Publishing with your own imprint

Want to be Recognized as a Writer?

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10,000 hours – 5 years – 5 books published – that’s the minimum a professional author needs – PLUS being educated in the the publishing business, so that predators cannot take advantage of you.

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Artists Train For Years Every Day – for Hours and Hours…
Professions need to be trained!  It takes years to become an excellent musician, dancer, singer, painter and writer – and it also takes years to become an excellent publisher.  And it involves lots of skills and knowledge business-wise, marketing skills, not to mention, learning constantly new internet techniques and get to know the latest changes in publishing.
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It Takes Time…
Many authors have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the time required for effective book promotion and to make meaningful connections with readers.  They expect wonders from a single sales campaign, and don’t understand that under-pricing or “selling” for free is not a marketing strategy.  And distribution and marketing are also two different things.  There is a tremendous amount of time-consuming work that goes into getting a book ready for publication and release.

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… To Research Your Competition.
First of all make a list with possible keywords that readers might use to find a similar book. Check out the complete categories / genres at Amazon,Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Waterstone’s etc. and study all the books, that could be similar to your future work. Visit several public libraries and book stores to find similar books, similar to the one you want to write.  Learn about your competition! Borrow the most interesting ones, not only to read them, but also to study the book layout and design.  Read the online reviews of their books carefully and learn from the faults of others – not your own!
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Steady Wins the Race!
Becoming an author-publisher is a long-term commitment and requires hundreds of small steps on the path to success!  Before you start writing, create yourself a road map.  Take your time, see your writing & publishing as a long-term project and don’t have unrealistic expectations.  The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only, but as business owners.  They invest in their businesses, hiring experts to fill skill gaps and to gain more time for writing.  First create a professional looking book, do the groundwork to build up your author platform, and then have fun, winning one reader at a time.

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What Writers Can Deduct from Taxes

Income-Tax

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April 18, 2016 … You know what this deadline means for US-citizens?  Yes, income tax return!  They are due latest on this day.  And it’s only a couple of weeks until then… Tax season is already in full swing.  Don’t wait until the last minute.

Writers are presumed to be a professional if their writing made a profit in at least three out of the last five tax years, including the current year. Which means:  Not more than two years of expenses that are higher than the author income.
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Considerations of Profitability
There are a couple of other considerations that revenue agencies, such as the IRS, are listing, for example:

  • Have you made a profit in similar activities in the past? If you have a successful book under your belt — or even a series of articles in paid publications, such as newspapers, magazines or online publications, which means you are a professional writer.
  • Do you have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business?  How much do you know about running that business?  Are you running it like a business, keeping records, keeping an eye to profitability?  Did you take classes / seminars about the publishing business (e.g. marketing or tax etc.) no matter if online or offline?
  • Have you created a professional book marketing and publicity plan?  This might even be shown by including affiliate programs on your website / blog.  If there are losses, are they due to circumstances beyond your control or did they occur in the start-up phase of the business?

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Expenses You Can Deduct:
It’s important to find every deduction to which you are entitled. Always try to pay expenses from a separate account, setup only for your writing business, to make bookkeeping easier.  Keep receipts and make copies of payments to contractors, freelancers and agency fees for book production, such as:

  • Proofreading
  • Editing
  • Illustrations
  • Photos
  • Graphic Design
  • Book Layout
  • Printing costs
  • eBook Formatting
  • Advanced Copy reviews
  • Book Trailer Design
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Book Promotion Costs, for example:

  • Advertisements, online and offline
  • Giveaways (free book review copies, pens etc.)
  • Flyers, brochures, business cards, bookmarks
  • Book Fair expenses
  • Costs for newsletters (AWeber, MailChimp etc.)
  • Entry fees for writing contests
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Other Costs, such as:

  • Transportation costs (note the dates, distance, reason)
  • Rental for book readings
  • Office rental or mortgage, heating, electricity for your home office by square feet
  • Phone / Internet / e-Reader costs
  • Website / blog costs, such as hosting or development
  • Computer / Copy Machine / Scanner / Router
  • Office Supplies
  • Meal expenses: in the USA full for public events you might host, and 50% if it is for a business purpose (interview, writers conference, meeting with book professionals, publishers, agents etc.)
  • Transportation to meetings, events
  • Research costs
  • Copyright registration and ISBN fees
  • your tax preparer or tax lawyer.
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Keep all your expense slips sorted by date and neatly filed to make it easier to find them.
If you pay anyone of the above listed more than a couple of hundred dollars, such as editors for example, you would need to include the contract and a form (in the United States it is IRS Form 1099-MISC).
Note for each meal/entertainment expense the names, number of people participating and reason for meeting)
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Publishers Weekly Gives this Advice:
“Income from an S corporation is not subject to Medicare tax,” says Robert Pesce, a partner in the media and entertainment group at Marcum LLP. “Only the salary an author is paid by the S corp is subject to the tax. So, an author with an S corporation who is earning $1 million and pays him- or herself $200,000 (a very reasonable salary at that earnings level) will only pay $6,000 (3%) in Medicare taxes, while an unincorporated author (sole proprietor) would pay approximately $30,000.”

