If you are trying to be a self-publishing author, the first thought that will run in your mind is ‘how do I start a publishing company?’ The good news is most writers are choosing to be self-publishing authors. You can start your own publishing business seriously, if you are truly interested in publishing your books as an author, want to sell other writer’s books, or if you just want to start a serious business in the media industry.
Starting any business can seem confusing, exhausting, and probably very tedious. But, if you follow our step-by-step process, you will be able to figure out your business strategy in no time and establish a strong foundation for your publishing company.
Steps Involved in Starting a Publishing Company
Step 1: Decide Your Type of Book Publishing Company
You have to decide which type of business structure will most suit you. You can either create an eBook company or build a physical store.
Moving on, you have to decide the kind of legal entity your company should be. You can choose from several types of businesses, including S-Corporations, Partnership, Limited Liability Company, and Sole Proprietorship.
First, hire yourself a lawyer and a tax accountant. Ask them to make you understand the pros and cons, and obligations of each type of business. Get their expert suggestion to determine your company structure.
Most publishing companies are formed either as a sole proprietorship or as a limited liability company. However, LLC protects your personal assets, while separating them from your business assets and it is more versatile as it allows you to tax it as a sole proprietor.
Step 2: Name Your Business
The name of your business will be your company’s main identification and branding factor. Take your time and think hard about it. Remember, it is like your name, you cannot change it when and, as you want. You will be registering your business in that name. You can use your first name, middle name or last name for your business name, such as The Parkinsons’ Publication, or you can use the type of genre for the name, such as Kids Space Press. Hope you have got the hint!
Few things you should keep in mind before you choose a name:
- The name should be easy to remember and relevant to your business
- Ensure that the name is not ‘Trademarked’
- Ensure that no other company in your state has taken the name already
- Make sure you do not use the words ‘Corporations’ or ‘Inc’ if your business is a sole proprietorship or LLC.
- Don’t go for an extremely fancy name that people find it difficult to pronounce
Here is an interesting fact; the name availability is state specific. For instance, if your chosen name, “Penguin Publications” has not been registered in your state, but is registered in another state, say Mexico, then it is available. However, we suggest that you do not opt for such similar names from the same industry.
Step 3: Set up an Office
Okay, you can use several places for your business location. The cheapest and convenient place should be your home. In fact, most LLC self-publishers turn their home into home-office. You can do the same. However, if you don’t want your information to be public and if you don’t want stakeholders like creditors, lawyers, accountants and other random people to flock in and out of your house, you can opt for a rented office.
Alternatively, if you want to save cost tremendously, you can set up a virtual office. This option is great for people who travel a lot. You can run the business from your home, or from a different country, perhaps India? Today, almost all virtual offices give you the feel and look of a professional office, with a specific mailing address, and a 1-800 number for recording and sending voicemails.
Setting up a virtual office could also offer lower registration costs or tax breaks. If your country or state has awful tax laws, the virtual office should be your cup of tea.
Step 4: Obtain Licenses and Permits
Now that you have finalized the set-up of your publishing company, it is time to move forward and make it legally compliant. You have to obtain your EIN (Employer Identification Number) that would enable you to open a business bank account. EIN is useful when you hire staffs and when you file taxes for your business.
Setting up a business bank account is easy and convenient. It ensures that your business money is separate from your personal transactions. Contact your local bank for more details. You would also want to open a PayPal account for your online transactions.
Moving forward, contact your local state corporation to learn what kind of business permits and licenses you will have to obtain for this type of business. Also, getting yourself a business insurance coverage will give you peace of mind, lest you suffer from losses and incidences.
Step 5: Set Up an Accounting System for Your Publishing Business
You require a well-planned accounting system for a publishing company. You cannot manually be bookkeeping all of your entries, so you would need a reliable accounting software that will make your work considerably easy and stress-free. Choose an experienced and professional software development company for designing a personalized bookkeeping system. On the other hand, you can choose one of the standard bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks, available in the market.
Always go for a computer software version rather than an online version. It is cost-effective, and data exportation is easier comparatively.
Never buy personal stuff from your business. Keep everything organized for easy auditing during tax filing. Also, make sure you implement a tracking system for tracking your receipts.
Step 6: Create an Online Presence
Online presence in today’s digitally evolving world is significant. The best way to begin forming your online presence is by registering a domain name for your business website. A website makes your business professional and gets your brand closer to your niche market. You can post listings of your to be published books on your website, or you can add ‘buy links’ for your published books. You can also include reviews for each published books so readers can review and buy accordingly. There are many positive elements for having a website, such as it makes your online marketing strategies more effective and consistent.
You can either self-host a website or consult a web designing company to help set up a website.
If you want to raise the bar, then we also suggest you start blogging. Blogs on relevant and niche topic will place you a domain authority. Readers and authors will more likely choose you over other publications if they deem you as an authority.
Step 7: Make Your Publishing Business Official
You have to learn the laws, the rules, and regulations pertaining to your publishing business. We won’t go into too many details here because the laws, paperwork, and registrations differ from state to state. You may have to obtain a sales tax license in your city or state. This is because, some countries, like the USA, ask publishers to collect Sales Tax when selling books at live events and concerts. So, make sure you are aware and geared up.
Why Starting a Publishing Company is a Good Option
We have outlined the basic steps you need to fulfill to start your publishing business. Hope this backs you up as a necessary support when you take the first many steps into the business. However, if you are curious to know what the benefits of starting a publishing company are, then here it is:
You get many advantages from an author’s point of view. Although, you may not need to start a publishing company to publish your own work, doing so can give you the following advantages:
- You will be seen as a niche expert. Besides, a publishing company will express professionalism, essentially when you will be listed as a ‘Penguin Press’ or an ‘LLC’ instead of just Carol Keen
- Promotes better work management. You will be able to take prompt decisions and have better control over your books, such as editing, cover design, promotion and more
- Protects you, your work, and personal assets from legal issues. If in case a competitor sues you for false claim, you will get legal protection, while the courts will not come after you but your company
- Makes you a business owner than just a book author. If you are serious about selling books, then make yourself an entrepreneur
- More growth opportunities by collaborating with other authors. You can expand your reach by selling other author’s books. In fact, if you are keen on growing your work, building relationships with other authors, and joining to write books could open many potential business opportunities
- Allows certain tax write-offs. Having your own book publishing company can help you cut off many business expenses, which can lead you to save a lot of money during tax filing
If you have any questions, please do ask in comments. We are always open to suggestions and more tips on starting a publishing company.