8 Steps to Creating Your Self-Publishing Company

Fingers Stepping On Books

Properly establishing a self-publishing company is a major step in the self-publishing process that many authors overlook. Setting up a company creates a distinction between you, the author, and your business. Setting up your company properly is vital to your professionalism and promotion how to promote a book successfully, and for protecting you from unforeseen circumstances.

Step 1

Create Your Self-Publishing Company Name

Come up with a name that relates to your topic but is not so narrow that you name it after your book. For example, a book titled "Asian Garden Designs 101" should not have a company name like "Asian Gardens Press" or "Garden Design Publishing." A narrowly focused name makes you look small. It also limits your opportunity to publish books on different topics. Instead, think big. For example, "Gardener's Choice Books" would allow for titles on everything from growing herbs to building raised-bed gardens and more.

Step 2

Choose Your Legal Business Structure and Register Your Name

The two most common business structures are sole proprietorship and LLC (limited liability company). Operating as a sole proprietorshipÑalso referred to as a "DBA" (doing business as)-means you personally are doing business as whatever name you give your self-publishing company. With this structure, income from the sales of your book passes directly to you as taxable income.

With a limited liability company (LLC), income passes to you directly as it would with a sole proprietorship but with the added benefit of liability protection or a "shield" in case of a lawsuit. In other words, you will have limited liability in terms of your financial obligations for issues that may arise from your business operations. With an LLC, you must have an Articles of Organization and an Operating Agreement that defines your management structure. Keep in mind that "LLC" must appear after your company name and in all places that your company name appears. Using the example described in Step 1, your business name would read "Gardener's Choice Books, LLC."

Other business structures also exist, such as S corporations and C corporations, but those are normally used by established businesses with significant existing cash flow. You always can change to an S or C corporation later, because there are significant tax benefits. If you are unsure about which structure is right for your company, consult your attorney or tax adviser.

Step 3

Open a Post Office Box Under Your New Self-Publishing Company Name

You also can rent a post office box through a quick shipping shop or sometimes at retail stores. The benefit is that you can use "Suite" or "Room" number versus "Box." Who wants to be thought of as operating a publishing company out of a box? Many of these companies can accept UPS and FedEx packages; a post office box at a U.S. postal station cannot.

Step 4

Create a Basic Chart of Accounts

Keep track of your expenses and income. This is essential for filing your taxes. You can create a chart of accounts with a pencil and lined paper or by using a data processing software program such as Excel. The important point is to keep a record of your income and expenses. We provide a free starting template common to the book publishing industry as part of our support services. If you plan to use online accounting with your bank, or software such as Quicken or QuickBooks, our chart of accounts can help you create some of the necessary categories.

Step 5

Apply for a Business License With Your City

Make your self-publishing company official by obtaining a business license. In most cities this costs less than $100. If you're operating your self-publishing business out of your home, you may be able to take an additional tax deduction. Contact your accountant for more information on guidelines in your state.

Step 6

Open a Bank Account.

Use the simplest checking account you can get, with the lowest fees attached. Some banks offer zero monthly service fees, free online bill pay, accounting services, and free checks. If you open a savings account connected to your checking account, or keep a minimum balance (usually around $100 to $250) in the account, you may enjoy even more perks. As an LLC or other corporate structure, you likely will be required to bring in your Operating Agreement, Articles of Organization, and photo identification. Check with your bank before making the trip.

Step 7

Design Your Self-Publishing Company Logo.

Your logo should be no wider than it is tall-equal height and width is ideal. You want your logo to fit nicely on the spine of your book, and designed so it's identifiable in a small size. Your logo also should be designed to look good in black and white. Furthermore, not all logos need to be an actual graphic-you could choose to simply use the first letters of your company's name.

Step 8

Design Your Stationery Package.

A standard stationery package consists of letterhead, envelopes, shipping labels, and business cards. If you're computer savvy, you can print all of these items on an as-needed basis. ItÕs "green" and you eliminate the risk of overage that ultimately gets recycled. You can also make changes as needed. If you still prefer to have them printed, it's often less expensive to not have "bleeds," where the design or color runs off the page. One or two colors should do the trick, since more colors add unnecessary expense. Don't skimp on your company logo, which should be emblazoned on every piece of stationery you use. You can always change your stationery package, but your self-publishing company logo-your brand identity-should be as refined as possible.

Marketing materials is separate from your stationery package. Be sure to check out our Marketing Materials Design and Printing Package when you are ready to promote your book.

If you have any question, please contact us for a FREE 30-minute phone consultation.

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"The quality of the execution every step of the way, from concept to market, is consistently of the highest calibre. Rick truly understands how this business works, knows what his target consumer wants, and delivers at an exceptional level."

Rich Freese, President
National Book Network

"Over the past 15 years, I have watched Rick Perry publish outstanding books which garnered his authors glowing reviews in the media and national exposure on television and radio stations. His attention to detail is second to none and the quality of the books he creates speaks for itself. I highly recommend his self-publishing services."

Richard Cohn
Publisher of "The Secret"
Beyond Words Publishing

"Rick Perry has a complete understanding of the book publishing process from the scheduling requirements editing, design, and production to warehousing, fulfillment and marketing. His knowledge can save clients costly mistakes and wasted time as well as helping avoid pitfalls in the rapidly changing book publishing world."

Douglas Pfeiffer
President Emeritus
Publisher's Association of the West