Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Morgan Mandel's Basic Guide to Self-Publishing - Day Two - How To Get Started - Legalities, Technicalities, References

Once I’d decided to take the plunge, I had my work cut out. What did I need to do? In what order?

A helpless feeling washed over me. I told myself to calm down and consult the experts. Austin had done it before. If I got stuck, I’d cry to him for help. I did, believe me. He and his wife, Denise, received many a frantic e-mail.

I couldn’t bug them every minute. Luckily, I found this great book for reference, called Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual. While eating breakfast and every other chance I got, I consulted that book. I still do. It contains more suggestions I still plan to implement when I have time.

Between my common sense, the manual, Austin and Denise, I could make it through. Piece by piece, I’d get it all done. Here are some of the pieces:

Decide on a publishing house name – I kind of liked the name, Gamut, since I planned on writing and publishing a variety of genres. I Googled it and didn’t see any other publishing companies with the name.

Get an address for the company – For promotional material and my public persona, I decided to get a post office box, instead of using my snail mail. After waiting in line, I purchased a box under the Gamut name, including my own name, as well as my pen name, for receiving mail. Well, that wasn’t too bad, except for the waiting in line part and paying money.

About a week or so later, I Googled again and discovered Gamut Publishing Company was very close to Gamut Press, which was already taken. Now what should I do? I’d already rented a box with the Gamut name. I had to figure out a new one.

I needed a name which represented what I was doing, plus it wouldn’t hurt if the first letter began close to the front of the alphabet. I figured that might get it closer up in some listings. First Choice was taken. Lots of other ideas came to mind, but every time I Googled them, someone else had them. It was amazing how many people came up with the same ideas I had.

Then I hit on Choice One Publishing Company, which didn’t come up on Google. I liked what it stood for, which was publishing books on my own. I went back to the post office and asked for that name to be placed on the same post office box I’d already purchased.

I had the address. Now I was ready for the next step, making the company legal. I already had a sole proprietorship status with the State of Illinois under my Morgan Mandel name. Under that capacity I paid sales and income taxes to the State of Illinois, as well as income tax to the Federal government. My accountant said I could add the publishing company to the sole proprietorship, instead of keeping them separate. That was good.

Every place is different, but in Cook County I had to go to the Assumed Name Unit and complete an Application for an Assumed Name to make Choice One Publishing Co. my operating name. I also filled out a legal notice to be published within 15 days in a newspaper that circulated in my county. After that, proof needed to be presented to the Unit within 50 days that I’d done so. That wasn’t difficult, since the clerk offered cards from a few places that handled the publishing and proof part. By April 13, I’d received a nice certificate saying I’d complied with the Assumed Name Act. My company was legal.

I also completed what was called the State of Illinois Service Mark or Trademark Application, which was optional.

If I were to be making money from publishing, I needed to put it somewhere. I already owned business checking and savings accounts at my bank. My representative hinted it would be best to keep a separate account for the publishing aspect, but that didn’t suit my needs. Since I was the author and publisher, the money couldn’t easily be separated. I convinced him to add the publishing name to the existing business and checking accounts. I ordered additional checks for the same account with just the publishing company name showing, plus a new charge card for the company.

Things were moving along, not quite as fast as I’d like, but I was getting there. It was time to focus on why I’d gone through all the legal mumbo jumbo. That meant getting my novel in shape.

Tomorrow’s post – Why Use an Editor

------------------------------------------
Morgan Mandel

http://www.morganmandel.com/

http://choiceonepublishing.com/





Bookmark and Share

15 comments :

  1. Morgan,

    Great post! You broke down all the scary sounding words into simple steps that anyone can do.

    Looking forward to the rest of series,
    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Charlotte. Compartmentalizing does help get things done, instead of looking at the entire picture.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com
    http://choiceonepublishing.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Morgan, you are amazing. It helps that you broke it down for us, but it's still scary to me. I feel like I'd need you standing behind me every step of the way.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is good stuff, Morgan. Dan's book is like the publishing Bible, and it's full of promo stuff, too!

    L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I want to know how you knew to do these things in the first place. Was it through your friends?

    ReplyDelete
  6. That reference book is amazing. I'm still using it because I haven't had a chance to get everything done that it mentions.
    As far as knowing how to do some of these things, some was common sense. I figured out I couldn't fill out a form with my business name if I hadn't figured out one. It took a while to get that right, because there are so many names already taken.

    The address - I knew the form would ask for a physical one, because most legal forms want that.

    The stuff I couldn't figure out, I checked my reference book, online at the State of Illinois, my accountant,plus Austin Camacho and his wife, Denise. I pestered them with lots of e-mails asking what they did.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com
    http://choiceonepublishing.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for outlining this process so clearly. I had no idea so much was involved before you even started book production. Yikes. You are close to becoming Superwoman in my book. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. No, I'm no Superwoman. I just did everything one step at a time. Otherwise it would have been overwhelming. Because of the red tape, it took a little longer than I'd anticipated to wrap everything up,but still not as long as if I'd had another publisher do it.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com
    http://choiceonepublishing.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, Morgan, you are truly amazing. I actually didn't know that you could become your own publisher when you self-publish. I found a book that analyzed 40 or so self-publishing companies like Lulu, Xlibris, etc. and then called the author to talk to him. Turns out he'd started his own self-publishing company because none of the others were author friendly. So I went with his company. I like your route, though, even though it seems like a lot more work.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  10. Fascinating. Scary, but you make it sound possible. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes, when you self-publish, you are a publisher. You can sign onto certain sites as one.

    Yes, the project was daunting at first, and even while I was in the middle of it, but it all worked out in the end.

    There are other ways to go about self-publishing, but by choosing this route I mimicked what the un-self-pubs did to get similar results.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com
    http://choiceonepublishing.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are a stronger person than I am. I thought about self-pubbing once awhile ago. Read all kinds of books on how to, including Dan Poynters, even went to one of his workshops.

    In the end, I decided it was far too much work.

    Marilyn
    http://fictionforyou.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. These tips and stories are so good, Morgan. You MUST put them into an ebook to sell asap. I mean it - this information is clear and readable, like having a pal help out step-by-step. I'm sure there is plenty of other information you can add, like how to register copyright... stuff we just don't have time to address in a short week.

    I know what's coming and still can't wait to read more. Good job!

    Dani

    ReplyDelete
  14. Marilyn, that must have been fun going to a Dan Poyner workshop.

    I've come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. I'm chugging along.

    Dani,
    I do plan on putting together an ebook and possibly a small manual, which will include information on these blog posts and more. A week isn't enough to tell all.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
    http://www.morganmandel.com
    http://choiceonepublishing.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great series, Morgan! But obviously I missed a key point...why set up your own publishing company at all? Legal reasons or just to have the name/logo of a publisher on your book?

    Ruth

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...