Start Your Own Publishing Company

If you're interested in becoming an author, you have a few publishing options: most notably working with a publisher or self-publishing either through a vanity press or print-on-demand (POD) publisher (like Lulu.com). One of the biggest problems writers face when deciding to self-publish a book is the lack of "legitimacy" they still often face in the eyes of buyers. Starting your own small publishing company is one of the easiest ways around that issue, and it doesn't have to be difficult or expensive to start!

Why Start Your Own Publishing Company?

There are several reasons why you may want to start your own small publishing company to publish your own books:

  1. You're simply not interested in pursuing the normal publishing options.
  2. Your book is in a very small niche that most publishers wouldn't be interested in, but a large enough niche that you could sell enough copies independently to make it financially viable for you.
  3. You have such a deep and direct connection with your target readership that you feel you can better market the book independently, therefore earning more through self-publishing. In this case you'd ned the business, marketing, and writing skills to go it alone, or the budget to bring in help.
  4. You know you can be profitable in self publishing, but you want to be able to market under a company name rather than your own, because you think it might help you to be taken more seriously.
  5. You'd like to eventually be able to publish others' books for them within your company, such as becoming a publisher focusing on a very narrow niche.
  6. Starting your own publishing company would give you branding capabilities within your niche, or in publishing in general, that you either can't or don't want to pursue under your own name.

Case in Point

I'm personally working (very very slowly) on a book proposal that I plan to pitch to traditional publishers. While the topic has never been covered quite in the way I'm covering it, it's in a widely read and popular niche of marketing. Therefore a traditional publisher is worth pursuing in my opinion. Being able to self-publish is simply a backup for this book.

I'm also planning to eventually release a series of short books on music promotion and the business side of being an independent band or musician. I'm planning to incorporate a company specifically for publishing this series, among other things. That's because it's an extremely narrow niche that most publishers wouldn't be interested in pursuing. I also have the business and marketing background, and extensive contacts in the industry, which means that my chances of being profitable are pretty great for the self-publishing route.

I could self publish simply under my own name, but with something like a series, I wanted them tied together under a bigger umbrella. I've since come up with 3Beat Media as the company name, and I'll be incorporating once the first book is completed. I chose that name for several reasons... the music implications, "beat" having journalistic meaning, and the fact that I plan to incorporate three publishing areas under the company - books, e-books / reports, and my websites / blogs. So starting my own publishing company just makes sense in my case.

Steps to Start Your Own Publishing Company

If you've decided that starting your own publishing company is a good option for your needs, there are a few steps you should follow:

  1. First put together a serious business and marketing plan with thorough research. You should have done this to a degree before writing your first book to be released under the company name anyway, but make sure you have a sellable product and plan to market it in place.
  2. Decide on a business name. I explained how I chose mine as an example. You could make it a variation on your name, or anything that you feel could be brandable.
  3. Set up your business. You'll need to choose a legal structure. In my case, I'll be forming an LLC most likely. You could choose any business legal structure that makes sense to you. Just understand that each has different costs and set-up procedures. You'll need to contact your state or local government to find out the rules and fees where you live. In many cases, it won't cost more than a few hundred dollars to set up your business legally.
  4. Choose a printer / publishing company to work with. You could work with companies like iUniverse or Lulu. In a recent interview with published author Dee Power on my Chick Tech Talk BlogTalkRadio show, Dee suggested that you look into Lightning Source as your POD publisher.
  5. Purchase your ISBN numbers (you can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on how many you need). You'll need these if you plan to sell your books in brick and mortar or online bookstores like Amazon.com.

Technically once you have your company legally set up, have your ISBNs registered under your company name, the first book finished, and your printing company chosen, you can start to self-publish your book under the name of your own publishing company.

Starting your own publishing company isn't a necessity for all writers wanting to self-publish their books. For example, if you plan to release only one book, you may not want to go through the trouble. Also, if your business plan forecasts sales that can't justify the costs of setting up your business and dealing with the actual publishing costs, then setting up a publishing company probably isn't worth the cost for you, especially if you're hoping to release a reasonably profitable publication. Make your decisions based on what's best for you and your specific book or niche.

Self-Publishing & Book Marketing Resources

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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