6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing Books

Have you ever wanted to have a book in print, or your own publishing company? With the self publishing revolution of the past decade, it’s now possible. This summer, I was bitten by the bug (or should I say book!) and took a slight diversion from historical fiction into the art world – though many of you know I’m an artist as well as a writer.  I’m very excited by my new project of producing The Creative Zone: An Adult Coloring Book Inspired by Stained Glass. Publication date is very soon, so I will keep you posted!

The creative Zone, adult coloring book, Kathy Andrew, A.K. Andrew, Akandrew.comThese steps are by no means a comprehensive list, but it will give you an overview of what it will entail.

Please note I am referring to sole proprietorship. If you want a more complex business set up such as a corporation, then you’ll want to take advice from a lawyer and an accountant before you move forward.

1. Choose a Name for Your Publishing Company

If you want to sell your books solely though Amazon or elsewhere online, you can simply publish your books through Create Space or another Print On Demand (POD) company – see Number 4 below. However if you want to get your books into a bookstore, you will not be taken seriously without your own publishing company. Common wisdom is also that the name should not just be an extension of your own name e.g. Mary Smith Press. A name distinctive from your own or the title of the book will look more professional.

I chose D Street Press which has a local connotation for me. You will of course need to search online to see if your name is already being used.

2. Get a Domain Name

Aside from a general online search, one of the best ways of finding whether a name is being used, is by searching for the domain name. Because after all you will want to register the domain name yourself. Even if you don’t yet have a website, or have a website in a different name, it makes sense to snag a domain for your new press. I do this through GoDaddy. They are very reputable for hosting domains, and I’ve also had good customer service with them. But I have also read that they have a poor reputation when it comes to site hosting, so look elsewhere for that.

3. Register Your Fictitious Business Name with the County Clerk

Once you have the name, checked it’s not in use and registered the domain, you will need to register with your County Clerk’s office that you are doing business as (DBA) your fictitious name. In my county, this was a very simple process of filling out a one page form and paying the  $40 filing fee. You will also need to put a notice in a local paper for four consecutive weeks , but the County Clerks office will give you names and contact details of places to contact. Note that the smaller the paper, the less the fee will be. Mine cost $30 for the four week submission.

If you are unclear on the rules in your county, then check with your local Small Business Association (SBA)

D Street Press, akandrew.com

4. Choose a Printer

OK – now we’re getting closer to the book! Although there are numerous POD Companies out there, the two main contenders are Ingram Spark and CreateSpace. The latter is Amazon’s POD company.

Quality wise they are close, but Ingram Spark have a slightly better quality reputation (this is always a subject choice). If you want to just go with online sales through Amazon, then Create Space is the simplest choice and I understand they will give you a little more handholding too. However, if you also want your books in Barnes and Noble, Libraries and numerous other distributors, then Ingram Spark is the one to choose. Another reason –  and for me it was the decisive reason – is that you will not be picked up by bookstores if you are published by Create Space. Call it snobbery over self publishing or what have you, but this is generally speaking the state of play at the moment.

5. Buy ISBN Numbers

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is the long string number code (13 numbers in the US) that the book is recognized by all over the world. If you work with Create Space, you can buy one of their ISBN’s for $10, but that can only be used through Create Space. It is in effect ‘their ‘ number.

If you want to ‘go all the way’ then you need to buy an ISBN yourself. In the US, this can only be done through a company called Bowker. Go to the site MyIdentifiers.com. FYI In Canada, ISBN’s are issued for free! However in the US, it is most cost effective to buy 10 at a time, which is a hefty $295 (I was lucky to buy mine on sale for $250), but to only buy one costs $125, so …..

6. Submit Materials

Once you’ve chosen the POD company you want, then you have to jump through a few hoops filling out forms and making sure your files are up to their specifications. So be sure to look at all of these specs. before you set up your book in whatever Desk Top Publishing software you use. (I used Pages). The current top of the line software for this is InDesign from Adobe. But it’s a chunk of money to rent (not buy) as Adobe now have all their software  – Photoshop, Illustrator & ID though a monthly licensing fee. But you can even do your layout in Word. Once you have done that, then you will need to approve an e-copy and to be prudent have them send you a hardcopy to proof.