However, if you are just starting out with less than a handful books, a sole proprietorship might be sufficient: Lawyer Helen Sedwick advices: “They are simpler to operate and subject to fewer arbitrary rules than the C corporations, S corporations, and LLC’s.”

 

Further Reading:
http://www.freelancetaxation.com/deductions-writers
http://www.bus.lsu.edu/accounting/faculty/lcrumbley/tax_aspects.html
Income Tax Rules for Non-US Authors
Ten Things Not to do While Completing Your Taxes

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Disclaimer:
These tips are meant to give general insight into tax information to writers, especially in the USA, and to give you an entry point so you can research further.  While every effort was made to ensure the information in this article is accurate at the time it was written, we are not tax experts.  Anyone filing taxes should consult a qualified tax preparer for updated tax laws and further specifics on how these rules might apply to your individual tax situation.

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How to Prepare Your Book for Publishing

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Book-Publishing-Preparation

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A brilliant poster at a print shop / book designer offered: “Pick Any Two, I Pick One”
It showed a triangle and on each tip had one of these words: Money – Quality – Time/Speed
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The Unattainable Triangle – Speed, Quality and Price.
Branding experts refer to the “unattainable triangle” as composed of quality, price, and speed.  All products or services have two out of the three sides of the triangle. That is to say, high-quality and fast turn-around but high-price or low-price, fast-turnaround but low-quality and so on.
The triangle is unattainable for two reasons. The first is logistical.  Providing high-quality service with faster-than-average turn-around time is going to cost you more money than your competitor who can do the same level of quality at a lower price with slightly slower turnaround.  It’s pretty much logistically impossible to maintain a profitable business that has somehow “attained the triangle.”
Always keep this in mind when you hire freelancer / employees or subcontractors, such as editors, book and cover designers. You get what you pay for… Don’t shop for the cheapest, rather the best partners, says book layout guru Joel Friedlander.
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Among others he explains:

  • An Unabridged List of the Parts of a Book
  • Book Pagination For Fun and Profit
  • Why You Need a Category on the Back Cover of Your Book
  • Book Chapters and Subheads
  • Deciphering the Bookland EAN Bar Code
  • The Elements of the Book Page
  • Self-Publisher’s 5-Minute Guide to Book Printing Processes

Start with his article: Why Self-Published Books Look Self-Published.
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The Editing Process:
Even though many authors are talented writers and even spectacular at grammar, they should never be the book editor of their own project. You might have logged long hours going through your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, read, write, delete, re-write, re-read, delete… Then, after carefully reviewing the spelling and grammar and fact-checking the document, you may have even handed the manuscript over to every member of your writing group, however none of this is equal to a professional final edit.

Contact editors who’s work you have seen or who have been recommended by other writers and ask about their work process, rates, time frames, and any other information you need to know. Request a sample edit from the respondents you like. Samples are often free, and around one to three, sometimes even five 250-word pages.
The editing process is not meant to offend you, or detract from all of the perfecting you have already done. Rather, an edit is meant to increase the quality and success of your book, regardless of subject or genre.
Choose an editor on the basis of compatibility and how well the results of his or her editing appeals to you.  Ask for references, but learning about the editor’s background shows you how long he or she has been doing edits.  It also gives an idea of how many and which types of clients have actually trusted him or her to edit. There are several steps involved in editing and professional trade publishers often employ special editors for each of these steps (or did at least in the past):

  • Line editing
  • Content Editing
  • Copy Editing
  • Proof Reading

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The Book Cover and Title.
The correct title can enormously help to ensure the success of your book. And a great cover will raise the attention of potential readers. And yes, books are judged by their covers.

  • It must be easy to understand and speak.
  • It should ideally be less than 32 characters.
  • You must be able to purchase the exact URL for the title.
  • Buy your Author name domain also.
  • The title should clearly demonstrate to readers what they will discover in this eBook.
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Important for Your Book’s Cover Design

  • Keep the design clean.
  • Use a focal point to orient the user
  • Make sure people can read it without glasses.
  • Make the design match the content.
  • Remember: All online retailers show books only in stamp-size!

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For Print:

  • Use the spine properly.
  • Include a photo of the author.
  • The largest font size is used on the information that is most important.

