By: T. Rose
Are You Like Me?
- Have you dreamed of becoming a successful published author?
- Have you thought about what it might take to interest a literary agent?
- How do you attract attention from a big publishing house?
If you’re wondering as I did, do you assume it’s about talent, skill or years of literary training? Maybe you’ve gotten discouraged with rejection notices from literary agents or publishing house in the past and are ready to give up.
Many authors spend countless hours drafting and sending proposals to literary agents, hoping to get signed to a large publishing house. Others spend more time creating the book proposal along with a business and marketing plan and never hear back from the agent.
The thought about using one of the numerous self-publishing houses begins to cross your mind, and after investigating, you realize the cost is substantial. Again, you see your dream slipping away. You have spent years forming the idea, writing it out, weeks editing, rewriting, editing still; all those things needed before actually putting your work in print. Sadly, this causes many authors to give up their dream before they ever get them out to the public.
Don’t give up on the dream of being a published author.
All the Reasons to Do It Yourself
You have a good story, either a memoir or novel. You’ve shown it to friends, who encourage you to get it published, but you’ve also put the highlights or plot out on social media writing pages and gotten good responses from strangers.
You know there’s an audience.
While I was encouraged by the kind words and support, I was either wasting my time sending it to the wrong type of literary agent or wasn’t compelling enough in my query letters. However, I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
So what did I do?
I’ll Publish It
My decision to self-publish is slightly different from most. I didn’t choose a vanity press publisher, primarily due to the expense. The average cost of using a Vanity self-publishing house is between $3000.00 and $5000.00, money most new authors do not have.
Stop Being a Writer and Become a Publisher
How do you become your own publishing house, as opposed to a mainstream publisher who owns all rights and distribution marketing, or a “Vanity” publisher who merely prints the books for you at high costs and does no marketing?
The first step will be creating your publishing entity. You might even get creative and find a logo that works for the types of publishing you’re doing. However, it is not necessary for the business to work; you only need your business name.
Creating a publishing business, depending on the state or area you live, will require you to contact the government agency of corporations. In my home state that was the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. There is a website in most cases where you can file all the necessary paperwork, adding the new business name you want to create.
A Limited Liability Corporation is generally sufficient for this process; add your new business address or a Post office box, phone, email, send in the yearly dues and congrats, and you are now a Publishing Company. Maintenance will include an annual report to file, keeping your business name active in your location, and dues that apply.
So you’ve gotten your new publishing company registered. Are you ready to publish? Not quite.
Next is filing online at IRS.gov and creating your IRS Federal Employer Identification Number (FEI/EIN). If you’re going to sell your book on sites like Amazon, you’ll need this for payments and to report your income. Regardless of who publishes your work, taxes will be required and deducted from your earnings.
What’s My Number?
Bowker Identifier Services will help you get the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) a Barcode for each printed version, a separate ISBN for your eBook, plus the copyright for your intellectual property. Bowker can help you with that filing.
The copyright filing is about $55.00, and you will need to send a physical copy of your book to the Library of Congress after it goes to print for cataloging purposes.
Purchasing costs of the ISBN numbers from Bowker will depend on the amount bought; they have different bundle packages, depending on how many titles you plan on publishing over your writing career.
Knowing I was going to write more than one book and needing both printed and eBook numbers, I purchased a block of 10 ISBN’s, 5 Barcodes (printed version) and 1 QR Plus scan code for marketing reasons for a total cost of $395.00.
Back to the Book
Publisher? Check. ISBN? Check.
Now it’s back to the book for any final revisions or proofreading. Once that’s done, it’s time to buy that publishing/formatting software to create your book.
These programs will allow you to create your book in many formats. You can choose printed, eBook (Mobi-Kindle or ePub-Nook, Kobo or iPhone/Pad and other eReader) along with additional types.
For example, Pressbooks (from Book Oven Inc.) has a great selection of themes to develop your book and give it the aesthetics you want. Cost for the Pro version, including multiple formats, is about $139.00. It also allows you to create a cover for your work.
Alternatively, you can engage an outside Cover Designer to help develop the cover, as well as marketing banners for Facebook and Twitter.
The designer I used to create my business logo, book covers in both eBook and Printed version as well as the Marketing Banners, was JudithSDesign&Creativity, cost $540.00.
Judith does excellent work, and I’d encourage you to check her out.
PR on the PC
Up to this point, total costs were about $1400.00
Now you’ve got a physical book. What do you do with it? How do you get it into people’s hands?
Reality is, you will still be doing much of the marketing work yourself to make your book a real success.
However, you’ve got a lot of choices about where to market your book. If it’s marketed on someone else’s site, there may be a charge. Read the contract you will potentially sign, and understand what it is your doing, and ask questions, or research how others feel about their books on a site.
Amazon is probably one of the most significant sites to place your book. Signing up as the Author/Publisher is not difficult and they have excellent support staff to help if you have any questions.
If you choose to have your own site, WordPress is a great format for both personal and business sites. Start with a free personal site as you can always upgrade later if you choose to become the shipping source of your work. This website is so your potential customers can find you and obtain information on how to contact you and where to purchase your book.
Selling Your Book
I recommend using PayPal for your billing needs to allow any customer to purchase your work directly from you, it has an accounting software available to help you keep your monies straight for tax reason each year.
I spoke at a regional Narcotics Anonymous convention and sold books that otherwise would be sitting in my garage.
Literary agents want to know the numbers, where you’ve marketed your book, and potential avenues for sales, so start in your area first and then expand on the possibilities.
Qualified Deductions as the Author and Publisher
The marketing and promotional costs, which will incur as you build your website, travel, do book signings, and speaking events are part of the business and are deductible.
These costs will vary depending on what you engage in or where the venue is taking place.
Don’t forget to check into how much you can deduct when you work from home. This is just another benefit of creating your publishing company.
I hope I have demystified the publishing process and illuminated the many benefits of being the author, publisher, and literary agent.
Now, before that dream goes up in smoke, consider all you can do to publish your book from home.
Author Bio: T. Rose
Internationally Published Author of: The Big Trap…Just one last High
2018 NA Regional Convention — Speaker
2018 Author Academy Awards — Nominee
16 years in recovery as an advocate and speaker
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing
What have you done that will help indie writers and authors? Got tips for better blogging? What interesting ways have you found to improve your writing? Whatever you’ve found that works for you just might work for us, too.