After that is all good to go, the the POD will submit your work to Amazon , Barnes and Noble etc, and you are published!!

As I said, this is a somewhat bare bones guide and by no means answers all the questions you will have before you start on this publishing journey. But there are many good sites to get info from. Here are three of my favorites:

TheBookDesigner.com Joel Friedlander runs this site and is a veritable fountain of information on the subject. An excellent resource. He also sells templates in Word for book layout at a very reasonable cost to take some of the headache out of that part of the process.

TheCreativePenn.com is another excellent site run by Joanna Penn. This is really a fantastic site for writers in general.

JaneFriedman.com also covers loads of self publishing stuff in her blogs and her writers resource page is the most comprehensive I’ve seen.

To add a couple more, Kristen Joy’s site TheBookNinja.com is great for finding out about webinars on publishing – many of which are free and packed with great info. Creativindie.com from Derek Murphy is another good one. He’s great at giving freebies too.

If you have any other good resources you’d like to add to this list please leave them in the comments.

So has anyone chosen POD as an option? What difficulties have you come across? What other vital points do you feel need including in this list?

Come join the discussion, and please share this post on your favorite social media. 

Many Thanks!

Connect with A.K. Andrew:

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  1. Great article A.K. I’ve shared around. 🙂
    D.G. Kaye recently posted..HAVE BAGS WILL TRAVEL | Carol BalawyderMy Profile

  2. I’ve never even thought of becoming my own publisher. How creative you are. Love the idea of the adult coloring book (as I am always coloring in my granddaughter’s at restaurants.)

  3. What an achievement, A.K. Well done! Now I know what to do if I write a book and want to see it in print. Will share your article to spread the knowledge.
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  4. This is a great comprehensive guide AK and how generous of you to share y9our knowledge and experience. So many talented people are succeeding in this way, given the state of traditional publishing today. I can’t wait to see your work in print! What a fabulous idea, by the way!
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  5. This is an interesting post. I am not yet ready to publish and when I am, I don’t know if I would go this route or not, but this is a good primer. Living in Canada, step 3 and maybe step 4 might be a little different. I’m also interested in seeing your colouring book when it is published. Over the past few weeks, I have become very intrigued with the adult colouring books I am going across and have bought one for myself (to calm and relax).
    Donna Janke recently posted..GratitudeMy Profile

    • oh well that’s good to know Donna- I’ve always found artwork to be relaxing, so I think coloring is a great way for everyone to have the same enjoyment, and sense of relaxation. There would be some differences in Canada , certainly ver the registration, but I’m not sure that the printer would be different. People from all over the world use both Ingram Spark and Create Space. At least you won’t have to pay for an ISBN number , although it does take about 10 days to get, so not just an instant turnaround on that. Hopefully you’ll be on this path yourself one of these days:-)
      A.K. Andrew recently posted..6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing BooksMy Profile

  6. Hi AK, well I’ve been through the somewhat painful process of self publishing. And yes, each time it’s a little easier, but not to the point where it’s a breeze yet either. I love the idea of the adult coloring book. In fact just the other day I was listening to something in TV and they were taking about how adult coloring had really taken off. And stained glass what a beautiful idea. Everytime I’m in a church I’m just mesmerized by the gorgeous stained glass windows. Cool idea!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Susan. I suppose by the 4th or 5th book one would have the process down. Glad you like the idea of an adult coloring book. They certainly have become popular, and with good reason. You obviously know the pleasure artwork gives, so I think its a great opportunity for everyone to have that release, even if they don’t consider themselves artistic. BTW if you haven’t seen, iDraw is now called Graphics & been taken over by Autodesk.
      A.K. Andrew recently posted..6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing BooksMy Profile

  7. A.K. — I just saw an interview of the author of “The Martian.” He said he had tried to make it as a writer and failed to find a publisher. So he decided to keep his day job and write as a hobby. He started posting one chapter at a time on his blog and began to develop a large following. Then he decided to self-publish his chapters as a book on Amazon at the lowest possible price 99 cents. The book caught on, a publisher took him on and then he sold the movie rights. He’s still in disbelief. “The Martian” was the leading movie this past weekend. Everything is possible if you’re willing to keep at it.