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Technical information can also be obtained at Basic Book Design for answers to your basic book design questions.  Joel Friedlander has a great blog post series about book layout mistakes to avoid.
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Pre-Publishing Services:

EDITING:
Traci Lawrence  http://tracisebook.blogspot.com/2015/02/freelance.html
Susan Uttendorfsky  http://www.adirondackediting.com

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BOOK COVER DESIGNERS:
Anitra Jay  http://www.anitrajay.com/page:designs
Laura Wright LaRoche  http://www.llpix.com
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e-BOOK FORMATTING:
Another important step in creating an e-book that should be done by real professionals, for example Deena Rae Schoenfeldt  http://e-bookbuilders.com
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However, while your book is at the pre-publishing service providers, don’t forget to actively market your upcoming book! Prepare your author pages on Goodreads and Amazon, start with Goodreads Giveaways, if you have an ISBN and planned a print book. For e-book Giveaways use LibraryThing.com.  Get as many pre-orders and pre-launch reviews as possible, plan and invite all your potential readers to your book launch – virtual and in person.

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also  “Book Marketing on a Shoestring”  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

Our email newsletters with free insider tips are sent out once a month. To sign up, just go to the form on the right site of each blog post.
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How to Publish With Your Own Imprint

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by Nicole Eva Fraser

I love my traditional publisher, Second Wind Publishing LLC in North Carolina. Second Wind released my first novel (The Hardest Thing in This World) in October 2013.  So why did I decide to self-publish my second novel and a nonfiction e-Book in 2014?  Simply because I wanted to learn the DIY side of the business, and take charge of getting my books to market at a faster pace.
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imprint

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To publish with my own imprint (= publishing business), I followed the basic steps below, which you can adapt for the state / province where you live and the self-publishing service company you work with.

First, the definition of “imprint”
An imprint is a publisher name. Your own imprint is simply the publisher name you choose, clear, and register according to your state business laws to use in self-publishing your own books. 

File your imprint name in your state
I live in Ohio, so once I settled on my imprint name—Bench Press—I had to check its availability in Ohio and register it as a trade name. The steps should be similar in your state.

  • I went to the Ohio Secretary of State website.
  • Went to Business Services page.
  • Reviewed their Guide to Business Name Availability.
  • Did a Business Search by Name and by Exact Name.
  • Bench Press didn’t come up in the searches, so I filed the Ohio “Trade Name (Name Registration)” form and paid the $50 fee to register the name.
  • I was granted the Trade Name Registration for Bench Press.
  • The registration must be renewed every five years.
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How does your self-publishing company handle author imprints?
Considering to use the POD services and retail arms of Amazon and Smashwords, I researched all their policies. You will need to research the policies of the company you will working with well before you are preparing to publish.  Here’s what I found in my research in February 2014:

Amazon CreateSpace (paperback): 

  • Yes, you may publish with your own imprint, but must buy your own ISBN to do so (more on ISBNs in a minute).

Amazon KDP (Kindle): 

  • Yes, you may publish with your own imprint and are not required to buy your own ISBN.

Smashwords: 

  • Yes, you may publish with your own imprint and are not required to buy your own ISBN. However, if you elect to get the free ISBN from Smashwords, be aware that: 

1.     Smashwords will be listed as the publisher in the Bowker Books in Print database; and

2.     Your imprint will be listed as the publisher in your e-Book.

 

ISBNs: to buy or not to buy?

I did decide to buy an ISBN for the paperback of my novel I Don’t Think It’s That Simple because I want Bench Press (not CreateSpace) to appear as the imprint in the paperback.

I decided not to buy ISBNs for GPS for New Novelists because I’m releasing it only as an e-Book, and I’m satisfied with the Smashwords arrangements regarding their free ISBNs.

To learn more about purchasing ISBNs, visit Bowker Identifier Services.

 

More opportunities to consider

  • You could choose and buy the domain name of your imprint and create an additional website for your book(s), with all the corresponding exposure and marketing opportunities.
  • You could incorporate under your imprint name. Incorporation is a complex legal process and you will need a lawyer.
  • You could invite other authors to publish under your imprint and build a collective. Consult a lawyer before you do.
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Conclusion
Publishing with your own imprint requires you to do your due diligence upfront.  Be sure to allow enough time in your pre-production schedule for the research and the decision-making that are involved.

About the Author
Nicole Eva Fraser is the author of I Don’t Think It’s That Simple, forthcoming in Summer 2014, The Hardest Thing in This World (2013), and GPS for New Novelists: Navigating the 5 routes to publication (2014).

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

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Tagged: block of ISBN, buy the domain name, CreateSpace POD services, Guide to Business Name Availability, Nicole Eva Fraser, Publishing with your own imprint, Trade Name Registration


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