If you are a writer looking to be a self-published author or an entrepreneur looking to get into the publishing industry, you need to know how to start a publishing company. A publishing company is a business that creates, prints and distributes written works to the public. These written works include magazines, novels, children’s books, cookbooks, and many more.
Independent or indie publishing is gaining popularity among indie authors. Further, there are some people who are good at marketing, editing, and customer acquisition and have decided to start publishing companies. Whether you’re looking to be an indie publisher of your own work or publish other authors’ books, you have come to the right place.
There are several things to consider when thinking about starting a publishing business. Here are some tips on how to start one.
1. Register your business
Before you register your new publishing company, you need to choose the business structure you will adopt for your company. The ones that apply to small publishing companies are sole proprietorships, partnerships, and limited liability companies (LLC).
If you pick the sole proprietorship structure, you will be a solo business owner. For a partnership, you and at least one other person will run the company.
An LLC is a legal entity where you have more liability protection than other business structures. It combines the attributes of a sole proprietorship and a corporation. You can visit this homepage to learn more about this business structure.
Next, choose a name for your business. Check with the relevant authorities of your state to ensure the name you’ve chosen isn’t already taken. If you run out of ideas, you can use your name to make it more personal. Whatever your personal preference, your business name should be memorable and relevant to the company.
For instance, Hanging Loose Press is a venerable poetry house. Opened in 1966, this traditional publisher has a unique name that came from the magazine’s format of printing loose mimeographed pages in a cover envelope.
Finally, pay the fees, licenses, and annual registration costs for legal protection. These annual costs may vary from state to state, but licenses like an Employer Identification Number (EIN) are a must-have if you want to sell books. You will also need this 13-digit number to get a sales tax license. You’ll get a tax code to correctly report your sales to the IRS.
2. Finalize your goals
One of the best responses to the question “how to start a publishing company” is goal-setting. Your goals will dictate your business plan and the trajectory your company takes in the future. Setting your goals helps you know what exactly you want to accomplish and how you’ll do it.
A few questions you can ask yourself as you set your goals are:
- Will your company only publish your books, or will you also publish selected writings from others?
- Are you looking to be a niche publisher in the industry, like an academic or music publisher?
- If you’ll sign authors, what royalties will you pay them?
- What written format will your business publish: print, audio, digital publishing, or all the above?
- Finally, what range of income are you expecting to gain per month in book sales?
Additionally, do a projection for your business. Think about what you want to achieve in the next year, five or ten years. This will highlight how you would like to see your business grow. With these goals in check, you can now create your business plan. It will be a living document that could evolve.
3. Build your brand
The next step is to create a brand for your book publishing company. As mentioned earlier, your business name is a major part of your brand. Make it relatable, memorable, and relevant to your target customers.
Make a logo that is unique and stands out from your competitors. Use your logo on business cards and other branding materials. You can use visual effects to make your logo lively.
Come up with a mission and vision statement for your business. You have a limited time frame to make an impression on your target audience. Make sure your brand speaks to the needs of your customers. Use phrases and words that are creative and resonate with them and their interests. For instance, “Literary Glitter Inc” can be a good name for an artistic publishing company.
Don’t forget to craft an engaging About Us page as well. You can use rephrasing tools and other AI software to polish this page.
Create a website and use social media to have an active online presence and bring visibility to your brand. Run ads on various social media platforms and invest in SEO to boost your brand reach and engagement.
According to an Echobox report, 58% of publishers wanted to focus on quality content creation and improving user experience in 2021. Therefore, create more content for your website and social media channels.
Finally, be consistent with your output. Do not compromise on the quality of your work. A strong publishing brand is one with consistent, high-quality output for its audience. Create a brand that has a lasting impression in the minds of readers, writers, customers, and booksellers.
4. Set up an accounting system
Like every other business, publishing books requires you to track your expenses and income. Separating personal income from that of the publishing house is vital to business success. Start by opening a business bank account.
Secondly, have an accounting system. It is a major step in starting a publishing company. You can use free tools like Google Sheets to keep up with your accounts. You can also use paid tools, like QuickBooks or Zoho. These tools will help you track:
- Invoices (recurring and one-off)
- Payment reminders
- Late fees
- Billable time
Note that some accounting software requires someone familiar with accounting. If you don’t have this prior knowledge, pick software that requires little to no expertise. Digital books that are friendly for beginners, like QuickBooks, will work well for you.
Another option is outsourcing accounting services to professionals to get that workload off your plate. Collection agencies can help get your income in check. Having a handle on your accounts will help you make tax write-offs effectively.
With an effective accounting system, you can see how your business is growing over time. You will also stay out of trouble with the authorities and run your business smoothly.
There are many tips on how to start a publishing company. The first step is to register your business and make things legal. Get all the necessary licenses by paying licensing fees according to state specifications. Then register for an EIN.
Set your business goals and use them to create a solid business plan. Build your brand by creating a logo, a mission, and a vision statement. Make use of social media to spread the word about your publishing business. Do high-quality work and keep the standards consistent over time.
Finally, set up a solid accounting system to track your finances, income, and federal taxes. With these in place, you are now set to go out and start a successful publishing company.
Authors Bio: Jon Morgan
Jon is the founder of two successful e-commerce and SaaS businesses. He’s passionate about sharing what he has learned from working with business owners through Venture Smarter.