Self Publishing Series, Step 2: Get Down to Business

Self publishing

I’m on a wild ride into the world of self publishing and I just had to take you guys with me! We’ve already covered step 1, ‘Having a Killer Product’ here. Now, it’s time to get down to business. The not so fun part of self publishing is going through the hassle of setting up your own business. Because if self publishing is done right, that’s exactly what it is.

Please keep in mind that I’m not referring to vanity publishing or subsidiary publishing. I’ve never used those type of publishing services before, so I can’t speak on them. This series is geared towards hard-core literary mavericks intent upon taking the independent publishing world by storm.

So let’s get to it. Try not to fall asleep at your keyboards. This is SO not the most exciting part of this whole self publishing process.

  • Get a publishing imprint— According to the Oxford dictionary, a publishing imprint is “a printer’s or publisher’s name, address, and other details in a book or other printed item.”  Some people argue that this step is a matter of personal choice. Technically, you don’t really NEED an imprint to self publish. You could easily  use your name and be done with it. But, I think it’s more professional if you give your business an imprint, even if it’s just your last name + publishing. Like “Simone Publishing”. Hey, that has a nice ring to it! Plus, depending on which self publishing POD service you use, it may be required. Otherwise, your work will be published under their imprint. It’s purely a matter of personal taste and/or ego.
  • Register your business–This was actually fun. It was an extremely simple process for me. Faith Simone is not my legal name,  but I can use it for business purposes because it’s registered with the government. All I had to do was file a small business or a ‘Doing Business As’ application with my local county clerk’s office. For more detailed information about this step check out SBA.gov.  Please explore the Small Business Association website thoroughly. There is a plethora of valuable information on it regarding taxes, etc. This is also helpful if you prefer to write under a pen name. Because when the money starts flowing, you want to be able to get ALL of it, without issue.
  • Purchase an ISBN–An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number. It’s a registered number that can be traced back to the publisher. In this case: you! For a more detailed look at ISBN’s and what they are used for check out ISBN.org. Basically, you MUST have an ISBN for your book to actually exist. No matter which format you choose for publishing, an ISBN is required. Generally, an ISBN will run you about $125. You can also purchase multiple ISBN’s at one time, which will save you a bundle. Especially, if you plan to publish through print-on-demand and e-formats. More on that in an upcoming post. For now, just keep in mind that you’ll need to cop an ISBN.
  • Get your work copyrighted–You worked hard on your book. Make sure no one else gets credit for it. According to the US government a “copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” Technically, you don’t have to register your work to have it copyrighted. But if you ever have to actually sue someone for miss use or misrepresentation of your work, being registered offers a few perks in regards to legal fees, etc.

Whew! I’m glad that’s over. You may have noticed that I provided links to a few government websites above. Make use of them. Research, research and then research some more to find the path to publishing that is best for you. More to come, so stay tuned!

Holla at me below if you’re an independently published author and let me know about your experience. I also want to hear from you if you’re in the process of exploring self publishing for the first time. 

Photo credit: Adam Foster | Codefor / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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4 thoughts on “Self Publishing Series, Step 2: Get Down to Business

  1. I actually hadn’t thought about publishing under an imprint but maybe I should. For my first novel I just used my name. I’ll be going through Createspace for my next novel so I probably won’t get an ISBN right away. So what’s next? What’s this masterpiece about? Curious minds want to know…:)

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  2. Createspace is a wonderful option for self-publishing. Keep in mind that when you use their ISBN, it doesn’t transfer to other outlets like Barnes and Noble and the like.

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  3. As an owner of an imprint, I agree with everything you’ve stated. I believe it’s important for writers to understand that self-publishing is truly a business that requires commitment, diligence, and hard work. It’s like a full-time job. To anyone aspiring to self-publish, my suggestion is to count up the costs. I don’t mean just financially but personally as well. It will require a great of your time and effort to make it success. Yes, successful it can be. If you decide this is the route for you, you’re in for a ride that can be quite fulfilling.

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    • Thanks Detra! I appreciate your input, especially since you have an imprint AND you’re a part of our fabulous writer’s group. I totally agree that self publishing is more than a notion! I’m exploring it extensively before deciding to take (or not take) the plunge. And thanks for the info on ISBN’s as well.

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