A few people have asked me about the proof copies I've ordered, and what they're even for. Below are the questions I got on my last entry, and my answers to said questions!
"Charity Bradford ordered her proof copy too, and seeing her book in the print motivated me to order mine. But I got a little scared at the ISBN spot. If an ISBN is applied to the book, even if its not published, does that mean it cannot be assigned another if an actual publishing company picks it up?
I saved what I had up to that point and buzzed on out of it. I really want to see my first novel in print, but am skittish about submitting even that much until I'm sure it will never be picked up by an agent or publisher. Eeeek! Did you have these jitters yourself Trisha?" - Donna Hole
I had similar concerns when I got my free proof copy for winning NaNoWriMo last year, but I checked out the thread on the NaNo forums and was reassured that it didn't matter if my book got an ISBN. I wasn't actually publishing it, I was just preparing it for publishing if that makes sense? I would get a proof copy to "review", and then once I was happy with it I'd activate it and put it up for sale. However, the "activation" part never happened, and I was still able to get my free proof. My book is still sitting there, unactivated, although yes it has an ISBN. But as many people have mentioned, books have many ISBNs anyway according to which publisher puts them out in which country, what format they're in, etc. Anyway, to see others asking the question and getting answers, check out page 2 of this thread on the NaNo forums, and do a search for "ISBN" (you will find quotes from Toadychan). Last year's thread had more discussion, but this one has some too.
"I'm confused. Well that's often the case (hee hee). How come you've got a paper-back of your pre-edited novel, Trisha? That sounds like a good wheeze. Have you somehow pre-published it?" - Deborah Walker
Every time you win NaNoWriMo, you get a free proof copy of your novel from CreateSpace. At least, that has been the case for a fair few years now. I used my free proof voucher last year for the first time, but I didn't use it on last year's novel. I used it on a novel I'd already been editing a fair bit, and so was in better shape. That's the first proof I ever got. The novel has gone through serious edits since then, so has changed shape in many ways. But it's still nice to have my book on a bookshelf, looking pretty (I highly recommend choosing the "cream" coloured pages if you ever use CreateSpace, it looks awesome).
This year I entered ABNA, and to my surprise even though I didn't get past round one, they gave me another code to use at CreateSpace for a free proof. I figured this was the perfect chance to get another of my novels on my bookshelf. So I prepared one for printing, even though I know it's way too long and needs serious editing. It's still in first draft form for the most part, that novel. The whole point though is that it's free, so I may as well make use of it just so I can see my book looking all pretty in print. And maybe it's way better to do it with a pre-edited version, since the end version I wind up querying will be completely unrecognisable. ;)
So no, I'm not being published, I'm not represented by an agent or anything. But nor is my book being self-published. Because I'm not going that final step and activating it on CreateSpace. I hope this answers everyone's questions, but if there are more, please let me know!