters. The book wasn’t entirely my cup of tea, but this tagline did a great job of selling it to me.
“Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time…”
A nice reflection of the story (fairy-tale-inspired and set in a a futuristic world). “Once Upon a Time” adds an enchanting feel to it, and you have to credit it for not using this cliché phrase in a sappy way. It also complements the cover and title well.
“Her beauty is a weapon – and Fire is going to use it.”
I love this one because it immediately offers something intriguing. How is her beauty a weapon and how is she going to use it? It also reflects the core focus/magical element of the story and refers to the main character and the title.
“Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.”
– The Hunger Games
This tagline doesn’t have quite the same smooth flow or nice rhythm as others, but it still does its job. You immediately get a sense that big things are at stake, and that the focus is on a game or competition of some kind.
“Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind – and none of the heart…”
– Slave to Sensation
Again, this might lack some of the grace and flow of others I mentioned, but it clearly communicates the setting, the genre and the conflict at the heart of the story, and has enough intriguing elements to make me read further.
“Sometimes being a god is no fun at all…”
This is short and sweet, conveying both the humorous tone of the novel (essential for a Terry Pratchett book!) and the central focus of the story. It also has an element of intrigue, as you ask what will make being a god not fun at all.
“A world at stake. The quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?”
– Ready Player One
I really like this one, but I think it only works because of the book’s title. The direct “Are you ready?” question might seem conceited in another context, but when coupled with the title, both evoke that sense of anticipation and excitement before starting a video game.
“Winter is coming”
– A Song of Ice and Fire
I confess, I don’t know if this is actually printed as a tagline on any of the books… but it’s used so regularly in conjunction with them and with the TV series, that I had to mention it. The now iconic motto of House Stark instils an immediate sense of foreboding and drama, while that the same time referencing a core conflict in the series.
“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?”
This works well for the latest book in the Old Kingdom series, as it reminds loyal readers of the line from The Book of the Dead often referenced in previous books. It’s also a dramatic question about controlling fate, so works even for those who haven’t read the series.
I. Lewis – Director Love of Books Australia-wide