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Indie Publishing: Your Own Publishing House?

This post is for my fellow self-publishing tycoons and literary architects considering whether to set up a personal company under which to copyright, publish, and promote there books, which a few aspects of traditional publishing into self-publishing. Let's discuss some of the pros and cons of setting up a micro-publisher as well as some how-to features.

Indie Publishing: Your Own Publishing House?

Sad Disclaimer: This is not legal or financial advice. Consider consulting your accountant and/or lawyer before making decisions or taking action.


WHY START A COMPANY?

There are a variety of reasons to consider starting your own business for publishing your works. Here are a few factors that influenced me to do so.

  • Legal Benefits

  • Tax Write-offs

  • Separating Royalties

  • Monitoring Costs

  • Building a Brand

  • Vanity (Yes, I admit it)

  • Opens Doors

  • Future Possibilities



LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

Again, I am not a lawyer/attorney and the following is not intended to be legal council. These are factors I considered before opening my personal publishing company.

Limited Liability: I chose to start a limited liability company (LLC) because it gives me a little bit of legal protection in case someone sues me frivolously. I’d like to keep my home. While there are other structures, this one gave me a balance of protection and ease of use.

Documents: Sorting out the legal documents can be daunting, so setting up a company may not be for everyone. Fortunately, I had experience as an entrepreneur before I fell sick, so I was lucky there. While I had pre-existing legal docs, many solo-preneurs use inexpensive online services like Rocket Lawyer or LegalZoom. (Not endorsed)

Registration: Registration in Colorado for me was pretty straightforward and simple, but systems are different from state to state and country to country. In my former job, I was spammed with services that could have helped me with registration.

Trademarks: While not straightforward, I use Atomix Publishing to copyright my books. I also trademarked my self-publishing company's name and logo for added protection.

Terms & Conditions: Websites should have Terms & Conditions. I use my company’s name for the terms & conditions to add a tiny layer of protection.



BRAND

If you want, you can get as deep into creating a style, color scheme, mission, and overall presence for your company as you want. I probably went overboard because I view this as a hobby. If it appeals to you, here are some options:

Logo: You may love or loath the idea of designing a logo and coming up with a color scheme for your solo company. But, if you’re going to go through the effort of setting up the company, at least put thirty minutes into it, even if all you use is a single letter, like my “A” for Atomix Publishing. You can always stick with black and white to keep a look “classic.” Protecting your brand by filing your trademark with the government requires a little work, but I didn’t find it very challenging.

Website: I created a website for my personal publishing house, which either costs about $14 per year for the domain like CompanyName.com, or it may come with a website on a web-hosting site like Wix or Squarespace ($60-200/year).

Email: You can set up a branded email like name@company.com with Google Suite, Microsoft 365, or other services for about US$70 per year. I do not pay for a branded email, but that could change in the future if I expand my publishing house (wishful thinking).



MANAGING FINANCES

I find it important to separate my publishing expenses to keep track of them. Here are the things I considered.

Sad disclaimer: This is not financial advice.

Tax ID: In the US, an employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify taxpayers who are required to file certain business tax returns. As a solo-preneur, I can just use my a social security number (in the US).

Bank Account: I created a separate bank account (with SSN) for my expenses and minimal income. The bank gave me US$100 to start it. As long as I avoid overdraft fees, it’ll be worth it.

Royalties: With the bank account, I can easily track my monthly income from sales in one place, which I need for filing taxes.

Expenses: The account also helps track my deductible expenses. This includes,

  • My Computer ($$$$)

  • Software ($$$)

  • Advertising ($$$)

  • ISBNs ($$$)

  • Graphic Design ($$)

  • Website ($$)

  • Author Copies of Books ($$)

  • Pens and Notebooks ($)



BIG DREAMS

I have dreams of one day expanding my solo publishing house to a small press. The way industry trends are going, it looks less and less likely, but if it ever comes to fruition, I can use the same business to help others with their publishing needs.



YOUR CHOICE

Ultimately, the tradeoff is this: Do you want your own publishing company enough to spend the time and money to make it a reality? Is it worth filing the startup paperwork and submitting yearly reports? Can you handle more complexity in your taxes? For most, it isn’t worth it. For me, it is.

Remember, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. If you want to go forward with creating your own company, please continue to do research on the subject before you pull the trigger.



FAQ

Q1: Do I need a literary agent to establish and run my own solo-publishing company?

A: No, a personal publishing company operates independently of literary agents.


Q2: Can I publish works from other authors under my self-publishing company?

A: Yes, some solo-publishers publish works for a friend or family member.


Q3: What legal considerations are crucial when setting up a solo company?

A: I made a limited liability company, registered in Colorado, copyrighted/trademarked, but haven't worked with the various publishing contracts agents and trad publishers use.


Q4: How do I attract authors to submit manuscripts to my publishing company?

A: I don't know. I've never done it. If I ever find out, I'll update this.


Q5: How can I effectively market my self-publishing company?

A: The cool thing is that you don’t need to market your company if you are just serving yourself. If you choose to expand later, you can always start marketing then.


Q6: Is it necessary to have a physical office for my self-publishing company?

A: No, a physical office is not mandatory. Many solo-preneur companies operate out of their home.


Q7: Can I operate a solo publishing house part-time?

A: Yes. It takes almost no effort once it's set up.


Q8: Are there industry associations for self-publishing companies?

A: Yes, organizations like the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) offer resources, networking opportunities, and support for independent publishers. Atomix is not a member.


Q10: How can I ensure financial success with my self-publishing company?

A: In short, you can’t. If I ever find out how, I'll let you know.


 

As always, I appreciate your support of indie authors. In the name of putting myself out there, here are a few of my works.



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