Tuesday 20 August 2019

Should Independent Authors Form Publishing Companies?

You know how, when you visit one of my book's pages at your favourite retailer, it lists my name as the publisher?

That's because I'm a self-published author; I am the publisher of my own books. That's pretty much the definition of self-publishing, right?

There is, however, a growing trend these days, for self-published authors to start their own publishing companies or imprints (whether by registering those businesses "officially" in their countries of origin,  or in name only).

Many of these people say it makes their books appear more "professional" to potential book buyers, critics, etc. Or perhaps (if they've gone the "official" route), there are tax benefits to having a proper business.

Personally, unless you're also going to be publishing other people's books, I'm not a fan of this idea. I’m all about educating readers about self-published books and encouraging them to actively seek those books out. And it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether a book’s self-published or not if it has an imprint/publisher name different from the author’s… which I understand is one of the main reasons some authors want their own publisher in the first place; I just don’t agree that it should be so, is all.

Also, as an author, I didn’t choose to self-publish because I couldn’t get a trad deal. I never even tried for a trad deal, because my decision to self-publish was a deliberate, conscious, and carefully considered one. That makes me proud to be a self-published author, and I don’t want to hide that fact.

Of course, as I said above, there might be tax benefits to registering an actual company, but if you're going to do that, there's nothing stopping you from registering your own name ("Graham Downs CC" or even "G Downs" or something; don't try and hide behind a name that has no connection to your author persona).

Besides, it’s not too difficult to figure out that a book's self-published, either way: typically the only books published through that publisher are the author’s own. And once you've figured that out, it doesn't look so professional anymore, does it?

This is just my two cents. I'd love to know what you think. Is it a good idea for a self-published author to start their own publishing company? Why or why not?

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