    • What a fantastic success story Jeanette. I hadn’t heard anything on the background of The Martian, so how great to hear a 1 in a million opportunity come out of someones diligence. Sci-fi obviously has a long history of being serialized and sic-fi fans a def. an avid loyal group. Pleased to hear about this, and thanks for the encouragement. I haven’t stopped writing, but it’s fun for me to make time for my artwork again.
      A.K. Andrew recently posted..6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing BooksMy Profile

  8. Your 6 steps to publishing are very accurate and helpful to the budding publisher. I am a publisher, and came to this business by way of music publishing. Somewhat similar with more legal steps. I then spent several years in the newspaper industry. Now I am publishing a blog and another online music news publication. One more thing about publishing; you have to really love it because the work never ends.
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  9. No, I have never considered owning my own publishing company. On writing a book I would send to a reputable publisher and pray they love my style of writing.
    Phoenicia recently posted..Do you embrace your ‘role’ as a woman?My Profile

    • How exciting, Kathy, that you have taken the plunge into self-publishing! You’ve been with me on my own self-publishing journey, and that of others and so I’m sure you have the knowledge to do it right. You’ve come up with a great concept re the adult colouring book. I think I saw one in a bookstore recently and was surprised by it. Now I know it’s a trend!

      A response to Phoenicia: It’s getting increasingly difficult to have books published in the traditional way these days. That’s why so many of us are taking charge and doing it ourselves. That way, we can do it much faster than traditional publishing houses, which generally take a year from the time you send in the manuscript to the time the book is actually printed. And we can also have charge of the type of cover design we want, etc. It becomes a much more personal and rewarding process. Unless you’re fortunate to find the best publisher ever, who can act in tune with your wants and needs, and can do so fairly and efficiently.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..Xocodiva Artisan Chocolates of Puerto VallartaMy Profile

      • tHanks Doreen- I think seeing your process has definitely helped me, although your project was WAY more complicated than mine. But it really is fun to be learning a new process and great for me to do something with artwork, which I haven’t had much time for over the past few years as I’ve spent most of my energy on writing. I think coloring books for adults is a great idea- everyone is creative, but not everyone has the confidence to ‘draw’ themselves. This way , anyone can enjoy the relaxation and pleasure of playing around with colors. Thanks so much for your support:-)
        A.K. Andrew recently posted..6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing BooksMy Profile

    • Finding an agent is a path I’ve just gone down, and found no luck this time. bUt I’m editing another novel and will definitely try and get an agent for it. tHe coloring Book for Adults I look at a little bit differently. It wasn’t something I wanted to wait years to get printed, and I thought it would be really fun to go the indie route on this one.
      A.K. Andrew recently posted..6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing BooksMy Profile

  10. This is wonderful! You described the process so thoroughly. Thank you. Now Just need to put the book together. =)
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted..Broccoli Rabe Meatballs recipeMy Profile

  11. What an interesting article – all about how to start your own publishing company – which certainly hasn’t been a viable option for very long! It’s remarkable that we can print our own books now. I did one but I got a lot of help. Now I could do it myself.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted..How to Survey Your PeepsMy Profile

  12. When I registered Word Bank with the state of Idaho I had the lovely extra hoop to jump through of proving to the state department of finance that I wasn’t trying to be a fraudulent banker. Good grief. It’s so easy to become a micro-publisher these days, but marketing is still the hardest part. Good luck with your coloring book. I can’t wait to get a copy.
    Jeri recently posted..#LiteraryCriticism: How to Read a Personal Essay (Walmart Style)My Profile

