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