If you are ready to move to the next phase of self publishing, these next few steps are essential. You might be asking yourself why I would mention starting a company when we’re talking about writing your own book. Well, if you’re going to self publish, you’re going to want to establish a name for yourself via a company. Also, many printing companies only provide services to those with tax id numbers. But take a look at some of the next steps you want to take.
Since you are self-publishing, you want to establish a brand name. This brand name will be key for your fans that will come to know your work. Establish a company name and make sure it’s not taken by someone else. Try to avoid using your name for the company. Be creative but not silly that way people take you seriously. For example my company name, Hobbcat, was named after my house cat.
You may also decide if you want to become and Incorporation or an LLC. Before you make that final decision, be sure you do your homework on the difference between the two. Most people go with the LLC because it’s easier to deal with for tax reasons. Incorporations require much more attention to detail. You will want to find out your state tax laws and how you need to file. Do not make this decision lightly or you will pay for it down the line. You can either check with your state website or Legal Zoom about the differences.
Next you will need to get ISBN (International Standard Book Number) numbers and barcodes for your books. This is that 13 digit number you find with the barcodes and inside the copyright page of the book. Why do you need to buy this number is you are going to self publish?
Let’s go back to IUniverse. Remember when I told you I went to them first to self publish my book because I was considered the self publisher and retained my rights? That was only half right. I will explain.
When you publish with them, you retain your copyright which means you keep ownership of the book. But the ISBN is assigned to you by them. That number is owned by the company, IUniverse, thus making them the publisher, not you. That means you cannot duplicate that book with that ISBN number anywhere because you don’t have that right. If you own your own ISBN, then you are the publisher. It is linked to you. You need that number to sell in bookstores and abroad. Without it, you won’t be able to get it in the stores.
The Barcodes contain the price that you set for your book. How do you determine how much to set the price for? It all depends on you. Really, it does. As the publisher you set the price. Keep in mind what you’re spending to put the book together and printing costs. If you’re not sure how much to price your book for, my advice is to go to the book store and look at the shelves. Hard cover books often cost much more than soft cover book. One reason for this is both shipping and printing costs. The heavier the book, the more you will pay across the board. Soft cover book vary in size and price so depending on what size you want to print, you should adjust your price accordingly. Again, go to the bookstores and check out the shelves and see what prices have been set on the books. Remember now; think about your printing costs and how much you want to take in.
PRINTING: There was a time when printing was done in bulk. Traditional Printing, as it is called, is still done. But for the most part self published authors tend to avoid bulk printing unless it’s necessary. It used to be that if you took your book to a printer to have copies done you had to print a minimum amount of copies. Anywhere from 200 to 1000 and then you had to store them someplace.
There isn’t anything wrong with traditional printing. If you have only one title having five hundred copies of the same book on hand for when you are doing speaking engagements or signings is always a good idea. However if you are a self publishing author with multiple titles you may not want to have five hundred of the same titles sitting around you home. You may not even have room for it all. So what can you do in that case?
Well printing has changed. Now a day you don’t have to do traditional printing. There are a lot of companies offering what is called print on demand. They are offering discounts for ordering in bulk and even shipping directly to other addresses per your request. It is more cost effective for the self published author to go this route unless you prefer to have thousands of copies of your book on hand.
So what is print on demand?
Print on Demand (POD) is a printing service by which books are printed in the amount they are requested. As opposed to having to order a set amount of books, you can choose to print only what you need. You can order one book or a hundred. I have found this process to be the best for me especially since I have multiple titles under my name. Since I also don’t sell too many books out of my home, I can always order what I need for events.
For example, if I am going to be at a book fair or a convention and I know that certain titles will sell better than others, I can order up just enough of the best sellers to have on the table.
When you are ready to print, you should look into Lightning Source as a way to go. They not only offer good prices on POD but they when you sign up with them they will list your books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It’s always a plus to have your work listed on these sites.
If you are willing to put in the time and the money to follow the above steps, you are halfway there to self publishing your own book. If not, that’s okay. But you still need to follow that editing step before you send a manuscript out to a publishing house. The cleaner your work is, the better it will be received.
- Marc L Abbott
- I am a self published author from Brooklyn, New York. I have been publishing my work since 2004 and currently have four titles on the market in print and ebook format. I write horror and fantasy fiction as well as books for young adult. I am also a playwright with stage productions in and around New York City. Visit my website at www.hobbcatpublishing.com