View Full Version : how to self publish?

04-23-2006, 11:16 AM
Hi all

Do I have to register my own publishing firm to self-publish, in order to get an ISBN number?

How do I go about doing both? What is the criteria and where to go?

And if I also want the book in UK does it mean I have to re-register another ISBN number, this time a UK one?

Any recommendations for printing companies?



Cathy C
04-23-2006, 07:24 PM
Well, that sort of depends on your goals. In either case, you'll need a block of ISBNs. Actually, what you'll be getting is a UCC/EAN-13 number (also called a Bookland EAN) which, so far as I've been able to determine, will work overseas as well. The ISBN is about to be discontinued, and the 13 digit numbers will be the norm. One of the primary purposes is the one you state: a single identifying number can be used all over the world.

Now, as for the rest, let's use two short scenarios:

#1 -- you plan to be a "one-man shop" where you'll be pubbing your own manuscripts. You'll be editing the manuscripts, looking through samples of cover art, hiring the cover artists, creating catalogues to send to distributors and wholesalers, registering with Amazon and B&N and other websellers to handle your line of books, doing the royalty bookkeeping on a monthly/quarterly/semi-annual basis, etc.

There will be no wages other than your own. You'll probably have a simple income and expense stream that doesn't involve multiple parties. So, at a minimum you'll need a trade name for your sole proprietorship (a d/b/a), corporation or some form of limited liability company. You'll need to name the imprints if you'll publish more than one genre. You'll need a separate checkbook so the business expenses and income are split away from your regular income stream--if you have a day job. Check with an attorney in your state about what's called a "choice of entities." There are advantages and disadvantages to the various types of business from an accounting and tax filing standpoint. It also depends on the state whether you'll have to register for a sales tax license because you're selling a product to the public.

#2 -- You plan to start out pubbing your own books and then expand to take on other books to increase your revenue. So, added to your other duties, you'll be reading slush, accepting manuscripts, paying royalties to third parties, preparing 1099 forms at the end of the year, etc., etc.

At this point, you'll probably have to start hiring people, either on a part-time or full time basis. Then you'll be getting into employer status, or contractor. You'll want to hire both an accountant and lawyer to tell you what is going to be in your best interests. You'll need the lawyer to prepare a publishing contract for your people to sign, along with a variety of other things.

In either case, you need to learn more about the process. I'd recommend that you search the web to find out the name of your state's Independant Publisher Association (pretty much every state has one.) There, you'll find out a LOT of things you'll need to do to self-publish successfully. You can visit RR Bowker's (http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp)website, which is the exclusive U.S. source for ISBN/Bookland EAN-13s. That should get you started. Good luck!

04-26-2006, 04:18 PM
Phew! That sounds like a lot! Thanks Cathy.

I am also considering using distributors and marketing agencies, since these will have considerably more contacts with retailers than I have.

Any leads? Do you know what cut the distributors will take?