With the many publishing resources, printers and sales outlets on the Internet, setting up a book publishing company is more affordable and less complicated than ever before. The primary function of a book publisher is to procure books and make them available for sale. Procurement of books involves soliciting and accepting marketable manuscripts, contracting with the author for selling rights, and getting copies printed and distributed. Selling books involves making contacts with industry retailers and distributors, or selling directly through your own website. Publishers make a percentage of each sale and pay the balance to the author.
Register the business and obtain a business permit from your city hall. Apply for a Federal tax identification number from the Internal revenue Service and state tax registration certificate through your state’s business office. No special permit or license is required to become a book publisher.
Set up your office with computer, printer, phone, fax and supplies. Dedicated phone and fax lines are encouraged, and your office is best located in an area away from distractions and noise if located in your home.
Purchase a domain name and web hosting package from a hosting provider, preferably one with online store features.
Purchase business cards, stationery, brochures and other marketing aids from your local printer. Be sure to include your web and email address on all printed matter.
Set up seller accounts with online retail book merchants, and make a list of physical book stores and distributors found online.
Consult a publishing attorney to draft contracts between you and the author. Electronic contracts are preferred, as they will allow customization and printing as needed.
Join The Association of American Publishers or other national organization. These organizations offer a wealth of information for publishers, and provide help and guidance in copyright law, marketing, statistics and other valuable information.
Market your services to authors through writing websites, publications and by other means to solicit manuscripts. When you find one you like, contact the author, and begin contract negotiations and finalization.
Purchase an International Standard Book Number for the title you will publish. ISBN numbers are required for books sold at retail, and are available from R.R. Bowker (See Resources).
Secure a local or online printer who specializes in book printing and place an order.
List the book on retail sites, and contact retailers and distributors to interest them in your book.
- Local business permit and state tax identification number
- Office with computer, printer, fax, phone and supplies
- Domain name and website
- Business cards, stationery, brochures and other printed marketing aids
- Seller accounts with online retail book merchants
- Author/publisher contracts
- International Standard Book Numbers
- Don’t neglect small local and regional privately owned book stores. They may agree to take a number of books on consignment, and may allow you to promote the book with an author book signing or reading session event.
- Send copies of the book to book magazines to request a review, and send out news releases to retailers and distributors with copies of favorable reviews. You may also print reviews on the book cover when ordering reprints, and post them on all retail websites, including your own publishing site.
- Carefully research the publishing business before you begin, and always have all author contract terms clearly spelled out. Your goal is to make money for your company, the author and the retailers. Honesty and integrity is vital to any company, and shady business dealings will not only hurt your integrity and reputation, but may result in legal action.
- Be certain that the author owns the copyright to the manuscript by requesting a proof of copyright document, and ensure that your publishing contract contains the proper permission verbiage from the author to sell the book. Publishing books that someone else owns the copyright will result in serious fines and legal penalties.
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