Publish using your own publishing company. It is easy but is it necessary?
You can have your book printed by any print-on-demand (POD) publisher by following the steps outlined on their websites. Pick a POD company like CreateSpace and publish your book under their imprint. It’s as simple as that. For many of us, this is the way to go. But there is also the option of forming your own publishing company. You still use a POD publisher but your title uses the imprint of your own publishing company.
So, what are the pros and cons of each option?
The primary benefit of using a POD publisher is the ease of the process. They do much of the work for you. It is also cheaper, a lot cheaper. You do not have to pay for a lawyer or to file the necessary paperwork to form a new business. In addition, POD publishers will provide the necessary ISBN (International Standard Book Number), and a barcode to identify your book, for a nominal fee, in some cases for free. This is a substantial savings because a single ISBN costs $125 and a single barcode costs $50. If you decide to form your own publishing company you will have to pony up for all these expenses.
The major benefit of starting your own company is pride. The book is yours. You are the publisher and your individual imprint appears more professional.
This is no small matter. With the opportunity to self publish, authors with varying degrees of dedication, have taken to the market place. An estimated 3000 books are published every day. Of these there are, unfortunately, a lot of slap-dash books with a CreateSpace, Lulu, Lightning, et al imprint on their spines. With your own imprint you stand out. If you take that kind of pride in your work, form your own publishing company, bite the bullet and buy a block of ISBNs. More about ISBNs in the next blog.
Two other concerns bear addressing here. In the past it was reported that the brick and mortar book stores would not sell CreateSpace books. That appears to no longer be true. Here is a link to a letter from Barnes and Noble explaining their business approach to self published books.
There is also a YouTube video claiming that certain contests will not consider self published books for their awards. I have not been able to verify the truth of this assertion.
If you do decide to form your own publishing company, here are the steps to follow:
- The first step in starting any business is to decide which type of business you need. You can choose between a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation. In a sole proprietorship you are the owner of the business, responsible for all its obligations. With a partnership, those responsibilities are spread out among the partners. A corporation can consist of a single individual or a group. Its main benefit is that it limits personal liability. The corporation becomes responsible, not the individual, for any monetary losses or lawsuits. Most authors write their own books so a sole proprietorship is probably best. You can always upgrade to a corporation/LLC at a later date if you desire.
- Unless you intend to hire employees to help you, another benefit of a sole proprietorship is that there is no requirement for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). And there are no special taxes.
- The next step is to decide on a name for your company. You can choose to use your own name, or you can create one. If you choose to create a name it is called “Doing Business As” or DBA. You must check to ensure that the name you select is available. This is a simple procedure. Most municipalities have an online search service where you can check.
I live in Suffolk County, New York. I was able to download the necessary forms from the County Clerk’s office and check for my business name online. Once all the forms were filled out, I submitted them to the County Clerk and received my DBA.
- With your DBA in hand you can open a bank account in the name of your new company if you so choose. This is a good idea because it enables you to separate business and personal accounts.
- Here is a government website for the many specifics related to starting your own business. http://www.sba.gov/content/follow-these-steps-starting-business.
If you do go the route of forming your own publishing company you might also consider generating a logo. That way when you publish your book, the logo will accompany the name of the publishing company. It will look more professional – part of that standing out from the crowd mentality.