by Nicole Eva Fraser
I love my traditional publisher, Second Wind Publishing LLC in North Carolina. Second Wind released my first novel (The Hardest Thing in This World) in October 2013. So why did I decide to self-publish my second novel and a nonfiction e-Book in 2014? Simply because I wanted to learn the DIY side of the business, and take charge of getting my books to market at a faster pace.
To publish with my own imprint (= publishing business), I followed the basic steps below, which you can adapt for the state / province where you live and the self-publishing service company you work with.
First, the definition of “imprint”
An imprint is a publisher name. Your own imprint is simply the publisher name you choose, clear, and register according to your state business laws to use in self-publishing your own books.
File your imprint name in your state
I live in Ohio, so once I settled on my imprint name—Bench Press—I had to check its availability in Ohio and register it as a trade name. The steps should be similar in your state.
- I went to the Ohio Secretary of State website.
- Went to Business Services page.
- Reviewed their Guide to Business Name Availability.
- Did a Business Search by Name and by Exact Name.
- Bench Press didn’t come up in the searches, so I filed the Ohio “Trade Name (Name Registration)” form and paid the $50 fee to register the name.
- I was granted the Trade Name Registration for Bench Press.
- The registration must be renewed every five years.
How does your self-publishing company handle author imprints?
Considering to use the POD services and retail arms of Amazon and Smashwords, I researched all their policies. You will need to research the policies of the company you will working with well before you are preparing to publish. Here’s what I found in my research in February 2014:
Amazon CreateSpace (paperback):
- Yes, you may publish with your own imprint, but must buy your own ISBN to do so (more on ISBNs in a minute).
Amazon KDP (Kindle):
- Yes, you may publish with your own imprint and are not required to buy your own ISBN.
- Yes, you may publish with your own imprint and are not required to buy your own ISBN. However, if you elect to get the free ISBN from Smashwords, be aware that:
1. Smashwords will be listed as the publisher in the Bowker Books in Print database; and
2. Your imprint will be listed as the publisher in your e-Book.
ISBNs: to buy or not to buy?
I did decide to buy an ISBN for the paperback of my novel I Don’t Think It’s That Simple because I want Bench Press (not CreateSpace) to appear as the imprint in the paperback.
I decided not to buy ISBNs for GPS for New Novelists because I’m releasing it only as an e-Book, and I’m satisfied with the Smashwords arrangements regarding their free ISBNs.
To learn more about purchasing ISBNs, visit Bowker Identifier Services.
More opportunities to consider
- You could choose and buy the domain name of your imprint and create an additional website for your book(s), with all the corresponding exposure and marketing opportunities.
- You could incorporate under your imprint name. Incorporation is a complex legal process and you will need a lawyer.
- You could invite other authors to publish under your imprint and build a collective. Consult a lawyer before you do.
Publishing with your own imprint requires you to do your due diligence upfront. Be sure to allow enough time in your pre-production schedule for the research and the decision-making that are involved.
About the Author
Nicole Eva Fraser is the author of I Don’t Think It’s That Simple, forthcoming in Summer 2014, The Hardest Thing in This World (2013), and GPS for New Novelists: Navigating the 5 routes to publication (2014).
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