Whether you want to sell your books, sell other people’s books, or you just want to protect yourself and your assets, deciding to start your own publishing company is a serious step. For many, this process can be confusing, but because I've decided that I want to start my own publishing company in the future I've collected some research and want to share that research with all of you.
In this article, we'll go over why you might want to start your own publishing company and then I'll lay out step-by-step what you need to do if you decide you want to start your own.
Disclaimer: I am not an accountant or a lawyer, and therefore, I am not giving legal advice. Please consult with a tax accountant or lawyer before making any serious business decisions. Also, the steps outlined in this article are pertinent to the USA only.
Benefits of Starting Your Own Publishing Company:
- You're More Legit: When you list your publisher as a publishing company, you seem more legit then if you just use your name. Some libraries or bookstores are hesitant to stock books by self-published authors so this could give you an edge when you try to get your book out in the world.
- Protects You: When you establish a publishing company, your personal finances, and your business finances are separate. Therefore, suppose someone were to sue your publishing company they couldn't come after your personal assets.
- Tax Breaks: You are able to write off certain business expenses, conferences, and other book events. This can save you a lot of money during tax time.
- More Opportunities: Suppose you decide in the future that you want to offer editing, marketing, or publishing services to other authors? By establishing your own publishing company now, you already have a foundation for the future.
Note: Not everyone will feel comfortable starting their own publishing company. I think you should only do so if you are serious about your writing career and want to make this a full-time career instead of a side gig or hobby. Honestly, if you feel even the tiniest bit passionate about writing, then I definitely think you should go ahead and do this.
How Do I Start My Own Publishing Company?
- Research: First you want to decide what type of business structure you want. There are many options such as a Sole Proprietorship, an LLC, and an S-Corporation. Each structure has many pros and cons so it's up to you to do your research and pick the right fit for you. To find out a little more about each one, click here. Also, be sure to learn state tax laws for the business structure you select and see if you need to register for any additional licenses.
- Decide on a Name: This is a serious step. Your business name will stay with you for a long time. Make sure it's a name you really like. You also want to make sure it isn't already trademarked or taken in your state. Pick two or three backups in case your first choice is already taken. To check to see if your name is already taken, go to your state's Secretary of State website and do a business name search.
- File: You have two options here. You can have someone like Legal Zoom file the paperwork for you (for an additional fee), or you can file the paperwork yourself. Each state has different requirements, but you can go to your state's Secretary of State website again to print the required paperwork, fill it out, and send it in.
- Note: When filing your paperwork, you will have to pick a physical location for your business. I recommend not using your home address because this is public information so random people could easily find out where you live. I also don't recommend doing a PO Box because some states don't allow you to put a PO Box down on the application. Instead, if you have a UPS near you, get a UPS mailbox. Why? Because UPS will give you an address that looks like a real address and you'll have peace of mind knowing that people won't actually know where you live.
- Additional Steps: Once your state sends you back your legal paperwork, you are officially a business. Congratulations! From here, you can obtain an EIN and set up a business bank account and/or PayPal business account. Be sure to also track your receipts and have a good reliable accounting system in place. It's also a good idea to go ahead and buy a domain name for your publishing company and set up a website to have a good professional appearance. Last, but not least, look into having a logo designed for your company to put on your website and book's spine.
That's it! If you're serious about starting your own publishing company, I wish you success! Be sure you share your process in the comments below! Also, if you have any additional questions, let me know and I'll try to help.