    • Crime you- fraudulent banking! That sounds like a relaxing step- not!! And you’re absolutely right Jeri, marketing is definitely the hard part. I’m taking that one slow, which is not necessarily the best way, but I’m determined for this particular project to be as stress free as possible. Thanks so much for being excited about it! very Cool!
      A.K. Andrew recently posted..6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing BooksMy Profile

  13. I think it’s wonderful that the internet has opened up a world for writers to publish their work. There are such gifted writers who may have been overlooked by publishing houses for issues that had nothing to do with their writing talent. This is a great step by step approach A.K., think about turning your post into an infographic!
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  14. Loved your article! I have been through most of these steps – right up to publishing my books in print. I publish under Resilient Living Publications and it really does feel good to have at least a little foundation to build on. I’ve lost count of the number of requests I’ve received to convert my digital books into print and I know I really must do it sooner rather than later, it’s just that now I’m so focused on developing online courses there never seems to be enough time in the day. So this has been a wonderful reminder and I will make a point of nudging that “real book” project higher up the task list. Thanks!
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  15. Good information Thanks for spelling it all out. As a side note, I’ve also used Hover for domain names and found them to be both reliable and cost effective.
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  16. What a great post.
    My book has a publisher, but only with the e-book.
    I may look into this for the paperback version of it and others I might try to put out myself.
    Thanks for sharing this with us, it was wonderful information.
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  17. My husband is about to publish his first issue of his comic book series. I believe comic books are a bit different than most other books as far as market placement and how it is published. However, he did get a DBA and ran that 4 week newspaper ad. I will send him this article to see if there might be some additional publishing information that might be helpful to him. Thanks.
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  18. Hi, A.K.
    An excellent article. As you know, I have published two books on various e-sites such as Amazon and Kobo. The process is somewhat different in Canada, so it’s interesting to read how it works in the USA.

    My daughter has just got me started on adult colouring books. I look forward to when yours comes out, as I am enjoying colouring very much.

    Best wishes.

  19. A.K. this is fantastic – I’ve shared it on Twitter and pinned it. I want to refer to it later if I ever decide to write a book, although things may differ somewhat in Canada but I think the basic steps would be the same.
    I love the stained glass colouring book – wonderful idea for Christmas gift. May put the bug in someone’s ear on that one.
    Thanks for your generous sharing of information.
    Lenie recently posted..Winter Readiness ChecklistMy Profile

    • Thanks you SO much Lenie – very glad it was helpful. I wanted for this first coloring book to do something a little more geometric as so many of the books out their are all hearts and flowers – which is great, but very unlike my regular artwork. So this is much more me. Im excited that you might be interested in one. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when it’s out. Thanks for stopping by:-)
      A.K. Andrew recently posted..6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing BooksMy Profile

  20. Never thought of publishing a book but i find this post very insightful.
    Will bookmark this post, you never know in the future.
    As my mum will say “Never say Never”
    Thanks for sharing A.K Andrews x

  21. Thank you for educating us! I had a fortunate experience to be asked to join great authors with Transformation Publishing. I was nervous at the start thinking it was a scam. I reached out to Patricia Weber, great thing I have this group, to check out. Now, knowing more with what you wrote, thank you!

  22. Hi A.K.,
    Thanks so much for sharing your insight with us. Years ago, I wrote and published a user manual to accompany a specialized piece of photography equipment that my husband and I were manufacturing. (We were bundling it as part of a business opportunity.)

    At the time, I used Lulu. I was happy with them and I had intended to use them if I ever self-published again. Honestly, I now think that if I were to write again, I would probably publish on Kindle. (I’m taking a course now on Udemy and for me that appears to be the route to go.)

    Congratulations on your new coloring book for adults. Now, that is definitely a book that you need a hard copy of! I think that would make a great Christmas present for my daughter. I’m looking forward to it.

  23. It’s wonderful to hear about your book – good luck with it! I can’t say publishing a book is one of my goals right now, but reading and relaxing certainly are (maybe I can squeeze in coloring time as well).